What Is Multi-Tabling in Poker and How Do You Do It Right?
Maybe you’re new to playing poker and want to improve your skills fast. Or, you’ve been playing poker for a while but want to maximize your play time and increase your winnings.
Playing multiple poker tables at once (also known as multi-tabling) is one of the best methods for learning foundational strategy, practicing your hand analysis skills, and increasing your hourly earnings.
Let’s explore what multi-tabling poker strategy is, the pros and cons, and how to find the right multi-tabling strategy for you.
What Is Multi-Tabling?
Multi-tabling is when you play multiple online poker tables at one time. You usually switch back and forth between tables and play when it’s your turn.
Generally, you would multi-table in low-limit or micro-stakes cash games. That’s because you’re placing wagers a lot more often than you would if you were playing at just one table. However, there are online tournaments where you can use multi-tabling to maximize your chances of winning.
Having more hands to analyze, which allows you to learn poker skills quickly.
Gaining access to more opponents and playstyles for a lot of practice.
Spending less time waiting for your turn.
Enjoying fast-paced play that keeps your attention.
There are drawbacks to this strategy that you should also consider. These include:
Having more hands to analyze, which can be a strain after a while.
Putting strain on your bankroll because you’re putting in for all those blinds and betting.
Experiencing more mis-clicks or time outs.
Having less time to make a decision, which puts added pressure on you.
Deteriorating your overall gameplay because you can’t put in the same critical analysis at every table and won’t always make the best decisions.
Many professional and amateur poker players use a multi-tabling strategy to maximize their time. You may also see many poker streamersplaying multiple poker games at once.
But the multi-tabling strategy is different from playing in a multi-table tournament.
What Is a Multi-Table Tournament?
A multi-table tournament (MTT) is a poker competition with multiple poker tables in play at once, and all the players are vying for a seat at the final table where the winner will take the cake. Perhaps the most popular MTT is the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.
18 Tips for Multi-Tabling the Right Way
Follow these steps to develop and execute your multi-tabling strategy effectively:
Play on a reliable computer.
Understand your winning strategy and stick to it.
Decide what your goal is when multi-tabling.
Determine your regular hourly win rate.
Find out how many tables maximizes your hourly win rate.
Start with two tables and work your way up.
Figure out how many tables you can handle.
Put away all distractions.
Keep a close eye on high-stakes hands.
Prepare your bankroll.
Play ABC strategy.
Avoid spending too much time analyzing opponents’ play styles.
Test out multi-tabling view setups.
Sit in the same position at each table.
Set up hotkeys.
Use the four-color deck feature.
Find an online casino with the right multi-tabling setup for you.
Play on a Reliable Computer
Poker is best played on the computer because a bigger screen ensures you can see all the action. Plus, you won’t really be able to see multiple tables at once or easily switch back and forth when playing on a smartphone, so a computer is best.
Computers typically have stronger connections and processing that handle the real-time response of one online poker game, let alone many simultaneous ones. But make sure your laptop or desktop has a decent processor.
Understand Your Winning Strategy and Stick to It
Whatever overall strategy works for you when playing a single table, replicate that at each of the tables you play at when multi-tabling. This will give you a solid foundation to play off of as you increase your table count.
Decide What Your Goal Is When Multi-Tabling
How you approach multi-tabling really depends on your goal: Do you want to make more money or improve your skills in less time? Generally, you have to pick one over the other to determine which strategy you want to use, how many tables you’re going to play, and what your ideal outcome is.
You can always change your goal from session to session once you get the hang of it. For example, one day may be focused just on increasing your hourly win rate while another day may be about testing a new multi-tabling strategy.
Find Out How Many Tables Maximizes Your Hourly Win Rate
First, play one table for multiple hours; it’s best if you do this over multiple days/sessions. That way, you have a lot of data you can use to calculate your average win rate (how many times you win per hour and how much money you win per hour).
You’ll use this figure to determine your win rate for different numbers of tables. Then, start playing two tables, three tables, etc. Keep track of your winnings and number of wins when playing each combination of tables. For example, track how many times and how much you win each hour when playing at two tables, then at three simultaneous tables. Figure out the average win rate per hour per number of tables.
Use that data to determine your dropoff rate, or how much your win rate decreases each time you add a new table. For instance, say you lost about $0.10 when adding a new table for the first five tables. Then you lost nearly $0.20 for each additional table for tables 6 through 10. You can use these rounded figures to determine your likely average win rate for each number of tables you play. Note that this number will (hopefully) get better as you get better at multi-tabling.
Start With Two Tables and Work Your Way Up
Start small with just two tables so you can get used to looking at more than one table, managing multiple hands, and playing against double (or triple) the number of opponents. As you get comfortable managing two tables, try three your next session. Then keep increasing per your win rate chart (as mentioned above) and your comfort level.
Figure Out How Many Tables You Can Handle
While your win rate chart can help you understand how many tables you need to make the most amount of money, you still have to play based on your comfort and skill level. So, you can work up to playing the max number of tables that earns you the best hourly rate, but you don’t have to always play that way if you’re not comfortable always playing at that level. Find your sweet spot, which can vary from day to day.
Be sure to take regular breaks during a long multi-tabling session and between sessions. That way you don’t burn out or fatigue yourself — both of which can affect your focus, motivation, and decision-making capabilities — no matter how many tables you’re playing.
Put Away All Distractions
Stay as focused on your multi-tabling session as possible. Put away your phone, turn off the TV or poker podcast, and stay off social media. The more focus you have on your session, the more likely you are to make strong decisions and avoid costly mistakes.
Keep a Close Eye on High-Stakes Hands
You can’t treat all your games as top priority. So you have to be quick at recognizing the strongest hands and devote more attention to following those through. For instance, if you’re dealt an AA, you definitely want to pay attention to that table for that hand to avoid accidentally making the wrong move or timing out.
Prepare Your Bankroll
Make sure your account is well funded because multi-tabling can get expensive. And, you should set a stop loss point for your overall session to keep your bankroll management in check.
Play ABC Strategy
ABC poker strategy is a standard, foundational strategy that has you playing only the strongest hands and folding any weak or marginal hands. If your goal is to improve your poker skills, you won’t be using ABC strategy to try any high-IQ plays (because that’s not really what multi-tabling is about). You can use ABC strategy to practice playing strong hands and get better at analyzing hands. ABC strategy is especially useful for those who want to play to win more money as it’s a lean approach to multi-tabling.
Avoid Spending Too Much Time Analyzing Opponents’ Play Styles
Tiling, where you position each consecutive table like tiles on a floor. You can see each table at all times, but at a certain number of tables, the tables are too small to actually see.
Stacking, where you stack each table on top of one another and cycle through them. This method gives you more focus on each individual game, but don’t get too bogged down in one table.
Cascading, which is like stacking where you only view one table at a time but you can always see the top/corner of each game. This allows you to quickly navigate between tables without having to cycle through the whole stack.
You can also use third-party software that alters the view boxes for each table to create a more seamless look that’s easier on the eyes. But that’s just a personal preference.
Consider trying out each multi-tabling view to see which is most comfortable for you. Some players like to see what’s happening at each table at all times, while others are fine switching back and forth or cycling through them.
Sit in the Same Position at Each Table
If you can, request a certain position when you enter each lobby. Sitting in the same position keeps you consistent in terms of knowing when it’s your turn. It also makes it easier to transition between tables.
Set Up Hotkeys
Hotkeys are keyboard shortcuts that allow you to quickly make bets and decisions to save time. For example, you’ll probably have a hotkey for folding, checking, calling, and raising a few different percentages of the pot. Usually, online poker rooms have some hotkeys already programmed, but you can reset them and pick the keys that work best for you.
Use the Four-Color Deck Feature
This feature color codes based on each of the four suits. As opposed to having the hearts and diamonds in red and the spades and clubs in black, you’ll get hearts in red, spades in black, clubs in green, and diamonds in blue. This feature makes it easier to spot flushes and better discern between suits in general.
Find an Online Casino With the Right Multi-Tabling Setup for You