Buried up in the Northeast part of the country, many people think of Maine as a state with a beautiful countryside and home to some of the best lobsters in the world. While all of that is true, the state does also have a love of gambling, in particular poker. Maine poker players have had a struggle finding games to play, but in recent years there have been some positive moves made to give players what they want. This page will dive into all things poker in the state of Maine – the hope is that our readers will have enough information to be able to find games to play and to improve their games so that they can take on the rest of the country and the world!
Online Poker in Maine
Like many states in the U.S., Maine had a love affair with online poker when it first launched back in the early 2000s. When Chris Moneymaker came from a small Midwest own to Las Vegas in 2003 after winning a satellite to the World Series of Poker Main Event and went on to win the tournament, players across the country began to dream of their own championship runs one day. This was especially true in states like Maine, where land-based poker options didn’t exist, so online sites were a gateway to playing the game residents loved.
Fast forward to 2011 – a dark year for the online poker industry in the U.S. The major sites were all shut down by the Department of Justice in April of that year, leaving a gaping hole in the market where poker players once thrived. Today, that hole continues to exist, although, with some movement on the discussion of legal online sports betting in the state, there is a glimmer of hope that the government could consider adding online poker to any new gaming legislation like it has been in states in Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Land Based Poker in Maine
The prospects for land-based poker players in Maine were also grim for the longest time. Aside from traveling to a neighboring state like New Hampshire or playing home games, there weren’t any organized games to speak of for residents of the Northeastern state. Thankfully, all that changed when the Hollywood Casino in Bangor expanded from just having slot machines to including table games and a few tables designated for poker.
While this remains the only official land-based poker room in the state, it does at least give Maine players a place to get their fix. The room offers cash games and tournaments, and while the majority of the play is Texas Hold’em, the dealers are more than equipped to spread other games like Omaha and Stud if requested. As long as players keep coming to the casino and supporting live poker, there will always be a discussion about how to expand the offering in the state.
Social Poker in Maine
One place where online poker players could find solace after the shutdown of the real money sites was in social poker. Social networks brought millions of people together in one spot, and this made for an obvious location to add games like poker. These sites, like Zynga Poker, have a very interesting model. There are thousands of free to play games, and in these games, you can amass chip stacks to allow you to move up levels. However, you also have the option of paying to skip levels buy buying chip packages for real money. While this may seem confusing as there are no cash winnings to be had, bypassing the smaller games means that you are going to likely have better competition, which is the key to using these sites for practice purposes. Social poker sites continue to boast huge numbers across Maine and the whole country, so if you have an itch to get in some poker action, this could be a solution for you.
Subscription Poker in Maine
Another interesting twist on poker sites emerged in the wake of the events of Black Friday. Actually, this concept had been around for a couple of years already, but the subscription-based poker model really took off when players lost their real-money options. Sites like Club WPT were set up to offer online poker tournaments to players which awarded prizes, not money. However, all you needed to do was pay a membership fee once a month, and you could access all the available tournament at no additional cost.
While the popularity of subscription poker isn’t nearly as broad as social poker, it does give players from Maine the opportunity to play tournament poker with real stakes on the line, so we always recommend giving sites like these a try.
Mobile Poker in Maine
Mobile technology has changed essentially everything we do in our lives, and the same can be said for the world of online poker. In places where real-money poker is legal, players can access cash games and tournaments from the palms of their hands anywhere they can get a connection. This has made the game more accessible than ever.
For players in Maine who are waiting patiently for real money poker to return, there are still loads of free play and social poker apps available for your mobile phones and tablets. These are great ways to keep your game fresh and practice even though you can’t do so for real money. All these poker apps are listed in your operating system’s App Store.
Online Poker in Maine FAQ
How long will it be until real money online poker is back in Maine?
This one is tough to answer. There was a significant amount of momentum for online sports betting when the Maine legislature passed a bill in 2019, but the Governor has since vetoed the bill citing the need to learn more about the impact. This could be a blessing for online poker enthusiasts as it may open the door to more comprehensive legislation, but at the earliest this bill will be voted on by the middle of 2020, meaning nothing will likely go live in any form until 2021.
Are there still online poker sites that Maine residents can access?
You are correct – there are still a handful of small online poker sites that are open to players from Maine. However, these sites are all based offshore, and while they weren’t a part of the crackdown that came in 2011, nothing is stopping them from being shut down now, or in some cases, simply closing their doors on their own. With no legal footing for players in Maine to stand on, these sites present a significant risk of losing investment. Steer clear of them at this stage.