What's the best days and time to play poker? Is it better to play poker on the weekends or during a week? The short answer: The best time to play poker is during primetime hours. Then you have a wide range of tables and opponents you can choose from. But when exactly is the prime time hours?

In this article we are going to dig deeper into the answers to these questions.
For that purpose we observed the PokerStars lobby for a period of 3 months and gathered details about the number of player online at each point in time (times are recorded in GMT+1).
The resulting chart for NL100 ($0.50/$1.00) can be seen below:
It is just a simple fact that the more people who are online and playing poker, the better chance that you will have of finding the recreational or bad players.
Looking at the chart one can see that there's about 358 distinct players playing No Limit Hold'em $0.50/$1.00 on Monday 4PM (on average).
Looking at Wednesday 7AM, there's only about 208 distinct players online.
So when you have to choose between Monday 4PM and Wednesday 7AM, it's better to go with Monday.

Let's look at 4 particular observations you can take away from the chart:
  • We start off by comparing the weekends (Saturday + Sunday) to Monday - Friday.
    Looking at these particular days, we can see that at any time, there's more players online on weekends - no surprise there.
    On average there's about 29 distinct players more online on the weekend than during the week at any given point in time.
  • Looking at the times throughout a day we can find the least amount of player between 6-8 AM in the morning. While the maximum amount of player can bet found between 6PM-12AM.
    This is when you will find the most recreational players at the poker tables.
  • Looking at sundays we can see that the players leave the tables earlier than e.g. Saturdays and Fridays.
    The number of player starts to decline around 8PM.
    Recreational players probably starting to prepare for the next working day, and leave the tables early.
  • A related pattern can be found when comparing Firday to any other day of the week (Monday-Firday).
    None of the other days can compete with the number of players playing Fridays between 4PM and 12AM. Given the weekend is ahead it's probably the recreational players that start joining the tables around 4PM.
When you compare our observations from NL100 to NL1000 you will notice that some of them vanished.
At NL1000 it doesn't seem to make a difference if it's the weekend or if it's mid week.
The reason for that is simple. There are less recreational player and more regular and full time player.
But even they have to sleep from time to time.
We can still find our lows at around 7-8AM and our highs at 6PM-12AM.
At the low end you have about 20-22 distinct players online, while having 60-65 on the higher end. That's about 3 times more player during peak times.

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