online poker games starts as a struggle for the antes.
If there were no ante, there would be no reason to
play. It's true that some players would play anyway,
but a good player in such a game would simply wait
for the pure nuts and nearly always win. A good player
would have no reason to play anything but big starter
hands - three aces, say, in seven-card stud - because
with no money yet in the pot, there would be nothing
to shoot for. To play with anything less would be
to risk getting picked off by someone else who played
nothing but the pure nuts. If all players in the games
played nothing but the pure nuts, there could be no
games. Any time one person bet, everyone else would
fold. Obviously, then, there has to be an ante to
establish a game.
On the other hand, if the ante were ridiculously large
in relation to the betting limits, the games would
pretty much deteriorate into a crap shoot. It would
be like someone walking by a $5-$10 games and tossing
a $100 bill on the table saying, "Play for it,
boys." With that big an initial pot, in which
you would be getting at least 21-to-1 odds on your
first $5 call, it would be worth playing just about
any hand right to the end.
two extremes - no ante and an absurdly high ante -
suggest a general principle of play. The lower the
ante in comparison to future bets, the fewer hands
you should play; the higher the ante, the more hands
you should play. A different way of looking at it
is: The lower the ante, the higher your starting requirements
should be, and the higher the ante, the lower your
starting requirements should be. Or in the language
of the online poker games room: The lower the ante,
the tighter you should play; the higher the ante,
the looser you should play. I consider 5 percent or
less of the average future bets a small ante and 15
percent or more of the average future bets a large
ante. Anything in between is an average ante. Thus,
$100 would be an average ante in a $1,000-$2,000 games,
while in a $5-$10 games, 50 cents would be an average
are not always the only things that make up the initial
pot. There may be forced bets, or blinds - forced
bets that rotate around the table from hand to hand.
In Las Vegas seven-card stud, for example, the low
card on board starts the action with a small bet.
In most $1-$2, $1-$3, and $1-$4 stud games the forced
bet (50 cents) actually replaces the ante. In razz
the high card starts the action with a small bet.
And in hold 'em there is almost always at least one
and sometimes two or even three blinds. When we talk
about antes in this page, we are including any forced
bets or blinds.
If you have a small card with your pair of Aces, you
have a decent chance for low. You'll have to catch
good on both the next two cards, but even when you
don't catch good you've got that pair, and if you
have Aces up on fifth street, you might still back
into a low hand. Unless the action is heavy, Aces
up is probably going to be good enough for half the
pot and it might scoop it. You don't want to draw
for half the pot, but it's certainly okay to take
half the pot when you can. When you start out with
that pair of Aces, they are the ones drawing against
you, and having a low card just gives you a potential
redraw as a backup.