After PokerStars Team Pro, Jake Cody releases a high-quality Vlog pilot following his life in Florida; Lee Davy takes a look at whether the young man from the UK can become as big a star on YouTube as Jason Somerville became on Twitch.
It wasn’t that long ago that online poker rooms were dropping their stars as they looked to cut their cloth. It was evident by the trend that the traditionally sponsored pro was not providing the value to justify the cost of keeping them on the payroll.
And who can blame them?
It’s not as if most of them were earning their corn?
The patch slappers gave the sponsored pro a bad name, and with celebrity sports stars drafted into replace them, it looked for a while that they were heading the way of the DVD.
And then something changed.
One day, while Jason Somerville was playing online poker, he decided to press the record button on his computer, talk through his hands, and the next thing you know, he was more popular than Oprah.
It was a game changer.
As Somerville invested more time in his personal brand his community grew to a size that was significant enough for PokerStars to buck the trend and add him to the stable as the rest of the horses were being euthanised.
And then the floodgates opened.
Professional poker players followed his lead and soon it became vogue for the players with the largest communities and rip-roaring personal brands to be snapped up by online poker rooms.
A new type of sponsored pro was born.
But it wasn’t for everyone.
What About The Shy Retiring Types?
Jake Cody is the youngest player to win the Triple Crown and the player to do it the fastest when he took 16-months to bag a European Poker Tour (EPT) Main Event, World Poker Tour (WPT) Main Event and World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet.
At the peak of his powers – when he was running like Steve Cram – he was recognised as one of the most talented poker players in the world, and it wasn’t a surprise when he joined PokerStars via a short stint as a representative for PKR.
Now I wouldn’t call Jake Cody the shy and retiring type, but he likes to pick his verbal exchanges carefully. He is a private man and prefers to concentrate on his game rather than answering a myriad of questions about his life off the felt.
And for that reason, Cody is not the man you would expect to find on Twitch, and that could be a problem in this day and age. I have no idea how long his PokerStars contract lasts, but it is evident that he needs to add the right kind of value if they are going to renew it, and competition is fierce.
Cody needs a plan, not just to ensure his contract with PokerStars lives, but to give him the edge when it comes to finding another sponsor if he ever feels the bloody axe on the back of his neck. He needs to keep his personal brand alive and well, especially if live results aren’t going the way he would like.
So what options are available to him?
VLOG Versus Twitch
Cody has decided to create a new VLOG. The first episode is aptly titled “VLOG Pilot”, and it’s a 16-minute insight into his life as he plays a session of $5/$10 No-Limit Hold’em at the Isle Casino in Florida.
The initial episode has picked up 4,433 views, and 135 thumbs up with two pointing their fattest digit south. He ticks all of the boxes for a great VLOG. It is produced to perfection. The sound quality is excellent, and his hand analysis and on-screen graphics of the two hands he talks about is unlike anything I have seen before.
As a poker fan with the attention span of a seven-week-old newborn, I love it. It provides me with everything I need with the only caveat being I cannot communicate directly with him as I would be able to do if he was live on Twitch.
I will take that, on one proviso.
Jason Somerville, Kevin Martin and Jamie Staples are exceptional Twitch Streamers because they work hard, they put the time in, and show up on time every time. Twitch works because it’s like watching a TV show. You know The Walking Dead is going to be on Sunday night and if you turned the TV on one week and they had moved the day you would be pissed.
It’s the same with Twitch.
And it’s the same with Vlogging.
Cody is already 2-0 up with seconds remaining with this first pilot episode, but if he doesn’t keep it running for the next 6-12 months, then it will be another one of his pet projects that die before it’s even taken off. I have been an avid follower of Cody’s blog in the past only to leave as the dust began to settle.
Jake Cody can be the Vlogging star of poker.
He can carve out a niche that so far nobody has managed to scratch with as much feel good as Cody has in just one episode, and he has the reach with the world’s largest online poker room folding their arms behind him.
I am impressed with the young man.
Now impress me even more by turning up and putting the work in on a regular basis.
You have a viewer in me.
I just hope my soul read on you is completely off base.