Blinds and Antes

Blinds and antes are structural methods which are used to create the initial action in a poker hand. This is done by making sure that every pot has some initial money in it for the simple reason that there should be something to play for in every hand irrespective of the amount, large or small. Without blinds and antes, the players are likely to wait for best hands and not play till that time. Blinds and antes force players at some point to put money in the pot before dealing the cards and they cannot wait for good hands. If they wait for good hands, they may get "blinded off". "Blinding off" refers to a situation where tight players wait for good hands though their money gets reduced by forced bets.

The major difference between blinds and antes is that the blinds are paid generally by just two of the players, (although this does change) while antes are paid by each and every player in the hand.


As discussed above, blinds generally are paid by only two players in the hand. These two players are to the left of the dealer and hence are forced to put blind bets. These bets are called blind bets as they are placed in the pot before dealing the cards. You may have to put small blind if you are to the left of the dealer and the player to your left puts big blind. Blinds are referred small and big as the small blind in less than big blind, in most of the cases, half of it, but can be more as well.

Limit poker starts with and ends with struggle for the blinds. During loose games, betting strategy, starting hand selection, and pot manipulation comes out to be more important, but while playing slightly tight games and tough-aggressive games, the foundation of the entire fight boils down to struggle to obtain equity of the blind bets.

The key ingredient to poker income is blinds. A dollar 20/40 player who earns dollar 40 per hour in a full nine-handed game may play 36 hands per hour in four rounds. The player earns a bit over a buck per hand. Big pot may look attractive, but the key to winning is to earn that single buck at each hand one has dealt in. Smaller pots are key to poker income, because the moment the blinds go inside the pot, they do not belong to any player. They belong to pot and that money plays for the player who has put it in the pot pre-flop and is literally lost unless it is won back. When a player is forced to put in blind, it costs him less to play as compared with his opponents. If he has big blind and the person on the button raises by putting in two bets, it will cost the player only one bet to call because the big blind which the player was forced to put in pot plays for him. The key element to win poker battle, hence, boils down to play correctly such discount and to make opponents play incorrectly. This is called "defending your blind" or "defending your equity in blinds".

It can be said that the blinds exist in order to generate action and act as catalyst of poker. The blinds are the main reason poker hands and poker income or loss occurs.


Antes are forced bets where every player places same amount of chips or money in the pot before beginning of the deal. An ante makes is certain that any player who may fold in each round loses money albeit slowly and this provides incentive to every player to play the hand instead of tossing it in when the opening bet reaches them.

The size of ante helps in discovering the way one plays in a particular poker game. It is prudent to play more hand when the ante is larger as compared with later bets. One is likely to get better odds as the size of the pot increases. But other reason to play more freely is if a player waits for a good hand when the ante game is large, by the time he wins the pot, he loses more than the size of the pot in antes. Also, the pot won is much smaller. When the antes increase, opponents try to reduce their playing requirements and a player should also reduce his playing requirements if he does not want to be eaten up by the antes.

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