Long term online poker success with winning strategies – register for free!

The best strategies With the correct strategy, poker becomes an easy game. Our authors show you how to succeed, one step at a time.

The smartest thinkers Learn from and with internationally successful poker pros, in our live coaching sessions and in the forum.

Free poker money PokerStrategy.com is free of charge. Additionally there is free poker money waiting for you.

You are already a PokerStrategy.com member? Log in here!

StrategyNo Limit Midstack

Multitabling

Target Group

This article is directed towards low limit players who contemplate starting multitabling, meaning to play many tables at once. They want to either make more money faster or produce a larger amount of raked hands or StrategyPoints in a shorter amount of time, which is necessary to clear most bonuses and promotions. As a beginner, never (!) play more than 3-4 tables at a time.

Since raked hands and StrategyPoints will proportionately rise, every player will wonder at some point, whether it makes sense to significantly increase the number of tables. The pros and cons will be discussed in this article.

Knock-out criteria against Multitabling

Before we start, let's talk about some limitations: In case one of the following aspects applies, it is better to invest your time into Poker and into reading articles in our forum...

  • You just started at your current limit (less than 5k hands)
  • You have little experience with more than 2 tables. (less than a total of 5k hands)
  • You noticed a lot of obvious mistakes when adding a lot of tables in the past: Clicking the wrong button, timeouts, and chaos situations in which you let your intuition decide...
  • You want to relax while playing Poker, maybe eat something in between - forget about multitabling!
  • You want to improve your game and work on your leaks - forget about multitabling!
  • You are currently in a downswing and want to get back on track as soon as possible - forget about multitabling!
  • You want to play depending on what your opponent does, to improve your hand reading.
  • Your biggest weakness is a lack of aggressiveness - the risk of calling instead of raising increases at multitabling. The following criteria should not pose problems outside of the beginner area, but would also be co-criteria for multitabling:
  • You still have to consult the SHC quite frequently.
  • When playing post-flop, your thoughts still depend on the situation. You are thinking from one straight to the other, not yet in so-called lines or standard situations. Every game always seems "different and new" to you.
  • It takes a lot of time for you to calculate outs and odds. Time will run out at 2-3 tables.

Are there weaknesses which do not hinder multitabling?

A weakness might even be improved through multitabling: playing too loosely! If you are playing enough tables at one time, you might thank the God of Poker for every hand you can fold. It will be easier for you to fold "marginal" hands, and you are not playing for a single pot anymore - you will often times barely notice a win. The opposing hand will not be the most important criterion anymore, but more on that later.

What are the necessary requirements for Multitabling?

First of all the absence of the above mentioned knock-out criteria. Additional requirements are:

  • a quiet, comfortable working area (proper posture is extremely important when you have to concentrate!)
  • a proper monitor (6 tables maximum for a 15" monitor, you will be able to play 9 tables with 19+"; individual measurements apply, however)
  • a simple table layout if applicable
  • 100% attention, 0% distraction („no, dad cannot fix the kite right now")

But how does Multitabling influence my win rate?

I think that the basic difference when playing against 50 or more players is the fact that you have to be almost autistic. I make my moves no matter who my opponent is. If someone is very noticeable, I remember that, of course, but I would always judge the other opponents as "thinking TAG" to slightly loose passive according to the current limit. Allow the few players, who have an advantage, the few BB as a result - you therefore increase your true hourly win rate (see below), or you get the needed raked hands for your bonus or the current promotion. What happens if a table does not follow this scenario? You should either try to adapt to the game (only if you are used to the many tables), or change seats - other tables also have nice fish.

When using this type of game from $0.10/$0.25 to $0.25/$0.50, I think that all in all a WR of 4-7 PTBB/100 is possible (1 PTBB = 1 Pokertracker Big Bet = 2 Big Blinds). Your variance depends on your A-Game for one thing, and also on the amount of mistakes you additionally make at various tables. The more static your game has been, the more rigid your win rate. Are you proud of being a tricky player, and do you have excellent hand reading skills? Then you should count on a significant WR decline. I personally do not manage to play at 6 tables and simultaneously memorize their hand histories...

If you bluff too much, you might even have the chance to increase your WR. You will (have to) focus on the essentials at multitabling.

I noticed a positive side-effect when I first tried to play 6 tables: My game is not influenced by the outcome of single hands. Everything seems to be much more abstract and the worst bad beat is silently noticed. You do not have the time to get angry, it might already flash everywhere ... account balances are checked on a regular basis, but only for one reason: To make sure you do not miss the time when you have to re-cash. But that isn't really a problem either as your account will show a big plus at a different table. If you add it up, there is a tendency for many tables to level the outcome. If they do not level, and your stakes diminish - close out your tables. You have to be this disciplined if you dare to play at many tables.

The True Hourly Win Rate Principle

The principle of win maximization, expressed in terms of the True Hourly Win Rate - in the following referred to as THW, generally holds even if there is no connection to any aid organisation. In the long run, other factors become important, the development of your skills, and the rise to higher limits. Getting started with multitabling should hence not be your standard solution, since it offers predominantly short term advantages. Increasing the amount of tables might be a suitable action if the current situation calls for it. It is an additional discipline in which you have to learn a lot - and in which you can make many mistakes. Practice also makes perfect in this discipline.

The True Hourly Winrate (THW), expressed in Pokertracker Big Bets (PTBB) per hour, is the product of the Winrate in PTTBB/100, and the amount „n" of played hands per hour.

The formula is written as:

THW [PTBB/h] = WR [PTBB/100] * n/100 [Hands/h]

If you multiply this with the value of a BB in $, you get the average „hourly wage". n increase almost proportionately with the amount of tables, in FR-games, 65 hands per table are realistic (or approximately 200 hands/hour at 3 tables).



Bonus Whoring or Skill Improvement?

Before taking a closer look at win maximization, lets talk about a basic moral issue: Isn't is better to build your bankroll with winnings out of your Poker games rather than using bonuses or promotions?

There is nothing bad to say about „honestly" climbing up the limits by working on your skill set. If you are following this strategy it is actually better not to chase bonuses, which you would have reached by diligent playing. But now and then an attractive promotion waves at you, or you want to secure a bonus despite limited time. In this case, temporary multitabling is a useful tool.

Win-Maximization


There are two typical scenarios, in which a short- to medium term win maximization might be of interest as opposed to a long-term development:
  1. I reached my „feel good" limit, and I am able to cash out suitable amounts. The THW maximization might be more important to me than climbing up limits or improving my skills. But I dare to say that players, who are in this situation, have reached the advanced state a long time ago, and are hence not part of the current target group.
  2. After a downswing where I had to climb down a limit, I have a clearly positive WR, and I am sure to beat the current limit. I want to climb up to my former limit as soon as possible.
In this case I wonder how to effectively rebuild my bankroll. My usual 3 tables, for example, provide a WR of 5 PTBB/100 and hence a THW of 5 * 200 / 100 = 10.0 PTBB/h. If I have 4 hours a day available to play Poker, I can increase my bankroll to about 200 PTBB in 5 days.

But if I only have 2 hours a day, it might take me a long time to master this climb. I could also play highly concentrated for 2 hours at 6 tables, however. With a bit of practice I should be able to manage a WR of at least 3.0 PTBB/100, which would give me the prospect of a THW of 3.0 * 400 / 100 = 12.0 BB/h. I can hence use the little time I have much more effectively. The price I have to pay is that I have to fully concentrate on my actions. I won't learn much - other than the fact that I will reduce my mistakes over time.

You have to note the high win rate multiplier when playing many tables simultaneously. It has a dominant size, which shows that overdoing multitabling or even getting a negative win rate is counter-productive, even if I get a bonus now and then. As long as I play +EV, promotions might be lucrative enough to even accept a short term reduction in my win rate. From my own experience I can say that everyone, who can beat his current limit, and who has a WR of at least 3.0 PTBB/100, can dare and try multitabling.

Lets get started: Table Selection

Table selection is not as important when multitabling at low limits. But: If you notice a lot of unpleasant situations at one table, rather than standard situations, you should switch; you just don't have the muse to think about the killer moves of your favourite maniac or to calculate whether the pot odds of 28.5:1 are still enough for your wimpy draw after every second hand, because 5+x fish fight for the pot everytime.

You should also part from SH - constellations because they lead to even more action, and they ask for a different - more opponent specific - way of playing. Every Strategypoint also gets more expensive the fewer players are at a table. The points are given away independently of the table size.

I used to open my three tables one after the other. I added a new one once I already had a few reads on my opponents. This does not work at multitabling. Without PT/PA you hardly have any guidance for your table selection. I just open every table with a suitable average pot. Then I check the present nationalities real quickly, and in case a seat is already open, I check whether I like the position. It is enough for me if the table has conditions which are slightly above average. The quantity is supposed to make the difference. I would rather change tables again later in case I get a weird feeling at one table.

It is possible, however, to find re-occurring situations when multitabling. You can then adapt your game to, e.g. a small blind defence or a large respect for raises in early position.



And now a few helpful hints for beginners

Take some time to find the table arrangement that is best for you. I personally like to arrange tables so that I am always sitting close to the centre of the monitor. I would place a table, where I am sitting on the bottom to the right, at the top right of my screen. Otherwise I often have to look at where I am sitting - sure, the unveiled cards also show me where I am, but the above mentioned arrangement makes it easier - and my eyes do not have to wander as far.

The brown buttons also show me where the action is. You often times only see part of the table. I prefer the grid structure when multitabling since i can at least differ between three cases per table:

  • no buttons are shown: I cannot choose at this table right now - the table is currently not interesting
  • small buttons (6 count) give rise to the possibility to default - I check on this situation if I have time. I only use the fold or check-option as default, but this helps me clean up a lot of tables beforehand.
  • large buttons (3 count) signify that I have to make a decision at this table. These tables have top priority.

I am aware that you all know how to use the buttons. I am simply telling you to keep an eye on the buttons because they are ideal indicators for the urgency of your actions on different tables.

 

That's not the entire article...

With a free membership at PokerStrategy.com, you'll get free poker money to play poker with and therefore the chance to gain access to hundreds of strategy articles such as these - and of course poker videos, live coaching sessions and strategy forums. Register now for free and start playing to enable all our offers.

Register now

Comments (12)

#1 batmanbg, 23 Sep 08 10:25

Useful article for me

#2 mouse89, 06 Oct 08 14:48

ok

#3 fun101rockets, 02 Nov 08 01:50

i have to multitable b/c i only have 1-2 h per day to play poker and i use very conservative BRM 100Bi minimum

#4 Pirokunn, 05 Feb 09 14:00

I have at least 3 problems from the knock-out criteria list, but I am still multitabling, and proud of it :D (because playing only few (limit) tables is boring as hell).

I think the attitude of this article is a bit negative, nevertheless, it's a great article for beginners, like me.

#5 Reetkann, 05 Feb 09 22:54

Didn't help me much, i'm multytabling NL2 with 4 tables. I don't have a pokertracker but for example: I won about 1500BB(750poker tracker bets?) in 3 hours today.

#6 therockerman, 22 Feb 09 13:13

im a bit past this i think im multitabling with 9 tables. but i dont use any poker tracker or so on

#7 yzystyle, 12 Jun 09 13:29

i personally LOVE playing as many tables as possible. its just such a rush and depending on the limits and number of players on the table ill play anything from 6 to 22 tables.

#8 pootsman, 19 Sep 09 11:51

Got a few tips from here, thanks!:)

#9 Hahaownedlolz, 03 Dec 09 19:48

wish i would run as good as reetkann even once..

#10 diutza, 24 Aug 10 13:36

I can easily play 6 to 9 tables, but I can't play more then 2 hours per session. After that time I'm getting boring and make mistakes so I need to stop.
Keep in mind that playing lots of tables does not guarantee you a nice profit, you can also lose, and you can lose a lot if you are playing many tables.

So be sure that you are prepared and have played enough hands and don't have troubles in difficult situations, as you usually have to act in a sec or 2 at a table.

#11 mindfucker33, 25 Feb 11 15:03

I'm playing 16 tables(FR)5NL in FT, I believe it has developed my game, before multitabling I was too loose, it is a great way to play poker, but you have to act in 2 sec, so a hard decision shouldnt be a problem, you see the situation and you act instantly - YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHAT TO DO!

#12 surfwell1818, 04 Nov 11 10:20

3 tables tiled leaves the 4th tile for hand replay viewing, or note taking window...Depending on where you play.