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The biggest names in poker will most likely find themselves in Europe in October chasing not only the ten WSOP bracelets available at WSOP Europe but also the riches that come with another European Poker Tour stop. For those staying State-side, October features great mid-tier buy-in events across the country. Europe The World Series of Poker is back in Europe, but at a new location as the Series goes to Germany for the first time. Ten bracelets will be awarded at Berlin's Spielbank Casino from October 8-24. The €10,450 WSOPE Main Event is a six-day affair as the biggest names in poker go after one of the year's most prized titles. The next stop on the European Poker Tour brings players back to Malta with their series running October 21-31. The €5,300 Main Event starts right after the WSOPE Main Event ends and the events on Mediterranean island are expected to draw large fields once again. If you're not looking to live it up in Europe, there's plenty of more moderately-priced series going on all around the United in States in October. Northeast The 20th edition of the Foxwoods World Poker Finals runs from October 3-19 with over $1,600,000 in guaranteed prize pools during the 21-event series. The Parx Big Stax XIII series is now underway through October 19 with multi-flight events at buy-ins of $330, $550 and $1,100. South The Heartland Poker Tour makes their way to the South in October for two tournament series. First, to the Daytona Beach Kennel Club for their $1,650 Main Event October 9-12, and then to Mississippi the following week as they visit the Ameristar Casino in Vicksburg. The Isle Casino in Pompano Park, Florida holds the $1,300,000 guaranteed Isle Open October 5-27. The World Poker Tour bestbet Bounty Scramble starts their series October 23rd with several preliminary events. Midwest The World Series of Poker Circuit runs two tournaments in Indiana this month. Horseshoe Southern Indiana features 12 WSOPC ring events October 1-12 while Horseshoe Hammond, one of the most popular stops on the WSOPC, runs from October 15-27. Both WSOPC stops have the usual $1,675 Main Event, but Hammond added a $5,300 High Roller to their schedule. The Mid-States Poker Tour heads to the FireKeepers Casino in Battle Creek, Michigan for the Michigan State Poker Championship, a $1,110 buy-in $200,000 guaranteed tournament October 15-18. In Minnesota, Canterbury Park holds their annual Fall Poker Classic October 3-18. Nevada The Aria in Las Vegas has scheduled two one-day $25,000 High Roller tournaments for October 1-2. The Wynn Fall Classic features $700,000 in guaranteed events with buy-ins ranging from $300 to $1,600. The Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza starts on October 26. There's tournament action elsewhere in the Silver State this month. The Peppermill in Reno hosts the Poker NV Fall Challenge October 2-12, followed by Run It Up Reno, hosted by Jason Somerville October 20-25. The WSOP Circuit heads to Harvey's Lake Tahoe as their series starts on October 29. California There are three tournaments worth a mention: The Bicycle Casino holds their $1,100 Big Poker Oktober Main Event October 10-13. Hollywood Park holds their $500 buy-in $150,000 guaranteed National Poker Championship October 22-25. The annual Liz Flynt Poker Classic at the Hustler Casino in Gardena features six-figure guaranteed prize pools with tournaments under $500 starting October 13. WPTDeepStacks heads to Oceans 11 Casino near San Diego October 17-26 with their Main Event an $1,100 buy-in $200,000 guaranteed tournament. Elsewhere The only World Poker Tour Main Tour event this month is at the Emperor's Palace Casino in Johannesburg, South Africa for their $3,600 Main Event October 30. In Australia, Melbourne's Crown Casino features the PokerStars ANZPT series October 8-20. The DeepStacks Poker Tour heads to the Yellowhead Casino in Edmonton October 1-12.
[caption width="641"] Sofia Lovgren[/caption] If you don’t have $10,000 to play in the World Series of Poker Main Event, the highlight of your poker summer may very well be a small buy-in, huge field event like the Colossus, the Millionaire Maker, or the Monster Stack. After deep runs in both the Millionaire Maker and Colossus, 888 ambassador Sofia Lovgren is the perfect person to get tips and tricks from in order to improve your chances at a deep run in a tournament with a massive field. Though her background is in cash games, her results in these type of tournaments speak for themselves in terms of her MTT results. One thing that helped Lovgren prepare for those big live events were online tournaments, though there were some adjustments transitioning from one to the other. “The biggest difference with the live event is that you can get an overwhelming feeling when you see these huge field of players in the room. You can be tempted to play extremely creatively and try to run over the players in the first levels to have a chance,” Lovgren explains. “Online, it feels totally different in front of your PC, where you have a better overview and can see the players chips stacks, etc.. This could make you less stressed about building a stack and just focus on playing with patience.” One thing Lovgren made sure to do when playing live this summer was to show up to play without distractions. “In the Millionaire Maker I was very focused, played my best poker and was running quite well at the same time. That was pretty much it. I also decided to play without bringing my phone or iPad. That could often be a distraction and you risk missing information at your table. I instead focused on the game and the other players.” Thanks to that focus, Lovgren finished in 12th place out of a field of 7,190 entries. It is difficult to wrap your head around the field size with so many entries and starting days, which is why Lovgren suggests taking a mental approach to the tournament that focuses on baby steps rather than the bracelet. “Just remind yourself that these events are like a marathon. You really need to be mentally and physically prepared to play for long hours. The starting fields are massive, but you shouldn't let that stress you. You will see that players will bust faster than you can imagine and without looking at the clock, you'll suddenly realize that the field size has shrunk very quickly. You just need to focus on the players at your table, your own stack, and the blinds. As long as you have a playable stack, don't worry about the rest. “ Lovgren didn’t have to worry too much about playing a short stack, as she spent portions of the Millionaire Maker as chip leader. For her, these “donkaments” don’t differ much from your standard $1,000 and $1,500 No Limit Hold'em fields, but they are, on the whole, a little softer, which means more opportunities in the early goings. “It’s, of course, easier to build a big stack early in these tournaments with many recreational players,” she explains. “I try to exploit their mistakes before they bust and then, when I have a big stack, I open up my game even more and play many more flops in position. Then later, when I find spots where I can get a big double up, I go for it rather than folding in order to have a chance for the top positions.” Learn how to qualify for the low buy-in, big field WSOP Circuit events through 888 poker The strategy of seeing flops stems from her cash background and served her well. She recounts one of the pivotal hands in her run which involved an aggressive defense of her big blind: “One final hand in the end of Day 2 in Millionaire Maker where I got a big double-up. I had been playing aggressively building my stack all day. The very last hand of Day 2, I saw K-5 offsuit in my big blind. The button open raised and I decided to go for a three-bet. He called me and we saw a K-10s-8s flop. I continuation bet and he pushed all-in. With all those draws out, I called. I held vs a flush draw and got a huge double-up the very last hand of the day. After this, I was one of the big stacks in the tournament with 300 players left. “ Some may be intimidated by a marginal hand like K-5, but as Lovgren points out, top pair on a draw-heavy board is an opportunity and, in this instance, she took advantage of it, knowing if it went her way she was in a position to make a run at the final table, not just an in-the-money finish. Knowing her post-flop play was one of her strengths, Lovgren set herself up to succeed in an event many think is a gamble and akin to the lottery, what with the massive field and shorter levels. She came in with a game plan though, focused on identifying weak spots at the table, building her stack early, and amassing enough chips to be able to find spots deeper in the event where she not only saw an opportunity, but had the confidence to capitalize on it. Next time someone tries to tell you these low buy-in tournaments are not about skill, remember Lovgren’s success and remind yourself that, yes, you will have to gamble in some spots, but with focused attention and selective aggression, you can take advantage of the skill gap from your starting table all the way down to the final one.