Knowing your hands per hour is important for planning your sessions and figuring out your hourly rate. I dove into the statistics and did a bit of research and this is what I found out.

How many hands per hour in poker? Online you will play around 75 hands per hour on a 6-max table and about 62 hands per hour on a 9-max table. In online fast fold games like Zoom, Zone, or Snap you will play 200 to 250 hands per table hour. Live poker players will typically average 25 hands per hour.

Of course, these numbers can vary based on where you are playing. Let’s take a look at the factors that can effect your hands per hour experience.

There Are Fewer Hands per Hour in Soft Games

As the VPIP goes up the hands per hour tends to go down. For comparison sake, let’s take a look at Bovada/Ignition versus the Winning Poker Network (WPN). I have played hundreds of thousands of hands on both networks and checked my database to compare the numbers.

For 6-max games on Bovada and Ignition I average 68 hands per hour. On WPN I average 77 hands per hour. In 9-max games the numbers are 55 and 62 respectively.

Why the discrepancy?

It’s because the VPIP is quite a bit higher on Bovada and Ignition. I mean it makes sense. If more people are limping and seeing flops then, of course, the games will play slower. I am not a live player but I can imagine 5/10 players enjoy a higher hands per hour than 1/2 players.

What Are Your Exact Hands per Hour on Each Site?

Hold’em Manager has a handy multi-table report that shows exactly how many hands per hour are played based on how many tables are played at once. Here are my numbers:

6-Max

Poker Network6-Max Hands per Hour
Ignition/Bovada68.47
Winning Poker Network76.53

9-Max

Poker Network9-Max Hands per Hour
Ignition/Bovada55.36
Winning Poker Network61.89

Surprisingly, the more tables I played the higher my hands per hour is. I guess this makes perfect sense since game selection pretty much goes out the window when you are mass multi-tabling.

Hands per Hour Dealt Is Different Than Hands per Hour Played

If you look around the web you will see much higher numbers than I am writing about here. That’s because they are talking about hands per hour when you are actually dealt into the hand.

Raw hands per hour when actually being dealt in is like 90 per hour for 6-max and 75 per hour for 9-max. However, unless you are staying on the same table and playing for hours, lower numbers are more realistic.

What they fail to take into account that some of the time that you are sitting at a table you are not being dealt in. Hands dealt per hour does not include time players spend getting on and off the tables and sitting and waiting on big blinds. Therefore, actual hands played per hour is what you should use when trying to figure out your hourly win-rate.

What About Hands Per Hour in Live Games?

Live dealt in numbers tend to be much closer to reality since there is no multi-tabling and a player will typically stay at the same table for hours. Even so, the number of hands played per hour is still much lower than online.

Hands per hour in live games can range anywhere from 20 to 30. Besides almost exclusively being 9 or 10 handed, it takes time for the dealer to shuffle and deal. That leaves little time to actually playing poker. I have a ton of respect for the patience and mental toughness of live grinders.

Aggressive Table Selection Affects Hands per Hour

The longer you stay on a table the more hands per hour you are dealt. This is because you have to pull up a new table, sit down, and then wait for the big blinds. This takes time. Therefore, switching games often lowers your hands per hour.

Now I am not saying you should stop game selecting. In today’s tough poker environment, robust table selection is how money is made. One way to remedy this issue and still maintain your desired number of hands per hour is to just add one more table. If you normally two table, try three.

Mass Multi-Tablers Slow down the Games

I have noticed a direct correlation between the maximum number of tables allowed on a site to how many hands per hour is played. This is due to mass multi-tablers, who tend to time bank often and hold up the games.

For example, Bovada and Ignition also only allow 4 cash game tables to be played at once. WPN still allows people to play 24 tables at the same time. Get two or three guys playing 24 tables on one table and it becomes time bank city. Watch your hourly rate shrink due to atrophied hands per hour.

Why Does Full Ring Play Slower Than 6-Max?

Full ring has a lower hands per hour because there are more players on the table that have to act during each hand. Also, 9-max games tend to play more passively than 6-max. Therefore, 6-max games tend to play about 20% faster than 9-max games.

What If I Mix in Full Ring Games and Want to Have the Same Hands per Hour?

If you want to play the same amount of hands per hour at 9-max that you do at 6-max you will simply just need to add more tables.

Let’s say you currently play 8 tables of 6-max and average 600 hands per hour. Since the average hands per hour at 9-max is 62, you simply divide 62 into 600 and that gives you your optimal number of full ring tables.
In this case, it is 9.68, or 10 tables.

  • 600/62= 9.68

Fast-Fold (Zoom/Zone) Poker Hands Per Hour

In the last few years, the popularity of fast-fold poker has increased substantially due to the increase in hands per hour attainable. No longer do you have to sit back and watch a hand play out after you have folded. With the click of a button you are moved on to another hand.

This allows people to play between 200 and 300 hands per hour on each table.

What this means is that a player can use less real estate on his or her desktop and just focus on one or two tables at the time, while still achieving a substantial number of hands per hour.

Drawbacks of Fast-Fold Poker

Fast-fold poker is not for the feint of heart. In fact, it takes a completely different strategy than you would play on a regular table. Maximizing hands per hour can actually be a big factor in determining how to play.

Personally, I dislike fast-fold poker not because of the strategic differences or the speed of play. Rather, I believe that the game is not really poker at all.

Observing opponents and then adjusting your strategy based on what they do is at the heart of poker. Fast-fold poker takes this away since every hand will find you in a different mix of opponents. So much for using gameflow considerations to your advantage.

Final Thoughts

If you are reading this article so that you can start mass multi-tabling because you think it will increase your hourly rate substantially, I have to warn you. As hands per hour increases, ability to focus on what is going on and game select correctly tends to go out the window.

So unless you are at least a 6bb/100 winner playing one or two tables, I would not even consider trying to maximize your hands per hour yet. Your growth as a poker player is much more important than trying to increase your hourly rate.

However, once you are ready you now know how many hands per hour you can expect to play at the tables. I hope this information allows you to figure out your optimal number of tables to play to achieve your hourly rate goals. My optimal number of tables is about 6, what’s yours?

Related Questions

How do I calculate hourly rate in poker? To calculate your hourly rate you divide your total profit by the number of hours you have played.

What is a good poker hourly rate? What can be considered a good hourly rate in poker will vary from player to player based on their goals. It will also depend on the stake being played. It is much better to focus on win-rate instead of hourly rate. A good online win-rate will range from 2-4 big blinds per 100 hands for multi-tablers and from 4 big blinds to 10 big blinds per 100 hands for single tablers. However, due to the extreme softness of some live games, live players will often enjoy a win-rate much higher.

How many hands per hour in tournament poker? Hands per hour in tournaments will be higher than cash games since there is no table selection involved. Online you can expect to play 90 hands per hour for 6-max and 75 hands per hour for 9-max. As the blinds increase, hands also tend to play faster since the game evolves into push-fold. Live tournament players play around 30 hands per hour.