Online Blackjack in Massachusetts
Blackjack is one of the most popular casino games in the world and has finally arrived in Massachusetts thanks to the state’s recent gambling boom.
Massachusetts paved the way for casino gaming in 2011 and since 2018 the Bay State has seen the launch of the MGM casino in Springfield and Wynn Resorts’ Encore Boston Harbor in Boston. Both casinos offer dozens of blackjack tables but state restrictions bar these casinos from offering blackjack online.
That could change in the future as the new casinos grow in popularity and as a result of a pending sports betting bill that will allow the MGM, Encore Casino, and others to launch online betting platforms. Though online casino gaming is not included in the bill, the trend is clearly moving toward full-scale legalization.
While lawmakers iron out the details on the upcoming betting bill and the future of online gambling in the state, Massachusetts residents can check out social casinos, which use a unique sweepstakes model to offer cash prizes for casino games without violating any state restrictions.
How to Play Blackjack Online
In blackjack, the dealer and each player is dealt one card face up and one card face down with the goal of getting a hand valued closest to 21 without going over. Numbered cards are face value, face cards are each valued at 10 points, and aces can be either 1 point or 11 points. Drawing a 10 or a face card with an ace is a natural blackjack, and typically pays out 3:2.
Once you are dealt two cards, you can choose whether to “hit” and draw another card or “stand” and keep your hand as is. You can hit as many times as you want as long as you don’t go over 21. If you go over 21, that is a “bust” and you lose your bet.
There are also some situational moves you can make. If you draw two of the same card, you can “split” your hand, which gives you two hands to play with and doubles your overall bet. This can be useful when you have two aces or two eights, though it is generally recommended that you not split 10s. You can also “double down,” which allows you to double your bet and draw exactly one more card. This can be useful when you have a hand valued at 11 and are hoping for a 10.
The dealer has to conform to a set of rules prescribed by the casino. Typically, the dealer has to hit on 16 and stand on a hard 17 (meaning no cards are aces) while hitting on a soft 17 (meaning one of the cards is an ace). Most casinos will allow you to buy “insurance” when the dealer is showing an ace, though this is generally a bad move. Some casinos allow you to surrender before the hand is done, which allows you to only lose half your bet.
Online Blackjack Massachusetts
Though the state still prohibits playing blackjack online, social casinos offer a fun and legal way that you can still play blackjack for money.
These casinos use a sweepstakes model wherein you are able to buy play money and receive a gift of coins with every purchase. You can ignore the play money and use the coins to play blackjack and other casino games. The coins can then be redeemed for their cash equivalent when you cash out. Since you cannot bet real money and you cannot technically buy the coins, social casinos are perfectly legal and don’t run afoul of any state regulations.