Most players taking part in an EPT main event will arrive the day before they play, enough time to unpack, unwind and settle in before getting down to the business of poker. But sometimes the best laid plans fall to pieces, forcing players to call on their improvisational skill to complete the journey in time. Jake Cody certainly had recourse to count on his.
Anyone following Cody on Twitter would have tracked his progress to France, a trip that started in Leeds, in the north of England, and ending with his arrival in Deauville at 3 o’clock this morning. Deauville is usually closed during the day at this time of year, so you can imagine what it was like at three am.
“It’s JP Kelly’s fault,” said Cody, immediately pinning the blame on someone else. “He was going to come with me. I ended up going out in Leeds the night before. I finally went to his house and he said no, I’ve changed my mind.”
Cody was left with only a few options. Flights to Paris, if you can catch them, connect with trains to Deauville. Alternatively there’s the Eurostar train from London to Paris, or, for those with a more nautical bent, the ferry across the English Channel. That option also requires that you don’t mind driving on the wrong side of the road.
“I ended up having to drive down on my own, a ten hour drive,” said Cody, whose options, it turned out, were limited. “I wanted to fly but the last flight arrived in Paris at 11pm and I had to get to Deauville. I’d left it too late.”
Here at last: Jake Cody
In the best tradition of pressing on regardless, Cody turned instead to his trusty Audi R8 and, ignoring the realities of ten long hours in a car, set off for the Channel, reaching the coast in time to catch the last Eurotunnel train (a drive on drive off service) before the final departure of the night (“I was driving really fast”). He then turned the Audi south west to complete the last leg from Calais to Deauville, arriving in the dead of night. This morning he overslept but managed to make it to his seat seconds before the start. The end of an epic adventure.
It wasn’t all time wasted. Cody single-tabled Sunday tournaments when he could and, while waiting for the train, managed half an hour of open-face Chinese on the bonnet of his car with Luke Schwartz and Bryn Kenney, who were also making their way across to France. It’s a small world.
I put it to him that for all that effort the Team PokerStars Pro could have been forgiven for skipping Deauville all together.
“I actually could have knocked it on the head,” he said. “But it’s Deauville. This is my one.”
This really is his one. In 2010 Cody, then only 21, ensured his name would be forever remembered in these gilded halls when he won the main event and a first prize of €847,000. Now that day has finally sunk in, as have the accolades that have since followed, but it’s still a place he wants to play.
“It definitely brings back a lot of nostalgia,” said Cody. “It was my first ever EPT.”
Looking back EPT6 Deauville wasn’t an easy one to win. It followed immediately behind that year’s PCA with just two rest days between the two events. To anyone who been to the Bahamas the opening stages in France were played with crippling jetlag.
Cody may not have played the PCA main event but was in the Bahamas with a friend who’d won a package. Star struck, Cody watched the action from the rail or from a side event before flying home, exhausted.
“I was jetlagged,” said Cody. “I wasn’t even going to come [to Deauville]. Then two of my friends persuaded me to come. I ended up coming down, playing and winning.”
That was a great week for Cody, the start of an 18 month spell in which he would become the youngest Triple Crown winner in poker history. Now a Team PokerStars Pro it’s easy to detect a slight buzz from Cody, returning to the place where it all started.
Sarah Grant talks to Jake Cody about his journey across the Channel…
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Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter