Massachusetts Video Poker
Two new Massachusetts casinos have brought video poker to the Bay State but players will have to hold out a while longer if they want to play video poker online.
Massachusetts paved the way for the opening of new casinos in 2011 and since 2018 the MGM has opened a massive casino resort in Springfield and Wynn soon followed suit with the brand new Encore Boston Harbor casino. The two casinos offer dozens of video poker titles, but they are currently only available in-person.
Though state lawmakers are moving forward with a bill that would legalize online sports betting and allow the casinos to launch online platforms, the state continues to ban online casino games like video poker. That could change once the casinos’ online platforms are up and running and attitudes on online casino gaming continue to shift. For the time being, however, players will either have to schlep to the casino or check out one of the social online casinos that allows you to avoid gray market sites and state restrictions.
How to Play Video Poker Online
Video poker is a simple game akin to slots, though it requires a bit more strategy and decision-making and offers a much lower house edge.
Video poker is effectively a virtual version of five-card draw poker, though most games will not pay out unless you hit a pair of jacks or higher. Each player is dealt five cards and chooses which cards to hold and which to replace with the goal of making the best hand. Video poker titles can vary greatly in how much they pay out for each combination so it’s important to check the pay table on each game so you know which combinations to try to make. You can also choose how much to bet on each hand, though the preferred method, just like with slots, is to bet the maximum amount for each hand to maximize your potential winnings.
The hands rankings in video poker are as follows:
Royal flush: 10, J, Q, K, A of the same suit
Straight flush: Any five consecutive cards of the same suit
Four of a kind
Full house: Three of a kind plus one pair
Flush: Any five cards of the same suit
Straight: Any five consecutive cards
Three of a kind
Pair of Jacks or better
Video Poker Massachusetts
Despite the launch of video poker at the state’s new casinos and the upcoming betting bill, which will allow the casinos to launch online betting platforms, Massachusetts still prohibits online video poker and other casino games. This is likely to change in the future as gaming becomes more mainstream around the state and casinos lobby for eased restrictions but for now, Massachusetts residents can check out social casinos.
Social casinos use a sweepstakes model that skirts state restrictions. The social casinos allow you to buy play money and “gift” you coins that you can later redeem for their cash equivalent with each purchase. You can use these coins to play online casino games like video poker, roulette, slots, and blackjack and then redeem the coins for their cash value once you are done playing. Since you cannot “deposit” or bet real money and you cannot buy the coins, the model adheres with all state restrictions and doesn’t violate any laws.