Jake Cody Interview

Jake Cody Interview

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

We meet poker's youngest triple crown winner.

As the youngest ever player to win a Triple Crown, Jake Cody has always showed he's got some serious skills – but now he's facing some new challenges off the felt as well as on it. We catch up with him to talk fatherhood, the upcoming WCOOP, and leaving his inner 'young internet kid' behind.

Hi Jake. You just had a pretty deep run in the Florida State Poker Championships – how was that?

Yeah, I ended up placing second in the $1k side event. Vegas was okay – I ended up probably about break even after expenses, but didn't really do much to be honest. I had a few deep runs, but nothing to get too excited about. I had high hopes for having a standout result at the WSOP, but nothing appeared. So having that result in Florida right at the end of the season made up for it a bit!

Vegas can be a very draining place. Did you feel like there was pressure on you to have a good score?

I wouldn't say I felt pressure, but it was a bit annoying registering every single day and having to play some awkward structures. Especially for the lower buy-ins, the stacks are so shallow that you can just get all-in straight away – it's not difficult to bust really quickly.
But having said that, my spirits were quite high because Ariana, my daughter, was there. She's so small that I didn't want to leave her for seven weeks, so we brought her to Vegas! So that was... interesting [chuckles]. In the past I've seen people bring their children to Vegas and thought, 'What an idiot!', and there I was with a newborn baby. To be honest though, I think it actually helped in keeping me out of trouble a lot, because I didn't have the opportunity to get into too much mischief.

Jake Cody 2

How has being a dad affected your poker career?

She's four and a half months old now, and it's actually been really good. Alex, my girlfriend, has been really good with helping out. She understands that with me playing poker, sometimes I have to have rest if I have a big tournament or a Day 2 the next day, so she'll take the baby for that night then we'll take turns. That's great, because it's really difficult trying to play good poker when you've been up the whole night. I don't think it's changed things too much poker-wise, in that I've still been trying to play most of the things I'd normally play. I guess I'm just thinking more seriously about what I want to do with the money – it's not just which new sports car do I want to buy next, it's more like saving up to buy a nice house.

I guess you can't really fit a baby seat in most sports cars...

Yeah, it's really annoying. Somebody needs to fix that.

WCOOP is coming up in September – are you excited?

Yeah, I've actually been playing on 'Stars for the past week, and it's been so good. Although I think I'm better at live poker overall, I've really, really missed playing online. I haven't had that much opportunity this year to play, so I'm actually really looking forward to WCOOP.

What have you been doing to prepare?

To be honest, I'm always watching training videos and going over online hand histories even when I'm just playing live. I'm probably a little bit rusty, but I'm going to try and get in some practice in the weeks coming up to WCOOP.

What will be on your schedule?

I think I'm probably just going to try and play as many of the Hold'em events as I can. Maybe play for four days a week and then take a few days off, because it's quite intense. Just get involved with as many events as I can in that time and see what happens.

A lot of people say there's a lot more value in playing the non-Hold'em events – what do you think?

I know, it's just one of those things! I just keep putting it off. It's because when I do something I want to be really good at it. I want to be competitive. But I find it really annoying to play something I'm not good at. I started playing golf last year with some of my friends and they were so much better than me, it really pissed me off! [laughs]. I would really like to play some more mixed games so I could just be all-round a bit better. I think I could probably hold my own in Omaha, but I'd have some way to go in the other non-Hold'em events.

Sorry to hear about your retirement from golf, does this mean there's no crazy golf prop bets?

Well if it's actual crazy golf, then hell yeah! I love crazy golf, so I'd totally be up for that. Prop bets in actual golf, though... no. I actually lost a lot of money doing that. I don't think I can say how much.

Are you a naturally competitive person?

Yeah. Definitely yes. I always have to find a way to win. For my birthday this year in Vegas we had this big sports day, it was amazingly good. It was basically a Vegas-style Olympics with all American games like Shuffleboard, bowling, go-karting, beer pong, pool, and more. There was about 12 of us, and for some of the events you had to be in teams. There were a lot of antics. It was awesome.

Who was the winner?

Craig McCorkell somehow managed it. Sadly my team got a bit too drunk. What a joke. We're going to do the same thing in London, though, with more British games like darts, maybe some out-there stuff like archery.

Jake Cody 3

May we suggest croquet. Back to WCOOP – do you normally have any pre-tournament rituals when you play online?

[laughs]. Sorry, I got a bit sidetracked. Not really. As long as I've got enough sleep then I'm good. I also like to go to the gym and have some breakfast, maybe some coffee and water during to keep me alert. I don't even like watching TV while I play if it's a serious tournament. No distractions – just me and my computer. It's not difficult to keep focused, because even though I've been playing poker for a while now, I still get really excited. I still love poker.

Last time we spoke you said you don't use a HUD. Is that still the case?

You know... [sighs] I feel bad. I've kind of taken to the dark side. I decided to get one. I felt like... I don't know. I'm really comfortable playing live poker, and I don't question myself. But when it comes to online, I'm always second-guessing myself. It's not that I'm not confident, but I end up feeling like I could be better. So I've been working on that side of my game a lot.

You used to be really against them! What changed?

I know, ugh! I'm really against them still – I hate them! I just kind of felt like if everyone else uses them, you feel at a disadvantage for not using one. It's free information. Even though most of it's still information you'd probably pick up on anyway – you just can't pick up on all the information it shows you. That's why I don't like it... you don't have to work as hard to get the information. It just writes it down for you. Oh well. I don't even need it that much, but I have it anyway just to feel like I'm keeping up.

Sounds like a bit of an internal struggle.

It is, it really is! Because I've been so against them for so long. But then I was just like... [heavy sigh] I really should just get one. I don't know. I wish HUDs could be banned, then I'd be happy!

Are there any online players you really respect at the moment, and wouldn't want to see on your tables during WCOOP?

I've actually been watching a lot of Sam Greenwood's videos on Run It Once. To me he seems really sharp and in tune with people's mistakes, and how to exploit them. I was really impressed with his style. So I guess him. To be honest though, during WCOOP you get a lot of people who don't normally play online, but are amazing live players – like Igor Kurganov and Fabian Quoss.

Would you ever make your own training videos?

I don't know. I feel like I wouldn't. I love watching training videos, but you get to know exactly what people approach poker and what they think about hands. You gain so much, especially when in high stakes videos where you know for sure we're probably going to play against each other. It just gives you so much information. I feel like I'd have to get paid a ridiculous amount for it to be worth it for me. Even though a lot of people know I've been successful, I don't really talk strategy – only to my really close friends. So I don't feel like a lot of people actually know how I think. I'd like to keep it that way.

You've won a SCOOP, but never a WCOOP – what would it mean to you to win one?

It would be very cool. Actually, I'd like to get the COOP Triple Crown, so it'd be great to win a TCOOP event as well. I've got a live Triple Crown, so having an online one too would be pretty sick!

After a month of online it'll be UKIPT season again, with both London and Isle of Man in October. Are you looking forward to that?

Oh yeah. I love UKIPTs so much. I know I'm supposed to say that, but I always genuinely have such a good time playing them. The atmosphere is just so much more relaxed than most of the tournaments I'm used to playing, I really enjoy it. You can tell that everyone's just really excited to be here. EPTs are more exciting to play in the sense that there's more money at stake, but UKIPTs definitely win in terms of the atmosphere – it's not even close.

Speaking of London, aren't you moving here soon? What does the Northern boy in you think of that?

I know, it's weird! We've been looking at places here, but have been travelling so much we haven't found anywhere yet. It's very expensive and confusing. I probably wouldn't choose to live here, but my girlfriend can work in London, whereas she can't work in Leeds. It's a lot easier to live in London when you're flying around Europe a lot, as well. We'll see.

Jake Cody 5

You had a pretty cool 'grind room' in your Leeds flat which you shared with Matt Perrins. Are you going to build one like that in your new digs?

Yeah, definitely! We had those desks custom-made, so wherever we go will have to have room for them – I'm not selling them! They're really sick. Matt lives with JP Kelly now, and they're right next to Jamie Sykes, and another mate of mine lives one street away. So we were thinking of moving there so we can have a new grind community there! [laughs] Make it the new Leeds. It'd be cool to just pop round and play poker whenever, but still have our own privacy with the baby.

Building a new poker neighbourhood, we like it. Will you be teaching the baby to play?

You know what, at first I thought, 'No way, I don't want her playing poker!' but now I think I probably would. If she's interested in it, I'd want her to know what it's all about. But she is still a baby... so we've probably got a while to go yet [laughs]. Maybe we'll set up a family home game.

Start reading her hand histories as a lullaby. In other news, it's been almost five years since your first big breakout cash at EPT Deauville – do you think you're finally starting to shake off the 'young internet kid' label?

I know, I was just saying this the other day! I can't believe it was five years ago. It's actually insane. I think I'm in a transition period right now – I'm still classed as young, but I'm starting to become more old school. Nowadays I play a lot of tournaments and I realise that a lot of others are clearly younger than me, whereas in the past I was nearly always the youngest at the table by far. I was the kid at the table. Now I'm that little bit older... it's a bit weird, actually.

Do you think you'll still be living the same lifestyle in another five years?

Yeah, I think so. I probably don't still want to be doing this in another 15-20 years. But I think I'll always want to play poker to some extent, and have a run at big tournaments here and there. I imagine when Ariana grows up and goes to school it'll be hectic, so I imagine the amount I play poker will gradually get less and less. But I think I'll find it really hard to just stop playing.

Last year you said your biggest ambition was to be the first two-time EPT winner, but Victoria Coren-Mitchell beat you to the punch. Do you have a new goal now?

Not really. I think winning two EPTs is still a goal for me, because I wanted it for so long. I think winning an EPT is one of the most prestigious titles in the world. It's always a really tough tournament, and there are only eight in a year. So it's really hard. Besides the WSOP Main Event, I think it's far and away the most prestigious thing to win. That's really still what I want.

Tags: Jake Cody, interviews