Sky Poker School

If you are a novice poker player, then I strongly suggest that before you start eating into your bankroll and seeing your cash pot dwindle, you take a little time before you hit the cash tables to learn a little more about the game. Sky Poker School is a good place to start.

The Sky Poker School is accessible around two-thirds of the way down the landing page of Sky Poker. Once you have scrolled down, you will find the light blue Poker School bar (as shown below) which is your gateway to learning more about this beguilingly simple game.

Sky Poker School is divided into two distinct parts; the first involves a series of written articles about the game, including details on how to play, the different hand rankings, plus a selection of poker tips.

The second part comes in the form of a series of instructional videos made by Sky Poker TV, that investigate in a bit more detail some of the key skills and knowledge you’ll need to play a variety of Sky Poker cash games.

Let us examine each of these parts of Sky Poker School in a bit more detail.

1. Poker School Articles

From the Poker School banner, you have direct access to three articles that are aimed at a player who is new to the game and has very little knowledge and experience of playing it:

  • How to Play Poker – This article outlines the basics of Texas Hold’em, explaining how the game progresses and how players are able to bet in the game.
  • Hand Rankings – This article is a simple reference guide to how each of the hands rank in a game of Texas Hold’em. If you are not sure if a Straight Flush beats a Full House, then this is ideal for you.
  • Top Poker Tips –  Arguably the most valuable article available on the site for new players. This article looks directly at Poker strategy and usefully lists the top Poker hands, along with a recommendation of which hands a beginner should play, based on their position in the betting. There are some really useful tips for beginners here, especially about hand ranking, understanding the relative strength of their hand and also about the curse of many a new poker player; the bluff.

By clicking on one of the above articles, you gain access to other articles in the Sky Poker School section of the site which include How to Play guides to Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo, a guide to Poker Etiquette and an explanation of what the Poker Rake is as well as a section on Poker Strategy.

For the beginner, the articles on Etiquette and the Rake are useful in understanding how to play at the table and also what your bankroll cash is being used for. The articles on Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo are only pertinent if you are a player looking to play these games in particular.

The above six articles form part of the Poker Basics section of the site and are aimed at the beginner to read and digest before they play. However, there is also an additional section in the Sky Poker School aimed at explaining key elements of the strategy of the game.

In the Poker Strategy section, there are five articles about Omaha Hi-Lo, combined with four articles about strategy when playing Double-Your-Money games and a three-part article on Beating Small Stakes Cash.

For Texas Hold’em players, the latter four articles are very useful for helping inform you on how best to play different types of games. The Beating Small Stakes Cash articles are very in-depth and provide some excellent advice on how to play more sensibly and keep the odds in your favour at the table, whereas the Double Your Money Strategy guide helps you understand the slightly different focus of this game and can help you become a stronger player in this case.

Although I am not a novice, I found the information in the strategy articles a good refresher of my knowledge and skills and they do provide accurate, helpful advice for a novice player on how to play more successfully from the start.

The only down side of the school articles is that navigating to them on the site is not easy (you have to go through the Sky Poker banner and not the somewhat confusing “How to Play” tab at the top of the screen).

Article exampleThe articles too are not the easiest to read, with relatively small text and a seemingly random combination of bold and normal text, which doesn’t make them particularly attractive or easy to read at a computer or on a smartphone or tablet. There is also a considerable leap in knowledge from the basic poker articles, to the strategy articles where many acronyms are used that can be a problem for a novice player to understand (see example to right).

The site could also do with some more articles about each of the individual games and perhaps an explanation of some of the games that make Sky Poker attractive, such as Freeroll games and the live TV games (although information about these games is provided on other parts of the site).

2. Poker School Videos

The Sky Poker School video section contains (at present) seven videos about different aspects of the game and the videos are aimed at players of mixed ability, with the majority of videos focusing on helping newer players learn the basics of playing online for cash and the fundamentals required for long term enjoyable poker play.

The seven videos available are:

  • The Basics of Online Cash (games)
  • Poker Clinic – Mahrenholz & Jackson
  • Fundamentals of Cash Games
  • Small Pairs in Cash Games
  • Playing the Blinds
  • Playing Small Pairs
  • Multitabling MTTs

As a new player, I would strongly recommend taking the time to watch at least two of the above videos before you begin playing. Start with the first video, the Basics of Online Cash games, then move onto the Fundamentals of Cash Games.

Watch the videos and listen to the advice given within – it can prove very useful and save you a lot of money chasing pots you can’t win.

If you are playing and not enjoying the success you think you should, then I’d take a close look at videos Small Pairs in Cash Games, Playing the Blinds and Playing Small Pairs. These provide experienced players with example strategies for different situations, allowing them to develop their play to a higher level, resulting in more won hands and more correct decisions on when to fold.

Sky Poker School offers a variety of articles and video that are helpful to the novice player in particular, however some of the more strategic guides and videos do assume a good level of understanding both of the game, and the terms and acronyms used in poker.

When used in conjunction with sensible, strategic play on the cash and tournament tables, Sky Poker School does provide players with the basic strategies needed to start winning hands immediately, but it is down to the individual player’s poker ability, skill and judgement to turn the advice given, into better poker play.

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