Managing the space on the screen... and between my ears
The WCOOP ended not too long ago, which was quite a grind as I played a lot. But it was also a perfect excuse for me to log more hours and collect more VPPs as I continue with my attempt to make Supernova Elite this year, because while playing events I also would often play 12-14 cash games, too.
It might sound strange, but during WCOOP it was really easy to work hard.
Actually I've always had a similar strategy when playing a lot of cash games to jump into a tournament or two as well both because they're fun but also to ensure that I'll stay online keep logging hours. I'll usually start with bigger tourneys and if I happen to bust them I'll register for one or two smaller ones, because I'd know that as long as I am in a tournament I'll remain in my cash games, too.
Normally speaking, giving up some "table space" to play a couple of tourneys might not really seem worth it in terms of the loss of VPPs, but for me it has benefits. Being someone who multi-tables and puts in a lot of volume, I've become more and more conscious of this idea of "table space." I'm talking about both the available space on my computer screen and the space in my head to be able to follow a certain number of games at once.
All players have a limit on the number of tables they can effectively play at once, even if they don't realize it. Say normally you play 12 cash games at once, if you jump into a tournament you probably have to give up one of those tables. I'll sometimes register a tournament late just because I don't want to give up a cash game until I have to, and in some tourneys I don't think I give up too much EV-wise by registering late. I think that's the most profitable way for me to incorporate the tournament into my play, and it also helps me continue to collect VPPs.
Then as the tournament progresses -- and as I get more tired -- I'll begin to remove cash game tables one by one. If I get really deep in a tournament and, say, my stack is getting shorter while the prizes are getting bigger, I might even cut out most or all of the cash games so I can concentrate fully on the tournament.
For instance, during WCOOP I made Day 2 of Event #45, a $2,100 NLHE event, but I only had 18 big blinds to start the day. So I pretty much one-tabled when play resumed in that event because it was such a big tournament and it had reached a crucial stage where the tournament could have a huge impact on my profit should I do well.
Usually if I make a final table of a tournament or even if a tourney reaches the bubble and I feel I need to focus more closely on it, I'll be sure to cut down my tables to a point where I can tile them and thus see everything at once instead of cascade them (as I normally do). Doing that makes it easier to know where things stand on all of my tables and thus frees up a little extra time for decision-making, which can be important in those key moments in a tournament.
Indeed, often if I get deep in a big tournament and reach the last 3-4 tables, that's when I'll close my other cash games and use the space on the screen for my tourney table as well as to rail the other tables still going in the tournament. I'll do that because I want to see how players are playing on the other tables and perhaps pick up some reads or information that might help me when I face them at the final table.
I used to be less studied about this -- that is, less aware of the idea of "table space" and recognizing limits upon what I could do... and what I should do. I'd just register for all tournaments in Level 1 and also play as many tables as possible, like 32 at once.
I'd also be less discriminating about the tournaments I'd play. For instance, I liked playing the The Bigger $22 on Sundays. Sometimes people in chat would be surprised I was in a small buy-in event like that, but first prize is usually over $20K, so I'd be like "Why not?" But now I'm thinking more carefully about whether or not it is worth it for me to sacrifice one $2/$4 PLO table for that tournament, both in terms of potential EV and table space.
I'll also sometimes incorporate other strategies when reducing my tables. For instance, say I go deep in a tournament and thus decide to play only three cash games alongside the tournament for a total of four tables. I might switch over and play Zoom games on those three tables, which effectively becomes almost like playing 8-9 tables given how hands come more quickly in the Zoom games. So I'm still making a lot of decisions in the cash games, but they generally don't take a lot of "table space" in my head, nor am I taking up too much "table space" on the screen either.
All of which is to say, I'm more aware of both the space on the computer screen and how best to utilize it as well as how there's a finite limit to the amount of decisions I can reasonably make when playing multiple tables.
Lex Veldhuis is a member of Team PokerStars Pro