Poker Wiki

Garden City Casino

Hours 24/7
# Tables 36
Address 360 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
Region Bay Area, California, USA
Phone 408-244-3333

Notice: This Casino has been moved to a new location, and is now known as "The M8trix Casino", located on the intersection of Brokaw Rd. and US 101.

On Saratoga Ave just south of Stevens Creek Blvd in San Jose. Just north of the 280/Saratoga Ave exit. Very tall sign high above the street is lit at night; hard to miss.


Limit hold 'em:

  • 3/6
  • 6/12
  • 8/16 w/half kill
  • 15/30
  • 40/80 (doesn't run often, but goes some evenings)

Interior of Garden City Casino

No-limit hold 'em:

  • 1/2/3 blinds, $50-$300 buyin
  • 2/3/5 blinds, $200-$500 buyin
  • 2/3/5 blinds, $500-$1000 buyin (almost never run)
  • 5/5/10 blinds, $500-$2000 buyin
  • 10/10/20 blinds, $600 min buyin (no max)

In any of the NL games, if you get felted, you can buy back in for double the maximum buyin (after getting felted in the 5/5/10, you can buy back in for $4000). On the other hand, if you still have chips, you can only "top off" your stack by buying back up to the table max.

The 5/5/10 game is scheduled to start every Friday at 6:30pm. You may call-in up to one week ahead.

Omaha hi-lo:

  • 6/12, with a $6 rake. Runs only occasionally.

And general gambling games:

  • "Vegas-style Blackjack" (new Nov 2007), which is basically slightly restricted normal blackjack (e.g. only pays 6:5 on blackjacks, can't double down on any two cards, can only split certain cards, etc); not unlike a Strip casino, actually.
  • "Baccarat Gold" (new in early 2008), which is essentially the same as "Mini Baccarat" found in some casinos.
  • "Three Card Poker" (new in Aug 2008), almost identical to the casino game of the same name
  • "13-card poker"
  • "Pai Gow Poker"

Game Info: 3/6 and 6/12 are generally very loose and passive. At 6/12, occasional good players appear. The 8/16 game can be loose and aggressive and tends to be much wilder than 6/12. 20/40 has a few solid players but generally is a better game than the 20/40 at Bay 101. Best time is Friday, Saturday after 11:30pm.

No-limit games are new in San Jose, having just been made legal in Aug 2010 after a city-wide referendum. Action at the low-stakes NL games is generally fairly loose and passive. A lot of pros frequent the 5/5/10 and the uncapped game.

Rake: Rake for all hold 'em games (limit and spread limit), is $5 for 7-9 players, $3 for 6 players, $1 for 5 or fewer players, $1 if no flop. At 20/40 and 40/80 there is also an additional "lobby charge" of $5 if you sit out and miss the blinds. For 5-handed 20/40 and 40/80 games the players may collectively choose to post $1 on the button (in addition to the blinds) in order to avoid having to make change for the drop. Rake is taken directly out of the pot after the flop.

Rake for Omaha games is $6 for 7-9 players, $4 for 6 players, $2 for 5 or fewer players.

Blinds for limit games are standard: $1/$2 for 2/4, $1/$3 for 3/6, $2/$6 for 6/12, $4/$8 for 8/16, $10/$20 for 20/40, and $20/$40 for 40/80.

Posting: New players must post a big blind to enter the game, or come in on the big blind and take it. New players are allowed to post between the small blind and the button (thus being "an extra blind" after the button), and can choose to either "buy the button" (by posting both big and small blinds in that position) which gets them the button the following hand, or they can just post the big blind, in which case the button jumps over them.

If a player misses either the small or the big blind, they must post the total sum of the small and big blind to re-enter the game or wait to take the big blind in turn. The small blind portion of this total is then dead money in the center of the pot. NEW: As of June 2007, players may buy the button when returning to the game after missing the blinds, if they are in position to do so (immediately to the left of the button).

Shuffling: Standard Shufflemaster shuffling machines on all tables.

Garden City's huge rotating sign

Wait Time: Wait times have gotten significant after 4PM most days. Not uncommon to wait more than 30 minutes in the evenings, especially on common paycheck days. For 20/40 and higher you may call up to 1 hour ahead to put your name on the list. For other limits, calling ahead is not allowed.


  • 10:00am Sun NLHE $150 no rebuys - 10000 chips
  • 11:20pm Sun NLHE $120 no rebuys - 8000 chips
  • 10:00am Mon NLHE $120 no rebuys - 8000 chips
  • 11:20pm Mon NLHE $120 no rebuys - 8000 chips
  • 10:00am Tue NLHE $120 no rebuys - 8000 chips
  • 11:20pm Tue NLHE $120 no rebuys - 8000 chips
  • 10:00am Wed NLHE $120 unlimited re-entry (can rebuy for $120 if you bust out) - 6000 chips
  • 11:20pm Wed NLHE $150 no rebuys - 10000 chips
  • 10:00am Thu NLHE $80 + 1 optional $40 rebuy - 4000 chips
  • 11:20pm Thu NLHE $150 no rebuys - 10000 chips
  • 10:00am Fri NLHE $150 no rebuys - 10000 chips
  • 10:00am Sat NLHE $150 no rebuys - 10000 chips

Levels are 20 minutes long until final table, when they switch to 25 minutes. Initial blinds are 25/50.

Tournaments at Garden City have recently been upgraded to compete with Bay 101. There are now TV screens with current blinds and payouts. Most tournaments are completed within about five hours, and most draw about 70-80 players. First place prize is usually around $4000.

Jackpots and Promotions

Jackpots are prohibited by law in the city of San Jose.


Traditional card room: recessed, subtle lighting and mostly dark colors. A bit cramped in some places, it can be difficult to navigate between tables due to limited space - though in some areas of the casino there is now lots of available space. Recent renovation has expanded the number of tables, made the floor a hard stone surface, and added a separate eating area for railbirds.

There are two poker areas, the lower floor which contains the main games, and the upper "mezzanine" which generally runs a few random poker games as well as mostly blackjack tables. Fairly busy at all times of day, lots of sound of chips clacking, etc. 5 or 6 big plasma TV screens are always showing ESPN, FSN, etc. I like it a lot, but many prefer the big gym atmosphere of Bay 101. Garden City now has computer displays for wait lists for games.

Neighborhood: Business strip-mall area; restaurants, car dealerships, realty offices, etc. Reasonable, if not hospitable, location. It's generally safe to walk around outside. While there's an ATM inside the casino, a bank is right next door, so if you just walk outside you can save the outrageous ATM fee.

Parking: hundreds of parking spaces available (mostly in back). Do not park in the twenty or so up front marked "Harry's Hofbrau", which are for the (decent) restaurant next door.

Tables and Chairs: Standard 9-player tables. Felt is nice, soft felt with good padding. Player chairs are very nice chairs with nice padding and explicit lumbar support; no wheels.

House rules:

  • You may not sit backwards in your chair.
  • You may not stand behind someone and speak to them if someone complains, regardless of whether or not they're in a hand.
  • If you're on a cell phone, you won't be dealt in.
  • There is a 20 minute time limit on lobbying (walking away from the table) before your chips will be picked up by a floorman.
  • There is no time-limit policy at Garden City to force action, i.e. you can't "put a clock" on anyone to make a decision.
  • Dealers will not enforce a "string bet" on a player unless another player at the table complains.
  • Chip runners won't color you up to a $100 chip if you're sitting at a "small" game --- only $20's are given.
  • A lobby charge of $2 per pass of the button applies to players who leave their seat at an 8/16 game; dealers literally remove a $2 chip from the missing player's stack every time the button passes. The lobby charge is $5 at 20/40 and higher limit games.
  • If moving from a broken game, a player does not need to post at his new table. However, as soon as a player puts his chips onto the table, he is immediately considered to be playing in the game. If he were to enter the game right before the big blind, he would be forced to take the big blind on the next hand. Thus, it is best to wait until the button passes your seat before you sit down with your chips to maximize the number of free hands.

Service and Comps

Good food and OK service. There used to be a fairly large restaurant up front with nightly live jazz, and food in the poker room is definitely better than usual poker room fare: it comes from some of the same chefs who used to serve the food in the nice restaurant. It is usually much more pricey than typical poker room fare, but it is also much higher quality. A good sandwich, fries, and a coke can run you $9. Real entrees, including daily specials, are also served, and can run up to $15 for the nicer ones.

There can be a fairly long wait for a server, and the servers here often seem to be somewhat overworked. If you are on the mezzanine level, service can take longer: ask for a table change if you are going to be ordering food.

No comps, although there are containers of pour-it-yourself water and coffee available in the casino. Even a small soda is $1 (but get the large for only $1.75). There is no discount on food for seated players.


Visited by wiki authors

MarkT's "home casino"; visited frequently through 2005-10.

Pictured: most of the chips in use at Garden City. The casino also has $3 chips, but they are only for use in rake drops; no games use them. The $20 and $100 chips are generally only used in Blackjack and other non-poker games, though they can be used to color up at a poker game if desired. A $200 chip was also added and is in use in the non-poker games, but is not pictured.

Close up of a dollar chip.

The newer ten-dollar chip, re-introduced in 2007 for the 40/80 game.

The extra-large gray $500 chip, used only for coloring up. Also available for coloring up, though rarely used: a yellow $1000 chip.


Poker rooms in the Bay Area (Map)
Artichoke Joe's | Bay 101 | California Grand | Garden City | Lucky Chances | Oaks | Palace Hayward | Casino San Pablo | Garlic City