Many online poker players are playing 6, 10 or even more tables at the same time. This means they are playing more hands each hour, and can make a lot of money by winning just a few dollars each hour over many games. The problem with multi-tabling is that it splits your attention, meaning you’ll often miss profitable opportunities against individual players. This article shows you how to build up the number of games you are comfortable playing – and what the major options are for your screen layout.
First up you should have a think about your motivations for multi-tabling. While this is a great way of increasing your profits, it is difficult to learn the game while keeping an eye on so many games. You’ll need to schedule learning time away from the games, or just accept that poker is a cash-machine and stop moving up the levels for a while!
You should also be aware that your site needs to have a good volume of games running and smooth-running software. Without these your multi-tabling will be severely constrained.
The guide below starts with a look at how increasing the number of tables decreases your profit from each game while still improving your hourly rate. Next the main display options of tiled or cascaded are looked at. After this advice on adding tables in manageable steps and information on some poker tools which are designed to help you multi-table.
I will use a simplified example to show how adding tables affects your overall returns. The starting point is 2 tables, which – on average – make you $5 each per hour for a total hourly rate of $10.
You decide to add 2 more and find your attention split enough that you miss the odd profitable semi-bluffing spot and miss a bet size tell or two from your opponents. No big deal, you still manage $4 per table for a total of $16 per hour.
All goes well and you decide to go for 8 games, learning to cope with the massive amount of information by folding a few of your more speculative starting hands and folding early in unclear spots which would require detailed reads. Your per-table rate is now almost halved to $2.75c per table per hour. The extra games keep your hourly rate going up to $22 per hour.
4 more tables get added, and you lose some more opportunities to make moves or act on player specific information. Now you fold all but the strongest starting hands from the first few positions and play cautiously after the flop. Your rate per game goes down to $2, but the 12 games give you an hourly rate of $24.
You can add on a lot more bonus money to these hourly rates, which can make a significant impact on your returns at the end of each month. The key point here is that returns are diminishing as you add more games – but your hourly rate goes up.
There are two main schools of thought when it comes to multi-tabling. One group like to see as many of the games at once as possible, and achieve this by minimizing the games and having them all visible in a matrix setup on the screen. The other school feels that this is too much information at once and prefer to lay the tables on top of each other. They pop-up when it is your turn to act and if anything interesting happens they can be pulled from the stack so you can watch them.
Which you choose depends completely on your personal preference. I recommend you try both for a while and see which suits you best. My preference is for tiled – I find you can spot betting size tells easier this way.
Before you heroically attempt 12 games, stop and consider how dangerous missing information or tilting can be when you are overwhelmed. I strongly advise you to build up slowly, adding just one table at a time and then making sure that you are comfortable before adding another one. This may seem like a slow process, but it could save the very poker bankroll you are trying to grow.
There are tools which help with multi-tabling by collecting statistics on your opponent’s play and displaying them next to each player’s avatar. These numbers can effectively replace your own observations and are great for spotting players at the extremes of loose, tight, aggressive and passive. Popular versions of this ‘Heads-up-Display’ software include Poker Tracker and Holdem Manager.