Sofia Lovgren answers your poker questions

888poker pro Sofia Lövgren is here to answer all of your poker problems. Got a question for her? Email it to pokerplayer@plyp.co.uk or Tweet @pokerplayer365 now!

Clocking off

Did you watch the WSOP Main Event final table? What did you make of it and do you think they’ll introduce a shot clock next year after all the stalling that went on? It made it tough to watch. Matthew Walsh

Yes, I think a shot clock is a good idea. Poker is not naturally a great game for an audience, but there are de nitely ways to make it more interesting and speeding up the game is one of them. I’m not a big fan of sitting for long hours in a very slow game so, to me personally, a shot clock would be great. Watching someone tanking on every hand can be incredibly boring.

I also believe what Daniel Negreanu said: ‘Without significant rule changes I’m concerned live poker on TV may do more harm than good.’

I believe a shot clock of 45 seconds would be good. And then you could have two additional 60 seconds time bank chips to use each day.

Hand strength

I know you’re not supposed to have superstitions, but do you have a favourite hand in poker? Damian H

My favorite hand is T-J suited. I’ve opped a straight ush with this hand three times! Whenever I get dealt this hand I feel I can’t lose.

Tourney tips

I managed to satellite into a really big $150k guaranteed tournament. It will be the biggest tournament I’ve played ever – have you got any tips for me? Vickie Flowers

Awesome Vickie, congrats. Okay, the rst thing is that it’s important that you play your regular game and not as scared money just because it’s a bigger tournament. Basically, don’t try to play differently or experiment with new moves. You will feel awful if you bluff away your stack. I would suggest you stay away from all fancy moves early in the tournament.

If your table is tight you can gradually open more pots and if there are very loose players, just tighten up. When the blinds increase and stacks are more shallow, each pot and the blinds are more important. Make some three-bets to accumulate chips. Find the players who fold a lot and three-bet them in position.

If you have a large stack on the bubble don’t chicken out just to cash but try to put pressure on other players as you would normally do in smaller tournaments. Finally, I would also recommend you win several cruical ips! That always helps.

Chop it up

I played an interesting hand in a local tourney. The bloke to my right had a huge stack and it folded to him in the small blind. He limped and I decided to check with A-4. The op was 2-4-5, which I thought was pretty good for me. He bet and I called. The turn was a Three, which gave me the straight. He bet again and I called. The river was a Six putting a bigger straight out on the board. He laughed and checked and he showed 3-6 which turned out pretty lucky for me. He then asked if I would have called a shove on the river. I said I would but thinking about it afterwards do you think that would have been right for my tournament life? Craig Jenkins

I wouldn’t call a shove there without a read on him. But I would de nitely consider betting myself when he checked to you. I like to overbet or shove in this situation when I know there is a split pot. When he checks to you there, you know he has the board at best and you can try to steal the pot. I would also do this when I had it.

Dream win

You’ve done a lot in poker already – what’s the one ambition that you’ve still got at the top of your bucket list? Al Stone

I have short term goals as well as long term goals. One of my long term goals is to win a big live tournament. I play more cash games and not loads of tournaments – maybe around 20-30 per year. Because of the huge variance I know it could take some time, but a live title would definitely be at the top of my poker bucket list.

Raise your game

I’ve been a losing player in 2015. Not a lot, but I tend to lose focus when I play for too long and I’m not good at keeping records or anything ‘academic’. I want to make a change in 2016 but I’m not sure what to focus on. Is there anything you can recommend? I mainly play tournaments around the $10-$20 level. Mark Price

I think a lot of players keep playing the same game over and over again, as if they’re on autopilot. They will play tomorrow because they played yesterday, and they will only be a couple of days older and no closer to any kind of win. The reason is they simply don’t improve their game. If you don’t have any clue aboutyourleakstoday you won’t be able to nd the right parts of the game to improve.

I suggest you spend some time studying. You can watch some great coaching videos online. Subscribe to a site like CardRunners or Grinderschool – top pros are giving away some great advice. This will give you concrete ideas about areas to improve, like, ‘Okay, I have to reraise much more in position…’

Also, check out the strategy feature in this issue – it’s a 12-step programme for starting 2016 as a winning player.

As a bonus you’ll get loads of new motivation and confidence when you KNOW what to change.


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