Advantages and Disadvantages of playing multiple games simultaneously

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Some players like to play more than one game at a time. On one hand, playing multiple games simultaneously may be good in that it forces players to focus completely on poker. On the other hand, one game can be a distraction to the player over the other game. If you are involved in a hand in one game, you will not have the chance to examine the play of the hand in the other game, and that may mean you could miss some important details about how the other players play. In playing multiple games online, you need to weigh the benefit of getting expectation from two games at once versus the negative of possibly losing some expectation from each individual game.

The advantages of playing multiple games simultaneously are obvious for winning players. Although you may reduce your win rate at each table, your overall win rate could increase. If your win rate at each of these tables is at least half of your normal amount at only one table, then you are actually making more money playing two tables simultaneously. If you are playing at three tables at the same time, then your win rate at each table would have to be at least 1/3 of the win rate at one table. This seems like a good deal to most players, and it is a good deal for those that can keep their win rate above those levels. Spend the same amount of time playing poker and make more money, who wouldn't want that? However, for losing players, they will just lose their money at a faster rate. Another way to view multiple tables is to play at a lower limit at each table, whereby the total expectation may be the same as playing at just one table with higher limits. The reason this may be useful is that a player may be able to get the same expectation out of multiple lower limit tables, but gain the advantage of reducing variance. In other words, they get the same reward for less risk through diversification.

In full games, good players will not be involved in as many hands as the average player. This means you will not often find yourself involved in two hands at the same time and so you can devote most of your concentration on the table where you are involved in a hand. For some players, it would seem that they would not lose that much edge playing two full games. Since their win rate would have to slip to less than half of the win rate at one table, it would benefit them to play two full games at once. The poker rooms prefer this because it means they can collect more rake. The poker rooms will have several players playing two games at once, and that may mean spreading one or two or even more tables than they would if players could only play one game at a time. This is a big advantage that online poker rooms have over their brick and mortar counterparts. Playing two tables may alleviate the boredom, and actually steer you away from doing other things that are harmful to your concentration, such as checking out internet sites, listening to the radio, or writing a book (that's a joke folks). So playing multiple tables may actually cause you to concentrate more on each individual table than you would if you were only playing one table at a time and fooling around on the side. The bottom line though, is that if you are a winning player, and do not lose too much edge from your normal win rate, playing more than one table is a nice boost to your profitability and/or a nice reduction of risk..

However, there are disadvantages also. It is harder to concentrate on each table, and you may miss some juicy pieces of information. When playing poker online, the players flit in and out of the table at an incredibly fast rate compared to brick and mortar casinos. It is all too easy to miss the fact that the table composition has changed drastically, and instead of a loose table, now the table is made up of a few more tight players or vice versa. This may lead you to act inappropriately with some hands.

Playing two or more shorthanded tables makes it even tougher. You need to concentrate more on shorthanded games since it is even more important to have a good handle on how each player plays. Also, if a bad, loose player leaves the table and is replaced by a solid, tight player, that changes the characteristic and the composition of the whole table since one player in a shorthanded game makes up a much higher percentage of the table than one player does in a full game. It is too easy to be caught in the situation where a solid player has replaced a loose aggressive poor player and you do not notice it until after you have acted. In shorthanded games, you will be involved in hands more often than at a full table, this means if you are playing two shorthanded games at the same time, you will have a higher chance of being in a situation where you are involved in hands at both tables simultaneously. This is not nearly as much of a concern in the full table games as in the shorthanded games. Another problem is playing one shorthanded game and one full game simultaneously. You may find yourself to be too aggressive in the full game and not aggressive enough in the shorthanded game.

Playing multiple games online will seem like playing a video game at times. For many younger players who grew up in the video game age, this will enhance the experience of the game and make it more fun, although not necessarily more profitable for everyone. These players do not have a problem with the fast changing screens or the action as they are used to it from their experience in video games. For older players who are not used to video games, it may be tougher for them to adjust.

Overall the advantages of playing two full games will outweigh that of playing one full game for most winning players. As for losing players, unfortunately, playing multiple games will only allow them to lose their money at a faster rate. If you have a good handle on some of the players at each table already, it would add a lot to your advantage. However, in shorthanded games, it is prudent to stick to one game at a time, because you will need more concentration and you will be more likely to be involved in hands at both tables.

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