Blinds and an ante are both forced bets. Both are made before the cards are dealt. However, if just two players (sitting to the left of the dealer) make blinds, all players must make an ante. It is preferable to think of the ante as a kind of payment for playing the game and something that contributes to the pot. Ante is a little “payment,” generally one-tenth the amount of the huge blind.
The major goal of the ante is to prevent the game from being artificially prolonged – players who would normally discard their hands in quest of a better one are now obliged to actively participate in the betting or lose their chips.
Ante are not usually present – you should carefully study the table description before playing. An ante is not always present in “casual” games, and it is typically absent in games with blinds. However, its existence has a tremendous impact on the game; even before the flip, a large pot is already accessible, which speeds up the game and makes it more fascinating. This is why ante is often seen in tournaments, particularly in the latter rounds. With ante, more players stay in the game with their cards in hand rather than folding, resulting in higher ratings for televised tournaments. Most televised high-stakes cash games have both blinds and antes.
In live cash games where the active dealer changes every round, the dealer may pay an ante for each player.