Multi-tabling is an area of the game that’s only applicable
to online poker players. While some tournament series will allow
for players to be sitting at multiple tables at once, there are
hardly a lot of situations in live poker where multi-tabling
would either make sense or even be allowed.
In online poker, multi-tabling is one of the most effective
ways to boost your overall win rate. While your earnings aren’t
going to multiply in direct correlation with how many tables you
are playing, you should be able to notice a marked improvement.
As is the case with just about anything else, however, too many
tables can ultimately lead to your downfall.
Multi-tabling is an aspect of poker that has marginal
benefits. You’ll find more and more money being added to your
hourly rate as you add tables, until one day you are eventually
running in circles.
Reasons for Multi-Tabling
There are a handful of different reasons why players opt to
multi-table or mass multi-table, with the most obvious one being
the increase in their hourly win rate. One of the other primary
reasons for multi-tabling is the ability to earn significantly
more in player points and other similar rewards. Believe it or
not, some high volume players are able to pocket $5-$20 per hour
in player rewards and points alone. This will be entirely
dependent on the site that you are playing on, but more volume
should always mean that you are getting more kickbacks, whether
they come in the form of cash or other prizes.
Multi-Tabling Cash Games
Cash games are the most common type of game in which online
poker players multi-table. Because the blinds don’t go up, you
can play many of the same games at once. The general
availability of cash games that you’ll find, is the
prevalent foundation for multi-tabling on all poker
When multi-tabling cash games, you’ll need to develop a
somewhat automated style of play. As you might imagine, this isn’t going to be the most optimal route to take when it comes to
improving your overall skills in poker. This is where the
tradeoff is going to come in. For every table that you add to
your monitor, there is one less bit of concentration that you’ll be able to focus on making creative and winning plays.
Lower limit games will reward more automated strategies
whereas mid limit and high limit games will tend to punish them.
Micro and small stakes games aren’t exactly the best places to
be attempting unorthodox plays anyway, which is one of the
reasons why they are a breeding ground for mass multi-tablers.
If you are multi-tabling in cash games, there are a few
things that you should consider implementing. First, auto-top
off options will make it much easier to ensure that you are
always playing with the maximum number of chips allowed.
Anything under the max buy in is a waste of time, because you’ll be
sacrificing a significant amount of your long term edge in the
Second, make sure that you have your options configured so
that new tables properly align on their own. Most poker sites
will allow you to input your own layout preferences, which in
turn will make it easier to close and re-open tables as you
play. This will help to prevent against you being forced into
any spots where you time out or don’t have enough time to make
Finally, poker tracking software is absolutely critical to
any serious multi-tabling players. Because you are going to be
involved in so many hands at once, it will become exceptionally
easy to lose track of what is going on. You aren’t going to be
able to easily remember who the aggressive players are, who the
passive players are, and so on and so forth. For an investment
of $100 or less, poker tracker software that includes a HUD
(heads up display) will be one of the best purchases that you
can make in your online poker career, and the benefits will only
be multiplied when you are multi-tabling.
Multi-tabling and tournaments don’t usually go together very
well. There are a number of reasons for this, with the main ones
being availability of games and variation in real time action.
Unless you are playing sit and go’s, most tournaments are going
to have different buy ins, different structures, and will start
at different times.
As a result, you might be playing in a turbo with very high
blinds at the same time as you are playing a normal tournament
that has just begun. Forcing your mind to shift from one state
of mind to another is very hard to do, but it’s a definite
requirement in tournament play.
If you are just playing a couple (2-3) tournaments at once,
multi-tabling shouldn’t be an issue at all. It’s when players
start to sit at 6, 10, 15, or even 20 tournaments at once that
things begin to get very confusing. To summarize, multi-tabling
tournaments isn’t usually going to be a very good or profitable
Increasing and Diminished Returns
Multi-tabling is both the best way to increase your win rate
and the best way to ruin your win rate. Using an example of
$20/hour for earnings while playing two tables at a time, you
might expect to reasonably earn $35/hour if you doubled that
number to four tables at once. You make $2.50 less at the two
additional tables per hour, but your overall win rate does go
Now, imaging you double that number again to eight tables. At
this point, you would likely see $60 or so as your hourly rate,
which equates to $7 and change per table (from $10 per table
originally). If you again add four more tables, you may earn
$80, which would mean that you are at $6 and change per table.
Finally, an increase to 16 could mean $75 an hour, effectively
lowering your hourly rate and reducing your earn per table to
less than $5 each.
This is exactly how adding tables to determine your highest
hourly rate when multi-tabling works. You’ll need to gauge how
much money you are making with each amount of tables. Eventually
you’ll determine which number of tables allows you to max out
your hourly earnings, whether that means 4, 8, 12, 16, or 24
tables at a time.
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