Multi Tabling Pros, Cons, and Tips
written by: John Comments: View Comments
Multi tabling refers to a player's ability to play on more than one poker table at the same time. This act is exclusive to online poker seeing as how you have to be physically present at a live table to receive and play your cards.
There are many reasons why someone might want to multi table.
- To increase the hourly win rate. This is the reason why most people multi table. See, the thought here is that if you can make $5 per hour playing on one table, why not try to make $10 an hour playing on two tables. This is a logical train of thought.
- See more hands. Many players do not like to sit around and wait for hands to play. They want to be involved in the action. By playing on more than one table at a time, they will see more hands, thus the likelihood of them seeing a playable hand increases.
- Gain more experience. Similar to the first reason, the more tables you sit at the more hands you will see. The more hands you see the more experience you will gain because you will find yourself in multiple unique situations.
Most online poker players can play anywhere from 2 to 4 tables at once. More experienced players can play at 10 to 15 tables simultaneously while I've seen players like Boku87 (PokerStars Pro) play over 40 tables.
Now, there is no doubt that playing 40 tables at once can definitely boost how much you are making. However, multi tabling, regardless of the number of tables you're on, will come with a few consequences as well.
- For every table you add, your game will worsen. While playing on one table you can pay attention to everything including what each player's tendencies are like, their betting habits and their hand ranges. As you start to add tables, the ability to pay attention to these variables decrease. In other words, your game will depend more on your cards and the board texture than what your opponent may have done two hands ago on one table and what 3-bet hand range an opponent may have on another table. You just cannot simply pay attention to it all.
- It's difficult to improve and move up in stakes. The more tables that you decide to play on at once, the more straightforward your game will be. You just won't have the attention span to focus on hand reading or special plays - you will just have to play ABC poker. While this isn't so bad in terms of making money, it will be bad if you want to move up. In other words, playing ABC poker will make it difficult to improve your skills worthy of moving up in stakes.
- You can still lose money and you may lose it faster. If you're not a winning player or if you overload yourself with tables, multi tabling will turn a leak into a downpour causing you to lose money much faster than if you were to only play one table (or something you can reasonably handle).
Now, even though there are some consequences, most players will find that the benefits far outweigh the risks if they play their cards right. If you are new to multi tabling or would like to try to improve your multi tabling skills, here are some tips below to help you do that.
Multi Tabling Tips
- Find a sweet spot. First and foremost, find the maximum number of tables you can play on comfortably while still maintaining a decent win rate. I would suggest starting out playing two tables then adding 1 table each session until you can't handle anymore. From here, subtract a table at a time until you find the number of tables you're most comfortable playing at once. This should be your sweet spot.
- Use more than one screen. This is probably obvious, but the more screens you have, the more tables you can play while still being able to see each screen clearly. Most screens are reasonably priced at $150 to $250 which should pay for itself in no time.
- Use a heads up display (HUD). There are some players out there with the attention span to play 4 or 6 tables without a heads up display. However, most players will not be able to do that. A heads up display will keep track of the things you can't such as how tight/loose/aggressive someone is, how often they c-bet, steal, limp or 3-bet. The more tables you play on at once, the more you will have to rely on your hud to make decisions.
- Turn on options like the 4-color deck and display pot/bet amounts. Most of you probably already have this feature turned on, but if not, it's a good idea to utilize the 4-color deck or display pot/bet amount features. The 4-color deck will keep you from making a terrible mistake by not seeing a flush. The display bet/pot amount feature is more of a convenience than a necessity. But I like to have it on so I can see what each player bets (or calls) and the exact amount that is in the pot.
- Use a hot key program. Hot key programs allow you to control all of your actions using your key board or video game controller as opposed to using your mouse. Although it doesn't seem like it'd make a difference, it actually saves a bunch of time being able to just hit a button for bet, call or fold instead of having to move the mouse to the correct table. Also, programs such as Table Ninja also have neat features like auto registering for games, having default bet sizing based on bets made by others (or blind levels) and ways to highlight what tables are a priority to act on next.
Multi Tabling in Poker
The most important thing to keep in mind about multi tabling is to take your time when adding tables. Although multi tabling can be a great way to make money faster, it can quickly massacre your bankroll if you take on too many tables too quickly. Just take your time and before you know it, most of the decisions that you're making will be second nature and you'll be playing 10, 15 or 20 tables before you know it.