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Taken 2 December 2016 10:11.

Punters Playing Poker.

The Table Options.

Sky Poker Review

Owned and operated by the huge Sky TV company, Sky Poker delivers Texas Holdem, Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo games, with a good volume of players at all levels. Lots of bonuses can be claimed by new customers and regulars alike, while an exciting highlight is the chance for players to have their games shown live on the Sky Poker channel.

Opened in 2007, they are not part of a network of other poker rooms, but are still large enough to have several thousand people at the tables during peak hours and they use bespoke software to give a unique look, feel, and style to the whole site. It all looks very neat and is clearly branded with the Sky logo. Navigation is pretty easy, with a simple homepage linking to a poker schedule, registration pages, current promotions information and the poker TV channel.

The 'How To Play' section consists of step-by-step details about how to sign up, use the lobby area, find a table, buy in to a game and more. A poker school will guide anyone who is new through the basics, although more experienced players will still find lots of useful information to help them to improve their game.

Games

Before playing, a customer will need to download the software to their PC, which should only take a few minutes and can be done in just a couple of clicks. Poker varieties are a bit limited, but most online poker players stick to Texas Holdem, which is provided in abundance, while Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo are also popular. Getting to a table is very easy, with users just needing to choose from cash games or tournaments, selecting game type and then either picking a game from the list or using the handy Quickplay feature to narrow down stakes, number of players, limits etc. There is even a link to televised games, which adds a whole new dimension that no other poker site can offer.

The tables themselves are presented clearly in a relaxing blue colour, with quality graphics that are simple to understand. Players can create an avatar and nickname for themselves, which will appear in their table position, while there are lots of opportunities to customise the tables by displaying hand history, average hands per hour, enabling sound effects, auto-mucking losing hands etc.

Chat is always popular at poker tables, and competitors can either display it and join in, or just minimise the chat screen. Other options include a facility for blinds to be posted on the players behalf if they need to be away from a tournament table for a while, or the possibility to sit out cash games while still retaining a seat.

Cards can be displayed in full detail or in a simplified format which is easier to read quickly, while table sizes can be adjusted from full screen to mini view. If more than one table is being played at a time, they can be 'tiled' to show them all on screen, and an 'auto focus' facility which causes the table to flash when it is time for the player to act. A players forum can be found under the 'Community' link where people can discuss all aspects of the games, learn from others to how best to use the site, or just brag about some big wins. Although there may not be any Stud Poker or Speed games, Sky still offer some top quality software, infinitely adjustable to suit each client's personal preferences.

Bonuses and Promotions

There's quite a range of bonuses here, although like any good poker operator, Sky constantly update their offers. New customers will usually be offered a first deposit match bonus, which means that for every £10 paid into their account, Sky will add another £10 in bonus funds. These funds will be released gradually, the more the customer plays and can be up to a maximum value of £100s. Regular offers can include a small no-deposit deal for new players, where they are given £10 or so to play real games and win real money. These bonus funds are paid out as Poker Points, not actual cash. An additional offer is free entry to exclusive new player freeroll tournaments, which are a great way to learn how the software and games operate without the need to stake anything, while perhaps also winning a decent prize at the end.

Returning users collect poker points each time they stake money on a cash game or buy into a tournament. Points are earned at different rates depending on how many are accumulated during any given month, so a casual player could earn 1 Point for every £10 spent, whilst a high roller could earn them at twice that rate. Those who get about 10,000 points per month can enter the Priority Rewards scheme, earning up to 30% rakeback, faster payouts, entry to exclusive tournaments, freerolls and competitions, plus a VIP manager to handle their account.

Other promotions include some huge tournaments, with monthly ones often having prizes of £10,000s, and Sky have their own national tour with six stages and a grand final where the top prize is around £60,000. 50/50 tournaments run until half of the competitors remain, with each of them getting their buy-ins returned, plus a share of the prize pot, while Turbo Tuesday tournaments, which are shown live on Sky Poker, feature three events within an hour of each other.

Banking

There is a highly detailed FAQ section that goes step-by-step through how to deposit and withdraw funds. Accepted methods include credit and debit cards, plus e-wallets, although prepaid cards and vouchers are not allowed. The minimum deposit amount is just £5. Withdrawn funds are paid back to whichever card or e-wallet was used to make the most recent deposits, or by bank draft. It can take 3-5 working days for money to get back to a credit or debit card account, but when an e-wallet has been used, it is usually much quicker.

Summary

Sky Poker is an excellent site, with just some minor issues, the main one being that only a couple of game types are offered, so players looking for lots of variety may wish to look elsewhere. Having said that, there are lots of games and tournaments going on at any time, with good player volumes at a wide range of buy in prices. Promotions can be quite lucrative, with three separate offers to attract new players and a good loyalty points system, especially for high rollers. An additional benefit of playing at Sky Poker is that once an account has been opened at any part of their site, the same login details and account can be used across the sportsbook, 'Vegas' casino, and bingo areas.

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