The World Series of Poker continues to release bits and pieces of information in the leadup to this summer’s 50th anniversary poker festival, this time announcing a significant structural change to many events.
After experimenting with it during the 2018 WSOP and WSOP Europe, Series organizers have decided to implement the Big Blind Ante in all No-Limit Hold’em events this year. This includes not just gold bracelet events, but all WSOP-related No-Limit Hold’em events, like Mega Satellites and Daily DeepStacks tournaments.
The Big Blind Ante was introduced at the ARIA poker room in 2017, slowly spreading as tournament directors at other venues tested it out. As both poker players and TD’s have realized how useful it is, it has gained in popularity, now cementing itself as a standard with the WSOP’s “official” adoption.
The Big Blind Ante removes the standard ante from the table, consolidating it to one player.
Instead of each player paying a small ante every hand, all antes are paid by the player in the big blind. Thus, everyone still pays an ante, it’s just that each player pays all antes once per orbit rather than one ante once per hand. The person who pays the Big Blind Ante also has to pay the big blind, as usual.
Naturally, there will be times where a player will be down to the felt and won’t be able to afford both the blind and the Big Blind Ante. In that case, the regular big blind gets priority.
The idea behind the Big Blind Ante is to simplify and speed up hands. When every player has to throw in an ante each hand, there are often people who forget or an ante gets mixed in with the rest of the chips before it’s counted.
Confusion then ensues and play has to pause while it gets straightened out. With a Big Blind Ante, none of this confusion will happen. It also takes pressure off of the dealers, who have enough counting and monitoring to do every moment of every hand. Now they don’t have to stress out over keeping track of everyone’s ante.
The Big Blind Ante is certainly hard on the player who has to pay it, as they take a bigger hit pre-flop, but it still has the same effect on each player over the course of an orbit.
At a nine-handed table, a player will pay a total of nine antes in an orbit either way. In the traditional structure, it is nine antes one at a time and with the Big Blind Ante, it is nine antes all at once.
The WSOP also announced that starting chip stacks will increase across the board. At price points of $1,000 and below, these increases are significant, four or five times last year’s stacks. At the $2,500 level and up, the increases are less dramatic, but still there, no matter the buy-in.
“It is important the modern day World Series of Poker continues to evolve,” said WSOP Vice President Jack Effel in a press release.
“People certainly like bigger starting stacks, and we’re happy to oblige while simultaneously adding more value.”
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