I played a tournament in the casino where weirdly enough there were no antes till the end of the tournament. It was my first time playing in a tournament like this.

How to play tournaments with no antes? Does anyone have good ideas with a mathematical proof?

  • Your question does not makes sense to me. If they are waiting for the nuts then they are easy to bluff.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 18:46
  • @Frisbee my question is what is the best strategy in these tournaments. Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 18:48
  • 2
    The only change you make with antes is by being more aggro preflop, since there's more dead money in the pot. For example, if the antes were big enough to be considered, you could play like you had a bigger Big Blind level, meaning playing more hands aggressively and usually pushing.
    – user4090
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 3:00
  • Only no antes, or no antes or blinds?
    – user1934
    Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 5:11

3 Answers 3


Antes simply up your cost per round. In tournament play this means that you will need to gamble slightly more. You will need to be less selective and more aggressive because you simply do not have the time to be as selective as you were before the antes came into play.


To me there is nothing magic. And there is no mathematical proof on how to play a tournament.

When you look at your stack determine how many orbits (blinds plus antes) you have left. Have some enter the pot practices based on number of orbits left. If the blinds will go up before you get to the blind then that should go into your current orbits left calculation.

Pot odds take care of them self. If you put in a pot size raise in early position with AK (or xx) then do so. Ante or not will effect starting pot size - all that really matters is pre-betting (and post-betting) pot size.

Base your strategy on position, cards, pot size, and orbits left. When the binds and antes go up the strategy is the same - just pot size and number of orbits left changes.

Clearly pay out structure comes into play but that is separate.


No antes allows passive play so it is good for beginners.

Because there are no antes advanced players are less incentivised (and rewarded) to try and steal pre-flop because the risk (raising) is too high for the small(er) amount of chips in the pot pre-flop.

It also favors passive players bc they can cheaply keep folding without having to pay antes.

In general, it is a good game for beginners, and less favorable for better players because the reward for aggression is lower.

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