5 Essential Rules for Successful Poker Multi-Tabling

Bertrand Grospellier
Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier: Multi-tabling master.

The advent of online poker brought with it the ability to find a game at any time of day without having to leave your own home.

Suddenly gone were the days of having to travel hours to find a poker game.

Gone with them was having to put up with getting 20 hands an hour from an incompetent dealer.

Now we can play as many games as we want at the same time, limited only by our reaction time and our stamina.

How Multi-Tabling Has Changed Poker

Multi-tabling has changed the way poker is played.

Never before could someone make a living playing 10¢/25¢, but you can bet your bottom dollar there are more than a few people 20-tabling "the quarter" now for a tidy monthly sum.

Many people - mostly live poker nits - believe that multi-tabling is a waste of time. Their rationale is that when playing multiple tables, it's impossible to give each decision the required amount of thought.

To a certain extent these naysayers are right. Playing more tables does cut back on the time you have to make crucial strategic decisions.

Allen Kessler
Live nits think multi-tabling is a waste. They're wrong.

So, yes: when multi-tabling, you generally won't be able to play your absolute A++ game.

However, because you're playing so many more hands, your A game on four tables is going to net you more money in the long run than your super A++ game on one table.

This is why people multi-table.

They give up a small edge in their decision-making ability to gain a large edge in sheer volume of hands and, in the end, profitability.

Before You Play Many, Master One

If you're just learning to play online poker, multi-tabling is not for you. Before you start adding more tables, you should master playing just one.

Seeing more hands per hour means you'll have to make more decisions. Having to make decisions in a number of pots at the same time can overwhelm new players.

The last situation you want to face is to be contemplating a large river raise on one table and then time out with aces on another.

Start out slowly. Nobody runs before they walk.

If you are having trouble following the action on one or two tables, don't add more. Slowly ease your way into playing more than one game.

Once you're comfortable playing one game, add another. If that makes you feel too pressured, drop back to one game.

Otherwise, you'll make bad decisions.

Annette Obrestad
Recognize your tough spot.

Bad decisions lead to losing money, which, clearly, is the opposite of what you want to accomplish by adding more tables.

If you feel overwhelmed when in the middle of a session, just relax and play some ABC poker.

There's no need to get fancy. With the extra tables you're on, you're going to be getting many more hands an hour.

You can pass up those marginal situations because another, more profitable situation is just around the corner.

Recognize Your Tough Spot

It doesn't matter if you're playing four tables or 14: when the decisions start piling up, you have to be able to prioritize.

You need to be able to quickly recognize which decisions are easy and which decisions require more thought.

In the heat of battle, you'll rarely come up against multiple deep-thinking decisions all at once.

Often you're going to be faced with one tough decision and several easy decisions.

What you should do is recognize your tough spot, take a good look at the situation and give that decision all of your brain power.

Then go around to your other tables and make the easy pre-flop raise/fold/call decisions on autopilot.

A good multi-tabler can give a setup on one table deep thought while simultaneously acting on completely different situations on other tables.

Don't Get Complacent on Table Selection

Sebastian Blom
Don't sleep on table selection.

Once you start playing six or more tables, things can get pretty hectic.

Since you're making decisions every few seconds, it can be easy to get complacent on table selection.

This is a mistake.

Just because you are playing more tables does not mean you should stay at a table with a LAG who's three-betting all of your openings.

If the table is too tight for your tastes, or you have an aggressive player on your left, seek out better games.

There's no reason to subject yourself to those conditions when there are hundreds of games available at any given time.

Know Your Limit, Play Within It

This lottery commission slogan rings true for multi-tabling as well.

Don't ever play more tables than you are comfortable with.

This applies to old salts as much as it does to those new to multi-tabling.

Everyone has a critical mass of tables they can manage/pay attention to the action on and still be profitable.

When you find that point, stick with it.

Once you start playing too many tables and going on autopilot for your big decisions, the law of diminishing returns sets in.

Your game, and ultimately your profits, will suffer.

Don''t let this happen to you.

Autopilot is a necessary evil to a degree when multi-tabling, but letting it take over completely will cost you money.

Randy Lew
Poker requires thought.

How to Multi-Table Successfully

Poker is a game that requires thought; there's no way around it. So find that magic number of tables that you can pay attention to and stick with that.

Playing online is all about maximizing your expectation. Good players do this by playing more tables. It may seem difficult at first, but it will come to you with time.

If you're only playing one table at a time online, you're leaving money on the table. If you're a winning player you should have no trouble, with a little adjustment, adding a few more tables.

Your $/hr will thank you.

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howtoplaypokerinfo.com 2016-08-05 10:46:16

nice article, I wrote an article on multi-tabling recently.

H.Unger 2013-06-20 11:40:44

If you are impatient like me, multi-tabling and rush- poker are ideal. 'Your $/hr will thank you.' seeing as i'm not amazing at poker, 4 tables increases my earnings from maybe $5-10 /h average to 20-40. very nice. Figures like this means I don't tilt and end up losing! After 1 bad beat, only a little patience is needed before a premium hand comes along.

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jonas 2012-01-22 01:56:26

I remember when I first started playing no limit I would sit for hours at 1 table. I think this is excellent training as it helps develop patience. I tried to play 2 tables but it got out of hand and I could not concentrate. Now playing 4 tables is ok for me and I am very relaxed. Still occasionally a lot happens at once but the auto pilot thing kicks in. After you have mastered multi tabling I think its pretty hard to settle for One table again, unless you are perhaps playing an MTT.

90 ball bingo developer 2010-06-25 07:46:09

Keep in mind is your level of expertise in the particular form of poker that you’re playing. If all you ever play is no limit hold’em sit-n-gos then you should figure out how many games is right for you and stick with it. But if you almost always play pot limit Omaha cash games, and sometimes you play limit hold’em SNG’s and on occasion you play no limit hold’em multi-tables you need to adjust your number of games based on what type of games or combination of games you’re playing.

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