Essay: Multi Tabling

    • Puschkin81
      Joined: 14.04.2006 Posts: 4,786
      Multi Tabling: What to look out for as a beginner

      written by kriegskeks

      Once you have learnt playing poker on the microlimits, you will soon get bored playing only a few tables at a time. As bad players can often cope with at least four tables at a time, I will write about multi tabling this week and how you can play more hands as a beginner without losing the overview.

      I remember when I started playing poker on PartyPoker. At first I played SSS with only two tables at a time. This became very boring for me after a short while and because the theory is pretty simple, I started playing six tables at a time without any problems until I reached NL50. By playing the SSS you will gain a good basic understanding for No-Limit Hold’Em, however, quite often the hands are only played until the flop whereas the tough decisions usually arise on the turn or the river.

      You should start with two to three tables when you start playing NL big stack strategy. As a beginner you will be playing Full Ring and therefore should have enough time to be able to think about every hand even though you have the experience from playing SSS. Depending on how active the player is, some beginners will get bored after a short time playing three tables only. I advise you not to start playing on four or more tables straight away. Quite often you will catch a good start and think that you are the greatest because your opponents on the microlimits are still very weak. You would probably want to increase the number of hands you play in an hour to climb up the limits as fast as possible.

      However, there is a problem doing this. Quite often you will have some leaks in your game, whether big ones or small ones doesn’t matter. When you start playing on five tables, you are very likely to miss your small leaks. You will be acting to fast in situations which you interpret as standard which are actually not as standard as you might think. To recognize specific strategies and situations you will need experience which most beginners don’t have. Due to this, I recommend starting slowly, even if it might be slower. Think about which move to take at which time carefully. In the beginning you should post seemingly standard situations on the sample hand forums just to check if there aren’t any leaks in your game. When you have started playing properly and the leaks in your game have not been eliminated, it will become very difficult to get rid of them again.

      When to start multi tabling? This depends on each player himself. Playing SSS it might be very easy, but the game with a full buy-in is much more complex and especially on the later streets mistakes could cost you a lot of money. I would suggest investing a lot of time into theory in the beginning. Obviously you should play a lot of hands as well. Three tables should be sufficient for beginners with a good perception. However, if this is too fast, you can always play fewer tables.

      After you have had some hands evaluated and got some positive feedback as well as evaluated some hands actively yourself, you should increase the number of tables you are playing at gradually. Especially on lower limits where FR is mostly played, five to six tables are easily manageable by a solid player.

      It is very important to always stay concentrated! Don’t let yourself get distracted and take the time to follow through with your actions rather than rushing into some costly moves. Concentration is very important because a bad call on the river could decrease your win rate immensely. A comfortable working environment is therefore inevitable. A comfortable seat, having everything in sight and not getting distracted by ICQ or other things is very important.

      What happens if you are already playing six tables comfortably and you want to switch to Short Handed games? Especially on PartyPoker I suggest you decrease the number of tables to four again. You will be able to roughly play 400 hands an hour and you will be busy enough in the beginning. It would probably be better to play three tables just to get used to the new dynamics of the game. As always, the most important thing is to feel comfortable. If you are scared in any kind of way, i.e. playing with scared money, you should reduce the number of tables. It doesn’t make much sense to let your winning rate drop yet making more money due to more tables if your starting winning rate was marginal in the first place because you weren’t playing well.

      You should especially watch out for this if things don’t work out well. Playing more tables to play more hands and therefore leave the downswing behind you can be deadly for your BR! In general: Rather play fewer tables than too many. By gaining more experience, you will be able to tell how many tables are optimal for you not to lose the overview of the things that are happening.

      Feel free to discuss this essay!

      Good luck at the tables!
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