Sick efficiency in my set-up
Having an efficient setup for playing online poker is crucial. When it comes to mass multi-tabling, a well thought-out and effective work station will buy you the precious seconds that you need to make the best decisions possible during each hand. Instead of worrying about timing out on all of your tables or misclicking by accident, having the proper hardware and software will enable you to focus on the thing that matters the most....the poker itself.
So, what exactly should you be looking to own if you want to play online poker effectively? Well, you don't need to go out there and spend as much money as you can in order to get the biggest monitor or the fastest machine on the market, but you don't want to be too cheap either.
I can tell you firsthand that you can still play poker profitably with basically the bare minimum requirements. When I first began playing poker, back when I didn't have any money to afford a quality setup, I played all 24 of my tables on a standard laptop and I didn't even use a mouse. I was able to stack my tables, as I still do today, so fitting all 24 on one screen wasn't an issue. However, I've been through a couple of laptops in my day and although the practice of playing online poker isn't supposed to stress your computer much at all, I've experienced pretty severe lag when playing on double digit tables. I'm not sure if it's the fault of the graphics card, the memory, the internet connection, or a combination of all of the above but from what I've seen you probably want to invest in a top end laptop before you decide to tackle multi-tabling on a portable machine. Also, buy a mouse.
After a few months of grinding it out at the cash game tables on my irritating laptop setup, I finally was able to withdraw some winnings and spare no expense on my ideal setup. Like I said, you shouldn't really need a huge PC with a ton of memory to play online poker (even with 20+ tables) but after my struggle with lag every day I wanted to take no chances and bought a Dell XPS 730x gaming computer. I think that it's a bit over-the-top in terms of what I need to play online poker, but in terms of specs, I'm looking at 6G of ram with an Intel Core i7 CPU processor.
When it came to buying a monitor to go with my PC, I considered a couple of options. On one hand, I considered buying dual 24-inch monitors and on the other I was thinking about going with a single 30-inch. Ultimately, I decided to opt for the 30-inch, mainly because I stack my tables anyways and figured that it would actually be more of an annoyance to have more than one screen to focus on while playing. I've been very happy with my decision and ended up purchasing the large monitor from Dell as well.
One last thing to consider with regards to your poker setup is the accessories. With regards to my mouse and keyboard, I use a Logitech trackball mouse (with a non-trackball Logitech mouse for backup-i.e. My old mouse) and a Logitech keyboard...everything is wireless. My chair is nothing too special but I bought it from Ikea and it's both comfortable and supportive. I think it's important to at least get a chair that is adjustable so that you can make sure that your posture stays decent as you play.
After you've got your hardware in place, there are a couple of pieces of software that are worth considering as well. The first thing would be a hotkey program...PokerStars actually allows you to enable a lot of hotkeys right within the client so a separate program may not be necessary anymore. The second thing would be to get a tracking program...there are a couple of good programs available out there that allow you to track your own results and keep stats on your opponents. Both the hotkey and tracking programs simply tie into the theme of allowing you to play more efficiently, as they both allow you to buy added time for each decision that you make.
In the end, you just want to be confident enough if your setup that you can login every day and feel as though you're got the right tools to play poker effectively. As long as you don't have to worry about the little annoyances, I would say that you have a winning setup.
Good luck at the tables.