When you started out playing online poker, or maybe you are now, you probably thought that two tables was the most you could handle. As time progresses most online players are able to handle more and more tables at a time. This, however, is a pitfall that any player should try to avoid. It is absolutely crucial that you learn to maximize your profits by adding more tables, but there is a tipping point.

Say you are playing two tables and everything is going great. You are a steady winner at your limits and it looks like you can now take on a third and fourth table. Great! So you open up four tables and the action is moving, quickly, you can’t keep up, “Beep, Beep!” you’re timing out! Right then you can scale it back to three tables. The pace now seems refreshingly relaxed. It is much easier to control the action in front of you and you feel comfortable. That would be the proper way to handle “table overload”, however many players don’t take this approach.

Trying to do too much at one time is an issue that comes up not only when playing poker, but in our everyday lives too. You must be able to determine what you can handle without harming your win rate. Don’t keep adding tables if you are just barely getting the hands in before timing out every other hand, add tables to the extent that you can comfortably handle. Comfort is key. I would equate playing eight tables on rapid fire to a basketball player shooting with a broken wrist. He has half the ability he would if he was in full health. You are only harming yourself if you are putting more value on quantity over quality.

Now the issue is being able to determine how many tables is best for you to play. This is often going to be solved best through a process of trial and error. There are options, however, to help you out. One great way to determine how many tables you can handle is to use software such as PokerTracker or Hold ‘Em Manager (HEM). If your W$WSF is going down when you play more tables, you should scale back, unless you plan on winning all of your money by getting to showdown each and every time. This software includes lots of data that you migh not understand, however. For an explanation on these terms take a look at this article. On the downside, these are not free products.

Then what would a good free option be then? Try playing a set amount of tables for a week and analyze your results and be honest with yourself in regards to your quality of play. If you felt like you were making good informed decisions you are doing great, if you felt rushed, you should scale it back. Quality play should come before quantity, but one day you will be able to have a good dose of each.