“Ante” is definitely going to sound strange to a beginner poker player. You will even be forgiven for thinking it refers to your older female relatives. You have to understand terms like “ante” and “call” to truly master the game of poker and we’ll be helping you with that in this article.
You cannot raise the ante in poker. This is because an ante isn’t a bet at all and is removed before the initial betting phase starts.
If you are not familiar with antes, the above answer will not make sense to you. But don’t worry, we’ll begin our article by talking about antes and all you need to know about them. And then you’ll be one step closer to becoming the poker player you dream of.
What is Ante In Poker?
An ante is a forced bet that everyone at the table must make in order to remain in the game. This ensures that there’s always some money in the pot and this increases the relative value of playing a hand to folding.
You won’t be given any card if you don’t pay the ante (and no, you can’t avoid placing an ante in a tournament and get in the money by folding). And the idea behind the adoption of the ante is that since you already invested some money in the game, you won’t quickly fold if you happen to end up with less than stellar cards. If you play poker regularly, then you’d know that people tend to fold quickly if they don’t have a good hand especially in games that have no antes.
But when there is an ante, players tend to adopt the “I already paid so I might as well stick around for another card” mentality. Another major benefit of the ante is that you can sit out any hand – perhaps due to going to the restroom or making a call – or even leave the game altogether without any sense of unfairness (ante will be taken from your chips for every time the new hand gets played on the table). After all, you’ve already made an investment by paying the ante.
Ante Vs Blinds
It’s common to see beginner players confusing ante for blinds or straddle.
The two are very different with the only similarity being that they are both forced bets. Only one or two players are forced to make a bet in blinds. And blinds can either be small blinds or big blinds. A small blind is usually half of the big blind. It’s only after two players have made a bet that the cards will be dealt. But in a game featuring antes, all the players have to make a bet.
The most common poker type where antes are mandatory are poker tournaments. But also some ash games have antes to entice more action and build bigger pots faster. More rake, more money for the casino.
You can actually see blinds as a way of dividing up the ante which results in only a few players committing to the game before seeing their cards. Unlike ante, folding is very common here. Players have the “Why stay in if you haven’t put anything in the pot and you have a lousy hand so far?” And you too can see it’s totally logical.
However, players that choose to stay must call or raise the blind bet. But generally, there will be less money in the pot than in ante since some players would have folded and quit the game. It’s also possible for savvy players to “over-raise” on the blind round with the intention of forcing other players into folding. And by doing this, they slowly build wealth by bleeding their opponents of the blinds.
Can I Raise The Ante In Poker
If you go back to the answer paragraph at the beginning of this article, you are going to realize it now makes more sense. And this is because you now know what an ante is.
You cannot raise the ante in poker because an ante is technically not a bet.
It’ll be removed before the beginning of the betting session. If you decide to fold after the cards have been dealt, you won’t get your ante back. And that’s why most players at least stick till the next betting round.
There is a new format of poker where the ante isn’t paid by all the players but only one person. It’s called the “button ante”. The size of the ante is usually dependent on the number of people at the tables. And the reason for introducing this format is to speed up gameplay. Apparently, collecting small chips from all the players before the start of each hand takes a lot of time. So button ante was introduced with the aim of bringing greater efficiency to the beautiful game of poker.
What Does Ante Up Mean In Poker?
An ante up in poker is the call for the participants of a table to put their antes in the pot. The dealer makes this call before the start of the betting round and before cards are dealt. It’s only after all the players have put their antes in the pot that cards are dealt and the game commences.
Antes are good for television ratings of poker tournaments as more people are inclined to stay in the hand after making an investment preflop. It’s more common to see antes being utilized in tournaments than in cash games.
When Can You Raise In Poker?
It’s very important to know when to raise in poker. To raise in poker means to increase the size of an existing bet in the same betting round. And when another player makes a second raise, it is called ‘re-raise’.
The act of raising is seen as a show of strength against other players in poker and is said to be an aggressive move. In fact, you can use raising to scare off opponents especially during one-to-one encounters. Building your stack will be a lot easier if you know when to raise.
For you to know when to correctly raise, you have to first understand the value of the position. Experienced poker players always want to know the betting position of a player in relation to the opponents when they are analyzing a hand. At the end of the day, this can prove to be more important than cards and actually determine the winner of a hand.
There are three types of positions – early, middle, and late. These positions help players know when they are in a position of strength or weakness and thus help you make a correct decision when it comes to calling.
Early position – first three players after the small blind and big blind
Middle position – fourth and fifth players after the blinds
Late position – sixth and seventh players, who are just before the blinds.
Generally, early players are seen to be in a position of weakness as they have to act before their opponents. At the same time, late players are seen to be in a stronger position as they have more information to use during their decision-making process.
While you can raise at any point during the game, it’s extremely beneficial if you are in a late position. Assume you are the last player after the blinds. This means you’ve seen your opponents make all sorts of decisions. You’ll then be in a better position to decide whether you can win the hand by raising or not.
You can also raise during pre-flop as a bluffing technique to ‘steal’ blinds from your opponents in the early and middle positions, particularly when they appear to be displeased or unconfident in their hands. Read our article on why poker players wear hoodies for further reading.
Another instance to raise is when you are able to use strong pocket cards to take points from your opponents. After the flop, you can also raise when you are confident in betting out your opponent.
You can listen to music at any point to boost your mojo. Read our article – why poker players wear headphones? – to understand the magic of music during a poker session.
How Many Times Can You Raise In Poker?
The number of times you can raise depends on the format of poker you are playing. In limit poker, there is a limit to the number of times you can raise which is usually three or four. In big bet poker (i.e no limit and Pot limit), there may be a cap to the number of times but not always. More caps come with lower limits while lesser caps come with bigger blinds. The reason for caps is because it discourages collusion.