In live poker, you would be lucky to see more than 30 hands per hour, this is a seriously slow pace.
In online poker you would easily get twice the rate.
If you are playing multiple tables in an online poker session, you could end up playing hundreds of hands in an hour.
So there's a huge difference between live and online poker.

How many hands of online poker can you play on average per hour?

Online poker isn't all equal as our following analysis will show.
And i am not talking about things like Zoom, FastForward, SpeedPoker, but the speed of play across the stakes.

Naturally, there should always be time for a player to make a decision in tough spots and in big pots. But taking ages in small pots and insignificant places is just nonsense.
There is probably no better way of getting rid of the casual players than making the game so slow it becomes boring to play.

In todays article we are going to compare the average speed of play between NL25, NL100 and NL1000.
For this comparison we analyzed more then 9 million hands in total.
A detailed breakdown of the hands we analyzed can be found at the end of the article.

The resulting average speed of play is illustrated in the following chart:

NL25 (Blinds $0.10/$0.25)

The average heads-up game lasts about 22 seconds.
As one would expect, the more player playing, the longer a hand takes to finish.
A 3 player game has an average duration of 25 seconds.
We can see a linear rise up to 6 player and an average duration of 37 seconds.
So each additional player adds about 4 seconds on average.

The average speed across all player is 29.2 seconds.

NL100 (Blinds $0.50/$1.00)

The average heads-up game lasts about 24 seconds (2 seconds more compared to NL25).

A 3 player game has an average duration of 31 seconds (6 additional seconds compared to NL25).
Again we can see a linear progression, with each additional player adding about 5 seconds of play.

The average speed across all player is 35.4 seconds.
Hence a hand at NL100 is about 6 seconds slower than a hand played at NL25.

NL1000 (Blinds $5/$10)

The average heads-up game lasts about 30 seconds.

A 3 player game has an average duration of 41 seconds.
A 6 player game takes 52 seconds on average.
The average duration across all player is 43.2 seconds.

Conclusion

The higher the stake, the slower the play.
The duration of a hand can be described best by a linear regression using the number of player at the table (N), a starting value (S) and a constant slope (R) you can come up with:
Duration(N) = S + R*N;
For NL25 a good estimate is:
Duration(N) = 14 + (N)*4;

Hands per hour

Playing a full 6-max table of NL25 you will make about 97 hands per hour.
Playing a full 6-max table of NL100 you will make about 87 hands per hour.
Playing a full 6-max table of NL1000 you will make about 69 hands per hour.

If you want to play 1000 hands of NL100, it will take you ~12 hours and 30 Minutes playing at 1 table only.
If you play at 2 tables simultaneously it will take you about ~6 hours and 15 Minutes.
Playing at 4 tables brings it down to 3 hours and 8 Minutes.

Here's the chart showing the number of hands we analyzed for each stake and number of player:

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