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Old 01-13-09, 12:21 AM
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Default 2Tone Vegas Trip Report #11: So much silicone

Wow. This one got a kind of crazy.

The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) is definitely one of my favorite events of the year. This was my fourth time attending, and I consider it a huge brag that I’m continually able to convince my company to send me down. Nothing beats getting paid to go to Vegas and play with all the coolest toys.

I flew down from Seattle on Wed night. I wasn’t out and about on the strip ‘til around 8 that evening, and first stop was the Bellagio buffet. Sea bass, salmon, shrimp, sushi and carrot cake – I got my money’s worth. From there it was off to find a limit game. The Bellagio’s poker room was rocking, but was only spreading two 4/8 games, and had a long list. No game going in Bobby’s Room for me to gawk at, so it was time to move on. Caesars had no limit game at all (WTF?), so it was over to Bally’s, where I sat for about 90 minutes in an unremarkable but friendly 3/6 game, and left up a princely sum of $18.

On the way back to my hotel room at the Excalibur I briefly hit Coyote Ugly, but they were closing up by 1:30 or so.

Thursday, Day 1 at CES, was fantastic. The dismal economy as definitely impacted the show, and attendance was off by about 20% or more from last year. But the amazing exhibits/booths were still out in force. The car audio section had ridiculously tricked out cars of all kinds with absurd stereos, DVD players and other accessories. KITT, the car from Night Rider, beeped and blipped. Monster trucks were on display even though it wasn’t Sunday, Sunday, Sunday.

In home electronics, LG had one of the most impressive booths, featuring Renoir, an 8 megapixel camera phone (not yet available in the states), ultra high resolution TVs, state of the art home theater systems, and prototypes of Prada watch phones a la Dick Tracy.

If I were to put a theme on this year’s show it would be wireless. LG demonstrated a home theater system that was entirely wireless – the DVD player beams to the TV with no cables, the stereo speakers sound great five feet away from the receiver with nothing connecting them. Intel showed off the same thing for computer accessories. They call it PAN, or personal area network. Put your camera down any where near your computer, your computer recognizes it. From there, with a few clicks, you can wireless print your photos. Same goes for any other computer accessory, including external hard drives.

After a full day of conferences, I hit the Wynn, and compared their buffet to Bellagio. It was even better, with swordfish, squid and apple pie a la mode. I ambled over the Wynn poker room, which had open seating at 4/8. Unfortunately, I ran very poorly, missing every flush draw, and having to chuck my face cards time and time again when I saw ugly flops. I dropped $160 before getting in line at Tryst.

I waited about 45 minutes, and can’t say it was worth it, even with a free pass to get in. The space is great, and the outdoor patio overlooking the waterfall is among the coolest features of any club in the city. But at the end of the night, it is another mega-club in a city full of them, with a DJ playing predicable sets, and too many guys watching too few girls dancing in circles to techno. I split at around 2 a.m.

Part Two, including 3D-TV, the Porn Convention and T-Pain, and more of my ultra sucky pics, will follow in next post.
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  #2  
Old 01-13-09, 01:32 AM
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Default Part Two: Porn and Poetry

I started Friday with Tylenol and Starbucks, after which I was set for another day of conferences. In between, I made it to the Sony Booth, where they were showing off some amazing stuff, including an OLED TV that was literally only 8 mm (the equivalent of three credit cards) thick. It is a literal flat screen. Meanwhile, their 3D technology is insane. It still requires glasses, but the images are perfect. They were using it to show off their Blu-Ray discs, so you could tell what you were seeing wasn’t real, because you know Shia LaBeuf isn’t standing there in front of you. But if it had just been images of a ball being thrown at you, it would be impossible not to reach up and try and catch it.

I know some of you guys are into guitars – Gibson had a tent full of Les Pauls, acoustics, and more.

Plenty of environmentally friendly gear on display as well, including a foldable bike with no chain (a thin piece of rubber instead) and hydrogen fuel cells that can power a household appliance for a few hours – that technology is still more of a novelty, but it was interesting to check out.

All right – on the porn. The Adult Video News has its annual awards show and fan expo in Vegas the same weekend as CES. Back in November I was checking out the web site for the fan expo. Tickets were $60. I might have been OK with that, as I understand sleazy smut peddlers need to make a buck. But the payment process had all of these required fields along the lines of “How much porn do you buy a month” along with demanding my home phone number. Uh, I don’t know about that. So I entered a bunch of random characters and an invalid test credit card number and hit submit to see which fields were actually required. To my surprise, the next screen was a bar-coded ticket, made out in the name Xlksfrw Snene. From there, it was a minor task to do a screen grab and change the name to mine before printing it out. Two months later, the woman at the booth scanned it and checked my ID. The name on the ticket and ID matched, so I was good to go.

Inside was a very weird scene. Thousands of guys snapping pictures of each other groping porn stars next to giant pictures of these same women taking it from behind. The “superstars” of the industry – Hustler and Vivid girls – had elevated booths, good hair and makeup, and security. But the stars of Cum In My Whole or whatever were walking down the aisle lined with booths peddling blow-up dolls and sex toys. They’d hike up their skirts and bend over for the camera phones. Not to mention the obese chicks, foot fetish models, and dude dressed up like the Gimp from Pulp Fiction. As previous trip reports can attest, I am nothing if not a dirty old man, but the whole thing was a little over the top skeezy, even for me.

Friday night I played in the Ceasars $130 tournament, with a $50 bounty for each player you knock out. 3000 starting chips, blinds start at 25/50 and double every 30 minutes, nineteen players, top three cash. 45 minutes into the tourney, I have about T$2750. Player in front of me raises the $100 blind to $750. I flat call with AceKing off – is this donktastic? To my surprise, the player immediately next to me shoves for just about what I have. Original raiser tanks for a minute, then folds. I figure with the bounty factor and dead money, I have to call. He has Kings, no Ace comes, and I’m out. Misplayed?

Saturday was my last day at the conference. In sessions most of day, I still found time to visit the NBC/Universal booth, which had a table-top PC, on which you could drag and drop/start and stop/shrink and expand video clips with your fingertips. Panasonic showed off an incredibly useful underwater Internet browser. Web surfing indeed.

Saturday night I hit Poetry, the hip-hop club in the Forum Shops. I definitely was out of element – the clientele was at least 90% black, and the very few other white guys there wereneither old nor bald like I am. None the less, plenty of the women were amused, and happy to dance with the out-of-place old white guy. I’m in line at the bar, when two of the largest men I have ever seen start moving everyone out of the way. In between them was auto-tune hit-maker T-Pain, draped out in chains.

I’m loving the hip-hop music and having fun, when all of a sudden the jam-packed dance floor empties in a crush of people. Behind them are two groups of guys throwing punches at each other, with security no where to be found. I’m not far from the stairs, and start heading down them, with a large crowd coming down fast behind me. I make it out just fine, but it was not the way I wanted to end the evening.

So I end up making $100 bucks at a loose 3/6 game back at Bally’s on my way back to my hotel. I still finished down for the trip, but it helped.

Back home Sunday a.m.

Vegas notes: City Center is unbelievably huge – 76 acres. It’s the largest construction project I’ve ever seen aside from ground zero of the WTC. And, if things don’t turn around, it might end up taking down the whole MGM/Mirage corporation.

I didn’t make it to Encore (no poker room), but heard a lot of people raving about it.

I didn’t play at the electronic tables at the Excalibur this time around, but they seemed to have a decent number of players.
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  #3  
Old 01-13-09, 09:04 AM
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Great report as always Mr. Xlksfrw Snene!!
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Old 01-15-09, 07:41 AM
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The AK hand is almost certainly misplayed. with 30BB you basically have to shove there considering the value from getting him to fold his stupidly large opening raise. The problem that arises from calling is that you have to call a shove or shove over a bet on most flop because of the size of the pot on most flop and the reasonable likelihood that your AK will still be best a decent portion of the time.
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  #5  
Old 01-16-09, 11:16 AM
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Another great 2Tone trip report. I always save these for when I can dedicate some concentrated reading time.

And I agree with herschelw about the AK hand. Same cooler result in the end, but you did misplay it.
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