Anteing Sucks! What's the Solution?
"Ok, people, ante up!"
It's how most hands begin, as the dealers asks the players to put in their ante. Usually, this all goes well and doesn't take too much time. Sometimes, though, a player forgets to ante. Sometimes, a player makes change with other players to speed up the game, but the dealer misses what has happened which makes for a delay. Sometimes, there's an argument about who did ante, and who didn't, resulting in people wanting to rip other people's heads off, as seen in the video above.
In short, anteing slows down the game, while still being necessary to keep the game itself moving.
For years, anteing was seen as a necessary evil. It was just the way things were. That was until some bright minds started to think about it and came up with an alternative. In ARIA's big buy-in live events, the big blind pays the ante for everyone at the table. In partypoker live events, the button now pays the ante for all the players at the table. This way, just a single player has to be paying attention, instead of a full table worth of players.
After the initial discussion following Leonard's above tweet back in June, PokerStars is now playing with the idea of introducing a similar rule for their future events. There aren't any plans to alter the structure sheets for the events in Prague, but changes for the PCA might just happen.
We asked around in the €50,000 Super High Roller and the €1,100 PokerStars National Championship to see what some of the players think about this issue.
Vincent van der Fluit: "The reasons for a button ante are obvious, one person anteing just saves time. The only problem is what to do when there's a dead button. The downside to going with a big blind ante is the massive hit to one's stack when you're the big blind. My solution would be for the button to ante. In case of a dead button, everyone at the table just antes. That sounds to me like the best solution, but it doesn't matter too much really."
Timothy Adams: "I like the big blind ante because it just speeds up the game and it's more efficient. Everyone anteing just sucks. I've played the big blind ante format, and it's just way quicker. I would definitely want that moving forward in poker tournaments. It's just easier for everybody."
Christopher Kruk: "The big blind and button antes are clearly better I think. It speeds up the game, saves the dealer some time. Online it works really well to have everyone anteing because it's automatic. The efficiency [of one person anteing] is just unbelievably high. I think it's much better to go with the big blind ante. Saves you the times where you have a dead button but you can never have a dead big blind, so just making it out of the big blind makes a whole lot of sense. Just keeps the game flowing, there's no confusion."
Jeff Sarwer: "I actually haven't thought about it. The big blind ante option looks just so extreme. How much is that going to affect the big blind's defending range? It just changes the entire dynamic completely. Everything about poker strategy changes based on that, that's crazy. I don't know. My first instinct is that people already defend from the big blind very, very wide, so they're going to have to defend even wider. You're forced to be out of position with even more invested in the pot. I'm not sure on this one."
Georgios Zisimopoulos: "I would say regular antes first, button second and big blind third. It's more fair when everybody is putting in an ante, or the best position."
Mike Wang: "I guess [the button ante] does speed up play a lot. It's just easier on the dealers. Anything that helps out the dealers, I'm definitely for. I know they have a lot to work with already. I just worry that it impacts the strategy. I know it does deep in the tournament when there's less players at the table. Say, there's a final table of six or seven, there's less antes than there normally would be. It does have a slight effect. I've played in tournaments where they compensated for that by adjusting the amount of the button ante. So, if implemented correctly, it could be the same, strategy-wise. If that's the case, I don't see any real argument against it. That also gets into a lot of work. I'm down for either format. (On big blind ante) That's pretty harsh for the big blind. That seems really punishing for short stacks. Under the gun or under-the-gun-plus-one, you have to get it in lighter because that's gonna be a huge thing that hits you. I think the button ante seems to be the best compromise, personally."
Ludovich Geilich: "This is a good discussion. Personally, with me, I play old school. I don't mind putting the antes in. I don't think it slows down the action as much as people think. I'm also happy with the button ante as well. The problem with it is, there's a few flaws. When there's a dead button, whoever wins that pot got penalized. Obviously, it's totally random. It hardly ever happens. I don't mind either way, but if there's a button ante, the only way you could fix it is for everyone to post as normal [when there's a dead button]."
Yan Tsang: "I think the button ante. The button has the best position, so he can ante. It makes more sense if one player will ante. If you'd let me choose, I'd still take a regular ante."
What do you think?
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