Matt Savage, Big Blind Ante Fan
26 August 2018
PokerBrave (1135 articles)

When the Big Blind Ante concept was introduced at the ARIA last year, famed World Poker Tour Tournament Director Matt Savage was admittedly a skeptic. Making the player in the big blind pay all of the antes for the table? That seemed blasphemous. But as he said in a recent blog post, he wouldn’t be a good TD if he wasn’t open to trying out new ideas, so he decided to give it a shot at the Commerce Casino and lo and behold, Big Blind Antes were a hit. He now believes that the Big Blind Ante is “here to stay” and is looking forward to having it be the norm on the World Poker Tour, not just a novelty act.

Traditionally, once a tournament gets through a few levels, every player has to pay a small (relative to the blinds, at least) ante. It serves a similar purpose to the blinds, building a pot before the hand starts. It also speeds things up, as players can lose chips faster if they don’t play hands.

With the Big Blind Ante, the player in the big blind pays all of the blinds for the entire table in one go; the rest of the players do not pay an ante. The end result is the same – the same number of ante chips go into the pot – the mechanics are simply different. The primary reason for its invention was just to simplify things. It is much easier for the players and the dealer if just one person pays the ante than having everyone do it.

In his blog post on, Matt Savage says that the Big Blind Ante has worked splendidly. He even put together an itemized list of its successes for us!

1. Dealers, staff, and players alike have universally claimed how much easier and more efficient it is.
2. More hands are being dealt, allowing structures to remain deeper for longer portions of tournaments.
3. Dealers are not having to bother distracted players for their antes every hand.
4. There are no more mistakes and floor calls asking, “Who owes an ante?”
5. There are less chips in play, less need to make change, and fewer annoying bets of 1,675.
6. The bottom line is that BBA is faster and downright better!

Savage also addressed the concerns that the Big Blind Ante hurts a player with a short stack. It’s a natural concern. After all, if you have 2,000 chips and the normal ante would be 100, it feels a lot better to only pay a 100 chip ante plus your big blind than to pay a 900 chip Big Blind Ante plus your big blind.

Savage, though, believes the Big Blind Ante is good for a short stack. Observe:

1. The antes are LESS per round during seven-, eight-, nine-, and 10-handed play and the same at six-handed play in many levels.
2. You don’t have to ante eight out of nine hands in full ring.
3. You can win more when not in the big blind than you can win with individual antes because you win the full ante even if you only have one chip.

When it comes right down to it, Matt Savage loves the Big Blind Ante and believes it “is overwhelmingly the best decision for the game of poker.”