I was standing in the bathroom brushing my teeth when André shouted at me from the corridor “I think you should play stacked instead of tile!” First of all, who wants to talk about poker that early in the morning? I don’t do well at any sort of conversation without a bit of caffeine in my system. Secondly, since when did tiling become subject to change? I had always been playing in tile and was planning to keep doing it forever. “There is absolutely NO WAY that is happening!” I shouted back at him while spitting toothpaste all over my mirror. As it turned out, I should have quietly kept brushing my teeth instead, ’cause time proved me wrong.
In case you’re not familiar with the terms “tile” or “stack” in online poker they refer to how a player organizes their tables across their screen. But let’s be a bit more analytical, shall we?
Playing in tile is probably the most popular among the different table organization ways. Same as when you are putting tiles in a bathroom one next to the other, you place your tables neatly one next to the other until you have your entire screen covered (or until you just can’t play any more tables). This method has the obvious advantage that you can see all action at all tables at all times. Sure, you can only look at one spot at a time, but it’s all there laid out for you. That is very important if you are studying your opponents or if you want to see how hands play out entirely. One of its drawbacks is that you need to scroll your mouse from one side of the screen to the other, which costs time. We’re only talking about seconds, but if you are multitabling and have to do that movement often, they add up. And a monitor only has that many inches. If you play more tables than what can fit in your screen and you play tile, then the only solution is to buy another screen.
Playing stack is the complete opposite. It means that you stack all your tables one on top of the other, so that they all occupy the space of a single table in your screen. Whenever a table needs you to take action, it will pop up at the top of your stack. Obvious advantage? You don’t need to move your mouse as much which saves you time. The fold button (same as the check or raise) is always at the same spot so you don’t need to be hunting for it. The drawback is that once you’ve done whatever play you wanted to do, the table will disappear going to the bottom of the stack. You won’t see what your opponents are doing until that table comes back up. Also, you risk getting your hands folded if you take too long to take a decision and can’t click on the time bank of the rest of the tables in the stack.
I honestly don’t think there are many players playing cascade. I personally don’t know any. I feel like those who play cascade are in terms of rarity right next to the green unicorns. I think you get my point. But for the sake of this article being complete, I thought I’d mention it. Cascade is when you have your tables one on top of the other but not exactly at the same spot. The actually sort of form a cascade, like in the picture above.
I guess if you want to play stacked but want to still be able to manually navigate from one table to the other, then cascade is the way to go. In my personal opinion though, you’re way better off by choosing either tile or stack.
This isn’t an official poker term, but it’s the name I have for this style that exists and surprisingly is quite popular. Chaos is for the player who doesn’t worry about table organization at all. I’ve seen people randomly scattering their tables all over the screen and somehow making sense out of it. Unlike all three previous styles where all tables have the exact same size, chaos means that tables will have different sizes as well. Why one table would be bigger than the other remains at the discretion of the player. I don’t really get it and the organization freak inside of me seriously dislikes it but chaos exists so I though I’d put this out there.
As for what I did after that morning when André had the idea of me trying out stacking my poker tables? I was so determined to prove him wrong that I gave it a try. You know, just to be able to say “Hey, I tried it, it didn’t work for me, so now I’m tiling.” Well, it turns out I love stacking. It’s way better for me and it allows me to play more tables than I did before. When playing tile I could hardly go above 12. Now with stacking I can play up to 16. And who knows, maybe one day if I really focus I’ll be able to play 20, something I would consider impossible when tiling.
Regardless of what way you prefer when organizing your tables for a session, I suggest you give the other options a try. Maybe you will be pleasantly surprised like I was!
Katerina ‘Katerina289’ Malasidou is a member of Team PokerStars Pro Online