Playing at 6 poker tables with a winrate of 3BB/100 is the same as playing at 12 tables with a winrate of 1BB/100. That means that if you double the poker tables you play simultaneously, you don’t need to play that well in order to make the same amount of money in the same duration of time. On the contrary, if you halve the number of poker tables you multitable, you need to triple your winrate, meaning to improve your poker skills by a factor of 3. The above is true only if we take rakeback into consideration.
Before I prove why the above statements are true in poker strategy, I need to pinpoint the importance of rakeback. Rakeback is usually a percentage of the rake a poker player is paying to the poker room. That percentage varies according to the rakeback deal and the poker room, but an acceptable figure is about 30%. 30% rakeback more often than not is equal to a winrate of 1BB/100 at 6-max tables. In simple words, if a poker player is breakeven, he would still make money due to rakeback. That amount of money would be 1BB per 100 playing hands. For example, if I would play at 200NL 6-max tables and broke even over 500,000 hands, I would have made $20,000 exclusively due to the rakeback deal. Another important detail is that BB stands for Big Bet and not Big Blind, that is double the Big Blind known also as PTBB (PokerTracker BB).
A poker player is playing 6-max tables No Limit Hold’em poker and his poker strategy aims to play 50,000 hands per month. He is only playing on working days and can play competitively up to 6 tables at once. On average a 6-max table provides 100 playing hands per hour, so he needs to play 4 hours a day for 22 days in a month. In the end, since his winrate is 3BB/100 and his rakeback is about 1BB/100, he will win 2,000BB or 40 buy-ins in the end of the month.
Consider now the same poker player who decided to double his monthly hands. He doesn’t want to play more days or more hours, but he is willing to sacrifice his winrate. Playing more tables would mean that he won’t be able to pay close attention to the opposition, would have trouble taking detailed notes and some of his hands would be auto folded since he would time out occasionally. All these would definitely have an impact on his winrate. How much impact should his winrate sustain before he makes less money than before?
He is now playing 12 6-max NL tables at once, 4 hours per day, 22 days per month. In order to make 40 buy-ins in 100,000 hands, he needs to win 2,000BB, so a winrate of 2BB/100 is acceptable. Again rakeback is 1BB/100, therefore he only needs to win 1BB/100 and he would make just the same amount of money as before.
Assuming he improves his poker skills and manages to adapt to the fast paced game now that he plays double the number of poker tables, a winrate of 3BB/100, added to 1BB/100 of the rakeback, would win him 4,000BB, or 80 buy-ins. Tripling his winrate would just double his winnings.
Let us now assume that the player decides to go back to playing 6 tables simultaneously and focus on improving his poker game a lot more. In the beginning he was winning at a 3BB/100 winrate and he is now pushing himself to the limit for a 6BB/100! Winning 6BB/100 with a 1BB/100 rakeback over 50,000 hands in a month, would win him 3,500BB or 70 buy-ins. Compare it with 3BB/100 winrate playing at 12 tables and you can immediately understand why improving your multitabling skills is more important than improving your poker skills! Additionally, consider the huge winrate’s improvement from 3BB/100 to 6BB/100, which would not be sustainable in higher stakes for sure.
In conclusion, adding more poker tables and playing worse could make a poker player more money, than improving his poker skills and not playing more tables at the same time. Another important conclusion is that rakeback has a huge effect on the winrate of a poker strategy.