Many online poker players own a Mac, but have various excuses as to why they play on their Windows PC. Other Mac owners go to such lengths as installing programs like Parallels or Boot Camp in order to run Windows XP or Vista on their Mac, which is a cardinal sin among Mac diehards. The good news for Mac poker players is that software developers are waking up to the fact that there’s a Mac market.
For most poker players, there are two simple reasons why they only play online poker in a Windows environment, lack of a hand history tracking program with a heads-up display (HUD) and lack of shortcut programs like AutoHotKey (AHK) scripts. We’ve seen programs like Poker Copilot 2 released that allow hand history tracking and a custom HUD. We also know that PokerTracker 3 for Mac is on the horizon. What about shortcut programs that make multi-tabling easier?
Enter a program for Mac OS X called BlazingStars, which is a fully-featured hotkey program for PokerStars players. It is being developed by Fully Functional Software and doesn’t have a huge development team behind the name. However, what it might lack in resources, it definitely makes up for in pure brilliance. BlazingStars is currently in closed beta, meaning that only people invited to test the program have access to it. The good news for MacPoker.com readers is that we have one such license and have tested the latest build – BlazingStars 0.6.6b Build 9.
Installation of the beta edition of BlazingStars was a very easy process. There’s a DMG file to download and open, which can be done from your desktop. Simply click and drag the BlazingStars icon into the Applications folder and you’re done. From there, you have five areas to look at, Basic Keys, Pot Bets, Open:Close, Setup, and Advanced. The Setup button reveals which theme you run on PokerStars, with three themes supported so far and plans for more. Once that was done, the program was ready to roll.
BlazingStars can calculate bets dependent on a hotkey you set up. We made a pot bet Shift-1, a 70% pot bet Shift-7, and a 50% pot bet Shift-5. To make sure there were not oddball bet sizes, the “Round all pot bets to” box was checked. You can have up to four different percentage of pot bet hotkeys set up, have it automatically click the bet button, and have an all-in shortcut.
The Basic Keys area has many different hotkeys to set up. The “Basic Buttons” handles things like Folding, Check/Call, and Bet/Raise. There are even hotkey areas for sitting out functions. The “Advance Actions” area has hotkeys for Check/Fold, Fold to Any, Check/Call, and Check/Call Any. There’s an area for limit-specific shortcuts and, finally, a Bet Sizing area for hotkeys to increase and decrease bets.
Using BlazingStars while playing on two tables at PokerStars exceeded all expectations. Considering that the beta phase of the software’s life cycle is in its infancy, there was a surprising amount to love about BlazingStars. There was a point for about 15 minutes where there was no need to have a hand on the mouse and the games were being played with more efficiency than ever experienced with PokerStars on a Mac.
There’s little doubt that when BlazingStars reaches a public beta testing phase, there is going to be an overwhelming demand for the software. It doesn’t hog system resources, it works fantastically, and there are more features on the way.