I'm curious, how do the basic rules of bankroll management apply to multi-table play?

For example, I'm about to join a new poker site where I will be play 5cent/10cent NLH. Because I know the players there are EXTREMELY aggressive and truly awful, I'm planning on buying in for 20x the table max buy-in ($20), so I'll be buying in for $400.

If I play multiple tables at the same time, is it necessary for me to multipy my buy-in even more? Initially I thought to myself, it makes sense that I would need to increase my bank roll to play at the max buy-in at multiple tables seeing as how I can lose my money quicker, but following the basic ideas of bank-roll management the more tables I play, the more money I will make (assuming I'm an above-average player that wins at least 60% of the time).

Is there any general consensus on the need for an expanded bank roll depending on the number of tables played at once on average?


3 Answers 3


I remember reading on pocket fives a long time ago that you will want one extra buyin, beyond the typical recommendation of 25-40 buyins, for each additional table that you will be playing. 20 buyins is a little on the low side unless you can afford to replace it if you go broke. If you start with 40 buyins, the chance of going broke (assuming that you are a winning player) is very very low.

Keep in mind that you will not be able to pay as close attention to each table so you will be sacrificing some EV by multi-tabling. This means that your variance will go up and your average win rate will go down, however your overall money won will be higher because of volume if it isn't too bad.


As far as I know you don't have to adjust your BRM to multi-tabling as long as all tables have the same buy-in. That's because you don't play for more money if you play 12 tables, than you do when playing just one table, you are only playing more hands in the same amount of time.
It's more a mindset-thing to see that your BR just dropped by half as most of your money is distributed between the tables.

  • There are some issues that can arise because of multi-tabling however. For instance, what if you are playing 10 tables and your internet drops and you lose all 10 buyins. There IS more risk involved when playing multiple tables, along with the fact that you have less attention to pay to each table.
    – lnafziger
    Dec 11, 2013 at 17:32
  • As long as you are not playing SnGs or tournaments that won't be that significant, because it's pretty unlikely that you are deep on all 10 tables. Yeah sure you are right, the risk is higher because the chance to loose on 10 tables with 1 connection drop is much higher than loosing on 10 tables with 10 connection drops.
    – Armunin
    Dec 12, 2013 at 8:10
  • it's not the same, maybe I calculate something for that tomorrow. right now I don't feel well :) Dec 13, 2013 at 15:51

Consider the purpose of bankroll management in the first place: to manage your risk of ruin due to variance. Assuming of course that you are skilled enough to at least not lose (hopefully win!) if you remove variance (eg running cold) from the equation, BRM is there to provide a buffer so that you can weather the storm when you do run cold.

This being the purpose, and you being good enough to not lose when variance is not in play, the only thing that changes1 when you multitable is how many hands you get per hour. This being true, from a purely mathematical perspective, there is no reason to adjust your BRM strategy based solely on how many tables you play.

This all being said, the reality is that poker is not only a mathematics game. It is also a game of psychology and a test of wits. When you multitable, the number of hands you get per hour is not the only thing that actually changes1. For every player I have ever seen, so do both play style and quality of play. Play style tends to become more passive and/or more selective, and the quality of decisions is markedly reduced. When you are playing 1 table you can devote more brain cycles to each play.

However I believe that even given this, your BRM strategy still need not change when playing multiple tables. What needs to change is you. You need to both be honest with yourself about how your winrate is affected my multitable play, and strive to get back to your A-game when multitabling.

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