Sofia Lövgren: How to prepare for a large-field tournament

888poker pro Sofia Lövgren is here to answer all of your poker problems. Email us at or tweet @PokerPlayer365 now!

Multiple barrels

I want to know what a day in the life of Sofia Lövgren looks like! And also, what is the best advice you can give to a player who is preparing for a large-field live tournament? What do you do to prepare yourself mentally and physically?
Matt Levin

I wake up around 10am in the morning. First of all I go and buy freshly baked baguettes and eat a late breakfast with my boyfriend Luca [Moschitta, a poker pro]. Then I open my laptop and check my emails and surf the web. We recently moved to Malta and it’s really hot so we usually go to the pool in the day, and eat lunch. In the afternoon we always go to the gym together, or play ping pong – the winner gets to decide what to eat for dinner!

Around 6pm we start work, which means playing online poker the whole evening. On Sundays we are totally dedicated to the big online grind and then we usually get to sleep around 2am.

For your second question, the night before a big tournament it’s very important to sleep enough. Then you have to eat and drink well so you are feeling good too. Skip the crap food and eat a lot of fruits that will give you energy instead.

A new grind

I noticed that you’ve been playing a lot more live tournaments recently. Is this just because you are sponsored by 888poker or do you think you can make more money playing live than online?
Laura Hollingsworth

Online cash games have always been my bread and butter and I still believe it’s safer to make a living playing cash games, because of the high variance in tournaments. Not even the best players in the world cash more than 20% long-term, and losing 20 tournaments in a row is not impossible.

I’m still grinding a lot of cash games online and live tournaments have only been a bonus to me so far. I really enjoy the life as an ambassador for 888poker on the poker tour though, and get to meet so many new people and experience new parts of the world while playing. Most importantly, the money on top in some of these tournaments is life changing – it’s really exciting to always be so close to a really big win!

Close but no cigar

I always follow your progress in big live tournaments and notice you seem to go deep a lot but just miss out on the final table. Why do you think this is and will you have to change your strategy? Or is it just bad luck?
Harry Jones

I’ve cashed in around 20% of the tournaments I have played but I haven’t made enough final tables. I don’t like to speak about bad beats but being on the wrong side of big coolers with two or three tables left in several big tournaments has not helped me!

I’m working on adjusting my game a little, to go for final tables rather than just cashing. I always say that ‘luck is the place where preparation meets opportunity’ so I will keep preparing and developing my game all the time. As a poker pro I know it’s important to understand variance and not rely on short-term luck and big tournament binks.

Bully beatdown

I’ve been good at running up a big stack in tournaments online, but I’m never sure if I should play more hands and bully the table or chill out and just cruise into the money. What’s the best way to play a big stack?
Thom Arnold

Being the big stack is what we all want in a tournament but it’s actually more difficult to play. Many players start to gamble far too much, like calling other players’ shoves too light. Quite soon they will find that they’re back to average again.

On the other hand it’s also a mistake to stop playing your big stack as soon as you get re-raised a couple of times. You should try to accumulate chips using the edge that the big stack gives you. The good thing is that you can apply pressure by three-betting, and sometimes four-betting, the smaller stacks without risking the majority of your chips. It takes a really good hand to play back at you since they are risking their tournament life. A good way to play is to open a lot of pots in later positions but when you face big resistance, don’t let your ego stop you from folding. Playing more hands also helps you to build an aggressive image so that you get paid when you have a real hand.

Pick good spots to be aggressive, make sure you keep the initiative and you will continue running up your big stack into a very good position in the tournament.

Crystal ball

Poker has changed so much in the last ten years, but what do you think it will look like in another ten year’s time!? Are you excited or scared about the game’s future?
Mark Madden

I’m more excited than scared, even though it’s true that online poker has been on a downswing after Black Friday and that it’s tougher than ever to win today. As for live poker I’m very positive.

Poker has existed for several hundred years and will not go away. Lately we have seen several big tournaments breaking records, like in Barcelona with the European Poker Tour and Estrellas Poker Tour.

Also, I think that China could be a mega market and boost poker for the next ten years. This could create the biggest poker boom ever.

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