There’s no question that the biggest poker room in the world is PokerStars. Ever since former giant PartyPoker withdrew from the US, Stars have been on an unstoppable rise to the top. There’s never a quiet hour on PokerStars. Even in the early hours of the morning there are hundreds of cash games and tournaments running.
Most online poker players do not have the freedom to devote entire days to their passion. Even solid, winning players usually have other commitments to meet. So when are the best times to log on and make some money? By analysing the Flop Turn River PokerStars Network Volume Data
we can see which days have the highest peaks and the lowest ebbs. If you’re not already a PokerStars aficionado, we’ll also introduce you to their line-up of big Sunday tournaments.
You may be surprised to hear that, of all the days of the week, Monday is the busiest
. The hour of 3 PM ET on Monday has the highest number of players - usually around the 230,500 mark
. The next best time to log on is Tuesday, once again around 3 p.m ET. Although you might expect the reverse to be true: Friday, Sunday, and Saturday are all a little quieter than the rest of the week. Having said that, compared to the every other online poker site traffic remains high 24 hours a day. During daytime and evening hours the figures rarely, if ever, drop below 100,000. See below for a traffic snapshot from July 1 - July 7 2009:
Looking at every single day of the week it is clear that the most popular hours every day are from 1 p.m - 8 p.m ET
. Every day during this seven hour period the total number of players on PokerStars never drops below 150,000. As you might expect after reading the above, 3 p.m ET is almost always the hour when traffic levels reach a peak. From then on there is a slow decline until about 1 a.m ET. After that levels drop significantly until 8 a.m ET, when the totals bounce back over 100,000 again.
PokerStars benefited a lot post-UIGEA by remaining open to US customers. However, the fact that the early afternoon is consistently the most popular period seems to indicate that they have a very strong European following. 3 p.m ET is 8 p.m UK time (GMT) and 1 a.m. at the other end of Europe in Russia. The evening is traditionally the time when poker traffic swells the most, so it seems that Euro players are having more of an effect on PokerStars numbers than U.S. customers.
The weekdays might have the bulk of traffic, but online tournament experts know that Sunday is the time to be online. It has become traditional for most poker sites to host their biggest and best tournaments on the final day of the week, and nowhere is this more true than at PokerStars.
The Sunday Million
has become something of an institution. Many tournament pros will plan their games around it, trying hard to win a satellite seat during the week. Nowadays it has a guaranteed prize pool of $1.5 million and a buy-in of $200 + $15. Countless satellites run during the week, so it’s more than possible to find a cheaper way into the event. It runs at 16:30 ET on Sunday and tends to draw in between 6,000 - 10,000 entrants.
Also featured are the Sunday Warm-Up
(Sundays at 12:45 ET), designed to let you flex those MTT muscles before the big even hits later in the day. It still boasts a hefty $750,000 guarantee and commands a buy-in of $200 + $15. Predictably it attracts about half the number of entrants compared to the Sunday Million, usually in the mid-thousands.
Also present to beef out the Sunday schedule are a $215 Rebuy
(21:00 ET) with $200,000 guaranteed. The usually has a few hundred entrants and features plenty of loose rebuy action. The Sunday 500
(17:30 ET) has a $500,000 guarantee and around 800 - 1,000 entrants. Lasts but not least there’s the Sunday Second Chance
(18:30 ET), which tend to feature around 1000 - 1,500 players competing for a $250,000 guaranteed prize pool.