Winning All The Cash At Once

by thetank
Submitted by: snoopy on Mon, 10/07/2006 - 9:58am

I can’t recall if it was the book of Revelations, Nostradamus, or Mystic Meg. I definitely remember reading that one of them prophesised the end of the World to be preceded by the rising of a great beast from the East.

It looked like Russia for a while, but since the end of the Cold War they’ve been behaving themselves. Nowadays, it appears as if China are the more likely candidates to fulfil the prophecy and start kicking up some whoop-ass.

I’m not stocking up on canned goods just yet. Not just because I don’t care for Heinz, but also as I don’t feel either country mentioned are too keen to let loose. Both of them have borders with no less than fourteen different countries. If they were to declare war on the entire World, a fight on that many fronts may prove too much.

Conventional wisdom, the writings of Sun Tzu, and the bitter experience of Teutonic dictators all suggest that too many fights at once is the path to ruin. In poker however, crazy American teenagers are doing their level best to prove otherwise. They play many tables at once and seem to be sweeping up all the excess cash that is kicking around the Internet.

Having a bit of a reputation for multi-tabling, I thought I’d make the focus of this article advice for those thinking of doing something similar.

Most people are turned off playing many tables because it looks intimidating. They see videos of people 26 tabling on Youtube and think it an impossible feat. To these people I offer the analogy of fish gutting.

For Sunday lunch, you’re laying on a big oily salmon. The master of the house stands at the end of the table and prepares to de-bone the fish. It takes him ages, the vegetables are starting to get cold.

He sees a film of someone who works in a fish processing factory. Workers on a production line perform the same feat as he attempted at the dinner table, only at 50 times the speed. How is this possible?

Quite simply because they do it all day every day and have gotten very good. Most Sundays the family has roast beef, he only gets to do the bone thang once in a blue moon. If he worked in a fish factory, he could whip the cartilage out of a salmon with his eyes tied behind his back.

What I mean by all this is that it’s critical when multi-tabling not to be scared. You can do it, it’s just a case of gradually easing yourself into the madness of it all. The more relaxed you are, the easier it will become for you. It’s very easy to become overwhelmed by the beep beep beeping when it’s your turn to act, to panic, become discouraged, and never venture past 2 or 3 tabling again.

Choose a site where you’ve plenty time to act. You may have four decisions to make simultaneously. This is ok, calmly click on one, calmly click on another, the 3rd and 4th will still be there. It’s just a case of making each one independently, and not fretting that there’s more waiting.

Ideally you want a large monitor to multi-table, the bigger the better. I mentioned in my 4,000 STTs saga the huge difference of having all screens not overlapping made to me. It freed up a lot of head space whereby my brain didn’t need to take in new images every few seconds, and it’s infinitely clearer which table is which. It allows you to proceed with much greater ease.

When playing daft amounts of games on a monitor that doesn’t allow you to do this, my advice is this. Don’t click on the tables to bring them to the front. Allow the software to do this for you. It will when it’s your turn to act. When the computer is bringing tables to the front and you are aswell, it all goes to hell in a hand basket rather swiftly.

The skill of multi-tabling is worth cultivating. Occasionaly fantastic +EV situations present themselves. The best example I can think of is when a bad beat jackpot rises to ridiculous levels, such as last year when the one on Party rose to over $600,000.

When I started multi-tabling at limit poker, my first mistake was that I believed it would soften the swings on my bankroll. The more hands you play, the more the luck factor will even out and you should start showing a profit. Four tables instead of one, four times as many hands played, one could reasonably expect that the daily swings would be reduced by a factor of four right?

Wrong. Think of it this way, playing four $50 dollar tournaments you’re risking the same amount of money as if you were playing one $200 tournament. This coupled with the fact that your edge (and resultantly your standard deviation) will be significantly reduced the more tables you play. If you take anything from this article remember this, multi-tabling requires a bigger bankroll.

Before I sign off for another week, I’ll close by mentioning the other fallacy of 19-tabling (or bat the rat as I like to call it). Seeing more hands doesn’t mean you’re learn more. Most decisions will be mechanical, if you want to improve your game fast, stick to one table. Some people’s game may actually improve playing multiple tables. This is more to do with a lack of patience and tendency to over-think situations when playing in just one game. Neither of these bad habits will be cured by playing 12 at once, they’ll just be temporarily negated.

Thomas “thetank” Stott