In early 1994, it was fair to say Everton had completed their fall from grace. The halcyon days of the mid 80’s seemed a long time ago, and the Toffeemen were staring at the relegation trap door.
At this point their manager at the time, Joe Royle, pulled a master stroke. He sacrificed midfield creativity and substituted it with steel, utilising the industrious John Ebbrell, the tenacious Joe Parkinson and the brutal Barry Horne. The “Dogs of War” were thus born, and suddenly Everton became very difficult to beat, if rather unpleasing on the eye. They avoided relegation on the final day, and even won the FA Cup the following year, beating Manchester United in the final.
To move slightly off on a tangent, not content with possessing the aforementioned midfield grinders and a rugged defence, they supplemented this by fielding Duncan Ferguson up front, easily the hardest man ever to have played football. Big Dunc is one of my favourite players from down the years, and I used to enjoy watching him terrorise opposing centre backs. His off-field exploits were also legendary, the top episode being when two scousers made the error of selecting the Scot’s residence as the target for a burglary. Unfortunately for them, Mr Ferguson woke up mid-incursion and intercepted the intruders. The giant striker managed to “detain” one of the burglars while the police arrived, and the foiled criminal subsequently had to spend three days in hospital to recover from his pummelling.
So how is all this poker related? Well, as you readers may have noticed, I have been having an absolutely wretched time of it over the last couple of months, but I’ve made a conscious effort to adjust my game while this bad spell continues. I think I’ve played very solidly over the last 4/5 cash sessions and have made myself difficult to beat.
Although the results have yet to come, I’ve found that when things haven’t gone my way I haven’t been losing much, which is a start. Clearly, there is a downside to this style as you won’t get paid for your big hands, and can become slightly predictable, but I think on my current run that is a sacrifice worth paying.
Last night’s cash game was a typical example. I ground away all night, ending up £60 down for the 7 hour session, despite not much going my way.
I ditched my short stacking to sit with £100 in the £1/£1 game which is sufficient, without being deep stacked. I got an early boost when Fluke overplayed his Omaha bottom set against my middle set on a dry board, but soon lost a stack against the Baron, when I was dealt JJ against KK when we were four handed.
I got my stack up to about £175 over the next few hours, before zapping the Hairdresser, who didn’t have enough to get me off my set of Omaha Aces on a flushing board, and I housed up on the river. That was a chunky pot to get me up to about £250, but I lost about £100 over the final hour of Omaha, as I kept flopping 2 pair when we were three handed and running into bigger hands or decent draws which got there.
I was also dealt some supreme Omaha starting hands early on – AAKQ double suited, and AAKT single suited. I built reasonable pots with both pre-flop, only to see the flops arrive 6, 7, 8 with none of my suit, and I had to give up after heavy action. Very frustrating, but I didn’t allow it to tilt me and probably lost the minimum on the hands, whereas before I’d overplay them.
Anyhow, in a way I’m satisfied, because in the old days I’d have lost £300 last night instead of the small loss I posted, and like I said I am becoming pretty difficult to beat.
Tomorrow night, I am playing a £100 deep stack tournament, which I believe has ten runners pencilled in. I imagine the cash game afterwards will be quite large.
I’ll be packing the midfield with the dogs of war once again.
P&L GBP 2009
Live Tournaments (910)
Live Cash 623
Online Tournaments (2574)
Online Cash 966
Poker Festivals (3,113)