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How does ante work in Balatro?

It's time to ante up.

Ante is an important concept in poker and in the poker-like, Rogue-lite game Balatro. In order to interact with your cards and your jokers properly, you might want a short description of ante and other poker terms that Balatro often uses.

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What is ante in Balatro?

Ante is the up-front bet you need to place in order to play a round of poker, but it means something a little bit different in the poker-like game Balatro. An ante is a round of play; each round is made of three different blinds (levels). An ante is made up of a Small Blind, Large Blind, then a Boss Blind. The Small and Large Blinds are both basic levels, but Boss Blinds have a special debuff that effects your hands, your cards, or it can massively raise the needed score to win.

Related: Balatro Joker Tier List – All Cards Ranked

All Boss Blind debuff possibilities in antes

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Whenever you complete an ante, a new ante will begin with another Small, Large, and Boss Blind with higher scores required to win. The new ante's Boss Blind will also have a different debuff than the first ante. Here is a list of all the possible Boss Blinds.

  • Arm: Decreases the level of Hand you play by 1
  • Club: All Club cards are debuffed
  • Eye: Every hand played this round must be a different type, and not previously played this round
  • Fish: The cards drawn after you play a hand are drawn face-down
  • Flint: The base chips and Mult for playing a poker hand are halved this round
  • Goad: All Spade cards are debuffed
  • Head: All Heart cards are debuffed 2x base
  • Hook: Discards 2 random cards from your hand, after each hand played 2x base
  • House: The first hand of cards is drawn completely face-down
  • Ox: Playing your most played hand will set money to $0
  • Manacle: -1 hand size for this round
  • Mark: All face cards are drawn face-down
  • Mouth: Only one hand type can be played this round
  • Needle: Play only one, single hand. 1x base
  • Pillar: Cards played previously this ante are debuffed
  • Plant: All face cards are debuffed
  • Psychic: Hands must have five cards
  • Serpent: After playing a hand or discarding cards, you always draw 3 more cards
  • Tooth: Lose $1 per card played
  • Wall: Extra large blind 4x base
  • Water: Start the round with no discards
  • Wheel: 1 in 7 cards are drawn face-down throughout the round 2x base
  • Window: All Diamond cards are debuffed

During the final ante in any run, ante level 8, will have a Final Boss Blind with its own selection of possible dubuffs. These are:

  • Amber Acorn: Flips and shuffles all Joker cards
  • Crimson Heart: One of your Jokers is disabled on every hand
  • Cerulean Bell: The Blind forces 1 random card in your hand to be selected, at all times
  • Verdant Leaf: All cards debuffed until 1 Joker sold
  • Violet Vessel: Extremely large blind 6x base

For more Balatro, check out Balatro Blank Voucher: What is it for? on Pro Game Guides.

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How does ante work in Balatro?

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