The online poker world has allowed a new generation of players to make a good living from just playing poker but the unusual thing is that many poker pros now play at stakes that are quite low compared to Vegas old hands. In the past, to make enough money for the good life, you would need to play at least at the $25/$50 level before you could make a living from poker. But now things have changed, there is an entire class of new online poker pros making a living at levels like $5/$10 or even lower! This new poker phenomenon has arisen because poker via computers and the internet have allowed players to play more than one table at a time. In fact some of these low stakes players are playing 16 tables at a time! This new poker strategy goes by the name of multi-tabling.
Lets assume you are becoming a low stakes shark with a solid ROI of 20% in your tournament action or 4BB/100 hands in ring games, giving you an estimated hourly rate of US$3.00 – $5.00 (depending on your actual stakes). Now you might be pretty happy with your play and ready to start pulling money faster than a job flipping burgers at McDonalds. Careful, the trap most young professionals will take is to take a shot at a higher level. Instead, you can be safer and try the multi-tabling strategy to increase your hourly rate and grow your bankroll a bit more before taking a shot at the next level.
The danger in simply moving up to a higher level is that, you may overestimate your ROI. There will be more sharks at higher levels. Even the bad players will be less bad. So you may in fact find yourself with a lower ROI and also higher bankroll volatility. Such that, you may actually get a lower hourly rate than before, despite playing for bigger pots.
This is where the beauty of the multi-tabling strategy comes into play. If you are making $5/hour playing one table, the easiest way to increase your hourly rate is to play 2 or 4 or even 16 tables at the same level. The advantage here is that, you are already comfortable at the level you are playing at and have a good feel for the betting at that level. This advantage may be lost at higher levels but at this level you can make betting decisions quite quickly. This is the easiest way for a small stakes player to start making $20+ / hour playing online poker.
No profit comes without risk. The multi-tabling strategy divides your attention. There will be less time to get a feel for each individual player or even each table. Or rather, it will take you more time to get a feel for how the game is going at each table. So your ROI per table will decrease. So there is a cap as to how many tables will maximize your profit.
The best way to work this out is to start slowly. Start with two tables. Once you get comfortable, move up to 3 tables. Once you get comfortable, move up to 4 tables. And so on until your either satisfied with your hourly rate or you hit your limit. Play around until you find what is right for you.
Recommended Poker Sites for Professional Multi Tabling
As recommendation, if you want to get serious about becoming an online multi-tabler then you should consider opening an account at either Poker Stars or Full Tilt. The reason being these are the two most popular sites in the online poker world. Both allow up to 16 tables and have enough games starting all the time that it is possible to multi-table for ring games, SnGs or MTTs. For most other sites, it will only be possible to multi-table for ring games, with SnG and MTT action too slow to get more than a couple of tables going, especially at the higher stakes.