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How Many Poker Hands Are Played Per Hour Live? (A Guide For Beginners)

The amount of hands you play in a poker game, online or live, can drastically affect how much you can earn as a poker player.

Figuring out how many hands you can play per hour will help you work out how much you can earn.

This is ultimately the biggest difference between online and live poker.

When playing live your physicality can drastically affect the amount of hands you play, you can’t really play multiple tables at one time when in-person.

But when playing online it is very common for poker players to be playing multiple poker hands at different tables at the same time. 

In this article we are going to provide some insight into how many hands are played per hour in a live poker game, so you can get any idea of how much you could earn in a day when playing live. Keep reading to learn more about poker, both live and online, below.

What Affects Hands Played Per Hour?

There are many variables that will affect hands played per hour in poker, applicable to both online and live play.


If you have ever played poker, even just with friends, you know that simply playing the most hands doesn’t guarantee you success.

There are different kinds of poker strategies that will affect the number of hands played per hour.

You might change your strategy depending on who you are playing against, or depending on the amount of money you have gambled in each game.

Soft play as a strategy will generally lead to less hands played. Put simply, soft play means that you fold bad hands and only play the good hands.

You might do this to unsettle an opponent or you might do this if you really don’t want to lose money.

It’s a very conservative style of play but perhaps has the most success per hand played per hour. For example, you might just play one hand in an hour but might win big.

Alternatively, aggressive play will likely mean you are playing a lot more hands per hour.

Aggressive play is when you play every hand, and as you might not be given a good hand every time, this strategy can involve a lot of bluffing.

Bear in mind that in online poker bluffing is almost a completely different game than when in-person, there are no tells on online poker for example

If you are betting on specific poker players, the amount of hands played per hour might affect your bet.

Bookies will give better odds on the soft players who have a higher win per hand played ratio, while aggressive players may have a higher losing ratio but can win big when successfully bluffing.

Amount Of Players

Of course, the amount of players will affect the length of a game and in turn, this will affect the amount of hands you can actually play, no matter your strategy.

That said, the amount of players in a game will also affect the strategy you chose, people are generally more aggressive in smaller games and more soft in larger games.

6 person games are typically 20 percent faster than 9 player games.

The number of players in a game of poker will generally affect the bookie’s odds per player as well.


When the stakes are high much more time will be taken by a player to play each hand, often calculating what hands there are on the table and the odds that the opposing player might have a better hand than the one you currently have.

Stakes increase as players reduce, generally. If you are in a 9 player game, the final two players will likely be playing for a while and will mull over each decision.

This shows how stakes naturally increase over the game of poker. This is where the bookies’ odds are perhaps the most pertinent, based on how they played in that game and that players’ historic style, and are much easier to calculate after some hands have been played and when there are only two players left.

This said, in a high stakes game where the buy-in is particularly high, the hands played per hour will greatly reduce.

As mentioned, the higher the stakes the more the players will think about their decisions and the hands played per hour in a high stakes game will be drastically less than at the start of a poker tournament, for example.


Many don’t realize that the physical nature of the live game will naturally reduce the hands played and dealt per hour. 

Consider that live players won’t be playing multi-table games like an online player, but will likely sit at the same table for hours, only playing one game at a time.

Additionally, no matter how good a card dealer is, their physicality means they have to take time to shuffle and collect cards, etc, while a computer can do these tasks in seconds.

Hands Played vs. Hands Dealt

How Many Poker Hands Are Played Per Hour Live

One thing to point out is that hands dealt and hands played are not the same metric, although they can affect each other and are used for different things.

For example, in a 9 player game of poker, 9 hands will be dealt at the start of the game, but in that turn maybe only 6 of those hands will be played.

The more people who leave the table the less hands will be dealt but it is likely more hands will be played the less players there are. 

Hands dealt can be easier to calculate, whereas trying to gauge how many hands are going to be played in an hour, and how many will fold, can be much harder.

A bookie might base their odds based on the number of hands dealt, rather than the number of hands played.

How Many Poker Hands Are Played Per Hour Live?

As we have discussed it can be hard to determine how many hands are played per hour, while this is related to how many are dealt, the latter is more accurate to measure in terms of betting on poker itself.

The general consensus is that a typical live full-ring poker game will deal around 25-30 hands per hour.

The amount of hands that are being played is affected by this but is easier to determine with actual data from a real live game.

A bookie will likely change the odds of each player winning based on the amount of hands played or dealt per hour.

Final Thoughts

As you might imagine, an online poker game can have nearly double or triple the amount of hands dealt per game, as an online player is likely to be playing around four tables at the same time.

In a live game, the amount of hands dealt or played per hour is essentially an attempt to measure the luck of the players playing and is mainly used by bookies to support their odds.

If a player is playing a lot of hands per hour they are likely playing aggressively and might be having luck.

This said, many poker players will use the hands dealt per hour to measure how much success they may have on a table.

Find out more about price per head poker here.

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