Sofia Lovgren: Setting goals, going Italian and golfing with Daniel Negreanu

Forrest Gump once said, ‘If you don’t know where you’re going you’re probably not gonna get there.’ I think he was right. 

There is often a lot of discussion within the poker community about whether you should set goals or not, and that tough goals only create negative pressure. I agree that it’s difficult to find relevant poker goals that are based around results because a lot of this is down to short term variance. If you only set the goal to win the WSOP Main Event it’s probably not going to help you. On the other hand I believe that not setting any goals at all is sometimes only a bad excuse to keep maximum freedom and flexibility (also known as laziness!).

The total freedom of a professional poker player’s day is the biggest upside but also the biggest threat. I don’t know many poker players who honestly claim they’re very organised and efficient but most of them agree they often have periods of laziness. I suspect a lack of goals is one of the reasons for this.  

It’s always possible to find quantitative goals like hands played, average hours per day of grinding etc. I also think it’s important to define improvement areas in your poker game to focus on. By having these kind of targets you could always follow up when you are on the right track and feel good about your month even without big winnings, knowing that long term the effort will be rewarded. More importantly, you could also be more realistic about a winning period where you were lazy but just lucky. If you have a quite stable winning rate and grind big volumes you could actually decide how much you want to win and break it down into grinding hours per day. My first years where I only grinded cash games I used this system a lot.

The longer term goals should of course be really tough but I find it good to combine them with some challenging but achievable short term goals. Celebrate when you meet them but make sure it’s with somebody who isn’t jealous. It makes you feel very good and will give you loads of positive winning energy and an extra boost to continue the success. That’s why you should look for excuses to celebrate. And you deserve it!

Right now my life is a mixture of live and online poker, in both cash and tournaments, along with PR responsibilities as a sponsored pro for PKR. Not to forget that I also need time for poker training, time together with family and friends and also time for sporting activities. I find it important to structure my days and decide how much I want to do of each, as well as finding some specific areas where I want to be much better within a year.

I put up some goals for 2013 and reached most of them except a big major live tournament bink. I  also have goals for this year and here are some of them: 

Study Italian
I must start to study Italian! My boyfriend is from Italy and he has a family and many friends who don’t speak English. I wish I could learn Italian in two seconds as I’d rather spend time playing poker or chilling but I must set aside time for studying this wonderful but rather tricky language.

Healthy living
I have promised to visit the gym much more frequently this year and maybe also dust off the golf clubs. The best way to get into the golf mode again would probably be to set up a golf challenge to beat Daniel Negreanu in Vegas in July! 

I will try to play 500,000 cash games hand online in 2014. This means around 10,000 hands a week or an average of 2,000 hands per day if you take two days every week off. I will multi-table nine tables of 6-max up to $5/$10 and also play a lot more online tournaments in 2014. 

I will keep travelling the world and play around 20 big live tournaments like the EPTs too.

At least one month in Vegas for the WSOP is a must. Of course, it’s impossible to guarantee success in live tournaments due to the huge variance and only playing a relatively small number of events. Despite that, I really want to reach a major final table with a chance to play for a title this year! 

To give myself an even better chance to win more I will focus especially on improving parts of my postflop game. I will study poker coaching videos and also continue reviewing my game regularly through using Hold’em Manager 2. 

Social media
Social media is more and more important because of the great chance to communicate directly with my followers. My network has just started to grow and I’m planning for another double up of Twitter followers and Facebook Fan page friends! I currently have 2,017 Twitter followers and nearly 1,800 ‘Likes’ on my Facebook page. You can join me on Twitter at and Facebook at – please do!  

I have also just updated and reopened my poker blog  I will write a blog post there after every live tournament, as well as some strategy articles, hand replays and the most interesting interviews with magazines. 

Now that we have settled down in our new home in Malta I’m ready to sweat a lot more in 2014. In the gym, in the sun, grinding online poker and hopefully at a final table in a major live event. I write this a couple weeks into this new year of great possibilities and I’m happy to say I have already started with all my goals – except the golf clubs are still dusty…

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

For more great poker content, get the latest issue of PokerPlayer magazine on iTunes here. 

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