Playing poker is a great thing and playing multiple tables can be even better but knowing how many tables to play at one time is a critical decision that must have some real thought put into it. Online poker rooms will allow for as many as 16 tables to be played at one time. This is a lot of tables to pay attention to. For starters all actions are times and it can result in timing out on one table while in an important hand at another table.
One of the advantages to playing lots of tables at larger poker rooms is that money can be made. It may only be a small amount per table but it adds up to a lot of money over time. Before you begin to play a lot of tables at one time you must be a profitable player first or disaster will follow. There is no point to playing more than one table if you are losing overall on one table as you will only loose more money in doing so. It is best to wait until such time that you are a profitable player and have a solid understanding of the game before trying multi-table play.
When you begin to play multiple tables at one time then start with playing two tables. You will quickly gain insight into how fast you must act and will learn to adjust your play. You will need to change your style of play and tighten up if you are a lose player. The act of making risky plays on both tables can destroy your bankroll in a very short period of time. An increased amount of focus must be in use to be successful when playing multiple tables. Remember that when playing two or more tables at a time that the size of your bankroll will need to be larger as well. It is just fact that your bankroll can and will fluctuate more as more tables are in play and it may cause you, at the beginning, to have to drop down a level or two in order to gain skills in multi-table play. This is a wise way to manage the bankroll you have built as well.
A big part of the ability to be profitable will be decided by the poker site you are playing at. Some sites limit multi-tabling to four tables at one time whereas others allow for as many as sixteen tables at a given time. While the majority of players could never manage that many tables at a time there are some who can and do daily. You are better to play when the traffic at the site is at its highest as you will have more tables to choose from.
What to remember as you grow:
As you improve do not try to go crazy by playing more tables than you are comfortable playing. That is just a recipe for disaster and not in your best interest. If you are most comfortable playing four tables at a time then stick with it. That is your comfort zone and one where you are most profitable.