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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

Poker Plus - Multi-Tasking

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When you play poker online do you multi-table? Many players do, especially when in tournaments. Multi-tabling has many advantages, increasing your chances of placing in tournaments and keeping you from being bored. We all know boredom while playing poker is the enemy. Boredom causes us to play hands we shouldn’t play, increasing our losses, decreasing our chances of winning.

There are also downsides to multi-tabling especially in games like Stud, Stud H/L and Razz. In any Stud game, watching and remembering the cards is a big key to winning. If you are drawing to 2 pair, say Kings and Queens, if you are not paying attention to the cards that have been mucked, you may miss the Kings and Queens that have been mucked, thereby drawing dead. It is hard enough to take into account the hidden cards, but not knowing what has been exposed and is dead is very detrimental to your game.

Personal experience tells me that playing in no more than two stud games at once is best for me. There are just too many cards to keep track of otherwise. I rarely play in more than one stud game at one time for this reason. I do however play in one stud game and 2 or 3 Hold’em tournaments at the same time. It is easier to multi-table at Holdem because you don’t have to watch the cards as much. It doesn’t matter what other players do, the flop will be the same. In Stud, raising to get out the player in front of you can mean the difference between catching a card that fits your hand or not. By not paying attention, you may not know he had to open the pot, so he may not have a playable hand and will fold to a bet. If you are multi-tabling, you may miss this and other important facts.

Since I play Stud H/L every day, I see many of the same players in the games. One player plays up to six Stud H/L games at once! I also know he is a constant loser by his patterns. He always buys short (less than the automatic buy-in amount). If the auto buy-in is $80 as it is in the 2/4 limit stud, he buys in $20. If he gets lucky quick, he hits and runs - leaves and then comes back with $20 again. This tells me he needs to hit and run to try to hang on to some money. He also only buys in $30 in the 3/6 limit which is silly, if he gets a good hand in a good game, he will only double or triple his $30. But, if he had bought in the auto amount of $120 and gets involved in a big pot, he could win way more, instead of being all-in for only $30. My opinion of the short buy-in players is they don’t want to risk more than that amount, which tells me they really have no confidence in their game skills. But the main point of him multi-tabling in stud is, there is no way he can play a good game and be able to watch the cards when he is playing so many tables.

Multi-tabling at stud is fine for the casual player, but for the serious player, it can just be to detrimental to your winning game. Also, by multi-tabling it is very hard to watch your opponents, pick up any tells, and take notes for future reference.

If you see Stud players who multi-table, be sure to note them because their game will suffer, they will miss critical things in the game, giving you an advantage. Plus, since they are playing too many tables to pay attention, they usually will be someone you want to play against.

If you are a stud player and get bored, try watching TV or getting other things done in between hands. Myself, I watch TV and write or surf the net and read. Of course having a big monitor helps, as I have enough space to have many screens open at once. Some players have two monitors; they play poker on one and do other things on the other one. Of course most poker sites like PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker offer special options and features that make multi-tabling very easy, which is a big plus for multi-table players.

If done right, multi-tabling can be very profitable, just pay attention if your game is suffering. If so, it may be best to play in only one or two at a time and multi-task doing other things.

No matter how many tables you play, log-in and grab a chair…see you there!

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