Sky Poker was launched by the British Sky Broadcasting Group in 2007, a company which also controls Sky Television and Sky Casino. They can claim to be one of the UK’s leading online poker rooms thanks to widespread brand recognition, accessible software features and good cash incentives.
Bonuses: New players can avail of £10 free credit to spend when joining (although it it credited in 4 small tokens, which cannot be used to play cash poker with, just used for tournaments and sit & go’s). Sky Poker has a match deposit of 200% for players’ first deposit, to be released in £10 increments, so £10 into your account for every 250 Poker Points that you earn. The Sky Poker Rewards Loyalty Scheme bestows Priority Status upon players who earn 10,000 Poker Points or more (providing access to promotions, special offers and competitions). The Cash for Points scheme now enables players to get cash for every point they earn, once they start earning over 500 points.
Traffic: Competition on the Sky Poker site is soft and the traffic is usually quite light (players may have to wait some time for their table to fill up). The site is a notable target for inexperienced players; seasoned players will discover easily beatable opposition. There’s always a fair level of volume at the lower stakes games and recent record show just under 2,000 players at peak hours during the day.
Games & Tournaments: Sky Poker’s selection of available games is limited to variations on Texas Hold’em, Omaha and Omaha Hi/Lo, but these old favourites are enough to satisfy almost all online poker players. Tournaments include the Sunday Super Roller (guaranteed prize pool of £15,000) and the Bounty Hunter £8,000 prize which runs Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Other weekday specials include the Tuesday Turbo Open (with a prizepool of £4k) and Wednesday Rebuy Open (with a slightly more generous £6k prizepool).
Software: Software on Sky Poker is generally judged by most users to be easy to navigate and quick to install. It comes with multi-language and multi-currency options, high graphic quality and a well-designed poker lobby – in which players can choose their own 3D avatar to represent them at a table. The unique feature of the “hot-o-meter” helps less experienced players to decide if their cards are with playing. Players can also take advantage of the opportunity to appear (however briefly) on TV, with Sky Poker’s option to replay poker hands on their online TV channel.
Banking & Customer Service: Sky Poker deposits are not charged and funds are available immediately once cleared by the customer’s bank. Withdrawals to debit or credit cards take the standard 2 to 5 bank working days to process, with the minimum withdrawal amount being £10. There’s no restriction on the amount players can withdraw per day. Banking options are varied, with a wide choice of payment methods. Sky Poker customer service is contactable online, by email and by phone, available 24/7.
Overall: Sky Poker, thanks to its parent company British Sky Broadcasting, has a trustworthy and widely recognisable brand. The poker site is just as popular and enjoyable as the Sky Vegas casino, and had enough unique features to attract both novice and experienced players – including the ‘no download’ software option and the exciting chance to appear on Sky Poker TV (albeit, on their online channel). The instant bonus is not as attractive as it may initially seem, as it is released in stages rather than all at once, but the match bonus they offer is fairly achievable.
Best Poker Bonus Score: 7/10