The poker room at the Encore Boston Harbor has reopened for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, albeit at limited capacity.
Encore, in Everett, is one of three commercial casinos in Massachusetts. Those three casinos combined for $718.8 million in handle for December and $95.7 million in revenue.
According to the Encore Boston Harbor website, the poker room has 12 tables in operation in The Loft portion of the facility. Cash games operate from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday. At its pre-pandemic peak, Encore had 74 poker tables.
The rake is 10% up to $10 per hand, according to a report at pokernews.com, causing consternation among some players.
Live poker rooms are the only legal options for the popular game because, unlike in neighboring Connecticut, online poker has not been made legal in the Bay State.
For poker players in Massachusetts, there is not much of an option except to travel for poker playing with real money at stake.
Last year, Connecticut made sweeping changes to its gambling laws, approving online poker among other forms of gaming. Poker on mobile devices has not yet launched in Connecticut but it is expected to do so in 2022.
When that happens, the Nutmeg State will join New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia and Nevada with online poker.
Nevada is the home of the World Series of Poker, which is scheduled this year for the Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip from May 31 to July 19. By the time the tournament rolls into town, Bally’s should be rebranded as the Horseshoe, reviving a name that goes back to a different building where the WSOP was first held in Vegas.
There are no real money online casino options in Massachusetts, including sports betting.