The trendy Jivaro HUD - heads-up display - hit the ground running four years ago. After more than a decade of market dominance by the teams at Hold’em Manager and PokerTracker, a group of Icelandic software developers were ready to make a challenge.
Their philosophy and approach was going to be totally different compared to anything we’d seen before though. Rather than bombarding users with too much information, Jivaro would concentrate on giving players only the most critical statistics they need on a particular street.
Now, four years later, we appear to be in a standoff situation with polarised opinions. Jivaro has many new users who are either players new to the game, or who have decided the complexity of Hold’em Manager 2 or PokerTracker 4 is not worth the effort. There are also many who insist that a lack of information can only ever be a negative.
It is worth mentioning that the last few years has been a time of upheaval for third party software. In an age post Black Friday with poker platforms not seeing the number of customers they did during the boom years. This meant changes had to be made to protect recreational players from sharks armed to the teeth with software that the novices probably didn’t even know existed.
Put simply, with 15 years worth of high-quality information out there, the gap between a new player and a skilled player has grown too far to make it a fair fight. People are turning up ready to learn and getting destroyed too quickly to the point where they think twice about making a new deposit. Factor in sophisticated database software with a HUD and the situation is much worse.
This is one of the benefits of the Jivaro approach. The developers have consciously not gone overboard with trying to give the user everything. Hold’em Manager have had to turn off many of their features on PokerStars, particularly with the NoteCaddy add-on. The Jivaro team said:
It did not hurt us that much. We had to make small adjustments to our functionality so we were in compliance with the new rules set out by PokerStars”.
This is fair though. There should be a limit as to how much information players receive. It is also fair that a HUD such as Jivaro that shows a more basic range of statistics will continue to be allowed on most platforms. Love it, or hate it, HUDs have become an integral part of online poker, and not much, if anything, will be gained by banning them outright.
The Current Status Quo
Currently it looks as though Jivaro has more users amongst tournament players, rather than cash grinders. Almost certainly because cash players traditionally use a much wider range of information on their HUD and pop-ups.
It shouldn’t necessarily be that way though. Jivaro displays more than enough information for cash players. It is also true that cash players can be prone to overthinking and taking their thought process well away from what is really important in their decision.
Until this perception changes, we are not going to see many decent cash players using the product in comparison to the number of Twitch streamers who broadcast their tournament exploits using it, such as Jaime Staples.
What to Do?
As is often the answer, we never know until we try a product ourselves. Jivaro has a cheap monthly subscription for the premium service, and a free basic product - about which has to be said is not really basic at all.
Even post Black Friday, there were plenty of mid and high stakes players still preferring not to use a HUD at all. They argued that in-game reads were much more reliable.