San Francisco Bay Area games still sucks but
Artichoke Joes stinks less. I was there last month and may return. My best guess is that the game is at least marginally beatable though some/most of you would possibly disagree.
To win at this game one would have to backcount for a long while.
Like all other Bay Area games (Oaks Club, Oakland, Lucky Chances, Colma)there is the crappy one buck buy in and eight decks. Lucky recently changed over to CSM's so don't even bother walking in the joint.
Lucky pays 6/5 and Oaks is even money. Besides the stinking games they have full tables with a dozen or more waiting in the wings...
However Artichoke Joes does pay a full 3/2 on naturals and provide up to 75% deck penetration. Sometimes 80% They do allow surrender and I believe the dealer hits soft 17 but aces can be split just once. There are no wild cards or wierd rules except at the Baccarat which I never play. Table min is a mere five bucks. Rare in these parts to pay a low bet @ the tables.
Joes players can be pushy once the tables fill. Some jerk can always stick bigger money over your spot and hit your sixteen against dealer ace ( I wanted to surrender but the larger bet makes the rules). So I left.
Over all? It's a bad game but good practice @ backcounting. It's hard to table hop during peak hours as the tables fill up so quick. One idea would be to back count and put a large bet over someone else's shoulder when the time was right.
Despite these unfavorable conditions I managed to backcount myself into a slightly positive game that went way up as the shoe progressed. Unfortunately the dealer got most the twenties and 21's though I managed a natural on the last hand.
So I stayed another shoe playing camouflage in neutral count. I go 5 bucks, lose, triple to 15 double to 30 or triple to 45 and start all over at five dollars until the count goes up. Then when i stick six green chips under my red they don't notice.
Oddly I made more money in that neutral shoe than the hot one where I almost got burned for five hundred.