Playing multiple games

One of the many advantages of playing poker on the Internet is the ability to play multiple games at once. Some sites allow you to play up to three games at once. Other sites, like Pacific Poker, limit you to one game, but you can still play multiple games simultaneously by playing at two different sites. The decision whether to play two games at once or not is NOT to be taken lightly, we must stress: it can greatly affect your win-loss ratio.

When playing two games at once, you’ll naturally not be able to pay as much attention to your every move and will probably play a little worse. If you average $25 an hour playing at one table, you might only able to average $18 at each table in a simultaneous set-up. However, since you’re playing at two tables, you would of course be averaging $36 an hour, which is still better than the original $25. Therefore, the key factors when deciding whether or not to play two tables are establishing what you believe you make an hour by playing at one table; how much this will be decreased if you play at two tables; and whether or not this new number times two (or perhaps even times three) is greater than the original amount you were making per hour.

Since playing at two tables lowers your profit rate, you must first establish that you can beat a game consistently in order for it to be profitable to play two games at once. If you are breaking even at a limit table and decide to play two games at once at that limit, you will probably begin to lose money since your profit rate will go from 0 to, say, -$5 an hour per table, which amounts to -$10 an hour. Although this seems completely obvious, you wouldn’t believe how many players make this (stupid) mistake.

If you are beating a game, you may or may not be able to continue beating that game if you play two tables. For example, if you’re consistently beating a low fixed-limit game, you’ll probably still be able to beat the game if you play two of them at once. That’s because you’re probably beating this game not by paying close attention to your opponents, but rather through solid poker fundamentals like playing the right starting hands, relying on pot odds, etc. However, if you’re playing no-limit games, you may not do so well if you play two at once, because no-limit games rely much more on reading your opponents and adjusting your play to the style of those around you

An additional consideration is that playing more than one game can be stressful. You’ll constantly be checking each game, making snap decisions every 15 seconds, etc. This may decrease the joy factor of the game, which may be more important to you than any extra money you could make by playing two games at once. Something to keep in mind.

If you’re really considering playing two games at once, your choice should probably come down to how you answer the following questions:

1. Can you beat this game consistently?

2. Are you beating this game because of poker fundamentals, rather than reading your opponents?

3. Do you think you’ll make more money playing two games at once? If so, does that money justify any potential “fun” you may lose because you won’t be able to get into the game as much?

If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, perhaps you should try playing two games at once. See how it goes; some people like it and some people hate it. If you answered “no” to any or all of these questions, you should probably stick to playing just one game for now.