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For years, online poker players have employed programs like Table Ninja and AutoHotKey (AHK) scripts to enhance their play. Many of these programs offer up solutions that allow multi-tabling to become a much easier science. Pot betting, hotkeys for specific game situations, and other useful tools were only available to those playing on Windows PCs. Now, there's a new sheriff in town by the name of BlazingStars, a hotkey program being developed exclusively for Mac OS X machines.
Mac poker players are just catching up to their PC counterparts in the world of poker software. In the last year, we finally saw the release of a full-fledged hand history tracking utility armed with a heads-up display (HUD) in Poker Copilot (and the subsequent release of Poker Copilot 2). Recently, a press release was issued from the developers of PokerTracker 3 stating that a Mac alpha build will be testing privately in the coming months. Nevertheless, Mac poker players have been out in the cold when it comes to AHK-like shortcuts until BlazingStars was announced on the TwoPlusTwo forums.
This program is a fully-featured hotkey program for PokerStars players operating in Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard) or later. It's being developed by Fully Functional Software and currently is in a private beta testing state. The program has a few months of development time behind it and several updates have already been issued to handle the few bugs that beta testers have been experiencing. On top of the bug fixes, there are features in development that will make their way into subsequent builds.
Installing BlazingStars will be a simple and straightforward process for experienced Mac users. Once we were given the link to the current beta build, the download came in extremely quickly and at about 5 MB in size. Within the Mac OS X interface, one simply clicks on the .dmg file to open up the installation folder. From there, there is a "readme.txt" file for reference and the main BlazingStars program. After a click and drag of the BlazingStars program into the Applications folder, it was installed. The total time to install the program was four minutes.
Once you are in the program and have it running, you will see five key areas to navigate: Basic Keys, Pot Bets, Open:Close, Setup, and Advanced. Upon clicking the Setup button, the program reveals one area that has to be configured in order for the program to properly recognize what theme you are running. The major themes are supported and, once that is set, BlazingStars is fully operational.
One of the most important areas of the program is the Basic Keys section, which will allow a user to set up hotkeys for processes like folding, check-calling, and bet-raise actions. There is a section for setting up hotkey shortcuts for various actions like "sitting out the next hand" and "sit out all tables," which can be done with a simple one-button setup. Within the Basic Keys area is a sub-section for "Advance Actions," which allows you to set up hotkeys for check-fold, fold to any, check-call, and check-call any actions. Finally, there is a specific area for Limit Hold'em games and a Bet Sizing area for increasing and decreasing bets.
Another significant section of the program is the Pot Bets area. It is here that a user can set up four different shortcuts for a custom pot bet percentage. For example, if you want to set up a hotkey for betting 75% of the pot, you can enter in "75" in the percentage area and then the associated hotkey (Shift-7). Whenever you were in a hand and wanted to bet 75% of the pot, you would simply hit Shift-7 and BlazingStars does the rest. This type of auto-calculation and automation with hotkeys represents a huge advantage for players.
After a quick session with BlazingStars, we can safely say that this is going to be an indispensable program for all poker players who want to play on a Mac. It made using the mouse obsolete and the game play was handled with never-seen-before efficiency. In short, BlazingStars is shaping up to revolutionize the Mac poker software world.
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