Sky Poker Review Continued...
Games and Tournaments
You are presented with a very strong selection of tables to play on, with all brands of Hold’em, Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo to explore. The cash games and Sit & Go sections are well-populated so you will rarely be waiting around for a table to fill before you can play, and there are numerous competitions kicking off throughout the day. There is a Free Play section as well, allowing new players the chance to get a feel for the tables, but this is the only part of the site where you might have to hang about a bit for competitors as it tends to be pretty bare.
Sky Poker has a light blue theme with glacial graphics that almost tip from ‘cool’ to straight-up freezing. Whereas many brands create a welcoming atmosphere, playing on the traditional glamour and decadence of poker, Sky Poker reminds you to whack up the thermostat and chuck another jumper on.
However, everything is very clean and slick and the tables are neat and orderly, which is great when you want to run multiple games. Thanks to the responsive design, the chat box moves around the screen depending on the dimensions that you favour for the pop-out play window, which is a nice touch.
Functionality and Features
The redesign of the site has brought with it a number of other features which have enhanced Sky Poker’s usability. Multi-tablers will be able to take advantage of the tiling option which fits all of the active windows neatly onto the screen. Similarly the auto-focus setting will make the table which most needs your attention flash so you can keep on top of all of your activities. You can also attach comments to players and change the colour that surrounds their avatar if you deem them worthy of note and want to recognise them in the future. These are simple yet effective details which certainly show that a lot of thought and research has gone into the design.
The site also hosts a well-used forum, featuring poker clinics for strategy issues, poker chat and site feedback too. While Sky Poker TV and the live stream may have disappeared from fans’ screens (both television and mobile) in March 2015, its spirit lives on in the form of a YouTube channel and a weekly show on Sky Sports.
Sky Poker Bonuses and Promotions
New players receive £10 awarded as tournament tokens alongside a bonus of 200 percent of your first deposit up to £500, providing that you earn the requisite amount of poker points during the first 30 days of your membership. You will receive £10 for every 250 poker points that you gain from playing on any real money table, and any bonus money you receive has to be played through once before you can withdraw it. On the whole, it’s not the greatest welcome offer out there.
Sky Poker revamped its loyalty scheme in early June 2015 so that it paid out on a weekly basis as opposed to monthly and also added new levels. At the moment, players can pick up six Poker Points for every £1 rake taken in cash games and ten Poker Points for every £1 in registration and fees spent on tournaments and Sit & Gos. As you earn more points, you’ll receive higher awards badges that unlock poker tokens that can be used for MTTs and Sit & Gos, cash bonuses and access to freerolls. You need to earn at least 50 points to take advantage of the scheme.
There is still a monthly scheme, called the Sky Poker Priority Club, for those who earn 10,000 points or more in a month. It’s a bit steep, but you do get a minimum of ten percent rakeback. Other promotions run from time to time and include double Poker Points, trips to Las Vegas, satellites for tournaments like the Sky Poker UKPC and more.
Sky Poker certainly ranks highly in the playability stakes, with plenty of games to choose from and a slick and responsive poker client laden with helpful features. The healthy forum and poker academy will keep players entertained whilst also learning tactics which could improve their overall play. The loss of the TV channel is a real shame, but the YouTube channel is decent and offers reporting, analysis and updates on everything going on with Sky Poker and major events like the WSOP.
The new player bonus is too complicated and certainly not as good as the eye-catching claim of 200 percent on your first deposit up to £500 might suggest which is a bit annoying when the site offers such great games. The renewed loyalty scheme will hopefully change things for the better, but as it stands you have to be ready to plunk down some money to get on the ladder.
The downsides won’t affect your day-to-day poker play too much, so if you can see past them then Sky Poker certainly puts forward a very strong offering which is worth considering.