Thursday, May 21, 2009

Antes strike 5/10 NL on Full Tilt

New tables with antes have arrived at the 5/10 NL tables on Full Tilt, and with them came instant changes in the landscape.

Short-stackers have been relegated to non-ante tables because the ante tables are all deep-stacked. Some of the non-ante tables were filled entirely with shortstackers trading chips and feeding the rake. Deep-stacked ante tables are one way to get rid of those shory, hit-and-run specialists.

The ante tables also stimulate action. Pots are bigger preflop, and they grow faster postflop. For example, at a full ring 5/10 game with $1.50 antes, the pot is almost twice as large preflop than in a game without antes: $27 vs. $15. Players who realize the added value of winning the dead money preflop will play more hands and make bigger preflop raises. Pots will quickly expand as more bets go in on each street.

Antes juice the games, which attracts fish and action junkies. I can't complain about that.

We may see the beginnings of a shift in the way games are spread. The ante games are so popular already that they've significantly reduced the number of traditional non-ante 100BB buy-in tables.

It may not be long before 200BB tables with antes become the standard, especially among players who prefer shorthanded games over full ring. Watch the rise of ante tables as Full Tilt continues to gradually introduce them at lower limits.


Shrike said...

Tremendous, welcome news. This motivates me to get in some of these games! Time to shift BR ...


Memphis MOJO said...

Playing NLHE in a casino (such as at Tunica), they've found that when they change a $1/2 game to a $1/3, it makes a big difference. There are fewer limpers, bigger pots, more fun for the "real" players.

Greylocks said...

IMo NLHE should always be played with antes. The blinds are otherwise too small to justify giving any action.

As for the 1/2 1/3 difference, theoretically 1/3 should be slightly tighter than 1/2 in terms of average pot to big blind ratio, because (a) the small blind should be involved in fewer pots, and (b) a minimum preflop opening raise in 1/2 is laying 4 to win 3 (57% break-even point), while a minimum preflop raise in 1/3 is laying 6 to win 4 (60% break-even point).

If you're seeing more action in the 1/3 games (and this was generally the case in Las Vegas when I was there), I suspect it's because the slightly higher stakes are selecting looser players with deeper pockets, not because there's anything inherent in 1/3 that makes it a better game.