The opening of the MGM Springfield in August 2018 brought in the era of full scale casinos in Massachusetts. It beat the highly anticipated Encore’s target opening by a full year. With the first legal poker room in the state, the MGM Springfield is an early indicator of Massachusetts’ ability to match up against the established Connecticut poker scene. Economic indicators in the first months have been mixed, but generally the start has been strong. The MGM Springfield poker room has been growing over its first 4 months, recently adding a few weekly tournaments.
We celebrated the 2019 New Year with a visit to the MGM Springfield poker room (a 75 minute drive for us) and its standing Tuesday morning tournament. We came away unfortunately frustrated, and able to assign only an incomplete score to the MGM Springfield poker room itself. In short, we came to play a New Year’s Day tournament, and despite arriving just 5 minutes after the start, found we were alternates 14 and 15. This seemed surprising, as the room was not nearly full. We discovered that the MGM was only able to run 2 tournament tables because (they claimed) several dealers had called in sick. A regular player, however, commented that management did not plan for an uptick in volume on New Year’s Day. This indicates that the Tuesday tournament has a small showing in general. So buyer beware if planning to play a tournament here in the near future.
One of the floors did open a third table during the second level and dealing himself, but that still left us out in the cold. By level 3 the alternate list was back up to 15-18 people beyond the 30 seated. As that level neared an end with no additional dealers in sight and the next level bringing the starting stack down to 50 blinds, we abandoned hope, got our money back, and headed to Foxwoods.