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The WSOP is instituting the Big Blind Ante in many of their tournaments this year (2019). What is it and how does it work?

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So for those who want to know the background behind the logic behind this decision, a lot of players don't pay attention to what's going on, and are in constant need of reminding that they need to pay an ante. Furthermore the WSOP, especially in the opening week, has a huge amount of unexperienced dealers due to how they hire which are dealing slower, so asking for antes every time also slows things down. (For those who don't know they hire experienced dealers of course, but a large amount of dealers complete a 6 weeks course and are given the WSOP as their first dealing job).

So what is it? It's just a consolidated ante, rather than all players paying an ante one position is designated the ante player and they pay it for everyone. Typically it is either the button or the BB. Different places operate it differently in terms of the amount, but typically (at a full ring game 9 handed) a full amount is usually 1 BB and is expected if there are 6 or 7 (depending on the place) players at the table. If there are less than the 6 or 7 players, typically, it is a SB instead.

So let's say we're playing a level of 1,000/2,000 and antes are in play, with a full ante being 2,000. So when the players are putting in the SB and BB, the BB will actually be putting in 4,000 chips, as 2,000 is the ante. Alternatively if the table is short handed and goes below the required number of players for a full ante the BB will be putting in 3,000.

Personally as a dealer it's a great idea, as a player it's also a great idea as it speeds up the game. We've all likely been at that table where that one player needs to be reminded every hand. I know for me as both a former dealer and player one of my biggest annoyances at the table is these people whom constantly slow the game because of antes. However in reality, as a player, I think BB ante is not great for several reasons.

  1. In the event of a chop pot, the BB actually loses money.
  2. You have some weird states where if the BB has less than a BB and an Ante, so you get situations of what takes priority. Does the BB player put an ante in and all-in for less than a BB, or is it the other way. This point is really important as it drastically effects what the BB can actually win or is entitled to win from the pot.
  3. Your effective stack from a BB pov is drastically effected, especially the level when antes come in, you could be going from say 40BB, straight down to 20BB due to basically being forced to pay a double BB

Now I don't believe, and if it is I haven't read their wording yet, the WSOP has released how they're going to actually handle these situations and if they handle them correctly it'll be fine. Personally though I prefer the Button ante.

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    They did it at the last Bellagio tournament and it is wonderful. – Jon Jan 26 at 16:50
  • Wow that sounds awful. Why do they need the ante in the first place? – BluE Jan 27 at 18:51
  • @Jon would love to hear your thoughts, I like the idea of it to speed up play, and perhaps my experiences of it has been rough. Genuinely interested in why you thought it was wonderful? Further more would you prefer button ante or the BB? If you have the time would be great to get another perspective than mine here. – Grinch91 Jan 28 at 3:06
  • Also @BluE it creates action, players have something to play for, and frankly tournaments need to end somehow. Overall antes are a great thing, and even better if you're against inexperienced players as there is a lot more dead money to play for. – Grinch91 Jan 28 at 3:08
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    @Grinch91 My thoughts; I loved them as a dealer, easy on the back (I am an old dealer), keeps the game going. Does kind of dilute the purpose of ante, which is vesting everyone in every pot. Big blind ante is just a speed up the game device, they could also use bigger blinds, shorter rounds etc, to speed things up. Maybe the best thing about them is that the number of hands put out by a weak dealer and strong dealer in a tournament is a little closer. – Jon Feb 26 at 23:19

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