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Geoff Fisk

What is an Ante in Poker?


The ante is a common term you’ll hear when you play or study poker. 

The ante is a mandatory bet that goes into the pot before a poker hand begins. Not all poker games include an ante, but you’ll often see antes in play in tournaments at the Lodge and other poker rooms.

Some poker cash games also include an ante.

Let’s take a look at this concept and answer the question “what is an ante in poker?”

Poker Antes

Most of the poker games at the Lodge include mandatory bets called the blinds, which go into the pot before each hand. For example, in the $2/$5 cash game, a total of $7 goes into the pot before the hand begins.

Tournaments at the Lodge also include an ante, which is an additional mandatory bet that goes in the middle before the hand starts.

Lodge tournaments play with a big blind ante. The player in the big blind position puts in the amount of the big blind, and also puts in the ante before each hand.

For example, a typical tournament structure at the Lodge looks like this:

  • Level 1: Blinds 100/100/100
  • Level 2: Blinds 100/200/200
  • Level 3: Blinds 200/300/300
  • Level 4: Blinds 200/400/400
  • Level 5: Blinds 300/600/600
  • Level 6: Blinds 400/800/800
  • Level 7: Blinds 500/1,000/1,000
  • Level 8: Blinds 600/1,200/1,200
  • Level 9: Blinds 1,000/1,500/1,500

The numbers next to each level correspond to the small bling, big blind, and ante for each hand. For Level 3, for example, the small blind is 200, the big blind is 300, and the ante is 300.

The player in the big blind puts in 600 total before each hand on Level 3, 300 for the big blind and 300 for the ante. This style of ante is called a big blind ante (or BB ante), and you’ll commonly see it in tournaments at the World Series of Poker and many other tournaments played around the world.

Some tournaments and cash games use a system where each player puts an ante in before each hand. For example, instead of 200/300/300, the binds would be 200/300 without the BB ante.

Instead of the big blind player paying the ante, each player in the hand might pay a 30 ante. This ante goes in from every player before each hand.

What is an Ante in Poker?
This high-stakes cash game at the Lodge is playing with a $400 BB ante.

The traditional ante system has been phased out in many tournaments around the world, as the big blind ante system is easier to follow. You might still occasionally see the traditional ante in play in certain tournaments and cash games, however.

The big blind ante sometimes makes an appearance in cash games as well. In the highest-stakes games on the Lodge livestream, you’ll often see the big blind ante in play.

For an expanded look at how the blinds and antes work in poker, check out this guide from Upswing Poker.

Blinds, Antes & The Button | Poker Rules

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