The 2018 PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) Monte Carlo implemented the big blind ante in all of their No-Limit Hold’em (NLHE) events—and it was a tremendous success.
After two decades of traditional NLHE games, the big blind ante format has slowly crept up in many of the major poker tournaments around the world promising better and quicker plays. Top poker tournaments have decided to pick up the pace and implement the big blind ante – that includes PokerStars and the EPT which has brought a great deal of positivity from the players.
What Is The Big Blind Ante?
Typically, poker games are run by antes made by all the players. While this has been the case for decades, there have been instances where plays can be dragged on because of inattentive players who fail to put their antes in the pot in an orderly and prompt fashion.
Another problem is when the player has no small chip values to put in to the pot for the ante, since it is usually only a fraction of a small blind. This results in delay when the dealer has to exchange the players’ chips so they can put in their antes.
To speed things up and rid the game of these problems, tournament organizers have introduced the big blind ante.
Essentially, when you have the big blind ante in play, there is one person at the table posting all the antes for the table in every turn. This makes for a much quicker and simpler play, eliminating the need for all players to reach into their pile, start counting, and put in their individual antes.
PokerStars Tries Big Blind Ante At EPT
The shot clock has a similar effect to the plays, ensuring that players don’t spend hours mulling over a move. This is why in the last year, shot clocks have been rolled out in almost all major live poker tournaments.
But more than the shot clocks, the big blind ante enables players to play more hands at every level and make for a smoother gameplay overall.
PokerStars started using the big blind ante for multiple events at the Los Angeles Poker Classic. Because of the good feedback they’ve had during that tournament, they have decided to use the new format in all of their NLHE events at the EPT.
EPT Monte Carlo tournament director Toby Stone said that the big blind ante was good for both the players and the dealers. He notes that it has less wear on the dealer as he is saved from collecting the ante from everyone which also makes the process quicker.
Players are also benefiting from the new format as they get to enjoy the games more without having to worry about their antes every single hand. The new format generates quicker plays, more hands, and makes for “a more fluid game.”
Team PokerStars Pro Fatima Moreira de Melo, who played her first big blind ante tournament at the EPT, was pleasantly surprised at the new format, saying “it’s super chill.”
High roller Govert Metaal also attests to the fact that the new format affords him as much as four more hands per hour. With the shot clock and the big blind ante in tandem, Metaal believes that he can see at least a thousand more hands played in his career because of it.
PokerStars Will Use Big Blind Ante More
Due to the success of the big blind ante at the EPT Monte Carlo, Stone says they are doing the same thing at the Barcelona and Prague stops. However, PokerStars is not prepared to roll it out across the board just yet. Although they have two more PokerStars festivals coming up in Lille and Marbella, the big blind ante will only be used at the Main Event, High Roller and the Cup.
In a statement, Stone said, “The reason is that at those events, that level of player is a bit less professional than here, the big blind ante hasn’t filtered down to that level of play yet, it needs a little bit of time to work its way down. We imagine we’ll do it on all events in the future, but we’re willing to change depending on the feedback we get.”
It may take some time but Stone believes that the big blind ante format is the future of live poker, and there will come a point when PokerStars will be using it across all events in the coming years.

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