Thursday, May 29, 2014

10 Tips for Conventions and Other Big Events

Well the WSOP (World Series of Poker) has begun and I've already made my donation but I are ten tips to consider when you are participating in any big event (like a conference, trade show, the biggest poker game in the world, etc).

  1. Be ready to take care of your basic needs.  While most events like these take place in urban surroundings and you are sure to find a Starbucks not too far away, you may be out at odd hours when stores and restaurants are closed and/or you may be appalled at the exorbitant prices charged for food and beverages at these venues.  Be sure to bring enough food to sustain you for a day or so as well as a couple of bottles of water.
  2. Dress in layers.  In Vegas the temperature can run from a high of 110 outside to a cool 65 degrees in overly air conditioned hotels.  Dress in layerable clothes and bring a jacket just in case.  Don't forget to wear comfortable shoes as these venues can be huge and entail a lot of walking.
  3. Bring a big bag/daypack.  This will make it easier to schlep your stuff around, pick up souvenirs and handouts, etc.
  4. Bring cash.  Yes, most places will take credit or debit cards but there may be the odd restaurant or vendor (or the entirety of the WSOP which only deals in cash) that will not accept a card and you will thus be required to use cold, hard, cash (yes, you will probably be able to find an ATM close by but in venues such as casinos they can charge a whopping $5 to $10 just to access your money!).
  5. Do a bit of recon before you begin your event.  Know where all of the exits are, note where security is, get a feel for the area and if you will be wandering about outside ask where the bad neighborhoods are.  Check out posted times for restaurants, vendors, and the events you will be participating in.
  6. Watch your money.  Big events with people happily spending money can draw out all kinds from small-time pickpockets to high class hookers, all happy to relieve you of your hard-earned cash.  Be aware and take precautions to safeguard your stuff (money, iPhones, etc) at all times.
  7. And the corollary, watch yourself.  These away from home/away from the office kinds of events tend to bring out the wild part of people.  Don't let this sudden bit of freedom cause you to become overly intoxicated/overly drugged up/overly stupid because rest assured, someone will be waiting to take advantage of this.  Always remain in control of yourself and watch your buddies backs as well.
  8. Vacuum up information like a Bissell.  You can learn a lot online, sitting on your couch in the evening, but you can learn/do/experience so much more at big events that caters to your hobby/job/etc.  Gather as much info as you can, network like a fiend, talk to the vendors, learn as much as you can at the workshops or clinics that are scheduled, pay attention to others, etc.
  9. Put your vital info on your phone.  This can range from a photo of your passport/driver's license/airline tickets to an "In Case of Emergency number, the address and phone number of your hotel, and the phone number to the local cab company/pizza delivery place/embassy.
  10. Pace yourself.  I'm looking at the guy across from me who looks and smells like he has been on a three day bender, I know he has put a goodly sum of money down to get into this particular poker game, and he is slamming Red Bull like he owns stock in the company.  This is only day two of a six week event.  There is a tendency for people go all out, 24/7 when they a) get to the conference which is being held in a fun city, b) get to Vegas no matter the circumstances, or c) want to show off and "party like a rockstar" when the money (and women, food, cards, other vices) are flowing.  You want to live to fight another day so remember to plan your time and pace yourself.

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