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One of the primary advantages of playing online poker over live poker is the ability to multi-table. Some pros have an insane ability to play up to 24 tables at a time. Others play a much more reasonable number of tables ranging from six to 12 at a time.

The primary reason that poker player’s multi-table is to increase their hourly rate. It is much more profitable to win $10 per hour over 10 cash game tables than $30 an hour in a single cash game.

Today we will look at the basic of how to multi-table in online poker and how to avoid some pitfalls that many new players experience.

One at a Time

When you start your adventure in multi-tabling, don’t jump in with both feet first. Start by playing two tables at a time and continue playing two tables until you feel that you’re comfortable.

Once you feel that you’re ready to add another table, add another table and play three at a time until you feel that you’re comfortable. Continue this pattern until you are at a number of tables that you can play comfortably and profitably.

We stress profitably in addition to playing comfortably as the whole purpose behind multi-tabling is to increase your hourly rate. If you find that your profit is suffering when you’re playing five tables as opposed to four, drop back to just playing four table.

Drop Down in Stakes

When you decide to start multi-tabling, drop down in limits to help reduce variance. Some recommend dropping down as much as two full levels while you perfect your multi-tabling skills.

You may also wish to consider a long-term drop in stake while multi-tabling depending on how good the games are and how much you’re able to win. If you can win $20 per hour playing five tables of .05/.10 or $15 per hour playing five tables .25/.50, dropping down is the smarter long-term play.

Another option for players is free play tables. These tables allow you the opportunity to work on your game without risking a dime. The drawback with free tables is that the play is seldom on par with real money poker. However, it does offer you a way to become comfortable with playing on multiple tables at one time.

Don’t Expect Immediate Results

Some players get discouraged when they are not able to quickly succeed at multi-tabling. Remember that your attention will be continually divided based on the number of tables you play.

When you play four tables, that’s four times the number of decisions you will make per hour. Some people need time to acclimate to this new style of play, so make sure you give yourself ample time to adjust.

This is one reason we recommend dropping down in stakes when learning how to multi-table. If it takes you a while to become profitable at multi-tabling, the impact on your bankroll is not as great.

Keep Decisions Simple in the Beginning

Remember that you’re goal is to win more money per hour, not to be the “best player” at the table. While you’re improving your multi-tabling skills, don’t get too elaborate with your play. Stick with a style that requires you to make easy decisions.

We don’t recommend that you become an uber-rock but we do recommend you tighten up your range when applicable. As you’re more comfortable and able to make tougher decisions without affecting your overall play, then you can switch back to a more elaborate style.

Don’t Mix Games

Whatever you do, stay away from mixing poker variants when you multi-table. There’s nothing that will cross up a player more than to have Texas Hold’em on one table, Stud on another, Omaha Hi-Lo on a third table and Badugi on the fourth.

Since each variant has its own unique style of play, you will ultimately confuse yourself when mixing up variants. The exception to this would be if you’re mixing up different styles of NL Hold’em. While six-max plays differently than ring game, the differences are typically not enough to impact the game of an experienced player.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.