Multi-Tabling in Poker

Published: 17/12/2010

Poker can be a very slow-moving game, mainly because hands worth playing are so infrequent. Much of the time spent at the Poker table is time spent waiting for cards worth calling or raising on. Many hours can be put in with little return on investment.

That is why multi-tabling has so popular. This refers to the practice of playing a number of games of Poker simultaneously—a possibility brought about by the creation of online Poker rooms. By pulling up multiple windows on one’s computer, it is possible to have two, four, ten, or even twenty games going on at once. Suddenly, there is no waiting at all for good hands or opportunities to profit.

The Logistics of Multi-Tabling

Multi-tabling in Poker is not for new players who still have to think about every choice and consider the meaning of every move made by opponents. Decisions need to be made rapidly. Only players who are already comfortable with their game, quick to act, and perhaps a bit bored with the slow pace of online play, should attempt taking on more than one game at a time.

Most Poker web sites allow and even promote multi-tabling. All that is necessary is to pull up a second Poker room from the Lobby window and get seated with the same user ID. If the windows are minimized, they should fit easily side by side on the computer screen, so it is possible to watch two games at once. In fact, most screens can handle at least four such rooms at a time.

By setting the default controls for each room to auto blinds and switching the chat features off, it should a rather simple matter to keep up with play and concentrate on the handful of decisions that need to be made every few minutes. Those who become adept at four-table play may wish to use an over-sized monitor or connect a second monitor, to allow even more windows to be displayed.

More Tables, More Winnings

The rationale behind multi-tabling, of course, is that playing more means winning more. A good player will tend to win greater than 50% of the time, so losses at a few tables will be mitigated by wins at others and the overall trend will be steady profits.

Of course, a larger bankroll is required to fund multi-tabling, but it need not be quite as much as the cost of playing the same number of tables serially. That is because the risk is spread over a broader base. A player who typically bankrolls 10 times the Big Blind at a single table can get by with 20 or 30 times the Big Blind at four tables played at once.

Multi-tabling is a wise alternative to playing higher stakes. Typically, a player who earns a 20% return on investment can not make more than a few pounds an hour a single table. That amount can be quadrupled by playing at four tables at once, but without the corresponding increase in risk that moving to a table with 4X the blinds would entail. By playing low stakes, there is not much risk on any single table.

One downside to multi-tabling in Poker is that the player may have a tendency to go on “auto pilot,” clicking buttons in a predictable manner without much regard to the other players’ styles and without learning much from wins or losses. For this reason, tournaments are more manageable than ring games (cash games), since reading other players is less a factor. It is also a good idea to start with two tables and gradually work up to three, four, or more until a comfortable level for consistent winning is found.

Published on: 17/12/2010

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