How many SNG’s is too many to play at one time? First, let’s squash the notion that playing 1 SNG at a time is even feasible. If you’ve never played more than one table at a time, you might be worried about what happens to your abilities when adding additional tables.
Well, first, start by adding just one more table. Playing 2 tables at a time should really have minimal or no negative impact to your play, and by playing 2 at once, you are basically doubling your $/hr even if you don’t get any better over time as a player.
Also, what you’ll find is that if you’re playing more than 1 table, you will actually concentrate more on your play than if you’re playing just one. What I find is that when I’m playing only one table, I am also watching TV, talking to my wife, chatting on some instant messenger software, and probably chatting it up on my favorite poker related forum. When I run 4 or 5 tables at a time, I actually spend much less time on those other things, and I find myself spending more quality time on the SNG’s themselves.
So, playing more than 1 at a time is obviously a good thing, but, how many tables is too many tables? Ask any player the question of how many tables at a time, and you will get probably get a different answer from each player. Everyone has their own optimum number of tables. Remember the important thing with SNG’s is volume. The more volume you have, the better your hourly rate. It’s all about your hourly rate. So, some people say 4 tables is their optimum, and others may say that 10 or 12 is their optimum. Well, how do you find your optimum? It takes time, but it can easily be found by simple trial and error. The important thing to remember is that your ROI will probably drop as you add more tables, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your hourly rate will go down. Actually, your hourly rate should continue to go up. And once you do hit the point that your hourly rate goes down, take away one table from the number, and you have found your optimum number of tables to play at one time.
Now, before we start discussing the method for putting the above into practice, I need to spend a little time talking about how to accurately determine your ROI. I would say that a minimum of 1000 SNG’s should be played before you start to have a true understanding of what your ROI is at any game. After you’ve played 1000 $6.50 9 man SNGs, if your ROI is around 28%, you can rest assured that you have played enough games to get a good feel for how well you’re doing. Understand that we’re not as worried about your exact ROI as we are your comfort level with your play when it comes to how many table to play. We aren’t going to wait until 1000 SNGs to see how we’re doing. We’re going to take a look after just 200. While that’s nto a perfect way to determine ROI, it’s close enough. It’s more important to determine how comfortable you are with the number of tables, and how different feels to you as a player.
Determining Your Threshold
What I’ve put together is a decent plan that, I feel, maximizes your games played, the time it takes, and your comfort level with any number of tables at a time. Let’s say that your game is $6.50 9 man SNG’s (since that is the example we used above). If you’ve been single tabling these SNG’s and you are sitting at about a 30% ROI, you’re doing well, but you could be doing better. To make the math simpler, we’re going to assume that it takes 1 hour to play a $6.50 9 man SNG. So, if you’re single tabling these games, and you’re maintaining a 30% ROI, then you’re making about $1.95/hr playing these. Now, the first step is to add one more table. So, begin playing two $6.50 9 man SNG’s at one time. Now, how long do you stay 2 tabling? Well, I am going to recommend that you play a minimum of 200 games while two tabling. After 200 games, let’s take a look at your ROI. I realize there’s variance and that it could fluctuate and that 200 games isn’t enough to feel completely comfortable with the ROI, but it’s an easy number of games to play, and it will at least ensure that you’re completely comfortable playing 2 tables at one time. Like I said above, your ROI really shouldn’t change any at all moving from 1 table at a time to 2. So, let’s say that you do maintain the 30% ROI while two tabling. Well, guess what, you just doubled your hourly rate. That $1.95 has now become $3.90/hr.
All right, great, you’re now completely comfortable 2 tabling. Now what do we do? Well, we add another table, and we do it all over again. So, keep good records and run 200 SNG’s while 3 tabling. After 200 games, determine your ROI, and you’ll see that it might drop just slightly. Also, you’ll notice that after the first 50 games or so, you’ll begin to wonder why you haven’t been playing 3 at a time all along. You will be as comfortable playing 3 games at one time as you used to be playing 2 tables at a time. Let’s say your ROI dropped though to something like 25% while 3 tabling. Well, let’s do some math. Remember we’re saying that these SNG’s take 1 hour to simplify the math. So, if you’re 3 tabling at 25% ROI, your hourly rate is, $6.50*3*25% works out to about $4.88/hr.
Let’s try one more example, and let’s move up to playing 4 tables at a time. Again, play 200 SNG’s while 4 tabling and keep good records. Then, determine you ROI, and let’s say that your ROI drops to 20% while 4 tabling. Well, remember, volume is the key, and let’s see what that does to you hourly rate. $6.50*4*20% works out to about $5.20/hr.
So, what have we learned so far? Even though our ROI has gone down, the amount of money that we are making is still going up. Also, one other thing to keep in mind is that if you’re now 4 tabling, your making 4 times the FPP’s you were making while single tabling in the same amount of time. Okay, but when do we stop? Excellent question, and keep adding 1 additional table at a time and running 200 games and then determine your hourly rate. At some point, you will hit a point where your hourly rate is lower than it was at the last level. So, let’s say at 7 tabling, your hourly rate was about $6.80/hr after 200 games. Then you move up to 8 tables, and when you complete the 200 games, you find that your hourly rate has dropped to $6.30/hr. Well, you just learned that 7 tables is your optimum number of tables to play at one time.
Putting it All Together
In conclusion, let’s talk about all of the other benefits of multi-tabling. The first benefit, is that unlike moving up in buy in amounts, your bankroll required doesn’t really change all that much at all as you add additional tables. I would recommend 80 or 100 buyins in your bankroll whether you’re playing 1 at a time or 10 to 15 at a time. The other benefit of multi-tabling is how much faster you can earn player points from the sites themselves. Let’s say you earn 3 player points for each $6.50 played. Well, when you were single tabling you were earning about 3 player points per hour, and if you get up to 7 tabling, you are now earning player points at a rate of about 21 per hour. Those player points can be used for any number of things. They can be used for buyin’s, free gifts, etc. By doing this it also increases your chances of becoming a VIP player on the sites you play. That could mean private poker freerolls (again free money). The last real benefit to multi-tabling is that it forces you to spend more of your concentration on the games you’re playing. This will also help you to become a better player and increase your skill level.
So, again, it’s not whether to multi-table or not. It’s all about how many tables is too many tables at one time. And, if you follow the plan, it should allow you to easily increase the number of tables your playing, and it will also allow you to become comfortable with the number of tables your playing. And, remember, it’s all about making more money. Good luck at the tables, and I hope to see some of you 8 to 10 tabling $27 SNG’s some day with a nice ROI for a pretty hefty hourly rate.