What does a tournament player do in between live stops? Ask our €10,300 High Roller field and the most common answer might be “relax and play online”.
But what does a cash game player do when they need a break from the grind? For Team PokerStars Pro Jake Cody, the answer is head to a PokerStars live event.
Cody rose to fame in tournament poker, becoming the youngest ever ‘triple crown’ winner in 2010-11 when he won an EPT, WPT and WSOP bracelet all by the age of 23. While success continued with a WSOP Europe Main Event final table and two further EPT final tables (bringing his career tournament winnings to $4.35 million), it’s actually cash game poker which Cody now considers his bread and butter.
And if there’s one place where Cody plies his trade the most, it’s in the ‘Vegas of the East’.
But first, Barcelona
“Yeah, so I just lost 250K in a pot running ace-king into aces,” Cody tells PokerStars Blog on break from the €10K. Unfortunately for him, he’d just lost a hand that would have given him the chip lead.
“It was big blind against the cutoff, so pretty unavoidable. I’ve been so card dead as well, and it came king high.
“So I was down to 125K after that, and then I’ve won a couple of pots since then and I’m up to 280K now going back to a 5K big blind. So we’re well in the mix, but not quite destroying the situation like I would be if I had 800K!”
Chip lead or no chip lead, Cody’s a big fan of Barcelona. He shares the same sentiment that pretty much every poker visitor holds: it’s pretty damn awesome here.
“It’s been great, yeah” he says. “It’s probably my favourite stop of the year actually, or at least top two or three. Because of where the casino’s based, it’s where all the hotels and bars are so it’s super convenient and everyone has a good time here.”
This is purely a tournament and social stop for Cody though. You won’t find him in the cash game area anytime this weekend.
“I generally don’t mix in cash games when I come to these tournament stops; I kind of just play the Main Event and a High Roller and then see my friends,” he explains.
“And then when I’m away from these stops I just get my head down and put the hours in.”
What happens in Macau…
The majority of those hours are being played in Macau, home of the biggest cash games in the world. Cody might not be mixing it up on those nosebleed tables with the likes of Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey, but for him it’s still the best place for his cash game.
City of Dreamshttps://t.co/7qzigQzrPX
— Jake Cody (@JakeCody) February 20, 2017
“I spend quite a bit of time there, yeah,” he says. “But I play some in London too.”
“I’ve just mainly been playing some cash games at the [Macau] Wynn. I wanted to do it as a challenge really, because it’s not like the games are really easy; some of the best players from both live and online go out there to play. It’s enjoyable but difficult.
“The tournaments can be great value there though, particularly the high rollers.”
Speaking of which, there are several big events coming up in Macau over the coming months. First, there’s the Macau Poker Cup (running now until September 10th, featuring the HK$10M-guaranteed Red Dragon Main Event and the HK$80K High Roller). Then there’s the Asia Championship of Poker (Oct 13-29, featuring the HK$25M-guaranteed Main Event and the HK$250K High Roller).
For Cody, it almost sounds like tournaments over there are a way to blow off some steam away from the cash games.
“You get a lot of people playing who have maybe never even played a tournament, so you can definitely get value!” he says.
“I played the Red Dragon earlier this year, I actually got 11th in the $10K [for HK$188,500]. It was great, and because it’s so far some of the European players might get a bit lazy and decide to skip it. So it makes it better if you want to put the effort in to go and play.”
Of course, there are still a few familiar faces out there.
“I think Martin Finger goes there quite a bit, Sergio Aido goes there quite a bit, and a few of the other Spanish guys,” Cody says.
We’ve heard rumours about the Macau cash games; that they’re often run on a ‘who you know’ basis. We asked Cody how easy it is to get into the games.
“Sometimes you have to know the right people, and other times you can walk in and sit down like anywhere else,” he explains. “But you kind of have to know what times the games start running. It’s not like, super privative, but it can be quite secretive sometimes. It’s good to know people basically, and I have some friends out there who play quite a lot.”
The World Championship of Online Poker is coming up in October, and no doubt you’ll see Cody battling it out with the online tournament beasts for a WCOOP title. But don’t expect to see him grinding the PokerStars online cash games soon.
“I play online less these days,” he tells us. “The cash games are quite a specific type of poker and all those guys have got it down, especially in medium to high stakes.
“Everyone’s just so good. They’ve just studied 100 big blind poker so well, whereas live it gets a lot deeper a lot of the time, and I feel like that’s less solved. So it’s much better for me, I feel much more comfortable playing live for that reason.”
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Jack Stanton is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.