Multi-tabling is perceived necessity in online poker, and often times it is, but it could also severely hinder your progress as a player. What many people fail to realize is that for every additional table you add to your screen, the less likely you are to think critically about your decisions. Multiple tables force you to give less individual attention to any particular game.
There is a very thin line between increasing your profitability through multi-tabling and wiping it out altogether. Plenty of players have had their online careers derailed because they started to play way too many games at a time. If you want to be a success, you don’t need to drive yourself insane, instead you should focus on playing at the level you are both most comfortable and profitable at. Think of your peak number of tables as your very own market equilibrium. Increase that number by one table and you are suddenly earning less than if you exerted less effort. There is no benefit to working harder for less money; it just doesn’t make sense.
Reasons for Multi-Tabling
There are two main reasons why online players multi-table, with a third reason that is more of a side note than a primary motivator. The first reason for multi-tabling is also the most obvious, as a way to earn more money. This comes as no surprise to anyone and is the most logical reason to play a number of tables at once.
The second reason for playing a ton of tables at once is aimed more directly at full time players who are looking to squeeze every nickel and dime possible. This reason is the player rewards, rake back, and other benefits that are derived from playing a lot of hands at once. The more volume that you are putting in, the more that you are going to earn in kickbacks. Now, each site has their own unique way of rewarding high volume players, but there is always going to be one ancillary benefit or another if you generate a lot of rake.
The third and final reason is not so much a reason as it is natural instict. Online players as a whole tend to be more “ADD” than your average crowd. The younger age demographic is largely to thank for this. This certainly is not something that is applicable to every online player, not by any means, but online players as a whole desire more action and faster action. If you are starting out in online poker, you are probably going to occupy only one table at a time. As you get some experience, the natural evolution leads you to two tables, then three and so on and so forth. Eventually you are at 16 tables and still feel like the game is moving too slow. This is where bad multi-tabling habits are formed.
Multi-Tabling for Increased Profits
The best reason to multi-table is to increase your overall win rate. If you are making $20/hour playing four tables of 50NL, there is a good shot that you would be able to earn $30/hour playing eight tables. Now, you should always be sure of your win rates before you ever try to boost them up. A critical error for online players is thinking that they are winning when they are really not. If you do have a solid sample size to back up your winnings, though, bumping up the number of tables you are playing is an effective way to test your boundaries. The important thing is to keep track of your progress as you push your limits.
Using the example above, you know that you already earn $20/hour when you play four tables at a time. If you want to see if you can better this rate, see what happens with five or six tables before you jump to eight tables. This will allow you to gauge whether your success is finding improved results, or if you are actually going backwards. There is a legitimate chance that more tables will equate to a lower win rate. Careful tracking and measurement of your success is an absolute necessity if you want to ensure that you are boosting your win rate and not cutting it back.
Multi-Tabling for Kickbacks
Heavy volume online poker players can generate thousands of dollars in rake per month. Because of their high value, poker rooms find different ways to reward their work ethic (and the fact that they are making them the most money). Almost every room offers points that can be used for prizes in their poker room’s store. These prizes can be anything from poker apparel and books to cash. Players use these rewards as an incentive to play as many tables as they can, and eventually find a way to calculate these rewards into their actual win rate. For example, if you can earn $50 in cash from your rewards after eight hours of 12 tabling, this would mean that you are making around $6 per hour in rewards alone (50/8). Needless to say, all of these rewards and bonuses will really begin to add up for someone who plays 100,000 hands per month. This is not, however, something that is going to make you a lot of money.
If your ultimate goal in poker is to make a ton of money, you are much better off concentrating on a few tables at a time and improving your overall skill set. Most mass multi-tablers are resigned to their fate of playing in the micro stakes. For people who work on getting better, however, the sky is the limit.
Think about all of the best poker players in the world. Even if you don’t think that you could ever reach their level of play, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give some consideration to their approach to the game. How many of the top level players can you realistically envision playing 20 tables at once? The answer is none (or very close to it).
The only way to truly get better as a player is to concentrate on each and every move that you make. Multi-tables, and mass multi-tables in particular, work off of a streamlined system that doesn’t promote growth as a player. There are definitely some exceptions to this rule, with a handful of players being able to dominate mid and high stakes games while mass multi-tabling, but they are far and few between. The best long term game plan for poker success is to first iron out the fundamentals, then slowly move onto more advanced concepts, before eventually developing and refining a well rounded game. If you can properly follow these stepping stones, the odds are certainly in your favor.