Sofia Lövgren: Ignore the coolers and focus on your game

888poker pro Sofia Lövgren is here to answer all of your poker problems. Email us at pokerplayer@plyp.co.uk or tweet @PokerPlayer365 now!

Is it just a cooler?

I keep losing pots where I have a big hand but someone else has slow played a monster. For example, I was playing an online multi-table sit-and-go, opened A-8 and got one caller. The flop came A-K-8, I bet and my opponent called. Two cards under an Eight came on the turn and river. My opponent called my turn bet and we got the chips all-in on the river where I lost to pocket Kings! I genuinely thought I had the best hand. How do I lose less chips in these kinds of spots?
Lucas Durney

It’s definitely tricky when your opponent slow plays a hand like A-K or K-K like this. Since he just called preflop you expect to be ahead 90% of the time on this board. On the river it could be possible that your opponent has a lower two pair. It’s a cooler and just unlucky!

Under pressure

I made it to the final four players of a £50 live tournament recently as the chip leader. I also thought I had a big edge versus the other three. They were all really keen to do a deal to even out the pay jumps but I wanted to play on. Is it rude of me to say no and take a chance of winning more money? Or should I just take a deal if that’s what the majority of people want to do?
Russell Campion

It’s totally fine to say no to a deal in my opinion. If you feel that you have an edge and want to play for the regular payout don’t let other players change your mind. Remember, it’s a game where all of you are there to win money! You don’t have to be rude and tell everybody how much better and more experienced you think you are, but just tell them that you want to play on.

Healthy lifestyle

I’ve been following lots of poker players on Twitter during the WSOP and all they seem to talk about is All-American Dave’s healthy eating truck! I’ve always just had burgers and a few beers whenever I play a poker tournament. What do you eat or drink when playing live and is it really that important to eat healthily if you want to be a top player?
Mark Froome

There are lots of good players that quite obviously don’t have a very healthy lifestyle and still play good poker. There is, however, a new generation of young players on the EPT and in the US that try to work out and eat healthily. They try to make sure they do everything to play their A-games during tough tournaments.

Personally I feel it’s very important to eat and drink well to stay focussed during long days of live poker, as well as long online sessions. Lots of water and fruit help me to feel more fresh and sharp. When I see people getting tired late in live tournaments I feel I have an edge the longer it goes on. I usually eat a chicken caesar salad or a chicken wrap for lunch, and a light dinner. I also make sure I have one or two litres of water per day and some fruit in between. Most importantly, alcohol will make you feel tired and lose focus. Nobody can convince me that a hangover is a good start to a poker tournament. Save the drink for the celebration of a deep run and the nice prize money!

Revolution needed

I used to win regularly in online cash games but now I seem to be breaking even a lot. I have a full-time job so don’t really have that much spare time to work on my game. What would you recommend I do to improve and get back to winning ways?
Steve Jones

The competition is definitely getting tougher, with more regs and less fish. If you keep playing the same way and don’t develop your game you are in reality going backwards and will sooner or later be a losing player. Working on your game is the only way to improve. I understand you don’t have so much time so make sure you focus specifically on learning more about parts of your game where you think you have the biggest leaks. Watching coaching videos is always a great way to get inspiration and tips from other players. The poker videos from Run It Once or CardRunners are both fun and helpful.

Shooting blanks

What are your rules for taking shots at higher stakes cash games?
Barry Jones

Taking shots is good for developing my game and it’s also exciting to occasionally take shots at higher levels than normal. I think it’s important though never to do it to chase quick winnings and/or compensate for losing sessions.

My first rule is to only step up when I’m already winning and I am feeling really good about my game. My second rule would be never to play at levels where I feel I’m playing with ‘scared money’. I always play with 20 buy-ins+ for any level. I also try to carry on playing my usual game and focus on making the right decisions without thinking about
the money. Good luck!


Talk to Sofia!

If you have a question about poker strategy, a hand you played, or you just want to know what Sofia’s favourite vegetable is, get in touch now! Email Sofia here or Tweet using the #AskSofia. All questions that get published will WIN a FREE pack of PokerPlayer branded playing cards!

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