When you think of creative, young, dedicated and talented poker players, you don't think very long before you arrive at the name Sofia Lövgren.
One of the brightest young stars in poker, Lövgren learned to play poker at just 16 years old. Four years later she was the first female ever to join Team PKR.
After four successful years flying the PKR flag - with results including a 30th-place finish at the EPT Main Event in San Remo, a 16th at the EPT High Roller in London and five impressive WSOP cashes - Lövgren made the jump to the elite Team 888poker this year.
One of the three finalists for the PokerListings Rising Star Award in 2013 Lövgren came to the Battle of Malta with her boyfriend, Luca Moschitta, and did nothing but solidify our impression of her as one of the great young ambassadors in poker.
While Moschitta walked away with the award last year it's Lövgren who is nominated again this year along with seven other great young players from across the world.
Now at the 2014 WSOP, PokerListings Sweden's Denni Balic took the chance to discuss her nomination, her move to Malta, her future in poker and more.
PokerListings: You’ve done many things lately. Left PKR, jumped over to 888poker and now moved to Malta. What’s the next thing?
Sofia Lövgren: It’s all in with 888poker! I’d like to dedicate more time to play poker and to travel around the world to play at some live events. Actually I just arrived in Vegas to play at the WSOP.
So far I've only had time to play one event and I actually won something! But my plan is to play at least seven events, including the Main Event. One of my goals is actually to reach the final table!
Then I really look forward to the European Poker Tour in Barcelona and the WSOP in Melbourne. It will so fun to play in Australia. That will be my first time ever!
PL: Last year you were nominated for a PokerListings Spirit of Poker Award in the same category as your boyfriend Luca Moschitta. Was there any dischord between you two after the award ceremony?
SL: No, I was actually very happy for Luca. 2013 was a good year for him so I think that they picked the right winner.
Keep in mind that he is Italian and they really hate to lose. So yeah, it was probably the best choice for our “domestic peace."
Just take a look at the things that happened when Italy lost against Uruguay in the World Cup.
PL: This year you're nominated again. How does it feel and what do you think about the other players in your category?
SL: You always have to be innovative, show passion and work hard to promote poker to others.
My goal is to spread the positive things about poker. So for me it’s a great honor to be nominated.
However, there are many other interesting players. (Jack) Salter is one of them. He is doing really well but I’m the only girl.
PL: So what is the next step in your career? You mentioned something about university studies before.
SL: When I finished secondary school I wanted to take a break. Just to travel and play poker full time.
My idea was to do this before continuing my studies, but it went very well with poker and I got recruited to Team PKR.
For the moment I have the best opportunity to combine poker with my favorite hobby – to make money, travel around and meet new people.
The advantage is that I get the chance to learn more about international PR.
PL: And if you decided to study something, what would it be?
SL: I would say economy and business. It’s very interesting and also a family tradition.
If I would do something else instead of playing poker I would most probably start my own business.
PL: How long are you going to play poker for?
SL: Well, at least the coming years I think, as long as I continue to win.
Poker is something I really love even if I would decide to spend time on something else in the future.
Count on me! I will still play poker in the coming years.
PL: Last year you came to play the Battle of Malta. How do you think it will go for you this year?
SL: It was really fun to play at the 2013 Battle of Malta. I did well on Day 1 but on the second day I busted quite early.
This year there will be more players joining the tournament and the GTD is bigger, which makes the Battle of Malta even more attractive!
And did I mention that I’m living next to the casino? That should bring me some extra luck, right?
PL: How come you moved to Malta?
SL: We’ve been in Malta several times before we finally decided to move. I love Malta and the climate is fantastic. It’s so different from my hometown Gothenburg.
As a poker player you don’t have to stick to a specific place. As long as you have an internet connection, everything is fine.
You can work from wherever you want. It could be on a sailboat somewhere in Sweden or in a hotel room in Barcelona.
We fly to Gothenburg and Catania in Sicily quite often. After all I have to say that the connection between those destinations and Malta is good. This is very important for us.
There are many poker tournaments taking place in Malta too but the Battle of Malta feels like home.
PL: If you had the chance to choose a tablemate, who would it be?
SL: I would go for Richard Nixon, the old American president.
PL: How come?
SL: When he tries to bluff, he really sucks! I would so knock him out.
PL: Okay, let’s put it this way. Who would you rather avoid to sit with?
SL: I don’t really want to sit next to Suárez. Well, at least if I’m bare-shouldered.
PL: Both you and Luca are seen as part of the new "thinking generation” of poker players. How do you think other poker players perceive your success?
SL: No idea what they think about me, but I know that many people like Luca.
PL: What do you think the poker industry will look like in 10 years?
SL: For now it’s very hard to say. Everything depends on the market legislations around the world.
However, if they legalize online poker in more US states, then I think that poker would become more popular like it was in 2006.
PL: Back to the PokerListings awards. Why should people vote for you?
SL: I don’t like to brag about myself so it’s better if you ask the guys who nominated me.
PL: Okay, but what's the difference between you and the other nominees?
SL: It could be my love towards poker. I really love poker and I love the PR part around it.
Apart from that I always share my experiences with others. I think it’s good for the industry to see a normal girl from Sweden who is doing well, even internationally.
PL: If you manage to get to the final table or if you win the Battle of Malta 2014, how would you celebrate your victory?
SL: I would invite all the players to my place before we go out for a nice dinner at Portomaso.
Then I think there would be time for some crazy partying too. Who knows, maybe some journalists could join us.
PL: How do you celebrate your success in poker in general?
SL: Well, mostly with my closest ones. We always have a good meal together and obviously some wine too.