Cash game pro Simon Hemsworth explains the best ways to increase the tables that you play – and increase your profits while you are at it
To be a successful online player you need to be able to multi-table. If you make $20 an hour playing one table but $10 per table playing eight at once then it obviously makes sense to multi-table. Multi-tabling is key if you see poker as a game to make as much money as possible. The extra rakeback or other bonuses gained from playing lots of hands can also massively boost your bankroll.
Much of what makes an individual a multi-tabling wizard involves a natural talent for being able to make lots of good decisions quickly and doing so for long periods of time. Some people are simply better at doing this than others. However there are also ways that everyone can improve their multi-tabling abilities and we’ll look at five of the best here.
Making sure you have a comfortable working environment is key to successful multi-tabling. You might be at your computer for lengths of time at once, and any distractions can hurt your bottom line. Getting a comfortable chair is imperative and probably the biggest single contributor to how physically relaxed you will be during a session. Personally, I don’t think it’s all about investing vast sums in a fancy chair – it’s more just what chair is comfortable for you. Go to a furniture shop and try a lot of different chairs until you find one that suits you. It might end up being the cheapest one!
It’s also important to have good quality equipment for your poker set-up. Invest in a powerful computer that is capable of running all the poker sites and software that is necessary so there are never any performance issues or crashes. This also includes getting a solid internet connection so do some research about which ISP is the best for your area and get a good router. I’m sure anyone who has experienced computer problems when grinding understands they are incredibly tilting and no doubt cost you money in the long term.
The internet is full of possible distractions. Everyone has clicked on Youtube intending on watching a 30-second video of someone falling over only to look at the clock and realise an hour has passed. To multi-table effectively you need to remove all these possible distractions – anything that takes your attention away from making good poker decisions will cost you money.
This includes things like Skype, twitter and Facebook. It’s best to just not have these applications open at all when playing as the alerts they produce will inevitably take your attention away from the poker games. This is certainly something i should learn myself, but do as I say and not as I do and all that.
Find your optimal number of tables
When it comes to multi-tabling everyone is different. Some people, particularly those used to the slower pace of live poker, find playing any more than one table very difficult. They can win playing one table but become a losing player if they try to play two. In this case that individual’s optimal number of tables is one. Most people are able to play four or more tables at once, while others can ‘mass table,’ which might be playing 20 tables simultaneously.
An easy mistake to make would be to see Randy ‘nanonoko’ Lew playing 24 tables and maintaining a very solid win-rate and assume you will be able to do the same. Some people are just more naturally able to make good decisions one after another at a very quick pace. Although there might be ways to improve your multi-tabling skills it’s unlikely you will ever improve enough to go from a break-even six-tabler to a nanonoko.
The key is to keep adding tables during your sessions until you find the ideal amount that maximises your hourly. This will take some trial and error as it’s possible to run good over a small sample of 16-tabling and then assume you can do this successfully, only for variance to catch up on you and prove you were wrong.
It’s important to recognise the most number of tables you can play while still feeling you are making decisions that maximise your hourly expectation. For example, a warning sign you are playing too many tables would be occasional misclicking or timing out of hands and if you have frequent down time with no decisions then you could probably add more tables.
Organise your tables
The way you set out your tables during a session can make a big difference to your multi-tabling success. As with the number of tables you play, there are certain personal preferences to this but generally tiled tables are the most effective. This way all tables are visible at once so you can easily prioritise certain decisions above others. If you have a complex three-bet pot happening on one table you can focus more on that while inbetween different streets making some trivial preflop folds on other tables. Using cascading tables can often make the prioritisation process more difficult.
Moreover the order in which the tables are tiled is vital. If you are playing games with varying stakes the different levels should be grouped accordingly. This way you know that your $1/$2 tables are on the left side and when you need to make your standard three-bet to $20 there is less thinking required. There will be much fewer misclicks with this method. Also, the higher stakes tables should be more in your direct eye line, forcing you to focus on those games as much as possible.
You should also make use of all the options different sites have to make multi-tabling easier. A four colour deck is essential to make hands and boards easier to identify at a quick glance and eliminate misreading cards. This is another small change that can avoid wasting time during a session.
Poker tracking software
I have never really used poker software to help me with my decisions, beyond tracking my results, as it tends to hinder as much as help my game. However, the benefits are difficult to ignore when it comes to multi-tabling. When playing lots of tables it can be tricky to keep track of important parts of your opponents’ games such as how often they three-bet or fold to four-bets. Without such information you may end up folding too often in preflop battles and lose money in non-showdown situations.
As with lots of things in poker, personal preference is key. Therefore the tips here can act as a guide but what is most important is that you use trial and error to find your multi-tabling sweet spot and then all that’s left to do is crush those games!
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