Sofia Lövgren is a 24-year-old poker professional from Gothenburg, Sweden and an Ambassador for 888poker. Although she mainly plays cash games, she has also achieved an impressive live tournament record, including six WSOP cashes and deep runs in the Irish Open, EPT San Remo ME, WPT Cyprus ME and EPT London High Roller. According to Hendon Mob, she has earned $167,976 playing live tournaments.
We have heard that you started out, before turning 18, playing freerolls online to build a 5-digit bankroll before losing it all. Please tell us about your poker journey - from novice to becoming a full-time poker professional.
I started to play after my brother showed me online poker when I was 16. It looked fun and when I understood it was possible to win money in free roll tournaments, I loved it and played nearly every day after school.
My parents forbid me to play with real money so I had to start with free rolls. I won several 30-cent prizes in free-roll tournaments. When I had $2.00, I started to play the lowest micro-level cash games and built a bankroll from that. After a year and a half, I had a little bankroll of $4,000 and played NL$50 constantly winning. Then one black day in 2008 this site closed down after a cheating scandal, and I lost everything but $50 that I had on another site. I remember clearly how frustrated I was.
I had just turned 18 and heard about PKR so I transferred my last $50 there and started all over again, this time with two buy-ins on NL$25. I played full ring, the game was very soft and I continued winning also after climbing up the stakes.
After that I played using strict bankroll management, put in a lot of hours and after another year, I had $60,000 in my bankroll. This was encouraging and I decided to try playing poker full time after finishing high school. A year later grinding mid-stake cash games, PKR noticed my winnings, contacted me and I was given the opportunity to be a Team Pro in 2010. I was with PKR for four years and 2014 I signed as an Ambassador for 888poker, the second biggest poker site in the world.
What do you think your life would have been like if you couldn't play poker for a living? Do you still have dreams of doing something else other than poker?
I would have probably studied business and economics at university. I've always been interested in this. I'm doing a six step Business and Management training beside poker now and I will get my diploma at the end of this year. Maybe i'll start my own business one day.
You mentioned in a recent interview that you did well in cash games at the 2015 World Series of Poker and that you have already booked your next flight to Vegas. Are there any particular hands you recall from these cash game sessions?
Here are two bluffs I made in a $5/$10 NLHE Live Cash Game
1.The blinds were $5/$10 with a $20 straddle. I opened $70 with KQ in mid position. A chinese in mid position called and sb called. Flop 25s7s, I continuation bet $110 and the chinese called. At this point I put him on a middle pair or a draw. Turn T was a good card for me so I decided to continue betting $275 and he called again. River came a 6 and I now bet big, $700 to represent an over pair or a set. He went into the tank. When he started to put up his chips and I saw that he was close to call, I asked him "Do you have 88?" He stared at me and seemed very disturbed, then checked his cards and folded 88 face up... sweet.
2.The blinds were $5/$10 with a $20 straddle. A guy from Turkey limped $20 in mid position, an older guy raised to $100. I called with J9ss on the button and the Turkish guy came along. Flop Tc94 Turkish guy checked, older man bet $175, I called and the Turkish guy called too. Turn came Jc and the older guy bet $250 (a rather small bet). I decided to 3bet to $875 with my 2-pair. The Israeli guy suddenly called... and the old guy folded. At this point I believed that he was calling me with a better hand, maybe a straight. River Kc and he checked. I felt that this river card was a great card for me to bluff on. I put him on a made hand on turn and was rather sure that he hated this river. At his point I didn't think he had the Q for a straight so I decided to turn my hand into a bluff on the river and represent the nuts. I bet $2,000 and he went into a deep tank. I asked him, "Do you have 78?" He finally mucked. I showed my J9ss and he went into mega tilt and told me I'm so lucky.
What advice would you give poker enthusiasts who consider going to the World Series for the first time? Perhaps some bankroll advice.
Playing your first WSOP event you must be prepared for the big variance and that you shouldn't expect a big profit in your first WSOP. Bare in mind that the first time you go to Vegas there is a lot to see and do there beside poker! Helicopter trips to Grand Canyon and Cirque du soleil shows are nice to see. The first time in Vegas you should make sure to have a great time, no matter the poker results!
You do a lot of travelling and seem to enjoy it a lot. There must be some downsides of ‘living out a suitcase', right? Also, what's your favourite destination?
Travelling is my favourite thing to do beside poker. I love to visit and explore new cities. I definitely will say Las Vegas is one of my favourite places because you can always find great CG action and there are so much fun to do beside poker, like pool parties, great night clubs and lot's of excellent restaurants. I also love hot climate and the sun.
Barcelona is another amazing place with the beach next to the casino, night clubs and restaurants at the beach. I can't wait for EPT Barcelona in 3 weeks!
Final question. What advice would you give someone who wants to become a full-time poker player like yourself?
Don't quit your regular job, until poker give you a higher income. You need to play hundreds of thousends of hands to understand your win rate.