Sofia Lovgren: From Eating Scorpions to World Poker Tour Dreams


Sofia Lovgren wants to be the first woman to win a World Poker Tour open event (WPT photo)

Every week or two it seems someone is bringing up something on Twitter or other social media regarding gender and the poker world. A massive debate ensues, people take sides, and the rest of us just grab the popcorn. With that in mind, you would think the reality TV concept Girl Got Game, which put nine poker-playing girls under one roof, would result in intense competition and catfights, but instead the ladies bonded and continue to support one another long after filming wrapped.

Swedish poker pro and 888 ambassador Sofia Lovgren was approached by the producers of the show and agreed to take part in what turned out to be a very diverse collection of players from all over the world. Lovgren summed up each of her cast members with a single word:

  • Katrina Lim – Positive
  • Danielle Andersen – Boss
  • Joanna Kwak– Frisky
  • Oanh Bui – Cool
  • Kitty Kuo – Funny
  • Sabina Hiathullah – Energetic
  • Samantha Abernathy – Adventurous
  • Xuan Liu – Friendly

In addition to living together, the ladies were also presented with tasks and challenges. Lovgren was game for just about anything, but not all of her castmates had the stomach for it.

“I was surprised that so many of the girls chickened out when we had a challenge to eat crickets and scorpions,” Lovgren says with a laugh. “Personally, I thought they were delicious.”

Initial filming wrapped before the 2016 World Series of Poker began, but the ladies continued to hang out and talk throughout the summer in Las Vegas. Lovgren certainly appreciated the camaraderie, which is not always easy for females to find in the poker world.

“It’s a fact that there aren’t many female poker players playing the big poker tours, and the first years I traveled with my ex-boyfriend. The last year I’ve been traveling around with these female poker players and some other good friends. Of course we enjoy spending time together and also support each other in a great way which, for sure, is positive from a mental point of view.”

The experience was so positive that Lovgren recently hosted the ladies in Sweden. “We had all been playing lots of poker this summer and also spent time together in different constellations. I felt that it would be fun to invite all these girls to my lovely home country for a poker-free, crazy vacation week together,” she explains.

The trip, which was done independent of the show, was quite a success. “I loved to show some typical Swedish traditions, like ‘kräftskiva’ (cray fish party), sailing to a small fishing village in the archipelago, and, of course, how to make the famous Swedish meatballs! We did many other things like going to a big to a music festival, roller coaster rides in the Liseberg amusement park, and some rather heavy partying!”

The ladies of Girl Got Game are a much-needed wholly positive story of female poker pros supporting one another. They are all very competitive, but the competition is a healthy one, where everyone can succeed without it coming at the expense of someone else. Like many other women in the game, Lovgren would still like to see the female presence in poker grow not just with TV shows and publicity, but on the felt as well.

“I’d like to see more female poker winning big tournaments and become superstars of poker. That would create more inspiration for other girls than anything else, I think,” says Lovgren. As for how she can participate, she has a very specific goal in mind. “I’m planning to be the first female World Poker Tour, main tour event winner, which would certainly help,” she half-jokes.

Up first for Lovgren though is figuring out where to live so she is close to good cash games and tournaments. Her options are rather diverse.

“Right now I’m considering Gothenburg [Sweden] or somewhere in Asia. I’m single now, so obviously anything can happen. I understand that I have a unique opportunity right now to be flexible and enjoy life without any big obligations, so I really try to make the most of life like traveling around the world in the next year.”

One of the reasons Lovgren has this opportunity is her relationship with 888. Having studied business management in school, Lovgren isn’t just about promoting the brand, she also plays an active role in developing the business. She is currently developing some business ideas for the growing Asian market.

Lovgren has had a busy year, what with the show, the sponsorship, and finding a new home. You would think with that much on her plate, poker would take a place on the back burner, but Lovgren actually had a breakout year at the WSOP, cashing four times, including deep runs in both the Colossus and the Millionaire Maker, where she finished 12th.

After getting her start in cash games, Lovgren’s transition to tournament player is going well and, with lots of grinding on the schedule for the fall and winter, she is in a great position to continue her success. Even if she does not win that WPT title this year, her growing presence in the poker world is something the women of poker can certainly get behind, well, except maybe the eating crickets part.