Connecticut set the pace for other US states in allowing gambling and poker gaming. It was among the first states to open a full-scale real money casino and a legal poker room. Connecticut continues to play an integral part in the east coast’s real cash gambling market.
History of Poker in Connecticut
Like other States on the east coast, poker’s history dates back to the pre-revolutionary war period. During Connecticut’s infancy, the State held lotteries to fund projects. This practice continued into the 19th century, but they were not under any regulations.
The first official form of legal gambling in Connecticut came in 1939 when lawmakers made bingo games legal, but only for charitable purposes. In 1955, they expanded the regulations to cover real money poker games and raffles. Again, the profits from these games went to charity.
1972 saw Connecticut legalizing a statewide lottery, paving the way for other states to form their own lotteries and allow gambling for real money. In 1986, Connecticut launched its first-ever tribal Casino, Foxwood, under Mashantucket Pequot Tribe.
They added Slot machines a year later, then a poker room and a high stakes area in 1993.
In 1996, another casino, the Mohegan Sun, was launched.
The legality of Poker in Connecticut
Connecticut is a poker friendly state. There’s plenty of legal options for poker and online poker.
The State explicitly includes poker in its laws. The regulations state that anyone who engages in gambling is guilty of a misdemeanor unless playing a social game. In poker, a social game means no one present should take a rake, and the relationship is bona fide or real.
Taking a rake translates into professional gambling, and anyone who does that commits a felony. And prosecutors will charge you for that.
This means Connecticut residents can play poker as long as they do not profit outside of their winning. You can play with friends and win money. But that is as far as it goes.
You can’t charge players for joining your tournament. And you can’t take a rake. Also, playing poker for real money in non-social settings is illegal unless it occurs in one of the two tribal casinos regulated by the State.
Free tournaments that restaurants and bars hold are on neutral grounds for now. However, the State is making efforts to include them in the law.
These laws were penned down before internet poker and online playing. As such, the issue of online poker in Connecticut rests on a happy medium. Many tribal operators still fight to fend off online poker. But this could change anytime should lawmakers decide to regulate online gambling in the State.
Poker rooms/casinos in Connecticut
Live poker in Connecticut is thriving. The State nurtures a sustainable tribal poker gaming industry.
It has only two live poker rooms, but they’re among the largest rooms on the east coast. Separate Native American tribes operate the two Connecticut’s Casinos; Foxwoods Casino and Mohegan Sun Casino. The card rooms play host to locals and visitors alike, including people from Boston and New York.
The casinos are home to some of the best poker players inside and outside of the USA. They have even hosted worldwide poker tournaments like the WPT and WSOP-C.
Both offer daily cash games, multi-table tournaments, and Sit n’ gos. Their prize pools frequently exceed six to seven figures at certain series’ with cash games also inflating to stakes as high as $200/400 and $400/800.
Foxwood is the oldest Casino in Connecticut and possibly in the USA. It was founded in 1986, becoming the first-ever casino in the State to hold a live poker room. It features over 150 live poker tables; the largest on the East Coast, and the third-largest in the USA. It is in this room that the WSOP-C holds its tournaments with huge prizes up for grabs.
Mohegan Sun Casino
Mohegan was launched in 1996, just a few years after Foxwood. This casino features over 50 poker tables. It hosts the up-and-coming DeepStacks Poker Tour.
Online poker sites in Connecticut
As of now, online poker might be illegal in Connecticut. It is one State that includes players in their statutes. The State’s consumer protection department says it does not license, authorize, or regulate online gambling.
However, offshore sites continue to accept players from Connecticut. You can always play online as long as you understand the risks in doing so.
Some of the best poker rooms available to the State’s residents include;
BetOnline has one of the best online poker rooms in the US market. Apart from its handsome welcome tables, BetOnline has the best Bad Beat Jackpot features. Since this is a progressive jackpot, it can purportedly grow to outrageous amounts, hitting numbers as high as $392,000.
Ignition Poker is the largest virtual poker room open to the people of the US. Therefore, you will find poker games aplenty in their lobby.
You will even get a bonus of up to 100% match for deposits up to $1,000 once you sign up. This bonus is worth 30% Rakeback in tourneys, sit-n-goes, but might be lesser in cash games.
ACR has the second-largest player pool among all US-facing poker sites. It grants you a 100% match up to $1,000 on your first deposit. It is also, the only site that gives a complimentary $50 jackpot poker sit-gos with this deal.
Connecticut is one of the best states to play poker. Their rules are friendly to poker enthusiasts, and their live cardrooms offer many tables to choose from. And if you want, you can play online poker too.