Online multi-tabling is an art form and an acquired skill, and for many people is the only way that they can enjoy their poker. There is a buzz of constant action, instant decisions to be made, tables flashing away at you and clocks ticking down the time you have available.
You can be playing multiple tables on one site, or playing in all the major Sunday tournaments in a rainbow of different poker rooms spread across your computer screen – the atmosphere is amazing and the action non-stop. However, what does this roller-coaster ride of poker cost in real terms?
There is a story about how the then reigning World Chess Champion, Gary Kasparov, played six games of chess simultaneously against some young, promising American masters in New York. He won the “match” four games to two, but the fact that he lost one game and drew two others against players he would have normally pulverised in a heads-up situation goes to show that your standard slips when you overload yourself.
Not only may you not be able to fully follow the action on the poker table, but you become vulnerable to weaker players who you may not have noticed or who have utilised a software application to notice that your focus may not particularly be on this table. The facts are that no matter how good a poker player you are, you will not play as well on two (or more) tables as you will on one.
But, of course, there are the many benefits of multi-tabling which may counter your lower standard of performance. If playing a number of tables at once is the only way you can enjoy your poker, then you should continue to do it because, if you are playing just one table and find it too slow, you are going to make bad decisions anyway through boredom.
The second argument in favour of multi-tabling is in respect of the bonuses you will clear and rakeback you accumulate from playing many tables at the same time. These may actually earn you more money than those hands you miss through not being entirely alert at a table.
Playing numerous ultra-tight tables for the sake of rakeback can (on certain sites) be quite lucrative, and if you are clearing points to release existing bonuses at the same time, that is free money also. Furthermore, if you are playing six tables simultaneously, you are six times more likely to get a premium hand – so you could still be making more money per hour than if you were fully focused on just one game of poker.
The choice ultimately is personal. Players who play a lot of Multi-Table Tournaments tend to start two games initially and over the next couple of hours add a couple more, with two more being added a few hours later. This way, the “boring” early stages of a long tournament are more manageable and there is more action on other tables to keep you occupied.
The best advice is to start slowly. Try two tables and if it works for you, leave it at that for a while until you become more accomplished. If you feel that you can handle more, step it up gradually and remember that it is okay to come back down again.
Your poker should be fun, but it should be profitable and you should not sacrifice the reason why you first got involved in the game for the sake of making it entertaining. You would be better off going to the pictures!