Casino M8trix, located in San Jose, is one of the most popular and modern card rooms in the San Francisco Bay Area. To locals, it was long known as the Garden City Casino, which originally opened its doors in 1946. Today it is known as M8trix, which re-opened on the property in 2012. When you walk into the casino, the first thing you’ll notice will be its ultra 21st century layout and feel. Now, it won’t feel exactly like a mega casino in Las Vegas since there are no machines, craps, or roulette, but it feels most like LV casinos when compared to the other Bay Area options.
Overall, the layout is spacious, the games are ample, and the service tends to be good. If you visit this casino and are not familiar with the area, you should know that Bay 101 casino is just across the street, essentially within walking distance (aside from the busy highway in between).
M8trix is capable of getting very busy, especially on the weekends. The parking lot can (and will) meet capacity on most Friday or Saturday nights. Valet parking is also available, though it has limited hours. M8trix deserves credit for its steady amount of security. Whether this security actually stops crime is uncertain, but it will give you peace of mind when you see them walking around.
If you are looking to play table games, it goes without saying that game availability will vary throughout the night, but you will always be able to get a seat. If you are at M8trix to play poker, however, you may find it difficult to get into a game, especially on the weekends. If you hope to play poker, we highly recommend calling ahead to either join a wait list or to find out the current wait times. It is fairly common for wait times to exceed one or even two hours, depending on the game that you are playing.
Casino at M8trix
The casino at M8trix is comparable to most others in the area in terms of games and general offerings. You will find blackjack, pai gow, baccarat, and several poker table game variations, like 3 and 4 card poker. Beyond this, you will find a full poker area, more details on which are written below. The biggest downside to playing at M8trix is that you will be required to pay the usual $1 per $100 bet increment, for both regular and side bets. While this may seem like an advantage if you are playing as banker in baccarat (where there is usually commission due), or when playing pai gow (where winning hands pay 5%), there are some underlying tricks that make this untrue.
Baccarat and Pai Gow
Unlike most casinos throughout the world, baccarat and pai gow do not charge commissions of any sort on wins, but they do have unique rules factored in to help pad the house edge. For example, certain ties in baccarat result in an automatic loss for the player. The same is true for pai gow. Since the casino only makes their per hand fee, their hired workers (the “Corporation”), are the ones who benefit from this house edge created by the added rule contingencies.
Be Aware of Table Game Rules
Be careful that you look at any table game rules in depth before you decide to play. Many of the games available seem better at the surface than they truly are, and the key is being a knowledgeable player so that you do not give away more of an advantage to the house than is necessary.
High Limit Room & Other Information
There is a separate, high limit area in M8trix. Though drinks cannot be comped just like on the main floor, you will generally receive quicker, and more personal service in this area. In terms of game rules, outside of the players themselves, everything is just about the same.
M8trix does lose some points in its credibility for how it has treated some players. Knowledgeable players know that, once per round, as the dealer rotates per California rules, the players can assume the role of banker. Some players have attempted to play as banker (which in turn means they are replacing the Corporation), in order to decrease or eliminate the house edge. M8trix has banned some of these players once they discovered this activity. Many would consider this unfair, while others would say the casino is there to make money so they should be allowed to do what they want, but you can use your own judgement in determining how you would classify M8trix’ character in terms of management.
Poker at M8trix
M8trix is best for poker players. Since, like all other nearby casinos, your disadvantage is so significant due to table game fees, it makes sense to play the player via poker. Even if you feel like you are a weaker player, you are likely saving yourself some money by way of not paying the required fees at table games. The poker room, generally speaking, has efficient dealers, and the players tend to be personable, so you may find the poker games more entertaining as a whole. Of course, if you are visiting with friends (especially if you are drinking), poker may be a bit too slow. Nevertheless, we do recommend M8trix as a poker room first and foremost, with casino table games a distant second.
There are a number of limits available at M8trix for poker, but they are almost exclusively featuring games of No Limit Texas Hold’em. From small (3/6-4/8) limit games to bigger (10/25, sometimes with 50 straddle), no limit games, M8trix has become the go to destination for constant poker action, especially for higher limits. The catch to the higher limit games is that they only run a few days during the week, with Wednesday and Friday being the most “sure thing” if you are looking for a big game. Usually the 10/25 no limit poker will start around noon, with a second table starting around 4 or 5.
Be careful, though, because the room usually only has around a dozen total tables running, and once the games are full, you may end up waiting hours on end on a waiting list. We recommend calling again to get on a list for any given game, and finding out how long the approximate wait is.
The competition in the poker room is varied, of course, just like it is in anywhere. The floor managers and dealers tend to be the most consistent dynamic. Though there is small shades of politics in floor decisions, and you will see some tipping on the side to jump lists, the dealers tend to know what they are doing. Since the bigger games allow options like running it twice, it is important that dealers are always on top of things, and at M8trix this is usually the case.
Unlike Lucky Chances, M8trix is not known as a tournament focused poker room. MTTs run on Monday, Tuesday, and Sunday, with buyins ranging from roughly $15o to $300. Since these schedules are always prone to change, you should check M8trix website to make sure that this schedule is valid when you plan to visit. During busy times, it is possible that M8trix will actually cancel their tournaments outright.
Dining and Bars at M8trix
M8trix is definitely built and branded mainly as an entertainment destination more than simply a casino. As a result of this, you will always hear some current music, frequently playing loud, and a busy scene of diners and bar visitors. Epic Bar is the name of their main bar, towards the back of the casino when entering from the main entrance. The drink prices are fair, and there is also food available for ordering at the bar.
In addition to the main bar, there is also a sports bar and grill, also located towards the back, named Zone 8. This restaurant offers everything you would expect, with the menu primarily consisting of typical American food. Lotus Cafe (sandwiches) and Noodle Bar (Asian) are your other dining options. All food is also available for table side ordering, which is most often utilized by poker players.
Other M8trix Notes
M8trix offers massages. You will be able to spot and order a massage from a masseuse who is on the main floor. Expect to pay about $1/minute. While available anywhere, the massages are most frequently ordered by those in the poker room.
There is no hotel available at M8trix itself. With that said, there are many, many lodging options in the immediate area. Since you will be in San Jose, hotels are readily available. Note that traveling to San Francisco may include a sizeable amount of traffic, so we suggest that, if you want to stay in a hotel, you book near the casino itself.