Located in San Jose, California, the Bay 101 casino offers poker and “California” card games, and is easily accessible, located just off Highway 101.
Best known for their eponymously named Bay 101 Shooting Stars tournament, the casino is a well-known property in the poker world and one of the newer and more modern casinos in the state.
History of Bay 101
The current Bay 101 Casino opened in 1994, but the history of the casino can be traced all the way back to the Depression era and the Sutter’s Club in Alviso, California.
The family owned Sutter’s Club opened in 1929 under the guidance and steady leadership of Joseph Sutter Sr. who created a legacy for his family with Sutter’s Club. In 1961 the club, which was being run by Joseph Sutter Jr. at the time, added five poker tables to their offerings, kick starting a long history of poker in the San Jose region.
Sutter’s closed in 1992 when construction of the current Bay 101 location began down the road in San Jose, which eventually opened its doors in 1994, creating a new, modern poker scene in the San Jose area.
Despite being a relatively new construct, this might not be the final home of the casino, as Bay 101 may be looking for a new home in the near future —the Bay 101’s lease is set to expire in 2017—and the casino has expressed interest in moving closer to the new M8trix Casino also located in San Jose. The idea would be to create a gambling hub in the city. Of course, this is all just rumor and speculation at this time.
Bay 101 today
Bay 101 is a non-smoking casino with table-side beverage and food service available. The casino is open 24 hours a day, has on-site parking and is located in a very industrial area of San Jose, which gets very quiet after business hours.
The casino is one of very few that offer players to reserve seats via telephone for stakes of $20/$40 and up. Bay 101 also offers a number of amenities ranging from salon services, and casual and fine dining options.
Where They Stand in the Poker World
As mentioned above, Bay 101 is best known for their Shooting Stars tournament, (created way back in 1997 by Marko Trapani) which is one of the preeminent stops on the World Poker Tour and the only major tournament played as a bounty tournament in the world. The unique bounty format insures that dozens of top tier pros and celebrities will play the event every year.
The property features 49 gaming tables, of which 30 are dedicated exclusively to poker.
Bay 101 major tournament series throughout the year:
- WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star
- Bay 101 Open
Here is a look at the Bay 101’s daily tournament schedule.
Rake at Bay 101
Bay 101 has a fairly player-friendly rake structure, especially for California, and especially for short-handed games.
Most games at Bay 101 have a max rake of $5 and there is no jackpot drop. Shorthanded games (which Bay 101 considers any table with fewer than seven players) receive a rake break to $3 max, while extreme shorthanded games with four or less players will only pay $1 in rake.
Timed games have a charge of $6 per half hour.
Bay 101 doesn’t offer a rewards program. The only comps offered at Bay 101 are for coffee and water.
The lack of Rewards program is one of the few drawbacks at the casino, and the addition of a comp program would likely draw in new players.
Handicapping Their Chances for Online Poker
Bay 101 is an interesting case study when it comes to online poker. The casino has a solid but not great brand, and is on seemingly solid financial footing, but thus far they have been somewhat quiet on the matter.
Bay 101 did not join the short-lived California Online Poker Association (COPA) which dissolved in late 2012 amid internal struggles. However, Bay 101 is a member of the California Gaming Association, which has thrown its support behind online gambling efforts.
As noted above, Bay 101 has talked about a potential move that would bring Bay 101 closer to the recently opened Casino M8trix in San Jose. This could mean one of two things for Bay 101: Either the casino will be preoccupied with moving into their new facilities, or perhaps the Bay 101 casino will embrace online poker to help increase their brand and market their new property.
Of course, this is all predicated on Bay 101 moving from their current home, which isn’t set in stone.