Online MTTs can be fairly gruelling. Like a rugby scrum except where brains interlock. As players try to out think each other, each mind is not only tested, it’s often put under the pump as multiple tables and situations constantly arise and must be solved in a limited time-frame. In fact, in certain situations, I occasionally change my line of play to free up brain resources for other more crucial hands. Such as 3 bet shove AK, rather than make an inductive sized 3 bet, because I have action on other tables.
Ideally, you would play every hand as though you were one tabling, that is, optimally. So what strategies can we use to squeeze in that extra table or have a few more seconds up our sleeve? Here are 10 tips to help.
Ever tried multi-tabling on a laptop? Forget about it! Do yourself a favour and make sure you have the right set-up, such as dual displays. I always found a bunch of Dell 30inch monitors do quite nicely. This gives you the ability to tile your tables so you can spot decisions before the action gets to you, a critical time-saving technique. These days screens can be found fairly cheaply, even if it means picking some up second-hand at the local computer 'swap meet'. So do yourself a favour and get the right displays.
2. Brain Power
Ensure your brain is up to the task you give it –Don’t expect to break multi-tabling records at the end of a long day or if you didn’t sleep well the night before.
The brain is a muscle. Stimulate it and you may just find clearer and faster thinking. My brain was never as powerful as it was just after I finished studying Japanese. So bust out the Nintendo DS and Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training Game!
3. Play Less 6 Max and Turbos.
6 max creates decisions more frequently. Turbos have shorter time banks. If you do play them, centralise them on your screen if you tile your tables.
4. Table Locations
If playing multiple sites, make sure you keep each sites tables bunched up together. So when you hear the PartyPoker warning sound you know which part of the screen you need to glide the mouse too! Keeping more important tables at the centre of your focus is also a good idea. See tiling, stacking and cascading for more information on table layouts.
Coffee, what would I do without you? Of course, some go beyond merely legal stimulants but if you do so, make sure you clearly know the risks. I’ve written about stimulants so check that out and be sure to juice up!
6. Tools and Sounds
Make sure you have your volume loud enough to scare the pants off of you if you time out. This means playing music loudly could be dangerous if it stops you from hearing the buzzer.
Table Ninja is okay but for me, I find it makes my game a little robotic.
Sites themselves often have features to help. Such as short-cut keys, choose ’ favourite seat’, etc. My recommended 2 - The PartyPoker warning sound for when you get a premium hand dealt to you and the Pokerstars shortcut fold key (I use a right mouse click to fold).
7. Site Selection and Synchronised Breaks
All staff of sites without synchronised breaks should be put in rockets and thrusted to Mars. The bane of the modern day poker player. These days all the top sites have synchronised break so there's no reason to stray elsewhere. Make sure you are comfortable adding new sites, the sounds, features, time allowances etc. More sites, more navigation, more registration, less thinking time!
RSI? Floaters? Stop whining girly man and add more tables! Well no, as with anything repetitious over a long period you may find, in particular, your back, eyes and arm/hand start to suffer. Comfortable chair, Gunnars Glasses and 3M Ergonomic mouse – Problem solved! (click on the links to see reviews).
9. Use breaks wisely – T.I.M.E
Some claim to have had a meal, pleasured their girlfriend and feed the dog in this time.
Remember the key reasons for the break when multi-tabling:
T - Toilet (saves having a urine bottle requirement, although this one displayed here is popular)
I - Intensity (How’s your intensity? Need a caffeine hit? Some fresh air?)
M – Meals (Ideally something quick to prepare, leftovers can really hit the spot)
E – Eyes (Longer distance focusing when possible to stop your eyes exploding)
Make sure you get back to the tables before play resumes or you might find you’ve wasted your time bank that really would have come in handy later!
What works for you? When you really start to push the limits of your brain day after day you’ll really start to notice days when your brain is slightly slower. Consider why and take steps to ensure you're ready to play. Exercise, showers to freshen up and diet ought to be considered. For me, I know ‘Ikura’ (salmon eggs high in omega 3) and vegetables seem to make me think faster while strangely chocolate actually makes my brain slow down, weird!
Take heed to these tips and max out your tables. I’m a 22 table guy personally, but be sure to share how many tables you can do and the tips you have in the comments below.
For some more tips and discussion on multi-tabling how many tables to play, see HowToPlayPokerInfo's post on MultiTabling.