Ante is a term commonly used in card games, especially in poker, referring to a mandatory bet that all players must place before the start of a hand.

The ante is a small, predetermined amount that is required from each player to build the initial pot – the prize pool that players compete for in that hand.

The purpose of the ante is to create immediate action and ensure that there is something at stake on every hand, incentivizing players to participate more actively in the game.

In many poker variants, the ante is a fundamental aspect of the game’s structure, setting the stage for subsequent betting rounds.

It differs from blinds – another form of mandatory bets in poker – in that while blinds are only paid by one or two players per hand (the small and big blinds), the ante is contributed by every player at the table.

This creates a larger initial pot and can alter the dynamics of the game, often encouraging more aggressive play.

Antes are particularly prevalent in later stages of poker tournaments to increase the pot size and add pressure on players to play hands rather than passively waiting for premium cards.