Online Blackjack Massachusetts

Blackjack is the most popular table game in casinos across the US, full stop. Thus, it is available in all three casinos in Massachusetts, either live, electronic, or both.

For the time being, these retail casinos are the main options to play blackjack for real money in the Bay State legally.

However, some online social casinos may also offer online blackjack with a chance to claim cash prizes.

This page is your guide to all things blackjack in Massachusetts. We’ll cover all of the options, along with what to expect if you play at a table in the state. There are several variants of the game that you might encounter, and it’s better to know about them beforehand than when you first sit down and get chips.

So, whether you’re a seasoned player with a solid command of basic strategy or a beginner focused on doing the mental addition to 21, this page is the best resource for how to hit, stand, and double down with live and online blackjack in Massachusetts.

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Is Blackjack Legal in Massachusetts?

Yes. Blackjack is legal for anyone over the age of 21 in Massachusetts.

You can play a live game at either one of the two resort casinos in the state: MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor. You can also play the electronic version of the game at either location and at Massachusetts’ lone racino, Plainridge Park Casino.

Play Blackjack Online in MA

The other options for Massachusetts blackjack players are through social casinos that are active in the state. The nice thing about these options is that they are online and available anywhere in Massachusetts.

In many cases, these sites focus primarily on slots. However, some of them also offer blackjack and other table games. Pulsz Slots and Casino is one example of a social casino that offers blackjack. Chumba Casino is another site that uses virtual currencies that enable players to play for fun or to potentially redeem cash prizes.

How to Play Blackjack

Blackjack is an incredibly common game, and the majority of people — gamblers or not — already know how to play. However, in case you’ve never tried the game or you want to brush up on what to do, here’s a quick rundown on gameplay.

The overall goal of blackjack is to assemble a group of cards that add up to more than the group of cards the dealer has — without going over 21. Face cards count as 10, the other cards are their face value, and aces can be either 11 or 1.

A two-card combination that adds up to 21 — an ace plus a face card or 10 — is blackjack and the highest possible hand. Any combination that adds up to more than 21 means you’ve gone bust — an automatic loss.

Both the dealer and the player receive two cards. Generally, both cards for the player are face-up, but only one of the dealer’s cards is face-up initially. If the dealer’s up card is a face card, 10 or ace, the dealer will check the down card for a blackjack. If the dealer has blackjack, it’s an automatic loss for the player.

Players must receive any additional cards before the dealer. They can take another card (hit) or stay with their current cards (stand) so long as the cards do not add up to more than 21. They can also put in a second bet to accept a single additional card (double down).

Because blackjack is such a well-known game, players have figured out the mathematically optimal way to play. It is called basic strategy, and there’s nothing wrong with using a strategy card with every decision while you’re playing.

One thing to note is that most casinos use six to eight decks at a time for their games. This practice is an effort to defeat card counters, who are able to negate the house edge if they can keep track of what cards have been dealt. The decks are dealt out of a small device called a “shoe.”

Popular Types of Blackjack Games

Blackjack is hundreds of years old. There is no settled date for its invention, but it probably happened some time around 1700 in France. While the history of blackjack is mostly immaterial to players, what it means is there has been plenty of time for numerous variants to appear in both live and online casinos.

It’s important to realize that these variants don’t always change the core gameplay of blackjack. You and the dealer still receive two cards and compete to make the highest hand under 21.

For many variants, it is entirely possible to play a straight game of blackjack without involving the unique quirks of the new game.

Other forms of blackjack do contain some significant changes, though. Here are some blackjack variants that you may find in Massachusetts:

Live Variants

There are only two locations in Massachusetts that can offer truly live blackjack.

MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor both have scores of table games on their floors, and several of these tables offer blackjack. Let’s talk about the one variant certain to be there, along with some variants that might be available.

Spanish 21

This is the only confirmed blackjack variant at Massachusetts casinos. MGM Springfield lists the game as one of its table game options on its website. Spanish 21 operates in much the same way a typical blackjack game would, except that the decks only have 48 cards (no 10s).

There are two possible side wagers on Spanish 21 tables in Massachusetts. The first one, which is more common, is the match-the-dealer option. For an extra bet, players can guess that one of their cards will match the dealer’s up card in terms of its value or suit. Payouts for matching the card vary from 3-to-1 to 12-to-1, depending on the type of match and the number of decks in the shoe.

The other type of side bet that you might encounter with Spanish 21 is the bonus spin wager. For an extra bet, you can guess that you will receive an ace as one of your first two cards. For a $5 wager, an ace is worth $10. However, if you receive a natural blackjack with a bonus spin bet, the dealer will activate a special wheel that will pay out a bonus much higher than $10.

Other Blackjack Variants

These other variants may or may not be available in Massachusetts casinos, depending on where and when you visit. Each of the games we list below has approval from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, however. In other words, none of these games are on the floor for sure, but they could be.

  • Blackjack Switch — Blackjack Switch requires you to place two equivalent wagers and receive two hands of blackjack at the same time. You can swap the top (or second) cards between hands if you like. Obviously, the ability to make the switch is advantageous for the player, but there are two rule changes that tip the scales toward the casino. The first is that dealers no longer bust until they hit 23. Twenty-two counts as a push. The other issue is that any blackjacks that you get by switching only payout at 1-to-1, rather than 3-to-2.
  • Double Attack Blackjack — A variant of Spanish 21 that pays even money on blackjacks. The twist with this game is that players can double their initial bet after they see the dealer’s up card. However, Double Attack Blackjack also has a robust side bet option that sometimes goes by bust-it or buster. Essentially, if the dealer busts after drawing a single card, the value of the card can pay anywhere from 3-to-1 to 15-to-1. There are other combinations that can yield payoffs, too, but these are the primary ways to win.
  • Free Bet Blackjack — This game uses the standard blackjack deck and offers players some free options for betting on their hands. Doubling down and splitting cards are available without an additional charge. The catch is that the dealer no longer busts on 22s. Instead, a 22 is a push and 23s are the bust number.
  • Zappit Blackjack — Zappit Blackjack is another variant that sets 22 as a push for the dealer, rather than a bust. However, players are able to exchange or “zap” their hands if their two cards add up to a range of unfavorable numbers. This range is usually around 14-17, as numbers there present challenges for players.

Different Types of Online Blackjack Games

There are also two blackjack variants that you can find on the social casino sites in Massachusetts:

  • Back Blackjack — Back Blackjack is available at Chumba Casino and operates as a normal blackjack game for its core function. However, the game also offers a side bet that gives a bonus if either the player or dealer has a blackjack. If a blackjack occurs, regardless of who has it, the system rolls three six-sided dice and awards the side bet with odds anywhere between 8-to-1 and 66-to-1. If both player and dealer have a blackjack, multiply the dice roll payout by four.
  • Blackjack Lucky Sevens — This title is available at Pulsz, and you can play it without any additional wagers or changes from the classic game. The only time that the variant alters gameplay is if the player’s first three cards add up to seven. If they do, the player receives a bonus.

Blackjack Odds

All casino table games, including blackjack, come with a house advantage. Over time, players will end up losing money to the casino. However, in the short term, streaks can go in your favor, and that’s why people continue to play.

All of the odds we list below assume that you are playing with the perfect basic strategy. If you are deviating from the basic strategy, that’s fine, but understand that you are increasing the house’s edge every time you do so. The basic strategy has received so much fine-tuning at this point that it is, in fact, the correct way to play — but some people don’t like to hit on 16 or double down against a face card.

Generally speaking, many rules are fairly standard across the board for blackjack games.

However, if you find different situations at individual casinos in Massachusetts, you should understand the positive or negative effect that the rule might have on the house edge.

Here’s a table showing some common blackjack rules. The rules on the left are good for the player in terms of how they affect odds and payouts. The ones on the right, meanwhile, increase the house’s edge.

Basic Blackjack Rules

Good for playerBad for player
Dealer stands on soft 17Dealer hits on soft 17
Player may double down on any two-card combinationPlayer cannot double down after a split
Player can split acesPlayer can only split once during a hand
Only the original bet is lost on dealer blackjacksPlayer cannot resplit aces
Surrender allowedSurrender not allowed
Blackjack pays 3-to-2Blackjack pays 6-to-5

Blackjack House Edge

With perfect basic strategy, using a single deck and a cut card, the house edge would be 0.19%.

In other words, you’d lose 19 cents for every $100 you bet, on average. However, the casino combats this low edge in a couple of ways.

For one thing, single deck blackjack tends to be available only for higher limit play, which may be too much money for you to risk. For lower limits, casinos use a shoe with multiple decks.

Here’s the house edge breakdown for how the percentage changes depending on the number of decks:

  • One deck — 0.19%
  • Two decks — 0.47%
  • Four decks — 0.60%
  • Five decks — 0.63%
  • Six decks — 0.64%
  • Eight decks — 0.66%

The thing to notice is that the biggest jump occurs with the addition of a single extra deck. Your expectation is more than twice as poor as it was before. Now, these edges are still quite low — part of blackjack’s popularity is due to the fact that it is almost a 50/50 proposition, instead of the 55/45 or worse that you might find for other games.

However, casinos continue to offer the game for a reason, so don’t overlook the house edge.

Finally, remember that while streaks can run in your favor in the short term, they can also run in the casino’s favor. In fact, you could make the argument that the tiny house edge makes those big losing streaks more likely for you than the casino.

So, even though these percentages are tiny in the long term, you can easily go home with 100% losses on blackjack if things aren’t going your way.

Massachusetts Laws and Blackjack Games

Blackjack became legal in Massachusetts in 2011 under the Expanded Gaming Act. Incidentally, the new law provided for the placement of the two casinos and the racino where blackjack is available in the state.

However, the law did not contain any provision for online blackjack or any other type of online gambling. Furthermore, it does not appear as though online casino blackjack is likely to be legal in Massachusetts any time soon. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is preoccupied with ensuring the recent launch of MA sports betting goes swimmingly.

Massachusetts Blackjack Tables Near You

There are only three locations in Massachusetts that offer legal real-money blackjack options. However, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention some of the other properties that undoubtedly see quite a bit of traffic from Bay Staters:

MGM Springfield

  • Address: 1 MGM Way, Springfield, MA 01103

MGM Springfield is the older of the two resort casinos in Massachusetts and serves the western portion of the state. It has a variety of table games, including blackjack. MGM also advertises the presence of Spanish 21, so there is no doubt that it is a hub for blackjack players in the state.

Encore Boston Harbor

  • Address: 1 Broadway, Everett, MA 02149

Encore Boston Harbor is the larger of the two resort casinos in Massachusetts and is the closest casino to the Boston metropolitan area. In addition to various amenities, the casino has 185 table games, including a number of blackjack tables. Encore also has several electronic table games for players to use for lower buy-ins and less physical activity.

Plainridge Park Casino

  • Address: 301 Washington St., Plainville, MA 02762

The Plainridge Park Casino is the lone slots casino in Massachusetts and the only place that you can see live racing in the state. Although it cannot offer live table games, it does have the electronic variant of blackjack. Electronic blackjack is probably more video game than table game, but the game mechanics are the same as you’d find live, and you can play while you’re waiting for the next post time.

Bally’s Twin River Lincoln Casino Resort

  • Address: 100 Twin River Road, Lincoln, RI 02865

While two Massachusetts regions have the casinos that state gambling law allows, the southeastern portion of the state is still waiting. For now, one of the nearest casino locations to the area is Bally’s Twin River Lincoln across the border in Rhode Island. It offers 51 live blackjack tables and five dedicated tables for Spanish 21. There is also a selection of virtual table games on the casino floor.

Bally’s Tiverton Casino & Hotel

  • Address: 777 Tiverton Casino Blvd., Tiverton, RI 02878

Bally’s Tiverton is the smaller of Rhode Island’s two casinos. However, it has 32 table games on its 33,000-square-foot gambling floor, including several options for blackjack. The site also features some hybrid stadium seats, which allow play on several table games, including blackjack.

Foxwoods Resort Casino

  • Address: 350 Trolley Line Blvd., Ledyard, CT 06338

Foxwoods Resort Casino was the first casino to open in the northeastern US outside of Atlantic City and has served as a magnet for gamblers in nearby states ever since. The casino is massive and has a large variety of table games, including several types of blackjack. In addition to regular blackjack, there are also options for Blackjack Match Progressive and Multi-Action Blackjack, among others.

Mohegan Sun

  • Address: 1 Mohegan Sun Blvd., Uncasville, CT 06382

Mohegan Sun was the second casino to open in Connecticut and one of the biggest casinos in the entire world. There are more than 300 table games in its 300,000 square feet of casino space, including a wide range of blackjack options. The Mohegan Sun site may be the first casino website to sell itself short, as it only mentions standard blackjack and Spanish 21 as its offerings. There are plenty of other game variants, as well.

Online Blackjack Massachusetts FAQs

Is blackjack legal in Massachusetts?

Yes, blackjack is 100% legal in Massachusetts. You can play at any of the state’s three casinos (only electronic variants at Plainridge Park Casino). You can also play legal online blackjack for cash prizes at social casinos, such as Chumba Casino and Pulsz.

How does blackjack betting work?

There are different variations and side bets, but basic betting in standard blackjack is simple. Place your bet in front of you before the hands are dealt. If the dealer busts, every player wins their bet at even money. If the dealer doesn’t bust, every player with a higher hand wins their bet at even money. If a player gets a blackjack, they win their bet at a 3-to-2 ratio. Players also have the option to double down their bet if their first two cards add up to 9, 10, or 11, and players can place a second bet of equal value if they split their pairs into two hands.

How do you win at online blackjack?

The best way to win at online blackjack is the same way to win live blackjack: Use the basic strategy. In a nutshell, basic strategy is a series of rules to always follow in certain situations. The theory is, if you follow these rules, you’ll more often leave the table with more money than you would if you didn’t follow the rules. A few examples are to stand when you’ve got anything 17 or above, split when you’re dealt two aces or two 8s, and double down if you have 11 and the dealer’s up card is an ace.

How do you play online blackjack for money in Massachusetts?

You can legally play online blackjack for money in Massachusetts via social casino sites, such as Chumba Casino and Pulsz. These social casinos have players use two types of fake digital currency. One type (often called Gold Coins) is just for fun. The other type (Sweeps Coins or Sweepstakes Coins) can be redeemed for cash prizes once the player has accumulated enough.

How many decks to online casinos use in blackjack?

Like retail casinos, online casinos most often use 6-8 decks in blackjack in order to prevent card counting.

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