What is ‘Steal the Antes’?
If a poker player is said to ‘steal the antes’, this means they took a small pot that was made solely of opening bets, and they were the only person to bet into that pot. If all players fold on their hand, the win is not a large one for the player that remains, but it does mean they might take a small bonus on an otherwise poor hand – that is, ‘steal the antes’ from the table.
‘Steal the Antes’ Explained
In poker, an ‘ante’ is a forced bet made before the cards are seen. Unlike the big and small blinds which are posted by the two players sat by the dealer, antes are required from every player before every new hand is dealt. The ante is always a small amount, usually the minimum bet for that game or perhaps even half of it. In casino and card room games, a small fee might be taken from each ante – the ‘house collection’ or ‘house edge‘.
Once the antes are in place, the cards can be viewed and the first bets can be made. Usually, several players bet into the pot and the game starts properly. However, in rare situations where none of the hands are particularly good, a brave player who acts late might have a chance to scoop a small win off their weak hand – that is, they could ‘steal the antes‘. This means that only one player chooses to bet on their hand, while all other players go for the fold. It usually happens late in the round – most players fold, one bets and the rest also fold after this, conceding their stake. The player who ‘stole the antes’ receives a minimum bet from each player, plus their own stake and bet returned. Usually, when the phrase is used, there was a better hand at the table which chose to fold.