I can understand what antes bring to a tourney, but why would you have them in regular cash games?

  • 1
    I've never played cash games with an ante, but my guess is that it just provides additional incentive to participate in a pot above and beyond the blinds. It would definitely liven up a tight live 1-2 NL table if everyone had a $1 ante, and the house would also like it since they'd probably collect a little more money on each drop. It sounds like a fun variant to me. Feb 27, 2015 at 15:52
  • It certainly fattens the pot and makes the table looser but it is doubly irksome when you're card dead so it isn't a variant I can see the attraction of. Of course if loose no-fold-em-hold-em is your game, it sounds like it might be worth a look.
    – Robbie Dee
    Feb 27, 2015 at 15:56
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    I see your card-dead point, but if others are playing too tight for the ante format, it might not matter. I think the fun part of this kind of game would be seeing whether you can recognize and make the right kinds of adjustments before your opponents do. Clearly the definition of a playable hand changes when there's lots more dead money in the pot. Feb 27, 2015 at 16:02
  • Stud games are traditionally played with antes, but draw and community card games usually just have blinds. You can certainly add antes, though, and they tend to increase the action by encouraging more play. Feb 27, 2015 at 16:37
  • Edited the question...
    – Robbie Dee
    Feb 27, 2015 at 22:33

1 Answer 1


Action is the one word answer!

Antes were common in all higher limit (5/10 and better) Seven Card Stud games, and variants like Eight or Better, and Razz. Very rare in Texas Hold'em games. I also believe that most higher limit five card draw games like lo-ball and jacks or better also commonly had antes.

The downside to Antes are that they slow down the game. It is one more step for the dealer, and to many players always need to be asked for antes further slowing down the game.

The upside to antes is that it makes for a much better action game. It raises the costs of a player for each hand. You cannot profitable play an ante game playing tight. The range of hands you must be willing to call with, raise with and call raises with is much broader. It naturally makes a tight strategy less effective. It changes the whole mathematical dynamic of the game. Pots are larger, overhead is larger, and players have an investment to protect in every hand.

  • Upvoted, but one clarification I'd be interested in - wouldn't it be more accurate to say that antes are almost universal in all stud games, not just those at higher limits? I've never played any Stud game without antes, I can only imagine it would be a bit of a snooze fest with lots of folding to the bring in!
    – 3N1GM4
    Dec 12, 2016 at 15:56
  • @3N1GM4 short answer is no. Generally speaking fixed limit stud games have an ante, like 5/10, 10/20 etc. and are generally the higher limit. Spread limit games which tend to be low limit like 1-5, two-10 etc. typically do not have an ante. And yes the spread limit stud games with no ante were a snooze fest. In Las Vegas before the poker boom, they were the stable game of most poker rooms, full of locals just playing to pass the time. Horrible games.
    – Jon
    Dec 12, 2016 at 21:18
  • We'll have to agree to disagree - I've seen plenty of small stakes (2/4, 3/6, 4/8) live games which are either mixed games or entirely stud variants and all have featured an ante. I've also never seen any online stud game of any type without antes. I agree that spread limit games often don't have an ante and also tend to be lower stakes, but in my personal experience, these games only make up a small proportion of all stud games out there.
    – 3N1GM4
    Dec 12, 2016 at 23:17
  • Stud online is always fixed limit with antes. The low limit spread almost does not exist any more. In the whole state of NV where in 1995 half the games in the state were low limit stud with no antes, there are only two regular low limit stud games left, one 2-10 with ante at Sams Town Las Vegas, and a 1-5 no ante game in down town Reno(forget the casino name). For whatever reasons, online always fixed limit with ante, which has caused the death of spread. You are right, almost all stud has antes these days, if you can find a stud game that is.
    – Jon
    Dec 12, 2016 at 23:31

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