Interview I made for PKR’s News and Events
Fresh from her best result at EPT San Remo, Sofia Lovgren talks about the psychology required to beat your friends and family at the felt
Would you say the ‘killer instinct’ is essential to successful poker?
Yes, it’s necessary to be willing to do anything to beat your opponents. In poker you are either a wise guy or a doormat.
Were you born with it, or was it developed some other way?
I was definitely born with some stubbornness in me and have always been competitive. I grew up in a sporty family with two brothers and an older sister, and I loved to try all different kinds of sports and games with them. I started to play soccer with friends when I was seven and continued in a female team for ten years. I’ve also tried golf, played in a local table tennis team, participated as a middle distance runner in an athletics team, and have been skiing since I was very young.
Doing such a wide variety of sports taught me to prepare mentally and try to win every time. Then one day my brother brought me into poker when I was 16 and I fell in love with the game after winning my first freeroll; the excitement was like nothing I’d experienced before. Over the last four years poker has taken over completely. I still sometimes play with my siblings, and we always try our best to bust each other.
How necessary is it if you want to be a poker pro?
Endurance, patience and a winning instinct are the definitive qualities required to be a full time poker pro. To be a really good poker player you must love to win and absolutely hate to lose!
How was it meeting your boyfriend across the felt at EPT San Remo?
It was special, of course. I was hoping to do that in a latter stages of the tournament rather than when we had seven tables left. We agreed that we would both play our best game, whatever happened, and may the best and luckiest win!
Did you have to put your emotions to one side?
It’s not that difficult to be honest, because you are so focused on playing your A-game. But I remember I was really excited when Luca tripled up in an amazing pot (he squeezed Q-Ts all-in v A-A and J-J, and then spiked a flush to triple up).
How do you cope when you come up against friends in a tournament?
At the poker table everybody is there to win and you must play your best poker, whatever happens. Of course, I prefer to be lucky against players I don’t know well. My boyfriend and I always celebrate together when the other wins, as long as it is against other players.
How would you have reacted if he had busted you, or tried bullying you with a big stack?
He did 3-bet me a couple times, but then I didn’t have any good hands myself. If he busted me, he would have had to sleep on the sofa for the next four weeks!
Joking aside, we’ve agreed that this will probably happen sooner or later. But if we do clash in a big pot or a big cooler, it’s still better than giving the chips to someone else.