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Multi-Tabling - Maximizing Profit

Multi-tabling is the art of playing multiple tables at once when playing online poker. If you make an amount of money playing one table, then playing more your profit will increase.

At first glance it seems reasonable enough.  If you make $5 an hour playing one table, then you should make $20 an hour playing four tables.  However the flaw in that logic becomes obvious when you add more tables and track your overall profit.  Who, for example, would believe that you can make $100 an hour by playing 20 tables?  It won’t happen. 

The problem with multi-tabling is that the more tables you add, the less money you’ll make per table.  So if you make $5 an hour playing one table, you’ll probably make $12 an hour playing on three ($4/hr x 3 tables = $12).  The more tables you add, the less you’ll make on each table.  Eventually you’ll add tables to the point that you’re losing money on all tables instead of making it.  This phenomenon is called the law of diminishing returns.

The trick to multi-tabling is to find the “sweet spot” – the point when you achieve maximum profitability.  Here’s an example of what a player’s results could look like after several months of multi-tabling different numbers of tables:

1 table @ $5 per table per hour = $5/hour.
2 tables @ $4.50 per table per hour = $9/hour.
3 tables @ $4 per table per hour = $12/ hour.
4 tables @ $3 per table per hour = $12/hour.
5 tables @ $1.50 per table per hour = $7.50/hour.

Obviously this player should play 3 tables at a time.  The player could also 4-table, but he’d make the same amount of money by playing three tables and he wouldn't have to work as hard.

Multi-tabling becomes exponentially more difficult as you add more tables because it’s difficult (if not impossible) to track the playing styles of that many player at once.  Tracking software can help, but you’ll still have to deal with the stress of making split second decisions while five different tables flash on your screen and beep for your attention.  You’re bound to make more mistakes.

So how does this apply to you. Well there is no one rule that applies to all players. Some players can cope and take in more than others and similarly some players will be able to concentrate more splitting their attention across a number of tables. The best way to find the optimal number of tables for you, is to test the water and track your results.

So back to the key question, is multi-tabling profitable?  Yes, but you have to add tables slowly and track your results so you can find your own “sweet spot.”

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