We recently had the pleasure of interviewing the delightful, the gorgeous and the highly skilled Team PKR Pro, Sofia “welllbet” Lövgren. At the age of 20, the Swede from Gothenburg proudly became the first lady ever to join the PKR team, which gave her the opportunity to play in live tournaments all around the world. However, she is best known for her mad skills playing online cash games. We took the opportunity to do what PokerFaceNews does best, ask the questions which haven’t been asked before to produce this exclusive interview.
In a recent PokerPlayer interview, you said that your parents did not allow you to play poker for real money when you first started playing at the age of 17. That led to you turning a $1 bankroll earned exclusively from free rolls into $5.000 in a year thanks to your consistent success in cash games. How has your parents’ attitude evolved towards you playing since your passion for poker ignited six years ago?
Yes, my parents actually have been very supportive throughout my childhood with whatever I and my brothers and sister wanted to do, like different kind of sports. At the same time they were strict and insisted we should first do our school work. I made the decision to take a break and try poker full time for some time before going to university. After showing them my hourly winnings and a plan for playing poker, they agreed it was worth trying. This break has been going on for 4 years now and today my parents are very interested in poker and my biggest fans following every tournament I play.
On October 10, 2013 you made your biggest cash yet, $35k for a 16th place in the £10,000 EPT High Roller. In an interview with PokerPlayer following the deep run, you mentioned that you only play around 15 live tournaments a year. Do you think that figure would increase if you had won £357 ($580k) for first place in that EPT?
I don’t think it would have changed my poker schedule so much. I would probably have invested some of that playing a couple of more big tournaments like High Rollers. I think traveling around playing around 20 big live tournaments per year is perfect. My “bread and butter” is still cash games and live tournaments have just been a bonus for me so far.
You were a nominee and very narrowly missed winning the PokerListings “Here Comes the Future” Spirit of Poker Award which was won by your boyfriend, Luca Moschitta. Would it have meant a lot to you to win it or were you just proud of Luca for winning?
It was fun and an honor to be nominated among the futures most promising young poker players. It’s motivating when other people believe in you when you are working so hard and spending almost all your time on something. I feel like a winner just to be nominated among these players. It’s not always good when other people have a lot of expectations for your future. My thinking is: “It’s not what you say that you are going to do that matters, it’s what you actually do.” I’m happy Luca won it, it was best for domestic peace ;).
You and your boyfriend Luca who was the youngest player ever to reach SuperNova Elite status on PokerStars are well known and respected poker players in the industry. Do you or he ever find yourself competing against each other over who may reach certain goals?
Believe it or not, we never compete but are instead supporting each other all the time. We play different cash games and tournaments online and we swap when we play live so it’s very easy to be happy when the other is successful.
Does it help you to have a poker professional as a boyfriend when you go through downswings? How much about poker do you learn through each other?
If one is having a bad streak we take a couple of days off poker and do something else together. We also have a good influence on each other.
He has given me a lot of advice for Heads Up poker and I’d like to believe that I’ve helped him to be a much more patient poker player.
You are the star ambassador for PKR and have expressed your appreciation and admiration of the PKR community and brand on multiple occasions. What would you say are the three top advantages of being a PKR sponsored pro?
It gives me an opportunity to play more live tournaments. I meet a lot of nice people and make new friends from different parts of the world. Another good thing is that I get to learn international PR work including writing articles, contacts with media, interviews etc.
Cash games are your bread and butter and you are known as one of the most successful and highest-volume cash game players on PKR. A maximum of 9 tables can be played simultaneously on the site, do you ever have the desire to play more than 9 tables and are you allowed to play on other online sites?
I’m allowed to play on other sites if I like, but I really prefer to play on PKR so I stick to it. When I’m in a grinding mood I sometimes play the 9 tables on PKR and add a few tables somewhere else. I have played 18 tables once but I think it could be more profitable with a better focus on a limited amount of tables.
Which female poker players do you most aspire to and why?
Vanessa Selbst because she has shown over and over again that she is one of the best players in the world.
You often wear Terminator style shades in tournaments. Do you receive any interesting comments about them? How do you make the decision of whether or not to wear them?
Some players say it’s really impossible to get a read on me when I wear the glasses. This is what I’m trying to accomplish – a good poker face. Nowadays I’m playing more and more without them and trying to pick up tells from my opponents instead.
In an unfortunate turn of events you blinded away 60,000 in chips from your stack of 457,000 – almost 8 big blinds worth – in the 2013 EPT £10,000 High Roller due to getting stuck in traffic coming back from meeting your boyfriend, Luca Moschitta. How much money do you estimate those chips were worth to you and can you describe the experience waiting in the taxi? Did you manage to stay composed or did the minutes pass by almost unbearably?
If you make a calculation the value of the lost chips should be at least £12.000. It was a very expensive pizza… and yes it was a baaad experience being stuck in that taxi! On the other hand when I came back to the table with my wet hair I immediately started to raise and won the first three hands without show down and quickly chipped up again! One hour later I was the chip leader in the tournament so I guess the delay wasn’t all that bad. Vicky Coren kindly de-tilted me saying I would probably have bust during those 20 minutes.
When asked about your screen name, “welllbet”, in a Poker News interview; you revealed, “I decided this screen name on PKR when I was 18, and I bet I liked the name and thought it would bring me luck.”What made you like the name at first exactly and do you still believe it brings you luck?
I just picked the name and kept it. People keep saying poker is getting so much tougher but I still can make a living on poker so it must be a lucky screen name, wouldn’t you agree?
If you had to choose another screen name, what would it be?
Albatross, because of the wide wingspan, ability to fly high and that it’s quite a good golf shot.
If you were not playing poker professionally, what do you think you wousld be doing career wise and why?
I would probably be finishing my University degree in Business and Economics. Maybe I was about to start my own business. It’s standard in my family.
As a child you used to sail, golf, ski and play soccer. However, in a blog post on your website, when referring to your gym sessions, you said how “six times a month in 2012 became six times a year in 2013.” Has your booming and busy poker career prevented you from spending as much time as you might have liked doing sports or training at the gym? Do you have any strategies for motivating yourself to do things which are challenging? ‘
As a professional poker player I have close to endless free time to be honest. I’m my own boss and can spend my day just as I want. The total freedom of a professional poker player’s day is the biggest upside but also the biggest threat. Right now I have so many different opportunities and so much I want to accomplish so it could sometimes be a little hard to focus on healthy living. Writing down New Year’s resolutions and goals is probably one good way to get it done!
You make a big effort to promote poker and contribute to the community through regular updates and strategy articles on your personal website sofialovgren.se, in the PKR “Raise Your Game” and “News and Events” sections, your blog on Poker Player UK and on your Twitter and Facebook social media channels. If you could have two dreams come true for 2014, related to changes in the poker industry, what would they be?
I would love to see the online poker market open up for players in all countries. It would also be really great with a female winner of the WSOP Main Event 2014 and why not a Swede?
- Your irrational fear?
I’m not scared of snakes or crocodiles but I’m terrified of mice!
- Your longest online session?
It was a cash game session where a guy in PKR challenged me for a 30 hour session and in front of the PKR community, 4 tables full ring for 30 hours in a row without leaving the tables.
- Your favorite movie?
I saw Jackass new movie “Bad grandpa” a couple of days ago, it was extremely funny!
- Your favorite TV show?
Sex and the City is always funny.
- Your 3 favorite activities to do when not playing poker?
Downhill skiing, golf and enjoying nice .