Using an 'ante' in Poker

An ante in poker is used in similar fashion to the blinds, intended to increase the value of the pot and give an incentive to players to get involved in a hand. It's a forced bet that must be made by each player. It is always posted before the blinds and is a nominal amount to get the pot going. This amount is deducted from players stacks and is usually a quarter or a half of the minimum bet or small blind.

It usually comes into play in the later stages of tournament life so as to discourage extremely tight play. Together with the blinds, these forced bets ensure there's something to fight for in each pot. It also encourages more people to represent big hands with garbage in attempts to pick up blinds and antes without showdown. Without these bets, there would be no incentive to play - it wouldn't be very exciting, ten players all folding 9/10 hands waiting for a monster. As tournaments progress, so does the value of these automatic bets - this helps induce more play, as winning these automatic bets becomes considerably more profitable the deeper into a tournament one goes.

It's more common in ring games only to have blinds posted. Some sites do offer 'Ante Only' ring games and other formats - these are more the exception to the rule.

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