Bluff Avenue Blog

Updates and news from the Bluff Avenue trenches.

Mixed Games and Dealer's Choice!

Thursday, October 8, 2009 1:08 PM

All right, I'll admit it...the main reason I wanted to add Omaha to the Bluff Avenue game lineup was because one of the things I like most about our in-person home game is that we occasionally mix things up and play a round of Omaha or even Stud every now and then.  It spices things up, because let's face it, on one of those card dead nights, 5 straight hours of Texas Hold'em can get a wee bit tedious.


So the next logical progression after straight Omaha games is of course, you guessed it, mixed games!  Well...seeing as how we only have 2 games to choose from, there aren't a whole lot of mixed games you can play :), but the infrastructure's in place to create any kind of mixed game once I add more poker variants to the mix.


H.A. is the new mixed game you can play on Bluff Avenue.  It's a combination of Texas Hold'em and Omaha (it's not called H.O. because "O" usually refers to Omaha Hi/Lo), played pot-limit.  The game played rotates every 10 hands.  I haven't had a chance to add tournament support yet, so for now cash games are the only way to play H.A.


And now onto our second big new feature...



...Dealer's Choice!  OK now, it's not exactly the dealer's choice that you might have played in your home game before Hold'em took off, typically with multitudes of oddball poker variants to choose from like Baseball, Follow the Queen, or Pass the Trash. Here, your choices are all the games in the Bluff Avenue lineup, currently Hold'em and Omaha, and all the different betting structures offered for each game (limit, pot limit, no limit).  As I add new games to the list, you'll be able to choose them in your dealer's choice games.


Another thing to note is that it's...well, not really dealer's choice. In most dealer's choice games, whoever is dealing the hand gets to pick the game. Here, one player picks the game, then one full orbit (i.e. round) is played, then the player to the original chooser's left picks the game. Every time the button gets back to the same player, a new game gets chosen. This means every game, every player plays exactly one hand at each position.


It's really more fair that way--in my home game we used to do it the other way (button choose game for that hand), and I hated it when I was sitting to the left of the guy who always chose Omaha. Every single time we playing the game I was least familiar with I had to be a blind and play out of position the whole hand...and of course when I was the dealer I'd want to choose the game I was best at, Hold'em, so I'd never get to play an Omaha hand in position.  We started dealing full rounds of games because of this, and whaddaya know, I ended up learning to like Omaha!


Anyway, I'm happy that I now get to play throw in some Omaha into our Bluff Avenue online home games, and that with the addition of Dealer's Choice, we get another step closer to duplicating the home game experience online!

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I am unable to register to tournaments, only cash games. Private or public. What might be causing this?

2/1/2010 12:32 AM
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3/25/2020 6:22 AM
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3/25/2020 7:15 AM

Omaha: because coinflips and big draws are fun

Thursday, October 1, 2009 6:20 AM

Our first new game besides Texas Hold'em is here, and it loves action! Please welcome Omaha to our lineup.  You'll find an Omaha game in the public lobby, and of course, you can create your own Omaha games in your groups.


If you've never played Omaha, it's similar to Texas Hold'em, only crazier. You get four cards instead of two, and you must use exactly two of your cards to make a hand (i.e. you can't play the board, or make a flush with only one card, etc.). The rest is the same as Hold'em.


Why's it crazier, you ask? Because with four cards for each player, you need much stronger hands to win. Those pocket aces that don't improve with four players seeing the flop are not going to be looking good by the river. Heck, you should even be worried about your King-high flush when the betting starts getting heavy.


Add to that the possibility of huge, huge drawing hands (some straight draws can have upwards of 20 outs), and you can actually flop the nuts and be an underdog to win by the river against a big draw. It's not all that uncommon in Omaha for two or three people to get it all in on the flop, where nobody's made a mistake! You usually have the flopped nuts (e.g. top set) versus one or two big drawing hands, and it's usually a pretty close race.


In other words if you like to gamble, Omaha might be your game.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009 10:21 AM

Just rolled out Bluff Avenue's latest big feature: TableTalk!


TableTalk is a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) system that enables you to speak with other players at the table.  No software downloads or set up is required, all you need is a microphone! (Though speakers work, we also recommend using headphones to eliminate problems with echo)


To use TableTalk, all you need to do is sit down at a TableTalk-enhanced table (the game page will tell you if it's TableTalk-enhanced).  The Flash-based Bluff Avenue game will ask if you want to enable your microphone. Click Yes, and Flash will pop open its own security dialog asking you if you want to allow to access your microphone. Click "Allow", and if everything's set up correctly, you should now see a little voice balloon icon over your picture and be able to hear and talk to everyone else at the table.



Right now there's only one public game with TableTalk enabled, but you can create your own private games with TableTalk turned on.


As TableTalk is a new and experimental feature, please let us know if you have any problems with it. Errors, echo, microphone problems, etc.


In our own usage so far, we've found it really adds a fun new dimension to our online home game over typing into the chat box. :) Hopefully you'll also find that TableTalk is the perfect addition for what we're shooting for here at Bluff Avenue: a social online poker game for you and your friends.

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What's Up, Doc? Rabbit Hunting

Friday, August 14, 2009 3:57 PM

Just rolled out a new game feature: rabbit hunting.  Even if you're new to the game and don't know what rabbit hunting is, chances are, you've done it at some point if you've played in a casual home game.


When you rabbit hunt, it's usually after you've folded a drawing hand of some sort before the river.  You want to know if you would've made your flush had you called Chuck's hefty bet.  So you ask the dealer to "hunt it", "chase it", "deal the rest", etc.  The dealer then deals the cards that would have been the turn and river and you get to either curse under your breath, or pat yourself on the back for making a good fold.


The more hardcore players frown on this practice, as they scoff at the notion that a decision can be any more or less correct based on cards that haven't been dealt yet.  They're right of course, but bah, what's the harm in a little curiosity?



Also rolled out a new features page that goes into all of the optional game rules in more depth, including a couple of YouTube videos of some of the rules in action on High Stakes Poker and elsewhere.  Let me know if you find any other good ones and I'll add them!


I also may have made some other minor updates, but honestly, I don't remember, and the computer that keeps a log of my updates is currently on the fritz so I can't look it up. ;P

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Improvements to how winnings are tracked

Thursday, August 6, 2009 9:58 PM

Just deployed another slew of minor improvements. Among them:


  • Winnings are now properly tracked, i.e. they're only recorded when you cash out of a cash game or finish a tournament. Registering for a tournament or buying into a cash game no longer deducts from your winnings.
  • If you join a group where bankroll refills are allowed, your bankroll is automatically filled the first time for you (previously you started with a balance of $0 and had to fill it yourself)
  • Start time and duration of past tournaments are now displayed in the "view past games" page, including sit & go's
  • Bankroll transaction types are now more specific...and correct (e.g. when you unregister from a tournament, the type is now listed as "Tournament refund" instead of "Tournament winnings")


I'm on a minor improvement roll! ;P

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