What is an Ante in Poker

Ante in poker

Before any cards are dealt, each player is sometimes required to contribute a certain sum of money, known in poker as an ante. From its Latin roots, this term means "before, prior to." Its usage in American poker slang dates back to as early as 1838.

Similar to blinds, it refers to mandatory bets we and all others engaged must place before entering the action. Its purpose is to promote activity among tournament participants and stop the event from dragging on too long. Forced wagers gradually diminish players' stacks each round, making it unreasonable for anyone to fold their cards throughout the game and merely wait for the finals.

Blinds vs Ante in Poker: Difference

There is a notable distinction between these two wagers: ante is paid by all participants before each match, whereas blinds are posted only by two players sitting to the dealer’s left.

The use of this bet serves specific reasons, which we explain below:

  • it forms the pot before the betting round begins;
  • it encourages players to participate in the hand more actively;
  • it speeds up the gameplay and prevents it from dragging on.

Size and Rules of Collection

Generally, ante ranges from 1/4 to 1/8 of the Big Blind (BB) but can sometimes exceed. For instance, in $4/$8 Stud poker games, its amount may account for $1; in $20/$40 Texas Holdem games, it might be $5 (equivalent to 1/8 of the BB). You can learn the exact size of a specific table or tourney instantly. In the first case, check the table’s information card, and in the second case – examine the tournament's blind structure in the lobby.

As for online poker, the sum is automatically deducted from players' stacks before pocket cards are dealt. Playing offline, people are responsible for placing blind bets on their own. If you decline to make the required ante bet, you will not participate in the current hand.

Games Where Ante Format is Used

The bet is most commonly applied in stud variations such as 7-Card Stud, 7-Card Stud Hi / Lo, Razz, and 5-Card Stud. These games have no blinds, so ante is used to create the initial pot. Forms that include SB and BB, for example, Hold'em and Omaha, are rarely played with the additional mandatory wager.

Poker industry innovations

A few years ago, the Ante-Only format was presented at the WSOP. It is similar to NLHE games but has one important difference: no blinds and all players place ante before every new hand starts. Its size increases throughout the entire tournament.

The wager is also present in such games as "Ante-up" and "Big ante", where it is constantly growing (while the blinds remain unchanged) and participants pay ante at the very beginning of the event, respectively.

Did you know?
Did you know?

The phrase "up the ante" has become part of the English language. It means an increase in value from a financial standpoint, as well as simply emphasises the importance of anything.

The "ante off" expression is used when a player is in sit out (out off the table), but the bet continues to be taken from them in each hand. As a result, the player may lose all their chips.

Final Thoughts

Despite the relatively small size of this mandatory bet, it is essential to consider it when evaluating your chip stack during the game. After all, each hand deducts a certain amount of chips from a person, which can significantly impact the overall outcome.

Remember to place ante when playing live, but in any case, the dealer must remind you of this requirement. With the introduction of an additional force wager in the game, strive to play actively to avoid depleting your stack due to excessively cautious behaviour.


📌 How does the ante work in poker?

During the later stages of tournaments, it prevents the event from becoming overly protracted. In cash games, these enforced contributions create a more dynamic atmosphere, encouraging people to participate more actively in betting, which leads to larger average pots in each hand.

👀 What is the difference between ante and blind?

It varies from blinds in size and placement conditions. This wager is typically 5 to 10 times smaller than the Big Blind. Furthermore, every individual who receives hole cards is required to post the bet.

💸 How much is the ante in poker?

It is usually from 10 to 25% of the big blind. The accurate size is indicated in the description of the cash table or the tournament's blind structure.

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