One of the best things about playing poker online is the ability to play more than one table at once, otherwise known as multi-tabling. Throw in some bonuses that you can earn from the poker rooms and maybe some rakeback, and you can earn a pretty decent hourly wage just by breaking even. The big question that I am always asked is, how many tables is the optimum amount that a person should play at one time?
For me, the optimum amount of tables has always been four. Anything more than four tables at once, and I have a hard time focusing and creating reads on players at my table. Without the ability to develop reads on your opponents, you will be out-maneuvered in hands. For instance, if you try to play 16 tables at once, you are basically going into robot mode, which is ok, but eventually you will take some big beats as you will not be able to slow down when an opponent hits a set on you and you can't see it.
For cash games, I like to play a maximum of four tables at once. If I move up higher, then I like to trim that down to a maximum of two tables at once.
For tournament playing, I like to play a maximum of two tables at once. Why the difference between tournament and cash? When playing tournaments, it requires a bit more thought, as you need to more frequently calculate and account for the rising blinds, the average stacks at your table, the short-stacks, etc. This takes a little more mental computation. At a cash game, you are almost always going to be deep-stacked, and the blinds never go up. However, in tournaments, the blinds are always going up, and you need to keep better tabs on who is desperate, who might want to make a move soon, etc.
If you are multi-tabling, then bonus accrual and rakeback are very important, and will increase your hourly win rate dramatically.
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