Jake Cody was today unveiled as the newest member of Team PokerStars by fellow Team Pro Daniel Negreanu, just moments before the start of Day 1B of the tenth Anniversary PCA Main Event at the Atlantis Hotel and Resort, The Bahamas.
"PokerStars always looks for young up-and-coming ambassadors for the game and I feel like we've found a gem. The youngest ever winner of the Triple Crown. He's won a WPT, a World Series of Poker bracelet and more importantly an EPT. He combines poker skill with a gentlemanly demeanour as is expected in a PokerStars Team Pro. Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Jake Cody to the team," said Negreanu.
The British poker wunderkind turned his arm towards Negreanu who slapped a Team PokerStars Pro patch on Cody's arm in front of the gathered masses of the Day 1B field of the PCA Main Event.
"And it's official," said Negreanu. "Good luck, my man."
While most people would look a bit uncomfortable at the thought of a sea of PCA poker players staring them down, for Cody it's pretty much another day at the office. The 24-year-old Brit is the youngest Triple Crown winner, a feat which he managed to achieve in the quickest amount of time also, just 16 months, at age 22. You have to get used to the glare of the poker spotlight when you blaze a trail like that.
Jake Cody's Triple Crown
Jan 2010: €5,000 EPT Deauville, €857,000 ($1,213,194)
Aug 2010: £5,000 WPT London, £273,783 ($425,492)
May 2011: $ 25,000 WSOP Heads-Up Championship, $851,192
Live tournament winnings: $3,156,032
Today, Cody takes his rightful place among the elite of the poker world. The PokerStars Blog caught up with the EPT-WPT-WSOP winner a couple of days ago while Cody was basking, somewhat dangerously, in the bright Bahamian sun beaming down by the Atlantis marina.
"It probably sounds quite silly but it is literally a dream come true. I know it's something that everyone says but it genuinely is. It's something I've been working at for a while now. For it to actually happen... it's awesome," said Cody.
He may have a stern game face in most, if not all, table shots you'll see, but away from the baize Cody is smiley, personable and, considering his astonishing poker achievements, incredibly down-to-earth. It's just when he's at the table he's really focussed. And we mean, really, really focussed. He just wants to win.
Take a look at the final prong of his Triple Crown in the $25,000 WSOP Heads-Up Championship. Having reached the final of a 128-strong field of some of the toughest poker players in the world, including his heads up opponent Yevgeniy Timoshenko and other money finishers Gus Hansen, Tom Dwan and Olivier Busquet, Cody maintained a laser-focus on winning the title. This was no mean feat given a literally heaving rowdy rail of excitable Brits who loudly cheered Cody onto the win. His game face did not shift. His aim did not waiver.
"They were trying to get me to wave and smile. I was so happy they were there to support me but I had to have my game face on. I didn't want to show any weakness. In all the pictures I looked so angry but it's because I'm so competitive. I'm one of the most competitive people ever," said Cody.
Going back to Deauville
While that WSOP win may be memorable, the Triple Crown started back in Deauville during Season 6 of the European Poker Tour. Although Cody played a great tournament, showcasing a terrifying attacking brand of poker, there's one hand that stands out above the rest. Cody had been tussling with a young Frenchman called Hugo Lemaire and, with 18 players remaining, he five-bet shoved all-in into him with ten-four off suit... for the chip lead. Unfortunately for Cody, Lemaire was pretty near the top of his range. He called with pocket kings, but Cody's 'Who Dares Wins' mentality was amply rewarded with a rivered straight to the seven.
"I was playing my heart out. I wasn't scared to go with my reads and I was trying to win. I wasn't scared about the money, even though I probably should have been, looking at the payouts. It was a ridiculous amount of money we were playing for," said Cody, smiling.
"All the stars aligned those few days. I guess I was pretty blessed, you could put it that way."
Cody has since become good friends with Lemaire, although doesn't disagree that the Frenchman could be a darkened room plotting his downfall; "Deep down he probably wants to stab me," said Cody, grinning.
Scooping it in
And if a Triple Crown and the ballsy ability to five-bet shove all-in with a ten-high air ball on the verge of the a big money final table in his first ever big tournament wasn't enough for you, then you can toss a SCOOP (Spring Championship of Online Poker) into the mix, too. Playing under the name "in YOUR F4CE" Cody won Event 2-High in 2011 for $234,738 (just before going to Las Vegas to finish off his Triple Crown) proving that he can do it online as well as live. And you can expect more of the same when Cody starts playing under his new Team PokerStars Pro User ID "jakecody". And, yes, we did know who he was.
Ambitions and inspirations
"Last year was a pretty slow year but I was playing less live. There were a few spots where I could have had deep runs but flips didn't go my way, but I'm the last person who can complain about that. I've got big plans for this year. Joining Team Pro has given me the inspiration," said Cody.
That inspiration could prove to be a dangerous thing if you get drawn against him in today's PCA Main Event or, in fact, the €25,000 High Roller on Saturday, 12 January if he doesn't final table this event. You have been warned: Cody has got his game-face on for 2013.
Jake Cody is a member of Team PokerStars Pro. You can read his bio here.
Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.