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Q&A: Matt Perrins and Jake Cody

Just ten years ago, the average age of a WSOP bracelet winner was 42. Poker was just starting to slowly inch its way into the mainstream, but it was by no means a young man’s game – most players would have to grind casinos for years before they could even hope for a major win. Nowadays, thanks to the online poker revolution, good players are getting younger and younger as they figure out new ways to beat the game.

Likeable best mates Jake Cody and Matt Perrins are perfect figureheads for this generation. Hailing from Rochdale, the duo learned the game for fun and quickly turned tiny online deposits into respectable bankrolls. And that was only in their late teens. Fast-forward a few years and they have combined live tournament winnings of over $3.5million, and a WSOP bracelet each.

There’s no denying that together they’ve taken the poker world by storm, but they also excel individually – Cody became the youngest ever player to achieve the prestigious Triple Crown at 22 and this year scooped British Poker Awards for Best Tournament Player and Player of the Year, while Perrins is a mixed game specialist who was named Best Breakout Player.

Despite having success after success with no signs of slowing down, they are remarkably down-to-earth. The pair were still schoolboys trying to outdo each other when they began to play, and they have no delusions of grandeur. We catch up with the lovable lads over a pint to talk about their recent WSOP wins.

How did it feel to win your first bracelet?

JC: Amazing, just amazing. I always get asked this question and always and never know what to say. It was just great. Pros have been going for five or ten years without a bracelet, so to do it first time was amazing.

Did you go out there expecting to win?

JC: I didn’t go out there expecting to win, but would have been upset if I’d walked away without a few close calls.

MP: My confidence was quite high on the way out to Vegas, as I’d had quite a few near misses over the past year. I fancied that this was my chance to win a big event.

How do you overcome having so many close calls?

MP: It’s hard to describe at times just how frustrating poker can be. We’ve played so much together over the years, a lot of EPTs and WPTs, and Jake was winning all of them while I was finishing 10th or 11th. I just wanted win a bracelet and put an end to it! I just knew there was a big score coming.

JC: You’ve got to be mentally strong. I’ve think we’ve both always been that way.

MP: There’s always been periods throughout our careers where one person is doing really well and the other’s been a bit down, and you need to spur each other on.

Did you feel the pressure was on you, Matt? Especially after Jake won the Heads-Up?

MP: Yeah, I remember thinking this is getting a bit ridiculous now after Jake won. I’ve gotta try and join him.

What was it like supporting each other?

JC: It was awesome. I remember feeling pressure after Matt won the UB major and Venice IPT a few years back, and he was just winning everything. You don’t want your mate to step ahead of you, you want to achieve things equally.

A World series final table is a big occasion, how did you feel going in?

JC: I loved it. I don’t get any nerves now when I play poker, whether it be against Gus Hansen or down the pub. You need to remove the emotion. You need to adapt to each player, but never be intimidated.

MP: After doubling up in Day 2, I felt like I had an edge on the table. There were a lot of people who’ve been playing 2-7 a long time, but with no-limit strategy you can create an edge.

Were you intimidated?

MP: I was to be honest, when I started out. When I played my first GUKPT side event in Blackpool, I had Marc Goodwin to my right, and I remember panicking about it. I was really excited.

How have you approached fame?

JC: It’s all good fun. It’s nice to have people recognise you. It intimidates players a lot to get approached by TV, but you get used to it. I’ve not seen any downsides as of yet.

Did you take to doing winner interviews straight away?

JC: Practice matters a lot. I’ve seen a lot of my old interviews and I’m like a bumbling mess. I speak quite fast anyway.

MP: I’ve done quite a lot of interviews before. In Italy I did three or four where I couldn’t understand what they were saying. I was just getting more and more nervous and constantly asking them “what”.

Do you have any tips for WSOP first timers?

MP: Be careful, outside of poker. A lot of people think “I’m playing 1k and 1.5k events and I’m doing 30k, so I need to gamble on this or that”. But you can’t get money back. Have a goal, an amount of money to spend and stick to it.

Read our ‘How to Be a British Superstar’ feature in this month’s mag for more tournament tips from Perrins and Cody. 

 

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