More Tables = More Variance
Had a bit of an epiphany just now, however obvious it may seem...
I've recently been running real good, my graph's shot up and I feel like I'm crushing 50NL even without a load of luck. Anyway, with it being Friday, I've played a decent amount today, and at first I won a couple of buy-ins in an hour, and then I got distracted on MSN and stuff for a while, so when it got late, I thought to myself "Right, I better put an hour or so in now!" and I pulled up the lobby and saw the vast amount of fishy looking tables...
So I must have clicked on about 20 different tables and joined the waiting lists, just because there were that many juicy looking tables and I couldn't help myself, and by the time I knew it, I was 16-tabling, which I haven't done in a long time (since I realised that I wasn't ready for it in terms of applying solid exploitative strategy)... My plan had been to just get on the tables, and leave some, and make sure I had nice seats and such on the ones I stayed with, but I thought to myself that I needed to try to build up some rakeback over the weekend so that I get a nice lump on Friday...
The session went pretty bad and I ended up losing 4 buy-ins over the space of about 20 minutes and quit, feeling quite tilted.
In my head I was like, "****! Why do I do this ****?! I know that if I'm going to mass-table properly I need to build up my brain muscle over time like Jared says! God, I'm such a *****! I've just lost all my winnings for the day!"
Obviously this is a very results-oriented form of tilt. The first stack I lost in the session was against some total monkey, I had AK vs. A8s AI pre-flop blind vs. blind, and he sucked out. I didn't mind that, but after I lost a couple more (I won some stacks too, so I actually lost more than 4 stacks in this session), I was really feeling quite agitated, and regretting having returned to the felt for the evening.
I quit after about 20 minutes, and upon reviewing the session I realised that I hadn't made any errors in stacking off. This confused me, because I usually only get annoyed when I make a bad play, and even then, I don't really get as pissed off these days. I then decided that the reason I was pissed off at myself was because I hadn't disciplined myself to play less tables and pick out of the best of the tables that were available to me.
A few hours after the session, about 5 minutes before I'm now writing this, I realised what it was. It's the fact that when I'm playing that many tables, I'm allowing more of my money and bankroll into poker, and the variance of poker will do what it will with what I put on the table. So by playing double the amount I usually restrict myself to, it's almost as though I might as well have moved up a limit and played my usual amount of tables.
I realised that the reason I'm not ready to play this many tables is not due to my ability to make betting decisions properly overly reduced when I mass-table, but due to the fact that I haven't become accustomed to the multiplied power of variance and the increased speed at which it acts when I put 16 stacks down. This has come as a bit of an epiphany to me, so I thought I'd share my thoughts for those that are trying to add more and more tables to their sessions but then struggle, as I have done, to understand what's going wrong and why sessions seem to be so much more intense.
I'm not saying that our betting decisions can be as good as when we're playing less tables, but I think that more tables going wrong is often diagnosed as a struggle to play as good, whereas one's capacity to handle the eccentuated variance is also a big issue here, so if you're in this boat and you're thinking, "What's going wrong here? Am I really playing that bad when I play more tables? God, this is frustrating!" Then maybe consider this. Or maybe it's just plain obvious. Lol.