Sofia Lovgren on playing Aces and getting a sponsorship deal

888poker pro Sofia Lovgren is here to answer all of your poker questions. Want to ask her a question? Email Sofia at pokerplayer@plyp.co.uk or tweet @PokerPlayer365 now

Bookworm

Can you recommend a good strategy book for NLHE online tournaments? I’m looking for something a bit more in-depth than the usual tournament strategy.
Pasco89

I would actually suggest you watch poker videos instead of reading – especially videos where you can see all the hands played and the hole cards. Watching how the best players in the world play will give you a lot of ideas that you can implement in your own game. You could also subscribe to a poker coaching site like CardRunners or Grinderschool. There are loads of top pros teaching on sites like this and it will definitely give an extra boost to your game.

No fold poker

One of my biggest weaknesses in poker is that I find it really hard to put big hands down. Whenever I get Aces I always win a decent pot or lose a catastrophic one and cripple myself or bust out. What sort of situations would lead to you putting Aces down on the flop, turn or river?
Nick Ashton

A lot of players feel the way you do Nick! When they pick up J-J+, they feel they have the nuts and then start playing weirdly, often slowplaying.

Remember you still just have a pair and you need to play them aggressively preflop. You don’t want to see a flop with three opponents because then you are usually not even the favourite to win the pot.

If you raise in early position, get three callers, see a wet flop like 5-6-7 and the actions goes bet, raise, re-raise, I would often just fold my hand right there.

If you c-bet and an opponent check-raises on the turn and then throws in a big bet on the river, you need to give yourself more time to think because you are usually beat. Don’t forget that good players know this though and will sometimes bluff so you can’t give up every time you get resistance.

To be a great player it’s not enough to win big pots. It’s just as important to be capable of folding a big hand when you are beat.

Nom nom

What makes you lick your lips when you sit down at a poker table? I’m not talking about great poker snacks, but the sort of player that you absolutely love playing against?
LotusEaster98

When I sat down to play a NLHE live cash game in Gothenburg Casino Cosmopol once and there was this businessman with a nice suit who took a seat next to me with 400 buy-ins. He immediately asked me about the rules! That’s the kind of opponent I like!

All players must love the loose passive players as well, who love to see a lot of flops and always fold when they meet resistance. Make sure that player is not you! They are very easy to play against and are a real gold mine.

Freebird

I play a lot of freerolls as I’m trying to build a bankroll without depositing any cash. The trouble is the fields are normally really big and everyone seems to be in a call or shove mode straight away. Is there a good tactic for navigating through the early stages of these sorts of tournaments, while the crazy gamblers are weeded out?
RepCar70

When you play against these kind of beginners you have to be patient. Straightforward ABC poker works best.

Look for the donators and try to play against them. Once you hit something just value bet extra large on all streets. There is no point in bluffing the fish because they won’t understand what you are doing anyway. They will always spew their stacks away in the end, so let them hang themselves.

Get your badge

It’s my dream to be a sponsored player like you. Does it take a lot of the pressure off when you sit down to play? What’s the best way to go about getting a deal these days?
Chris Stokes

I’ve just signed a contract with 888poker for a year and with that it means I’ve now been sponsored for six consecutive years. I don’t feel any extra pressure when I play a live tournament because sponsors realise the big variance and don’t demand a certain amount of quick wins. It also feels great to have so many colleagues supporting me while playing a big tournament.

Besides poker I am expected to represent 888poker in many different ways, like giving interviews, writing blogs and posting on social media. Of course, you also need to be really passionate about the game and have good poker results, either online or live.

Having said that there is definitely a big difference today compared to some years ago when every player who binked a tournament was sponsored. Winners are always attractive but that is not enough. Today, players who offer a lot besides poker – like Jason Somerville – are valuable to poker sites.

If you do your own thing and promote the game in a clever way on social media I believe you will have a better chance of picking up a sponsor

Hand of the month

Overbet steal when you think you’re splitting the pot…

I was playing the $100,000 Sunday Mega Deep on 888poker and had a healthy stack of 29,000 chips from my 10,000 starting stack quite early in the tournament.

The blinds were 200/400 and I open-raised 900 UTG with A-Q. A guy in middle position called with a 12,000 stack and the guy on the button with a 25,000 stack called as well.

We saw the flop of A-9-3, giving me top pair, good kicker. I put out a c-bet of 2,100 and both opponents called. The turn came a King and I carried on betting – this time I bet 4,400. The guy in middle position folded and the button called.

The river was a Nine which was not a great card for my A-Q since I would be chopping with any A-x hand now on the A-9-3-K-9 board. I didn’t put the guy on a full house as he was just calling the flop and turn.

I put him on A-x or a missed flush draw. The pot was 15,700 and I decided to shove all-in for 21,900 to steal the pot. My opponent tank-folded and showed an Ace face up.

Overbetting in this situations is great and it doesn’t carry much risk. Your opponent will often smell a bluff but most players don’t like to call off their whole stack in the hope of chopping a pot. This gives you the opportunity to pick up a healthy pot with a simple – if ballsy – bet. If you get called you’ll be chopping 90% of the time anyway.


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