Sofia Lovgren: How I (nearly) won the EPT London High Roller

I’m now spending three weeks in my home town Gothenburg after my last little tour of Europe. I went to Barcelona, Catania, Slovenia, Malta and London! In Barcelona I cashed in the Estrellas Poker Tour main event. It was an amazing tournament with a record breaking 1,798 entrants. Those who think poker is dying should have been in Barcelona this week – hundreds of people were queuing for hours to buy-in. Then it was off to Catania, which is my boyfriend’s (online pro Luca Moschitta) home town in Sicily. We ordered the last pieces of the interior for our new apartment in Malta. It’s hopefully ready for us to move in before the end of this year. After that l played smaller tournaments in Malta and in Nova Gorica, Slovenia without success before we went to the big London Festival to play the UKIPT and EPT in September.

EPT High Roller, my biggest challenge

After a cold run in the UKIPT and EPT main events I was looking forward to the biggest challenge so far in my tournament life, the £10,500 EPT High Roller. It’s quite different from the first freeroll tournament I played six years ago where I won 30 cents! Now I was in a tournament with only great players and many legendary poker faces. The difference compared to the WSOP and some big EPTs was that there were almost no fish or dead money whatsoever. After a good start in the tournament I finished Day One in 15th place. I had well above average chips and was full of hope. 

Early on Day Two I was moved to the televised feature table and stayed there for the rest of the day together with players like Jason Mercier, Phillip Gruissem, ElkY, David Benefield, Dan Shak, Sorel Mizzi, Luca Pagano and Victoria Coren etc. I mixed up my game more than usual which is probably most important of all when playing tough opponents for so many hours. I made one badly timed bluff blind versus blind against businessman Talel Shakerchi (who also plays lots of these high rollers) where my read was totally wrong and I lost half my stack running into his set!

I hated my play but decided to forget that one and make a comeback. I continued to raise a lot and also picked two good spots to go over the top all-in so I was soon back to a more playable stack. I made a couple of 3-bets with marginal hands in position against a tight mid-stack on the bubble and he kept folding. Then I picked up pocket Jacks and 3-bet again, this time vs Gruissem who was chip leader. He didn’t believe me and made a huge shove with pocket Sixes. I snapped it off and doubled up to 460k. I was suddenly in third place just before the dinner break…

My most expensive dinner

It was a very expensive pizza. I planned to meet my boyfriend Luca at the hotel 3km away for a ‘quick’ dinner. In the pouring rain the taxi got totally stuck in a traffic jam so I was 20 minutes late for the restart and lost 60k in blinds! After finally arriving at the feature table Vicky Coren kindly de-tilted me by saying I would probably have lost a big cooler during these 20 minutes and been out. It was very nice to talk to her, she is so smart and very kind. 

I raised the first two pots after sitting down with my wet hair and won them uncontested. After that I couldn’t lose a pot and after a couple of hours of aggressive play I had climbed to the chip lead with 720k. I was surprised that I wasn’t played back at more. Later I picked up Aces and busted a very short-stacked Gruissem with K-T. I continued to put pressure on the mid-stacks and peaked on 860k, , which was almost double the average.

Then the disaster started. First I lost two smaller pots where I had to fold and then I paid off Sorel Mizzi with J-J vs his A-Q when he flopped a Queen. That took me down to 550k, still well above average. Finally, I was crippled after a big clash with the other girl at the table, Carla Sabini, when my pocket Queens lost to her nut flush draw. Instead of being back to the chip lead l was severely crippled and busted the very next hand with A-J vs A-K in 16th place for £21,540.  Although I felt miserable at the time, knowing the first prize was £357,700, I’m still happy to cash in my first high roller and it was an important experience for me.

Grinding online in Gothenburg

With the inspiration from London I’m now back to grinding online and have been running quite hot – especially in tournaments with several final tables and three wins. In the beginning of November I will go back to London to play PKR Live, which always is a blast meeting all my friends from PKR and seeing behind the online avatars. We will party and have an amazing time together as always. There will also be a lot of poker of course and hopefully I can report some success from the PKR Live main event in my next blog.

Sofia Lovgren plays online at You can open an account by clicking this link

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Photo courtesy of Ian Payne.

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