A few months back, PokerNews introduced the poker world to Jivaro, a new entry into the heads-up display (HUD) market. Jivaro broke the mold in that it took a usually complex piece of software and made it user-friendly combining graphical indicators and zero configurations.
So how does Jivaro stack up? We at PokerNews decided to answer that questions by giving it try. Here are our thoughts:
Installation Quick and Easy
The first thing that became apparent was the installation process was quick with no configuration required. That allowed usto hit the tables within a matter of seconds. As soon as we logged into our freshly installed PokerStars client, the Jivaro core stats popped-up immediately.
We decided to switch the table theme from the default, and much to our surprise Jivaro automatically adjusted to the new view and the core stats followed the new placement of player avatars. Now, this might not seem like a big deal, but in sevens years of playing poker and using numerous different programs, it's the first time we've come across such a feature. It just goes to show the attention to detail paid by the Jivaro developers.
We were expecting some errors, a long configuration process, and maybe some issues with importing hands or tracking tables, but none of that presented itself with Jivaro.
Jivaro Add-on Features
Jivaro is slightly different than your average HUD displaying software. It's essentially an add-on to your poker experience, which enhances it without making it feel foreign. It also introduces some new elements to the game without shifting the focus away from what's really important – the game of poker.
Jivaro comes in two flavors: the free basic version and monthly premium subscription that will cost you just $5.99. Of course free add-on software is a great news for poker ecosystem. Jivaro aims to level the playing field by providing everyone with access to a powerful and easy to use heads-up display. It's a nice change of pace, from controversial or even downright illegal poker programs.
With the free version of the software you'll get Jivaro's signature ring around the PokerStars player's avatar, which works as a visual representation of three basic stats: VPIP (Voluntarily Put money In Pot), PFR (Pre Flop Raise), and AFq (Aggression Frequency), plus the number of hands you played against certain players. The last advantage of life tracking is that Jivaro will immediately add a color strip to the info panel if you decide to color code a player using PokerStars software.
When it comes to visual representation Jivaro really nails it. With clever use of a traffic light color-coding system and speed meter style dials, you can quickly tell what kind of opponents you're playing against. When you mouse over the core stats you're going to see a small panel with additional information, namely opponents' stacks in chips/currency and big blinds. Here's what it looks like:
One important thing to point out is that Jivaro tracks stack size — or any other stat for that matter — in real time. Why is that important? For one very simple reason, it's more reliable than calculating stats using only the hand history. You can trust Jivaro to display proper stack size no matter if it's your first hand at the table or if you're in the middle of a hand in a tournament.
Another component of the Jivaro software is "The Strip," which shows up on the right side of your desktop as soon as you start the software (you can resize or minimize it). The Strip provides you with your overall stats, your recent hand history, and the ability to share it with just one click. You can also use the strip to quickly submit any errors that you might encounter while using Jivaro, but given the software reliability most players probably won't find this necessary.
As for the premium version of Jivaro, you can switch seamlessly between the free and the premium version of statistics by clicking a button located near the top of the strip. If you decide to go with premium — which only makes sense since you're paying for it — an additional info panel is always visible and it shows you more stats like three-bet, steal and fold- to-steal. Those stats will change based on the position you're opponent is sitting in (there's no point in showing fold to steal stat of the player sitting currently on the button) and the street you're currently at (preflop stats will disappear once you see the flop and you'll gain access to adequate postflop stats). The last thing you're getting with the premium version is the Jivaro command center, but we'll go back to that feature later in this review.
To try Jivaro for yourself, simply click here.
Poker is a very individualistic activity and it can get lonely at times. While some players like it that way, others might enjoy the social features that Jivaro provides. You can follow and be followed by friends, share hands and post comments on your timeline. It's like a social network, but without the pictures of cats and toddlers. If you have a group of poker playing friends and you always wanted a social media experience that's about poker, then Jivaro can provide that for you.
If you have a study group and are looking for a tool that can streamline workflow, Jivaro can also be that. You can share your hands with just one click and discuss them with group members. You can use your timeline to arrange a group session. It can be way less intrusive and more efficient than spending countless hours in a Skype chat.
Lastly, you can follow your favorite poker pros who use Jivaro, such as Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and Randy "Nanonoko" Lew.
Jivaro Command Center - Every Tournament Player Dream
As for the aforementioned Jivaro command center, it's a premium feature that makes the life of a tournament player much simpler. In our opinion this feature alone is worth the price of admission. Here's what it looks like:
With the command center you won't have to open a tournament lobby ever again (except when you're registering of course). You'll never miss a bubble, you won't have to juggle additional windows just to check the average stack or the number of players remaining. No matter if you're a serious grinder or you just like playing tournaments, Jivaro command center will make your life a lot easier.
Is command center useless for cash players? Not at all, it will provide you with some additional information like your winnings, average VPIP, average aggression and players per flop. Those stats can help you decide if you want to continue playing on a particular table.
Frequently Asked Questions
I'm a beginner and/or I've never used any kind of poker software. Is Jivaro for me?
Definitely. Jivaro requires virtually no setup and it won't overwhelm you with a wall of numbers. Color coding and visual representation of statistics will help you understand them faster and it will quickly become second nature to you.
You can try Jivaro out without risking anything, and if you decide you like it, the premium version won't overwhelm you with a wall of numbers either. It will show you only what you need to see using the same layout that you already familiarized yourself with using the basic version of the HUD.
Who else is Jivaro for?
- If you're a tournament player. Command center will make your life a lot easier.
- Your PC isn't very powerful, but fortunately Jivaro is fairly lightweight. It consumes less of the system memory with six tables opened than other popular programs consume in the idle state. If you bought your PC in the last five years or so you should have no problems running Jivaro. With older machines, your mileage may vary, but you can always try the free version and see for yourself.
- You're a Twitch streamer and you don't want to attack your viewers with a wall of numbers. You need something easy to understand, something that looks nice and can still help you play your best. It's a good thing you're reading this review because Jivaro can do just that.
- You're playing micro-stakes. Other programs can be expensive and you can have Jivaro basic for free. The cost of the monthly premium is slightly higher than one NL5 or PLO5 buy-in, so even serious micro stakes players can afford it.
Ok, so what's bad about Jivaro?
As often happens, you pay for the elegance, ease of use, and reliability with the lack of customization options. You can't add more stats, you can't swap the existing ones. You can't move the HUD position (though this isn't very important since the HUD placement is solid). While you can view your hand history and use replayer to review your session, you can't really use any advanced filters or anything like that. If you're an experienced player with a very specific workflow, well Jivaro can't emulate that for you.
I'm one of those advanced players with very specific workflow and I already own different software, should I completely disregard Jivaro?
We suggest giving it a try anyway. While you can't replicate what you're already using, you may fall in love with a slick, elegant HUD Jivaro offers and actually combine it with your current software. As far as our testing went, there are no conflicts between Jivaro and other popular programs — even if you're playing Zoom Poker — so you can get the best of both worlds and use the stats provided by Jivaro along with the specific ones you can't live without.
It's not like Jivaro is all about the looks either. Developers of the software decided on the very specific set of stats after extensive conversations with a group of top pro players. Lastly, Jivaro is constantly updated so your favorite stat or functionality might show up in one of the future releases.
Jivaro is slick, elegant, and reliable. It adds to your poker experience without taking you out of it. Jivaro doesn't have unlimited functionality and customization options — you can't tweak everything to your liking — but at the same time you don't have to tweak anything. It just works.
With Jivaro, you're getting a powerful, reliable, good-looking tool that gets the job done. Pretty good deal considering it's free for the basic, and just $5.99 for the premium version. If interested, you can sign up for Jivaro by clicking here.