Multi Table Tips
by Jason Kirk  

Online poker is the same in most respects as live poker, but in many other ways it's also a creature all its own. There are some players who don't play well live but crush the competition online, and vice versa. The best path, of course, is to be a player who can play well no matter the environment. To help you start down that path by mastering online poker, here are a few tips to increase your expected value.

1.) If your poker site of choice is capable of allowing you to play more than one table at a time, do it.

Almost every major poker site on the internet today allows you to play more than one table at a time, or "multi-table." The number of tables you can play varies site by site, but most sites that are capable of multi-tabling allow you to play at least four tables at a time. Some sites will allow you to play up to eight tables simultaneously! If you're an even remotely solid player, you're basically multiplying your hourly expected win rate by the number of tables you play. This is a great way to build a bankroll and move up in limits.

2.) Use the pre-select check-boxes selectively.

Those little check-boxes at the bottom of the table - the ones that let you decide what to do with your cards before it's your turn to act - can be very useful if you're multi-tabling four or more games, when the number of decisions you're required to make at once can be overwhelming. But if you're only playing one or two tables, don't use those boxes. Most of the time you won't have to make multiple decisions at once, and anyone at your table paying attention will notice you using the check-boxes and use that information to their own advantage.

3.) If you play no-limit or pot-limit games, don't play more than two tables at once.

Big-bet games are a special animal when it comes to multi-tabling. While some folks have the innate talent to play more than two tables of big-bet poker at once, most of us fall outside that category. That's because the big-bet games require a lot more thinking to make proper decisions at any given juncture. You have to pay closer attention to your opponents in these games, something that's very hard to do if you've got more than two tables open. Where multi-tabling fixed-limit games increases your expected win rate per hour, doing so with big-bet games can actually lower your expected win rate if you play beyond your capability. Be smart and stick to one or two tables of big-bet poker at a time.

4.) Don't mix your games if you multi-table.

One of the best parts of playing poker online is the wide variety of games available at any given time. However, mixing games can be very dangerous for your bankroll. Say you're got two tables of Pot-Limit Omaha running, and you jump into one table of Limit Hold'em and one of Limit Omaha Hi-Lo. Having four tables open at once has already increased the number of decisions you'll have to make per minute, but now playing two different games at once has increased the chances of you making a big mistake and costing yourself a lot of money. Imagine if you forgot in the heat of the moment if you forget that one of your PLO tables isn't hi-lo split, and played for the low on a table where only the high hand wins the pot! That's a lot of risk in comparison to the rewards of playing multiple games at once.

5.) Avoid using the chat function provided by most online poker rooms.

If you're just playing a friendly game online to have some fun chatting with your fellow players can be an entertaining part of the game, much like the banter at a live poker table. But if you're out to make money, keeping chat on might end up tilting you. If you're multi-tabling and you tilt because some jerk starts berating you in chat on one of your tables, the consequences could be even worse - the amount you might lose on one table could end up being the amount you lose on every table. Most sites allow you to turn the chat function off, and doing so is a smart move. The amount of information you gain about your opponents from chat is minimal compared to the information available from how they play the game - focus on that and you'll do better in the long run.

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