Thursday, 13 March 2014

Increasing Your Volume and How it Affects Your Winrate

 Longer Sessions

The most obvious way to increase your volume is to play longer sessions. Playing long sessions is a skill that you can to train. If you're used to play one hour-sessions, you may be able to train your brain to be able to play your A-Game half an hour longer. And longer. And longer. It's important to quit, as soon as your concentration suffers. Some people are able to play 8 hour sessions without a break at their best.
A big advantage of playing longer sessions is that you have more time to sit on waitlists and wait for good seats. So you are going to be able to play better tables, which will lead to a better winrate and increase your winnings.

 More Sessions  

Instead of sitting in front of the TV and drinking beer, you could also play an additional session. You should only play Poker if you are able to concentrate and play your A-Game. Playing when you're tired or tilted is a mistake. But it's likely that you are able to play your A-Game more often then you are doing it right now. Think about your daily routines and try to find times where you would be able to play your A-Game. These are the times you should be playing Poker.

 More Tables 

Many poker player argue that playing more tables will decrease their winrate. They also feel like they are playing way worse compared to playing (and focusing) on just 4-6 tables.


While this might be true in some cases, most players who are consistently 4-6 tabling, have a very poor setup where most of their concentration goes to sorting their tables all over the monitor, opening popups in their HUD, adjusting bet sizes, struggling with their bad mouse and so on. I was very surprised how much players even at higher stakes still have a pretty weak soft- and hardware setup.
Using multiple monitors, a fast computer, good software that helps you to sort your tables, adjust your bet sizes faster and an easy-to-use HUD are key features you'll need to focus on. Even if you decide not to play more than 4 tables you will be able to focus more on the game if you're overall setup helps you with all the additional tasks.

Table Selection

An argument against playing more tables is that you can't be as picky with your tables anymore. You will have to play tables you wouldn't play nowdays. But playing these tables isn't bad at all. If you are a 5bb/100 winner and you add worse tables your winrate will suffer. You might be "only" winning 2bb/100 on the additional table. But you are going to win more money. And money is what matters most.
Playing more tables when the traffic is good and you're able to find a lot of good seats and playing less tables when the traffic stagnates is probably the best way to exploit that. Don't play a fixed amount of tables! If you're always playing 10 tables you'll probably force yourself to play bad tables when there is not a lot of action going on while missing lots of value when the traffic is good.


Multi-Tabling is, like everything in this post, a skill factor and it can be trained. Obviously you can't play 24 tables at your first session ever. But you can increase the number of tables you play from time to time until you're able to play a decent volume in a short time while still being on your A-Game.

PokerStars No-Limit Hold'em, $2.00 BB (8 handed) - PokerStars Converter Tool from

saw flop | saw showdown

BB ($476.20)
UTG ($253.80)
UTG+1 ($124.69)
MP1 ($294.13)
Hero (MP2) ($200)
CO ($221.48)
Button ($200)
SB ($80)

Preflop: Hero is MP2 with J, 10
1 fold, UTG+1 raises to $6, 1 fold, Hero calls $6, 1 fold, Button calls $6, 2 folds

Flop: ($21) 3, A, K (3 players)
UTG+1 bets $12, Hero raises to $44, 1 fold, UTG+1 raises to $118.69 (All-In), Hero calls $74.69

Turn: ($258.38) J (2 players, 1 all-in)

River: ($258.38) Q (2 players, 1 all-in)

Total pot: $258.38 | Rake: $2.80

Results below:
UTG+1 had A, 10 (straight, Ace high).
Hero had J, 10 (royal flush).
Outcome: Hero won $255.

UTG+1 was absolutely unknown for me, which, combined with his stack size, made it pretty likely that he was a recreational player. When the people behind me are tight 3-/4betters, I like to flat and 3bet pretty loose in this pre flop scenario. The Button is a straight-forward regular.
Post flop I like to isolate UTG+1 and generate Fold Equity with my Combodraw. (Raise-Call obviously) Button won't have a strong hand very often, since he would 3bet KK+/AK pre and 33 makes just 3 Combos. Under the pressure of my strong-looking raise against MP2 and the fact that he probably has to play a turn out of relative position he was pretty unlikely to continue even with AQ (if he does, fine - good luck on the turn).
Note: ATcc+/KQcc is blocked.
UTG+1 will also have some hands in his range that are pretty likely to fold. It's pretty hard to define how much he is folding exactly since I didn't know how wide he was opening pre flop, how wide he was cbetting and how strong he was in making post flop laydowns. So I'm not wasting your time doing hypothetical analysis here - just trust me: Random players fold enough in this spot.
Note: Of course he (UTG+1) still had KK+ and AK in his range.
Result: Seeing him going crazy with an ATo didn't make me happy since it shows that I obviously wasn't able to get a medium-strength hand to fold. Still, this doesn't mean my flopraise had no Fold Equity.
Just for illustration: If Villain was opening a 25% hand range UTG+1, cbetting 90% of the time and folding everything worse than top pair, I would have been in Valuetown raising this flop. So everything I could learn from this showdown was that this opponent is very loose.
I had 46% equity on the flop. Obviously I got lucky.