WSOP introduces the Big Blind Ante to speed up games

One of the biggest issues constantly being addressed in the live tournament circuit today is the pace of the game. Whether players deliberately stall the game, or players habitually act slow, whatever the reason, there has been more than enough concern in the community to create new measures and initiate changes.

Photo WSOP
Photo WSOP

One solution was to drop the amount of time allotted to a player once the clock has been called. Players now have 30 seconds or less (depending on floor discretion) to act or their hand will be mucked. Another was the shot clock. By now, everyone is aware of the shot clock. This has been implemented at many high roller events worldwide including several Main Events.

While those two are the more widely known practices, there has also been one other format adopted by many organizers offering high roller games. The Big Blind Ante.

This method was first tested at ARIA and has since been a mainstay for their games. Though this has not been introduced into the mainstream just yet, the feedback among the high rollers has generally been positive. Even the World Series of Poker who once had cold feet regarding this issue has now followed suit. Several days ago, WSOP organizers announced on Twitter the addition of the Big Blind Ante + Shot Clock for their High Roller events during the upcoming 2018 festival.

What is the Big Blind Ante?

So what exactly is the Big Blind Ante and how will it help speed up the game? For starters, according to high roller players, once the ante stage begins, the game tends to slow down for several reasons. For one, sometimes players either forget to ante that trying to figure out who didn’t pay up eats up a bit of time. Another is the speed of the dealers when having to gather all the antes. The dealers have to wait for players to ante up and when some are off the table or distracted, this too eats up time. Due to this, the Big Blind Ante was introduced.

The Big Blind Ante is essentially just as it states. The big blind player antes up and no one else. Since the button moves around the table, this responsibility also moves accordingly and whoever is on the big blind position (per hand), that player is required to put up the ante. Now that may sound fine and good, easy peasy one ante per person per orbit, that should speed up the game. However there is a catch. The big blind player antes for “everyone” at the table. This ante could then turn out to be a huge sum if the player is running low in chips.

Ante up first or Big Blind post first?

Expounding further on situations where a big blind player is unable to meet the ante or big blind, there has been debate on whether the big blind then posts its blind first or posts the ante first. At ARIA, they initially had the big blind player post the ante first then the blind however due to player feedback, it was switched. The Big Blind Ante now has the big blind player post the blind first then the ante.

WSOP 2018 event with the Big Blind Ante + Shot Clock

Prior to the festival this summer, the WSOP plans to introduce the Big Blind Ante to the WSOP Circuit Rio Las Vegas in the US$2,200 High Roller event. The Big Blind Ante format to be introduced will follow the guidelines used by ARIA. Additionally, the Big Blind Ante value will be equal to the value of the big blind. For the WSOP 2018 summer festival events, below are the events tagged with the Big Blind Ante + Shot Clock format:

Event #5: US$100,000 High Roller No Limit Hold’em
Event #77: US$50,000 High Roller No Limit Hold’em
Event #78: The Big One for One Drop US$1,000,000 No Limit Hold’em

Article by Triccia David

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Tricia David

Tricia David has long experience as a recreational poker player and has been covering poker events since 2010 for numerous outfits in Asia. She spent one year working part time with Poker Portal Asia then became editor and lead writer for all event coverage of the Philippine Poker Tour (PPT). Under the PPT, she overlooked content for their website, and produced live updates on all their events. In addition, she served as the live and online events website content writer for the Asian Poker Tour. Currently, she does live events reporting in Asia for online news site Somuchpoker and is also one of their news contributors.

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