Sofia Lövgren: Learn from your mistakes

New 888 Poker pro Sofia Lövgren is back once again to answer all your poker dilemmas

Learning from mistakes

I was wondering if you could remember a key hand where you made a big mistake? I sometimes think that you can learn even more from your mistakes than from hands you played well – do you agree?
Kevin Wheeler

I 100% agree. It hurts so bad when you make a costly mistake but it’s probably the quickest way to improve. I once overplayed A-K in a tournament in Slovenia. I was sitting with almost 100BBs and an old gentleman with a grey beard was opening every pot, so I three-bet him a couple of times. The grey beard opened again to 2.6k. I picked up A-K and three-bet him one more time. A young aggressive Italian made a four-bet to 15.2k. I felt that he had seen my three-bets and a four-bet bluff could be in his range, as well as a big pair or A-K.

I five-bet to 32.5k, and immediately felt that calling in position would have been better. He tanked forever which I liked. Nice… he was bluffing. Then he put his 90k stack in the middle which I didn’t like… oops, he wasn’t bluffing!

I couldn’t fold with a third of my stack in the middle and the possibility of doubling up for the lead. I called and was dominated by his Kings…sh♠t! I lost and got knocked out soon after. Next time I’ll give it an extra thought before I pull the trigger with Big Slick.

Nut allergy

It’s great to have the nuts in poker but when I have a massive hand I’m sometimes not sure whether it’s best to play it fast it or to slow play. I had two cash game hands this week where I had a set and played them both fast.

In the first I check-raised with 7-7 on a A-A-7 rainbow flop and my opponent folded. But then I check-raised with 8-8 on a 2-4-8 flop with two spades on it and managed to stack my opponent. Now I’m confused how to play these hands best in the future – help!
Andy Miles

My general advice is: Say no to slow! There are nits that will always fold without a hand so you do sometimes have to slow play on dry boards and let them catch up. There are also maniacs who will hang themselves if you let them bet, but I like the idea of getting paid with a monster and playing for stacks if they have a hand. You want to win big pots with big hands. Even if they fold it will be compensated when they have a hand and you stack them.

Tweeting tilt

I love Twitter but I’ve found I get distracted easily at the poker table by looking at it all the time. It’s really affecting my game because I no longer watch the other players and get live reads. Is it just me who plays on their phone far too much? And do you have any advice how I can cut it out?
Harry Ball

In live poker it’s very important to pay attention, pick up tells from opponents and study how they play. Many younger players use their phones too much and I’ve done this quite a lot myself. This has definitely affected my game, so half a year ago I decided to look less on the phone and focus more on my game and the other players. I started to chat more with the players around the table and found it created a more enjoyable and relaxed atmosphere.

So, my advice would be to put aside your smartphone and talk with the other players. It will make your live experience more interesting and you may pick up valuable information about the other players’ experience and skill.

Vegas virgin

I’m going to Vegas this summer during the WSOP. It’s my first time out there and I’m going to play in a couple of smaller events before trying to qualify for the Main Event. You must have been to Vegas a few times now – is there anything that I must go and see or do while I’m out there? Wouldn’t want to miss out on an amazing restaurant or club!
Sammy Haynes

The first time you go to Vegas there’s so much fun stuff to do besides poker – you can always play poker the next time! Here are two of my personal favourites:

  • A 45 minute helicopter flight to the Grand Canyon. You land deep in the Canyon for a champagne picnic, and then on the way back you can see an amazing view of the famous, neon-lit strip.
  • Go to the Top of the World in the Stratosphere, an unforgettable experience at one of the most romantic restaurants in the town. It has an amazing view of Las Vegas with a 360 degree rotating floor. The food is delicious too!

Track me down

How important do you think tracking software is when playing online? I’ve never really used it and fear I’m missing out while others have a big advantage over me. I guess the problem is that I’m too lazy!
Edward Stone

Hi lazy Edward, you should start using tracking software today! Nearly all online regulars use programs like PokerTracker or Hold’em Manager. Since the games have become tougher it’s important not to give players this advantage. If you can see one player is folding far too often to three-bets – then voila! – you have an edge on him.

Girl power

It’s great to see you in PokerPlayer – I love to see women do well in the game. Are there any female players you really look up to in poker? My favourite has always been Vanessa Selbst, I think she’s awesome!
Mandy Vale

Thanks Mandy! Vanessa Selbst is one of the best players in the world and she is someone to look up to. I played against her in the PCA Bahamas Ladies event and she busted my A-A with a flopped set. She often gets paid in these situations because of her sick image! It’s not easy to fold Aces against Vanessa…

Who is Sofia Lövgren?

The new 888 Poker pro 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 flower is you can send your question to or tweet us @PokerPlayer UK using the #AskSofia. All questions that get published will WIN a FREE pack of PokerPlayer branded playing cards!

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