Stealing the Ante in Stud Poker
Once everyone has anted up in a game of stud poker, there will be a small pile of chips sitting in the middle of the table. Stealing the ante is when you claim these chips as your own with a hand that would need a defibulator and some really good drugs to life.
First of all, stealing antes can stack up over time and add money to your bankroll. In normal games your pot odds are good enough to make a profit if you succeed in stealing the pot about 40% of the time. Sometimes your pot odds may not be that good, but you still may be able to steal the pot. About 12% of the time you are going to get an upcard that will scare the pants off the rest of the table. With a King or Ace in hand, you will bet to represent a big pair. This may trigger the fight or flight instinct in most of your opponents. With luck the will choose flight. Being the bully on Fourth Street is a good way to steal the occasional pot.
A less known aspect of stealing the ante is that it adds deception to your overall game. If the only time you raise is when you have a legitimate hand, you opponents will simply be conditioned to fold when you start to raise. A good time to consider stealing is when you either have the highest up-card or the second highest up-card. The cards you have in your hand don’t matter. If you are holding a 2, 4, and 5 all of different suits, it is irrelevant as long as your up-card is a big one. With this visible card you can create the image that your hand is a legitimate threat. By stealing you will keep your opponents off balance, especially if they get the idea in their heads that you might raise with nothing. This will increase the value of the big hands and ad an element of mystery to your game that will make your opponents uncomfy.
Evaluation of the competition will be vital to the success of your attempts to steal the ante. If your opponent is more aggressive, proceed with caution. If it seems to you that somebody is trying to steal the ante, you should try to steal it back. A good time to try this is if you have a bigger up-card than they do.