Sofia Lövgren: how to avoid being intimidated at the poker table

A new face enters the tank this month as our new agony aunt, 888 Poker pro Sofia Lövgren, answers all your poker dilemmas! 

Living in fear

I’m in my 40s and have shown a small profit over the years in online MTTs. My problem is that when I play live I tend to get intimidated, often by one young gun or big mouth at the table, which results in me making horrible plays not only against him but everyone. It leaves me feeling sick and seems to happen in 50% of all live tourneys I play. Any suggestions?
Alan Walsh

If you win online I’m sure you will also be able to win live since you will usually find more fish live. Just don’t let your ego affect your game. Don’t be forced into making mistakes just because you are frustrated or don’t want to look weak. 

Big bluffs in MTT’s are also very overrated. You should win most of the big pots with big hands and patience will very often pay off. After a couple of hours you will sit there with the big stack after the young gun was caught bluffing with air.

If you’re feeling intimidated you could also hide behind shades – you won’t give away any tells and you’ll also look cool! If you look confident people will treat you accordingly and after a while you will feel confident. Even more important is to make sure to not talk while you’re in a hand. More experienced live players have an edge as soon as you start talking. Just be quiet and convince yourself that you are a better player than the big mouth; there will be a right moment to take all his chips if you can wait for it. 

Taking a leap 

When did you know it was time to switch from amateur to pro status in poker?

I had a successful time at the tables online during high school. I played in the evenings and realised poker was giving me a very high profit per hour, so it would be stupid not to try it full time. 

So, the summer after finishing high school I decided to take a break before going to uni…four years later I’m still playing poker! Anyone considering quitting their job to play poker should wait until they’re winning more per hour than they’re earning from the regular job – don’t jump into it like me!

Pressure point 

There are a lot of poker players and fans out there that think women only get sponsorship deals because they look pretty, rather than being able to play the game well. Do you feel any extra pressure to perform well on the tournament circuit to prove you’re not just a pretty face?
Rob Hinds 

I know that some people expect me to play weak just because I’m a girl but I use this to my advantage, by trapping or sometimes pulling off an unexpected bluff. I have played millions of hands online, often more than many of the older live regs, so every time I sit down to play poker I am confident in my own game. I never feel any special pressure and believe that if I continue playing my best game I’m sure I will also get respect from delivering good live results.

Dream table 

If you could pick any five players to play in a six-max poker game who would you pick? Not to win the most money but to have the most entertaining night!

I would put together a table with players that would guarantee a very funny and entertaining night. I would also make sure to make some profit at the same time!

  1. My little brother Fredrik: surprisingly good NLHE player (when he’s not tilting) and funny 
  2. Daniel Negreanu: always incredibly entertaining 
  3. Gus Hansen: relaxed, super friendly and super loose too
  4. Guy Laliberté: a fantastic personality and not afraid to play big pots with marginal hands
  5. Luca Moschitta: because of husfriden [domestic peace]!

Feminine ways 

Do you have any experiences where you have used being an attractive female to your advantage at the poker table to exploit opponents?

Most of the players are really nice to me at the table and some of them, like Jason Mercier, are true gentlemen. Very often guys show me their hands when I fold. I never do that myself but love to get that information from others. Chatting with the boys too is not only very fun and interesting, it also gives you a lot of valuable information that you can use reading them while in a hand.

Once in a live cash game a guy kept asking for my phone number. Then in a big pot on the river he told me his hand and that I should fold. I was going to call but he really convinced me. I folded and he showed the nuts… saying ‘just for you…’ He still didn’t get my number though…


What’s the worst misclick you’ve ever done online and what happened?
Mike Welland

I once played a hand really well, but donked away my whole stack of 150BBs with 7-4o. I thought I had K-K, slow played and made a very classy snap call, all-in on the river! I was multi-tabling nine tables, talking on Skype, painting my nails and confused my hands. Whoops!

Who is Sofia Lövgren?

The super Swede is one of the poker world’s fastest rising stars – here is why YOU should seek her advice:

  • Total live tournament winnings: $129,436
  • Crushes online cash games up to $5/$10 
  • Looks better in a dress than 99.9% of poker players

Get involved! 

If you have a question about poker strategy, a hand you played or even just want to know what Sofia’s favourite Disney film is you can send your questions to or tweets us @PokerPlayer UK using the #AskSofia. 

All questions that get published will WIN a FREE pack of PokerPlayer branded playing cards!

For more winning strategy, subscribe to PokerPlayer magazine for a year for just £12.99!

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