2015 World Series of Poker: Sofia Lovgren – top ten tips for winning the Colossus

888poker pro Sofia Lovgren wants to help you take down what’s set to be the world’s biggest ever poker tournament at the 2015 World Series of Poker – think big and win big in Las Vegas this summer!

The 2015 World Series of Poker is set to be the best ever for recreational players. As well as paying 1,000 players in the Main Event, there are plenty of low buy-in, big-field tournaments with huge prize pools and a gold bracelet at the end of the rainbow. The Colossus is the biggest of them all.

It’s also the cheapest route to a bona fide WSOP bracelet. For just $565 you can play for the lion’s share of the $5m guaranteed prize pool and the ultimate poker bauble. It won’t be easy though. The WSOP is expecting 10,000+ entries, with thousands of players descending on the Rio for what could be the largest live tournament of all time.

If you haven’t played in the WSOP before this is your chance. Book your flights and a hotel and commit yourself to your shot at poker glory. To help you bring the gold back home we’ve enlisted the help of 888poker pro Sofia Lovgren. She cashed in two big-field WSOP events last year, including the $1,500 Monster Stack that attracted 7,862 entries. Follow her top ten tips and you could pay for your Vegas trip and more. Who knows, you could find yourself at the final table playing for life-changing money and the right to say you won the biggest live event of all time!

Top 10 tips

1. Proper preparation

Athletes training for the Olympics work hard, day in, day out for four years to be mentally and physically prepared for the big day of their competition. I believe if you want to succeed you need to work hard too. This goes for most things in life, including poker.

In big-field poker tournaments you need to be ready to play your absolute A-game. Poker is developing all the time and the level of skill is increasing. Make sure you play a lot of tournaments online or in your local casino in the weeks before the WSOP to get in the right ‘tournament mode’.

You’ll also give yourself a big advantage if you have a healthy lifestyle and go to the WSOP in good physical shape. Get plenty of sleep, eat well and work out in the weeks before the tournament and it will help you stay sharp through the long days of poker.

Make sure you get a good sleep the night before the event. Save the late nights out and the big parties until after the tournament. I promise you will feel better drinking beers and champagne celebrating a tournament win than sitting trying to play with a hangover. If you’re well prepared you’ll be confident and I believe confidence is key to success at the table.

2. The long game

When you enter a big-field WSOP event it’s like running a marathon. You need to be prepared for long days of poker. Don’t push yourself into thinking that you have to play lots of pots and build a stack quickly. Keep in mind that you can’t win a WSOP event on Day 1 but you can definitely bust. In tournaments like the Colossus there will be a lot of recreational players so let them make the mistakes, stay cool and take advantage of them. As long as you have a playable stack don’t get stressed and make crazy bluffs.

You’ll find that players will bust quicker than you imagine and without looking at the clock, you’ll suddenly find the field size has shrunk a lot.

3. Study your opponents

You will never find such a wide variety of skills in a poker tournament than at the WSOP, with bracelet winners sitting next to really inexperienced beginners. Study all your opponents carefully and find out how they play. It’s especially important to locate the weak players so you can exploit them when you get the chance. A lot of players will be playing a big live event for the first time and lots of them will be money scared. Take advantage of this and three-bet them in position. If they play bad and loose you shouldn’t try to bluff them but wait for real hands which you can value bet big.

If you are dealt very bad cards and have to fold a lot, don’t get too frustrated. Instead, take the time to study your opponents and see how they play. Try to find tells and which hands they go to showdown with.

4. Talk it up

When you play the WSOP it’s a great opportunity to get to know fun people from all over the world and to make some new friends. Playing ten hours of poker several days in a row is exhausting so talking to players will keep you entertained and in a good mood. It’s a great way to stay sharp during the tournament. At the same time you’ll also get valuable information about their poker experience that could help you when you are in a pot with them later.

5. Re-entry events

There are four starting flights for the Colossus and players can enter each one once. In tournaments like this there are two ways you can approach the action. If you’re prepared to take more than one shot you can look for spots to make moves and be a little more on the gambling side. You need to bluff catch/call light a little more as well. Players will be putting their stacks in the middle with wider ranges and you need to consider this when you make your decisions.

If you’re playing a re-entry event and you’ve only got one shot it’s different. Wait and take advantage of players gambling/spewing their stacks away – you’ll be able to spot them pretty easily if you’re concentrating.

6. Improve your game

There are lots of recreational players in events like this but you’ll also sit with some world class players! When you do make sure to watch how they play and pick up some new moves. Remember, the best way to improve is to play against better players!

7. Don’t be late!

Make sure you get to the casino in plenty of time. There’s often a queue to register for events and you don’t need any unnecessary stress just before playing. I would actually suggest you go to the Rio the day before and get your ticket in advance. Also, bring a sweater because it’s freezing in the Rio and you don’t want to catch a cold before the final table!

8. Wash your hands

I’ve seen people sneeze in their hands, put their fingers in their nose, eat with their hands at the table and leave the bathroom without washing their hands. I think bad hygiene is disgusting and I know I’m not the only one, so please: Wash. Your. Hands!

9. Have fun

Yes, you’re there to win money, but make sure you have fun. It’s always an investment to go to Vegas and I think you should be mentally prepared to take a loss and still feel it was worth it. Don’t let running bad totally ruin your stay. I think the Rio casino during the WSOP is the most exciting environment you will ever play poker in. You will share the electrifying atmosphere with thousands of players who have travelled there from all over the world, all with the hope of winning a gold bracelet. The spirit in the casino when it’s down to the money is amazing – players will be cheering and clapping themselves. If you go to Vegas for the first time this summer I’m sure you’ll be back

10. Above all else – run good!

There is a lot of luck involved in the massive field WSOP events like the Colossus. This year the structures are better with bigger starting stacks. This benefits the better players and I believe it will lead to more big name players at the final tables. Whatever your skill level though you’ll need a lot of luck to succeed, so my final and best advise is – above all else, make sure you run good! Good luck!


The Colossus – the facts

  • May 29 – June 2
  • Buy-in: $565
  • Guarantee: $5,000,000
  • Starting stack: 5,000
  • Starting blinds 25/50
  • Levels on Day 1: 40 mins
  • Levels on Day 2 and beyond: 60 mins
  • Four starting flights: May 29-30 at 10am and 6pm
  • You will (hopefully) play ten full levels on Day 1
  • If you’re eliminated from any flight you can re-enter into a different flight. You can only enter each flight once

For more information and the full tournament structure check out WSOP.com


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