These days, online poker affords people the chance to play multiple tables and many players jump at the chance because of the fact that you can increase your hourly earnings.
However, there are no fixed set in stone answers here because what works for some simply doesn’t work for others. For example if you are making say 10ptbb/100 (PokerTracker big blinds per 100 hands) then you would be making 20bb/100 hands. What, then, needs to be analysed, is in how that 20bb/100 hands is actually comprised. What I mean is how are you making that money… through automatic decision making processes or more in depth thought out play?
If you are reading the game and playing five tables, for example, then your earn rate in terms of bb/100 is going to be more than if you were playing sixteen tables or even ten tables for that matter. The goal of playing more tables is to increase your earn rate but playing more tables isn’t always viable. There can be numerous reasons for this but the main one is that you could easily be playing on a site or network in which the action is very limited.
This could then mean that in order to play ten tables (or whatever number) that you have to either play a level lower than your normal which will affect your earn rate or higher level than your normal. It goes without saying that playing for less money will reduce your earning potential as will playing against better opponents at a higher level of play. If your earn rate in terms of big blinds per one hundred hands halves simply because you are playing a lot of tables then you should, in theory, be making that up with the extra volume.
However, and this is the key issue, a player that needs to be playing twelve tables to reach their optimum earning potential is going to encounter problems in being able to play that many tables much of the time. It could take this player two to three times as long to finally reach twelve tables as it would for them to reach five or six. So the important factor here is in how soon each player can reach their optimal earning potential and then maintain it. To play better poker on fewer tables means being a better poker player… it’s that simple.
Unfortunately, this is harder to achieve than simply learning how to make almost automated decisions playing more tables. I also believe that as online players have developed more and become more and more knowledgeable and sophisticated by using tracking software then mass multi-tabling is less effective these days.
I also believe that educating yourself to become a better poker player has more long term money making potential than learning how to play more tables. Whether you are playing poker or running any other business, idle people with idle minds tend not to be rewarded too highly in this world.