6 Reasons to Play Multiple Online Poker Tables at Once (Plus 8 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t)
Multi-tabling is when you play multiple online poker tables at the same time. It can be a lucrative strategy for many online poker players, especially those who want to become professional gamblers who make a living playing poker.
While multi-tabling has its advantages, it’s not the strategy for every player and their goals, experience level, and budget.
Let’s explore the pros and cons of multi-tabling so you can determine if playing multiple poker tables at once is right for you.
6 Benefits of Multi-Tabling
Many poker players — professional and amateur — play multiple tables at once, and for good reason. Consider these pros of multi-tabling to see how this method can transform your poker game:
Increased hourly win rate and earnings.
More chances to develop quick hand reading skills.
Access to more opponents and playstyles.
Stronger attention and focus.
Quicker poker instincts.
Increased Hourly Win Rate and Earnings
The general rule of gambling is the more you’re able to wager, the more you stand to make. But there are obviously limitations to this line of thinking. (We’ll talk more about the limitations of multi-tabling later.)
You can generally increase your win rate when you play multiple poker tables. Think of it as doubling your wins when you play two tables, tripling when you play three, and so on. However, there is a point where your win rate stops compounding and actually decreases. That’s because you can only play so many tables with decent success before you’re split in too many directions and your game suffers because of that.
It’s important to play a few simultaneous tables to understand how much you win on average based on the number of tables you’re playing. Then, you can use that data to figure out your average win rate for multi-table setups and discover your ideal number of tables.
More Chances to Develop Quick Hand Reading Skills
Multi-tabling gives you many more hands to analyze in a shorter amount of time, which can help you develop your hand reading skills. That is, you’ll get faster at recognizing the strongest hands and know how to play them. You’ll also be able to practice playing out the strongest hands in your range. All this can help you become a more efficient decision-maker at any poker table.
Access to More Opponents and Playing Styles
The more tables you play, the more players and playing styles you face. While multi-tabling doesn’t allow for much in the way of reading your opponents, you still get more chances to test your strength against different styles, strategies, and skill levels.
Stronger Attention and Focus
It can sometimes be hard to keep focused when playing poker at an online casino. There’s a lot of waiting for players to make their decision before it comes back around to you. But when you’re multi-tabling, there’s a lot less time spent waiting for your turn. You’re almost always reviewing previous plays and making your decision. This more fast-paced play keeps your attention and is just more fun.
Multi-tabling can help you make the most of your time. You’re fitting as many hands as possible (for you) into a single session. This is especially important if you’re only dedicating a certain amount of time each day, week, or month to play online poker.
Quicker Poker Instincts
Less time to think about (or overthink) each decision plus only playing the strongest hands in your range means you’re better able to make quicker decisions at the table. This helps you develop hand analysis and range play into instincts rather than just skills. But there’s a limit to this benefit, which we go over in the next section.
Consider These Potential Cons of Multi-Tabling
There are some cons to multi-tabling though. While some downsides apply to the strategy all the time and should be seriously considered, other cons vary from player to player. Keep these cons of multi-tabling in poker in mind when deciding if it’s for you:
Accidental mis-clicks and time outs.
Less time to gather information and make a decision.
Increased number of mistakes.
Not able to spot online poker tells.
Not the best method for developing certain poker skills.
The more decisions you make, the more tired of decision-making your brain gets. And this makes it harder to make decisions, especially good ones. This phenomenon is known as decision fatigue.
Decision fatigue can easily happen during a multi-tabling session. That’s because poker is all about reading the table and making decisions. When you’re doing that for many hours and across many games, you can strain your brain and reduce your decision-making abilities.
Kick decision fatigue by:
Figuring out your signs of burnout or decision fatigue and listening to them.
Taking regular breaks during a multi-tabling session and between sessions.
Finding the perfect number of tables that allows you maximize your time without causing burnout too quickly.
Lowering the number of tables or not playing at all when you feel low energy.
The big flipside to “the more you wager, the more you stand to win” is that you stand to lose more often, too, because all forms of gambling are chance. So, if you hit a losing streak or aren’t very skilled at poker, multi-tabling can drain your bankroll.
Multi-tabling is also more expensive because you’re putting in for blinds at multiple tables and betting on each hand at most of these tables, too. That can quickly take a toll on your bankroll.
Make sure to set a loss limit for your entire session and for each table. No reason to chase a losing streak when you’re playing that many tables. Also, make sure you’re playing at micro stakes tables so your bankroll lasts as long as possible.
Splitting your focus between multiple tables can be overwhelming at first. It may be too overwhelming for some players in general, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
You can better deal with the feeling of being overwhelmed by:
Starting small with just two tables, and play until you get used to that before adding another table.
Playing on just a few tables for a few sessions to really get the hang of it.
Avoiding the urge to add more tables if you’re already sweating.
Leaving a table or two if you’re feeling the heat.
Accidental Mis-Clicks and Time Outs
When you have a lot of tables on your screen, simple mistakes can happen, such as:
Not having the right table selected and making a decision that applies to a different table.
Clicking the wrong button or hitting the wrong hotkey.
Timing out of your turn because you didn’t have the table pulled up or because you stepped away for too long.
These are all especially likely for beginners as you add more tables, and just in general since you’re not able to take your time with each and every decision.
Less Time to Gather Information and Make A Decision
You have to split your time across multiple tables, though it’s not always evenly — some hands are just stronger than others, so they need more attention and care. But that all means you have less time to make a decision, which limits how much information you can gather about your opponents to outwit them. Less time for decision-making can also add more pressure.
Improve your time management in multi-tabling by:
Folding marginal and weak hands so you can split your time and focus across your strongest hands.
Using the notes feature to write down anything you notice about players when you dedicate more time in an individual hand.
Only taking on as many tables as you can realistically handle.
Increased Number of Mistakes
Since you can’t put the same critical analysis and time into each table, you won’t always make the best decisions. In fact, you’re more likely to make mistakes when multi-tabling because of the quick, automatic decisions you start to make after a while. But it’s your job to recognize when you’re making too many mistakes, dial it back, and regroup.
Not Able to Spot Online Poker Tells
Again, with less time at each table, you’re not really able to look for online poker tells, like bet sizing patterns, timing tells, and chat tells. This means your strategy is less about exploiting others’ weaknesses and ALL about playing to your strengths and not showing your weaknesses.
Not the Best Method for Developing Certain Poker Skills
The skills you develop when multi-tabling are really limited to quick hand analysis and playing your top range. But you don’t get much practice reading your opponents, spotting tells, and bluffing. So, understand what your goal is when playing poker to determine if multi-tabling is right for you right now.