Poker Betting - What is an Ante?

Antes are forced poker bets that are used in games such as draw poker and stud poker.

Forced Betting

In order to ensure that there is money in the pot, and to ensure that the initial stake in the game is available for those wishing to play a hand, there are certain forced bets required in poker. These bets vary depending on the variation of poker game being played. Blinds are the forced bets that are used in poker games such as the very popular Texas Hold'em poker.

When placing a blind bet, at least one, although usually two, and sometimes even three players in close proximity to the dealer will have to place blind bets before they have seen their cards. In fact, this bet is placed before their cards have been dealt to them. These bets follow a specific betting structure, with guidelines set out regarding the amount that must be bet when placing a blind bet.

Definition of an Ante Bet

The ante is a forced bet used in poker. When placing this bet, all the players place chips or money, depending what is being used for betting in the game, into the pot. The amount put in the pot by each player is pre-determined, and all players put an equal amount into the pot. The ante bet, as with the blind bet, is made before players have been dealt their cards. An ante is usually equal to a single betting unit, but is sometimes as little as a half or a quarter of a betting unit.

Does the Ante Count Towards the First Bet?

Unlike blinds, which do count towards the first bet placed, the ante does not count towards any future bets the players will place in the game. Blinds are placed by only some of the players, while antes are placed by all players in an equal amount.

Antes and Stud Poker

The ante bet is most common in stud poker and draw poker, and is seldom seen in games such as Texas Hold'em, or any other games that use blind bets. Some tournaments, however, will add an ante bet to games that have blind bets in order to discourage tight play. Antes increase the size of the pot, especially when players who might have folded stay in the game.

The Dealer and the Ante

In some games, when the deal is done by a different player each turn, in order to simplify and speed up the game, the dealer is responsible for putting up the ante bet for all the players. Each player will have their turn to do so, and as long as all the players stay in the game, it will be distributed equally.

Stealing the Ante

This is when a player who has a very weak hand managed to win the ante. Often, such a player will bet high in order to bluff the other players into thinking they have a good hand, causing other players to fold.