Poker > Poker Strategy >

The Pros and Cons of Multi-Tabling

Poker Multi-Tabling


One of the best things about online poker is the ability to play on multiple tables at the same time. In this article I'll discuss the main benefits of multi-tabling, but also some of the downsides and factors you need to consider. Let's start with the benefits of multi-tabling:

The Benefits of Multi-Tabling


• More Hands per Hour
• Less Boredom
• No Need to Play Junk
• More Premium Cards
• Save Time
• More Decisions
• Learn Poker Faster

When playing online poker, the number of hands per hour varies depending on several factors; such as the general speed of the online poker site and whether you're playing for ring games or shorthanded. But let's say at an average online poker table you'll see around 60 hands per hour. If you are playing at 4 tables then you'll see 240 hands per hour. This means you'll see a new hand every 15 seconds - and if this isn't quick enough then you can always play more than 4 tables. Some people play up to 20 tables simultaneously, but 4 tables are certainly more manageable.

Playing so many hands per hour brings huge benefits. For starters, you won't be bored folding junk - or tempted to play weak hands, because better cards will soon arrive. You'll also save a huge amount of time. If you're used to playing just on a single table, and spend two hours a night playing online poker, you can play the same amount of hands in just 30 minutes - assuming you limit yourself to just 4 tables. Of course you can also still play for the full two hours, but see 4x as many hands. It makes perfect sense!

Since you get to see more hands per hour, you will also be presented with more pre-flop scenarios. I've already mentioned that multi-tabling allows you to easily fold weak hands, but of course you'll also see many more premium hands. Because you'll be getting so many more pre-flop situations, you'll find that your poker skills improved considerably - simply because you'll be making so many more decisions, which have a cumulative effect. The more hands you play in poker, the more experience you gain, and the better player you become. Of course this is assuming you are making the right decisions, and if you’re not then step down until you’ve learnt how to play poker well another to even begin multi-table play.

Every poker player is familiar with the huge swings of fortune (and misfortune) that exist in the game. The advantage of multi-tabling is you can lower the variance considerably. If you're used to playing $1/$2 single table games, then try multi-tabling at four $0.25/$0.50 tables instead. You're spreading the risk across all four tables, so when you run into a huge bad beat - it has less impact on your overall earnings. Of course you can still stick to $1/$2 stakes, and multi-table at this level, if you have a big enough bankroll. You should only really do this though, if you are comfortable playing at multiple tables. Otherwise its best at lower limits than you might otherwise do - which is what most poker players who multi-table tend to do.

The Downsides of Multi-Tabling


• Playing Lower Limits
• Bigger Bankroll Requirements
• More Bad Beats
• Faster Recovery Times Needed
• Multiplying Factors of Tilt

As has already been mentioned, it's better to play lower limits than usual when multi-tabling, in order to lower the variance. Sure, if you're dominating $200 NL, then you might want to play on multiple tables at the same level. However, it doesn't mean you'll continue to dominate if you're playing multiple tables. That's why most poker players who multi-table do so at lower limits. The downside to this is you may not be as motivated at the lower limits, and get into the poor mindset of undervaluing the stakes are not treating the games as seriously. Avoid this at all costs otherwise you’ll struggle to beat the games you should easily be capable of beating.

If you find playing at lower limits boring and you insist on sticking to the level at which you have become accustomed to, then you will need a much bigger bankroll if you're multi-tabling. Proper bankroll management is essential for online poker success, and even more so if you are multi-tabling. You must pay very close attention to this aspect of poker; otherwise you’re doomed for failure and it won’t take long before you go broke. Ensure you have the proper bankroll to sustain your poker at your chosen level.

Bad beats are parts and parcel of online poker. They cannot be avoided. If you're playing poker across multiple tables then you will experience even more bad beats, and if you are to be successful multi-tabling then you will have to get used to these bad beats. More importantly, you have to ensure that you do not let bad beats affect your performance on other tables. Emotional control is an essential skill for any winning online poker player, but even more so when multi-tabling.

You have to learn to recover quickly from any bad beats or bad play on your part, and if you're seeing a new hand every 15 seconds - then you'll have to be quick. Whatever you do, avoid going on tilt. When multi-tabling, tilt factors multiply and can quickly spread. Before you know it you're losing across multiple tables just because of one bad beat on a single table, and you can forget about the lower variance because it's been superseded by going on super-tilt.

So as you can see, there are both advantages and disadvantages to multi-tabling when playing online poker. To be successful at multi-tabling requires good bankroll management, emotional control, and good decision-making. Of course these skills are the same as those required of good poker players in general, but if you're playing across multiple poker tables, then you'd better be ready to multiply these basic skills.

Multi Tabling