The World Series of Poker (WSOP) recently announced that it will be introducing the use of the big blind ante and the shot clock for all their high-roller events at the 2018 WSOP. This will be the first time that the WSOP uses the big blind ante and the shot clock at their high roller events. Both of them have been used in a number of other poker tournaments during the last couple of years and there have been mixed reactions from the players.
The big blind ante has been a particularly hot topic among poker pros and elites and it has once again created a stir in the poker community after the WSOP made its announcement. The Big Blind Ante is essentially a new format being tested out in high stake events to resolve the issue of when all players are paying the ante.
Big Blind Ante- What It’s All About?
In a regular poker game, the ante is paid by everyone at the table. One of the most common problems, especially in low-stakes poker tournaments, is when the speed of the game is slowed down by inattentive players who fail to pay their antes to the pot in a timely fashion. You also get the common issue when players don’t have smaller-denomination chips to pay a certain amount of ante, and everyone will have to change their larger-denomination chips in the middle of the game. Because of these issues, plays tend to get slower and lesser hands are dealt at every level.
To solve this issue, a new system called the big blind ante was tested out by poker tournament  organizers. One of the first tournaments to implement the new system was the ARIA Poker Tournament which took place in April 2017. ARIA Poker Tournament Director Paul Campbell decided to give it a trial run in the high-roller events because he felt that players in the high-roller segments were more forward-thinking and would be more willing to experiment. They made the perfect test subjects and the results were mostly positive.
Positive Feedback On Big Blind Ante
Based on feedback and the success of the big blind ante at the ARIA, the World Poker Tour (WPT) decided to try it out. The WPT held a special big blind ante event at the L.A. Poker Classic preliminaries. The change was introduced by Matt Savage, current executive tour director of the World Poker Tour and founder of the Tournament Directors Association. The event saw close to 4,000 player registrations and Savage stated that the results were unanimously positive, even from the recreational players.
Poker legend Daniel Negreanu is a big fan of the big blind ante and had stated that it results in 10 percent more hands being played at the table. However, despite its popularity there are still many issues to be ironed out.
Concerns With Big Blind Ante Format
One of the many concerns is when a short-stacked player has to pay the big blind ante and also  whether the player is supposed to pay the ante first or the big blind. Poker players disagree on the first choice in this matter as Campbell stated that paying the ante first is mathematically and logically correct.
Negreanu disagreed with this view and had a heated Twitter debate with Steve Badger stating that paying the big blind first is better and this is what was taking place in the high-roller events. Due to the support from high-rollers to pay the big blind before the ante, the ARIA has been following this procedure—and so will the WSOP once it employs the big blind ante in the summer.
Some of these super high-rollers who attended the PokerStars National Championship in 2017, shared their thoughts on the big blind ante.  Canadians Timothy Adams and Christopher Kruk agreed that the big blind ante makes for a speedier and more efficient game.
However, Jeff Sarwer expressed his total rejection of the system, saying that it alters the entire dynamics and flow of the game completely, and will ultimately change the poker dynamic once implemented. He called the big blind ante “just so extreme.” Vincent van der Fluit from Netherlands and Mike Wang from the US both echoed Sarwer’s sentiments that a short-stacked player suffers massively when a big blind ante is in play. For van der Fluit, he favors a button ante system, where all the players ante in cases when the button is dead.
It will be interesting to see if players change their views, once the 2018 WSOP is finished and the big ante is tested on the biggest stage.

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