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Thoughts on Multitabling


Jeffrey "JGB146" Blake is the owner and operator of Grinderschool.

Nearly every poker player has heard a story about a successful online player who is massively multi-tabling. Some play as many as 18 tables simultaneously. If these players have the experience, knowledge, and discipline to do this without making significant mistakes, they will likely make more profit than they would in playing the same style at fewer tables. Against tougher opponents, capable of playing more correct lines, this same "by-the-book" standard style becomes much less likely to be the optimal play. Thus most skilled multitablers will admit that their win-rate is reduced when multi-tabling. They make up for this with high volume of play. That, however, is not always possible.

First off, let's address the volume vs. quantity statement with some numbers:

Ultimately, poker is about making the most "correct" decisions. The more decisions you make, the more opportunity you have to make correct decisions. Adding more tables allows you to make more decisions. Thus more tables can lead to more correct decisions through greater volume, even if each individual decision is less likely to be correct.

There is catch, however. The more decisions you make in the same time frame, the less information you can consider for each decision. Each player must discover for himself when the decrease in information outweighs the benefits of increased decision volume. Some factors which impact this are:

Returning to poker, there are several different layers of information to collect:

  1. Your cards

  2. Your position, stack sizes of yourself and your opponents, and the action to you

  3. Tells from your opponent(s)

  4. Your knowledge and history with the opponents already in the hand and those left to act

  5. Your estimation of your opponents' ability to analyze each layer (including this one)

In choosing how many tables to play, you are estimating how much of that information you can collect in the time allotted and how much of that information you actually need in order to beat your current competition.

Any time you find your win-rate dropping, or you move between different stakes, strongly consider reducing the number of tables you play. Conversely, once your win-rate is solid and you feel completely comfortable, try adding another table to the mix. Eventually you will find your balance for maximizing your profit, with your own ideal ratio of decision-volume (more tables) and information requirements (fewer tables).

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