The maximum number of ring (also known as 'cash') tables you can play on PokerStars is 24 at a time. The limit is placed on all variations of poker, regardless of whether you're playing No-Limit Hold'em, Pot-Limit Omaha, or some crazy game like Badugi. The same also applies to the different formats within these variations; heads-up, 6-max, and full ring.
Below is a cool little video I put together demonstrating what it looks like when I play 24 cash tables on PokerStars from my grind station here at home.
I specialize in the 6-max No-Limit Hold'em CAP tables, and I am no stranger to 24-tabling them for hours on end. I once 24-tabled for more than 40 hours in a 48-hour span of time in October of 2010, right around the time I surpassed the all-time VPP record of 3 million in one year. Clearly this isn't something I was able to accomplish overnight.
Like everyone else I started out playing one table at a time for recreation. Even when I began taking poker a little more serious, I was still only single tabling. This was many years ago and I still remember being in awe after reading in a poker forum that someone was able to play four tables at the same time. This was something I was determined to do myself.
I began to introduce a second table into my poker sessions. It took a slight adjustment period before I became comfortable. Where on the screen do I put this new table? Will I start making more mistakes now that I have to react more quickly? It turned out to be less difficult than I anticipated. Matter of fact, just a couple weeks later when I got the courage to try three tables at the same time, I had skipped straight to my goal of four within hours! I had been increasing my endurance on a daily basis for hours on end up until this point, all done out of sheer determination to accomplish this feat.
In less than one month I was comfortably playing four tables. It wasn't long after that the maximum allowable tables was increased to 12 and I immediately knew what must be done. I had a new goal, a new challenge, something which would once again push my limitation and give me that overwhelming sense of accomplishment. And just a couple months later I reached my 12-tabling goal.
I continued to set new milestones for myself until one day I was playing 24 cash tables, the current maximum on PokerStars. From there I knew my next mission was to embark on the ultimate grind, Supernova Elite VIP status. I still remember the day I achieved SNE for the first time, seeing my plans brought to fruition through such dedication took me to a level of pride like no other.
How could I possibly top this? Less than one week later in December 2009, I announced that I was going to break the all-time VPP record of 3 million in one year. And I used the very same methods then as I did back when I was trying to grind my way up to four tables at a time. My endurance and abilities had certainly increased over time, but from day one my intensity remained unchanged. So I forged ahead, driven by that same force within.
I don't know if drive is an inherent or learned behaviour, perhaps it's a bit of both. Either way, I will share with you some advice that helped me remain focused on the task at hand, and maybe it will help you with your own endeavours.
When you're pushing your limitations, don't stray far from your objective at any given time. What I mean is you must immerse yourself if you want to reach new heights. It's okay to take breaks, matter of fact I encourage it, as sedentary life can and will result in the deterioration of your health. However, when you take your breaks make good use of your time. Don't procrastinate on your return, start other projects, or veg out in front of the television. If you want to achieve great things, push your limits, and break records you're going to have to remain focused all the time.
You can retain a high level of focus by continually surrounding yourself with whatever helps you derive your inspiration and motivation. When grinding for the VPP record I came up with some different methods to help me stay on point. One of which I simply call the 'Desktop Folder for Motivation.'
I am motivated by the desire for the 'perfect' life that I have envisioned for myself, from the physical environment, to the people surrounding me. I envision a world where I have good health and can continue to remain free from economic strain. But to keep these thoughts in my head on a daily basis is easier said than done, so I had to get creative.
I put a folder on my desktop. I fill it with pictures that represent everything that I want out of life and with the people I love. I open it at the start of every day and it reminds me exactly why I push myself. It is a vivid visualization of my success and I have easy access to it any time I feel myself straying from my objective.
Another motivator is fear, something we're all quite familiar with. We have no idea what the future will hold. And the thought of an unpredictable future, though exciting at times, can be quite a frightful realization. There is no way to know how much longer you have to achieve your goals in life. I know it's a bit cliche, but there is seriously no better time to seize the day. The worst thing a man can do is look back on his life with regret. Regretting missed opportunities is a terrible thing.
And finally, forgetting the past can help you drive toward your future goal. Unlike my other motivational techniques, this one isn't about getting you motivated to get started. It's about finishing strong.
One of the ways I battle burnout is by forgetting the past. It is merely a state of mind. You are just perceiving yourself to be burnt out because you are aware of and focusing on how much poker you have played over a duration of time. So, to counteract this you need to put yourself in the same frame of mind you had when you first started your pursuit.
At the beginning of each month (sometimes each week), I psych myself out and pretend I'm approaching my grind for the first time after a long vacation. I remove all thoughts of what I've endured over the duration of the year. Also, what helps is to set new weekly or monthly goals. Breaking your challenge up into smaller pieces is quite helpful when you're trying to accomplish a monumental goal.
I wish all of you the best in your pursuits, not only in poker, but in life. And I hope I was able to aid you in some way. Even if just one piece of advice in this blog makes a difference in your life, then it was time well spent by both of us.