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For those unaware of the budding popularity of these convenient and unobtrusive applications, desktop widgets may prove to be valuable additions to your user interface. Essentially mini-programs used as quick references, desktop widgets are readily accessible applications dedicated to a few functions each, sparing your computer’s resources even though they never have to be shut off. Though far from necessary, their compact size and accommodating ease of use make them a more than welcome amenity.

With Mac OS X, widgets occupy a different interface layer known as a the “Dashboard”. With a single customized hot key or “hot corner”, you can access the Dashboard and widgets, creating an intelligently integrated workspace, or in our case, poker playing space.

Unfortunately, despite the vast array of existing desktop widgets that range from the practical to just plain silly, there aren’t many relevant to online poker play. With the exception of multiple Hold Em’ poker odd calculator platforms available, those are but one obvious offering to the unexplored world of online poker desktop widgets. The following are just a few ideas for widgets that I would love to see loitering my Dashboard.

MTT Manager Widget:

Although an admitted casual multi-table tournament player, I attribute the lack of fondness due to the confusing and fickle nature of MTT timing. Undoubtedly, more prominent MTT players would specifically create and manage schedules, however,  I would certainly like to see a widget that can do this for me. While you may argue that all it takes is a simple scroll through the MTT tab, I would much rather be able to have a filtered list of relevant tournaments ready for display at any time on my dashboard, irregardless of what I may be doing. Would you rather sift through a TV guide to find out what times your favorite shows might be on? Or would you rather have it all be neatly displayed for you on the front page? Other capabilities could be added to further enhance this potential widget. For example, the ability to set alarms on tournaments would be a a nice touch (if not necessary for remembering that I am signed up for freeroll events), or how about a backlog of tournaments I’ve participated in, which not-so coincidentally leads me to my next idea.

Bankroll Manager:

Bankroll management is, without a doubt, a key factor in long-term profitable play. However, much to the dismay of Mac Poker players, the exclusivity of bankroll management tools such as Poker Tracker has left us trapped in a relative stone age. While a proposed management Widget couldn’t compare to the extent of what full fledged tracking software can provide, some basic capabilities would do much to begin the process of narrowing the gap.

One example this Widget could be realized as is as a profit graphing tool. Hopes would be for the ability to enter a starting bankroll value and having a graph generate after adding in subsequent bankroll values. This could provide simple visual feedback on your overall progress. Again, while this capacity is not ground breaking (provided you keep track of your start and end values, a simple Excel sheet would do the trick), performing this function with a widget will only make it a hot key away, thus ensuring easy access and rapid response.

“Play Point” Calculator

Virtually all poker sites have implemented a points program as a small, but not insignificant, consolation for growing wealthy on your rake. As of late, some poker sites have further elaborated their reward programs to emphasize the long term acquisition of points, popular examples being PokerStars‘ VIP program or Full Tilt‘s Iron Man. With these promotions and some serious bonuses to be unlocked, point collection has, at the very least, become more than negligible and while for others, point acquisition has become another designated goal to conquer. Not surprisingly, I would suggest a desktop widget to help aid in monitoring point collection.

Utilizing already established rake formulas, this widget could provide users with expected point values based on the amount played of their game type, giving them a sense of how much time needs to be put in to achieve their designated goals. For example, with Full Tilt‘s Iron Man program, a set amount of Full Tilt Points must be cleared per day. If I only had an hour to play, a quick widget check will let me know if I need to run a couple of extra tables to meet the requirement. Whether for those with Supernova aspirations, or others simply saving up for stress balls, a quick number cruncher to forecast reward points would be a healthy desktop widget addition in a mac poker player’s repertoire.

Though neither complex nor critical, the proposed ideas are meant to reflect the very nature of widgets. Simple and hidden but accessible, these suggestions could prove to be valuable tools without being a cumbersome burden to use. Additionally, with Mac OS X’s Dashboard literally a finger tip away, desktop widgets can be easily integrated into an online poker player’s game, contributing to that much desired edge in the competition.

This article was written by Matthew Au exclusively for Mac Poker.