Since the advent of online poker, many players truly love the convenience afforded by logging in and joining a poker table in a matter of minutes. It is often seen by many as preferable to getting in your car, fighting traffic on the way to your favourite casino or card room, and then sometimes having to wait to join the action at a live table. The ability to play poker online from your own home, or even on the go with a variety of mobile devices, is wonderful. Don’t get me wrong. Live cash games and tournaments will still always be played and there is certainly excitement in actually feeling and holding a stack of chips, as well as the many sights and sounds of a casino or poker room. But for convenience, the ability to play from your desktop and laptop is relished by poker players the world over.
Another advantage to the online poker game is the ability to multi-table. For skilled players, this can multiply profits considerably. You are not confined to one table as is the case in live action. Online, you can open many windows simultaneously, sometimes up to 24 tables at a time, and increase your profits exponentially. This has developed a whole new breed of poker player. Online poker sites are filled with players playing many tables at once and jumping from the action from one table to the next with the click of a mouse.
Not only do winning players increase their poker profits by playing several tables simultaneously, but they also receive additional cash and benefits by earning points at popular poker rooms such as PartyPoker and PokerStars, thereby quickly increasing their VIP statuses in the sites’ loyalty programs. You can really rack up the cashback rewards by multi-tabling, earning money above and beyond the amount being won by actually taking it from lesser opponents while playing poker.
However, there are some drawbacks to multi-tabling online. It is not for everybody. First of all, you have to be skilled at multi-tasking. If you are the type of person who likes to concentrate your thoughts in one area and not move on to other things until you have completed your focus and attention on the first area of concern, then multi-tabling may not be for you. There is nothing wrong with people who are seemingly more one-dimensional like that. It just may be the way that your brain or thought patterns are wired. But if you crave a lot of action and don’t like the down time experienced by waiting for other players to act, then perhaps you are ready to play several tables at one time.
Be forewarned, however, that your attention and focus when split and divided among many or several tables will not be the same as if you concentrate heavily on just one table. It will, to some degree, adversely affect your ability to read other players. As such, your decision-making will not be at its peak. However, that fact may not be detrimental to your profit margin when you consider the amount being won on average from the number of tables played, as well as the added VIP benefits gained from achieving elite status at the poker room of your choice.
If you are intent on cashing in on the advantages of multi-tabling, just make sure that you are not playing more games of Texas Hold’em than you can handle. It would be helpful to keep accurate records of your win or loss ratios in comparison with how many tables you are playing to better gauge the amount of tables that are most profitable for you. If you’re losing money playing eight tables simultaneously, but making a tidy profit while playing four, well, it doesn’t take a genius to tell you the best course of action. The key is finding your “sweet spot,” or the number of tables you can play that maximizes your rate of winning. It is widely believed that the majority of multi-tabling cash game players are most comfortable playing between 2 and 4 tables simultaneously. Some can play more. But if you’re looking to increase your winnings while keeping a reasonable degree of focus and attention to each table, two to four is probably best.
Personally, any more than two or three tables at a time gets me flustered and not able to concentrate properly. I happen to be a believer in paying attention to the flow of the game. When I lose the flow and jump from too many tables at a time, the whole situation seems disjointed and out of sync. I like to see players actually make their bets or raises, instead of coming back to the action and seeing a bunch of money bet into the pot and am now confronted with a situation where I lost the proper flow of the game. But that’s just me! That’s why I have to tip my hat to the players who can multi-table a dozen or so tables at a time and make a profit doing so.
One such player is Randy “nanonoko” Lew, who became the envy of multi-tablers everywhere a few months ago by achieving a Guinness World Record for playing the most online poker hands in an eight-hour period and walking away with a profit. The Team PokerStars Pro played an amazing 25 to 30 tables at the same time, racking up a whopping 23,493 hands in the process, taking home $7.65 for his efforts. Not too shabby considering Lew was down more than $1,200 at one time during his multi-tabling marathon. PokerStars‘ policy allows a maximum of 24 tables, but they allowed “nanonoko” to play more to obtain the record. Without even a bathroom break or time out for a drink of water during his eight-hour stretch, Lew played 48.94 hands per minute, which totaled 2,936.63 hands every hour. Lew earned 22,784 Frequent Player Points (FPPs) during his record-breaking run. That’s the points system used by PokerStars in their loyalty program. Lew has enjoyed Supernova Elite status at the site since 2007. The multi-tabling expert has been dealt hole cards over 5 million times since August, 2008, winning more than $2.3 million in the process. That doesn’t even include the monstrous cashback rewards doled out to Supernova Elite players. Amazing!
Generally, the key to effective multi-tabling is to not stray too far from basic Poker 101–bet strong hands and fold the weak ones. Because your focus will be split between several tables, your reading ability of your opponents will be lessened. Therefore, any moves designed to outplay your table rivals may result in less than the optimum outcome–namely, losing money. Sticking to poker strategy basics while multi-tabling should be more profitable in the long run.
There are a couple of options available at most reputable poker sites regarding how playing more than one table will appear on your computer screen or monitor. If playing four tables or less, its generally best to re-size the tables into tiles that can all fit on your screen at once. This allows you to see the actions of other players at all tables at all times, albeit on a smaller scale. When playing a large number of tables simultaneously, players tend to use the stacking or cascading feature available on the software of many poker rooms. This stacks the tables in such a fashion as to slightly overlap each other, allowing you to click on any table of your choosing at any time. Also, when its your turn to act, the table you need to act upon will jump to the forefront so you can check, bet, raise or fold and move on to the next table. Or, you can do what Randy “nanonoko” Lew did and hook up two huge flat-screen monitors at the same time. Lol. Just kidding on that one.
Multi-tabling can be one of the best advantages to online poker playing. It certainly affords skilled players the ability to increase profits. It can also reduce the boredom that some players feel while waiting to be dealt a new hand or for another player to act. Playing only one table can be tedious at times. Also, sometimes players who are bored will widen their range of playable starting hands, wanting to get in on the action and to relieve boredom. This usually results in losing money, as playing poor or less than the best starting hands is not good basic poker strategy. So in that regard, multi-tabling can actually improve your game.
If you have yet to try multi-tabling online, give it a go. Just remember to try it at low stakes at first and build up to more tables gradually. Its best to start with a couple of tables and see how it goes before taking on more tables. Multi-tabling is definitely not for everybody. But if you’re good at multi-tasking and looking for ways to increase your profits at the poker table, as well as feeling bored while playing only one table, it may be a perfect fit for you.