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A look at Multi-Tabling Myths and Truths

Over a year ago I wrote an article on explaining the pitfalls of multi-tabling and how multi-tabling could in fact decimate the game of many aspiring players. In this article I’m going to rehash some of the arguments against multi-tabling in the previous article as well as offer up some more thoughts on multi-tabling in poker, both for and against.

In my previous article I bastardized the golf saying of ‘You drive for show and you putt for dough’, changing it to ‘You multi-table for dough and you play one table to grow’. My feelings on this have not changed, but my feelings on who could benefit from playing multiple tables have relaxed quite a bit. I no longer feel that multi-tabling should be limited to clearing bonuses or players who have reached a level they want to grind away at; there are other benefits to multi-tabling as you’ll soon see.

That said, successful Multi-Tabling is like running a marathon, you can’t just decide to open-up 16 tables one day and think you are going to still keep an edge –you can’t even open-up eight or four tables your first time out. Like distance running you have to build-up to this point, and like distance running some players may never be equipped to run a full marathon and will have to stick with 5k’s and occasional half-marathon. Just because there are freaks of nature who enjoy running ultra-marathons it doesn’t mean it’s a viable option for you, and neither is playing 24 online poker tables.

The Disadvantages

  • Unforced Errors

Even the best multi-tablers suffer from this issue, considering I see training videos by very good players where they say, “that was a mistake, I must not have been focused on the table.” The more tables open, the less attention you can give to each one and this will cause unforced errors.

  • Missed Information

In addition to unforced errors, you may also miss out on a valuable piece of information if you are multi-tabling. So unlike an unforced error, you might never know you even made a mistake because of this missed information.

  • Stunts Growth

Playing multiple tables, and not focusing entirely on growing as a poker player, may be good for the bottom line in some cases but it’s terrible if you are trying to plug leaks or become a better poker player. Multi-tabling is a single skill, and only a small part of being a standout player. Sure you can make a nice profit by focusing on multi-tabling $100 NLHE games, but these skills do not translate to success in other areas of poker. So, if you plan on being a high-volume multi-tabler you need to realize that your game will be hurt in other areas.

The Advantages

  • More Volume and Experience

Multi-tabling allows players to practice more, and practice is the key to mastery. So long as the experience isn’t overwhelming, and the player is able to learn from their sessions, multi-tabling can drastically cut down on your time between being a learner and an expert.

  • More Free Time

Being able to play 2,000 hands in two hours instead of eight is a huge advantage for multi-tablers. By limiting their time in front of the computer they are limiting the amount of time they play poker, as well as the amount of time they are taxing their brain with difficult decisions. More free time means more down time and more rest.

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