Poker in Massachusetts

Poker in Massachusetts

Among the six New England states, Massachusetts is the most populous and is perhaps best known for its illustrious educational institutions (including Harvard and MIT) and its professional football team, the New England Patriots. It just so happens that in 2015, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been hosting a lecture series on poker tactics. They also have legitimate brick-and-mortar casinos. Betting on horse and dog races became legal in this state in 1934, making gambling here a long-standing tradition, which means that poker in Massachusetts is available for players. When it comes to major commercial casinos, the first to open their doors were those found on cruise ships. From Boston’s harbors in 1998 onward, casino ships have been making trips into “federal waters,” where state gambling laws do not apply.

Poker in Massachusetts

The Indian Gaming Regulatory Act was passed in 1988, making it possible for casinos to be built on tribal lands. However, Massachusetts is still waiting for its first tribal casino to open. This is because only two of the state’s tribes are recognized by the federal government (the Wampanoags and the Mashpees, the latter was only recognized in 2007). The casino projects planned by both of these indigenous groups have been put on hold.

Meanwhile, in 2011, the Expanded Gaming Act legalized land-based casinos everywhere except on tribal lands. In 2015, Plainville, Massachusetts was home to the first legal casino, Plainridge Park Casino. At the moment, three casinos in Massachusetts offer full-scale gambling experiences to their customers.

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The state House of Representatives also passed a bill legalizing sports betting by a wide margin (156-3) in July 2021.

Quick Summary

  • Total Population: 6,893,000
  • Money in U.S. dollars ($)
  • UTC+5 is the time zone in which we currently find ourselves.
  • The initials for Massachusetts as a state abbreviation

Where You Can Play Poker in Massachusetts Casinos:

  • Encore Boston Harbor
  • MGM Springfield

Poker Players From Massachusetts Who Made Their Names Around the World

Many well-known, elite poker players from all over the world call the Bay State home.

Holden, Massachusetts is the place of origin for Daniel Colman. He is the state record holder with $28.9 million won from live tournaments. He is also one of the top 10 wealthiest people in American history.

After a $1,000,000 buy-in, Colman took down the 2014 WSOP Big One for One Drop high roller tournament, taking home $15,307,000. After his great victory, he famously (or infamously) refused to smile for a photo. Poker, he said, is “a very dark game” that has a “negative effect on society as a whole.” Despite this setback, he went on to win millions of dollars in live tournaments over the course of several years.

Feeding Hills, Massachusetts is Nick Petrangelo‘s hometown. He has won two gold bracelets from the World Series of Poker Live and cashed for $17,750,000. He has also won the World Championship of Online Poker and the Spring Championship of Online Poker.

The 1995 World Series of Poker Main Event was won by Dan Harrington of Cambridge, Massachusetts, for $1 million. A popular poker strategy book, “Harrington on Hold ’em,” was written by him and released in 2004.

Legality of Live Poker in MA & Rules for Playing in MA

The Expanded Gaming Act of 2011 was mentioned in the introduction; it legalized casino gambling in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Crimes related to gambling are now covered by Section 271.1 of Massachusetts General Law (the state’s penal code). Forfeiture in Case of Gambling or Betting. Chapter 23K of the General Law details the requirements for obtaining a gambling license. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is in charge of issuing casino licenses and establishing rules for the operation of casinos in the state. Upon the enactment of the aforementioned gaming act, this group officially came into existence in the month of November 2011.

An interesting fact is that in the Bay State, a game is only considered “gambling” if the “on sides or hands of those playing” wager pays out more than $5. Gambling is permitted on a private basis and for charitable purposes.

Locations in Massachusetts to Play Live Poker

As we mentioned up top, there are only three active casinos in the entire state of Massachusetts right now. Unfortunately, poker rooms are even harder to come by. There are only two poker rooms listed on

However, the casino managements have not yet decided whether or not to reopen since March 2020, at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic.

massachesetts in google maps

The Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, Massachusetts, is home to one of the available lodging options. They used to host daily No Limit Hold’em tournaments with $140–$200 buy-ins and guaranteed prize pools in the thousands before the pandemic hit. There were also 30-minute high-hand promotions for cash games, but the site’s former stakes and game selections are no longer listed.

The cash games at the poker room at the MGM Springfield in Springfield, Massachusetts, ranged from $1/$2 to $5/$10 for No Limit Hold’em, $3/$6 for Limit Hold’em, and $2/$2 for Pot Limit Omaha. They, too, held high-hand promotions, as well as a so-called “Football Frenzy” that involved holding random draws for prizes at tables and seats whenever a team scored in a football game.

Sunday $75 NLHE tournaments were a staple of the tournament schedule. They also held the 2019 October 50/50 Poker Festival, which included a $330 and a $1,200 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament.

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On their respective websites, both establishments state that a decision regarding the reopening of their poker rooms will be made by the end of the year 2021.

Gambling Halls and Poker Casinos in MA

The online poker industry in Massachusetts is unregulated and unlicensed, as is the case in the vast majority of the United States. Because of these laws, it is technically illegal to engage in online gambling in the United States.

Massachusetts residents can only access real money poker games on sweepstakes-based apps like Global Poker and PokerBros, or on unlicensed offshore sites like Americas Cardroom.

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