Consumer Electronic Show 2016 Vegas Trip Report

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alpax
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Consumer Electronic Show 2016 Vegas Trip Report

Post by alpax »

Notice: Most stories posted on the forum usually have its share of big jackpots and winning moments. This was not a winning trip by any stretch so I felt it is more appropriate for the Viva Las Vegas discussion since it is in Vegas.

I have been going to the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) for a few years now, but it may be the last time I will be able to go due to the speculation that it is no longer free of cost to attend after this year. This year was only free of cost to those who attended the last two years.

Normally I would go for the last two days of the exposition, but with the second day being influenced by sports this time, the buddy (who I went to Vegas with last time) wanted to head a day earlier. Fortunately, the Gold Coast casino was willing to extend the comp for my past play for two nights at their CES rates (which are generally the highest during the calendar year in Vegas).

The show started on the 6th, but that was for private conferences only. We headed out early in the AM on the 7th to Vegas before the traffic comes in.

Day 1 - Arriving at Vegas and Heading to the Venetian, Chasing for Prizes at the Palms casino

The Consumer Electronic Show has gotten so big that the Sands Convention at the Venetian has been holding part of the CES convention for the last few years as a satellite from the Las Vegas Convention Center (there are complimentary shuttle service for those wanting to experience the event to the fullest). We arrive just in time for the Sports Business Forum held by Turner Sports who televise NBA and MLB games nationally. The check-in at Gold Coast was in the late afternoon so we obviously had time to kill.



The commissioners for the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball were up first to speak about far NBA League Pass and MLB.TV has gone over the years to deliver live content to many people beyond the living room and the sports venue.



There were a variety of panels that talked about the need for technology to improve a fan's experience with sports at the venue, e.g. in seat service, ticket stub less entry, access to stats, daily fantasy sports.
The panel that the crowd was waiting for. The ever popular Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and one of the greatest NBA centers of all time Shaquille O'Neal discussing the impact technology will have in various aspects in sports.



The whole forum was done in the afternoon so we decided to grab lunch. We wanted to try the Yardbird restaurant, but unfortunately they were closed to the public for the CES weekend. After quickly looking through yelp, the next best thing was Vega's I heart Burgers chain which was on the second floor of the Grand Canal.



The fruit juice cocktails look so good on the wallpaper in front of the restaurant, but not so good when you order it. The Pineapple-Orange Dream, looks more like a soda ($11). The rum was not too strong even for myself who is not an alcohol connoisseur.



I got the Soup of the Day (Corn Chowder) instead of the normal fries ($6)



The BBQ Burger was decent ($16).



The total bill came out to $40 with tax and tip, the one time I paid for lunch on this trip as I do not intend to play with Club Grazie at the Venentian nor does place took any comps to begin with. The food court had long lines for those seeking value, but was still overpriced.

We decided to stick around as the week's NBA on TNT countdown was going to be held in the very same booth at 4PM Pacific Time, by that time the hotel would be ready for checking in. I am not sure if the studios are in Atlanta, GA.



Since there was time to kill, we scoured the Convention floor. This floor was primarily wearable fitness trackers, 3D printing, remote control droids, cell phone accessories, and such. We pretty much saw many forms of GoPro (mountable video camera) and Fitbit imitations.

Lots of advances in 3D printing for creating prototypes, but I thought this one was the coolest. A remote car race track using 3000 hours worth of 3D printer jobs. They take way more time than a 2D ink or laser printer will take.



The most anticipated product in wearable fitness, the Fitbit Blaze, based on recreation, it has not lived up to the hype as an alternative wear to the Apple Watch.



I was able to catch an appearance from Dallas Cowboys Quarterback Tony Romo, but missed out on the multi-gold medalist Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps at the Under Armour booth.



As the clock reached 4 PM and the crew on TNT was warming up, I got to see Shaquille O' Neal closeup, much bigger than anyone in the crowd. My buddy is still fond of him for winning 3 NBA Championships (2000, 2001, 2002) for his favorite Lakers team.



My best shot of the live broadcast crew in action with Commissioner Adam Silver making a guest appearence. A massive crowd built up so this is the best I got out of a dozen attempts. As usual, Chuck (Charles Barkley) and Shaq exchange friendly insults during the show.



We left the Venetian, but I can attest that I saw 6/5 and 7/5 Jacks or Better/DDB on all amount of the machines on the floor, and headed to the Gold Coast to check in. Afterwards, we crossed the street to the Palms casino, where the weekdays are usually their promo days with a time limit up until 10pm.
The last Vegas trip was at a time where no other sporting event was held other than the MLB All Star game, with lots of basketball going on, the buddy went to the Sportsbook which the nice at the Palms while I went for the Promos.

An opportune time to be at the Palms on the Thursday. Took advantage of four promotions going on, a picture on the Club Palms room wall.



1. $20,000 New Year Swipe & Win - Thursdays in January | 10am - 10pm Earn 25 points on Slots or 100 Points on Video Poker for a Free Swipe. Win up to $100 in Free Slot Play, Food Credits, Mystery Gifts & More!

2. $50,000 Lucky 7 Drawings - Activate Drawing Entries by 6:45pm Friday & Saturday Drawings at 7:15pm. Jan 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 & 30. 10 Winners each week win up to $3,000 Cash!
Unfortunately there is no more $10 Free Slot Play for those who activate their entries

3. Play for Prizes - This time it was Chevron Gas Gift Cards like the last Vegas visit.
2500 VP Points - $5, 5000 VP Points - $10, 250 Slot Points - $5

4. Play for Buffet - 500 Slot or 2200 VP Points for the Friday Seafood Buffet ($25.99 MSRP)

I tried something different this time, rather than playing the Deuces Wild and Jacks or Better on the casino floor. I went to the high limit room and played two shots of the max dollar Phil strategy starting at $400 a shot. The last visit at the Palms casino, I did not fare too good with Deuces Wild. And this time it was even worse (and will get worse later). I only hit 2 wild royal flushes at the lowest end and the one lone $25 level bet whiffed. I ended up around 6200 points which was only good for a $10 gas card.



I played slots for the first time at this casino at a quarter bank. I saw advertised up to 98% payback, and since points accrue for the prizes 10 times quicker, I tried out an unlucky 13 spins at 5 lines 25cents on each of the 4 games to get slightly above the 250 points needed for a $5 gas card.



Instead of playing VP for prizes, my buddy put down a $200 bet on his beloved Lakers who are not having a good season. Fortunately, the Sacramento Kings were not able to cover the spread as the favorites, they were up as many as 27 points at one point and the Lakers made a ferocious comeback and leading by 1 point with a minute left. Eventually the Kings pulled together two scoring drives to deny the Lakers the wins. With the winnings, he played 500 points worth of spins on the wheel of fortune machines, lost half of those winnings. Since Thursday was just an ordinary buffet day, we'd plan on coming back for the next day's seafood buffet.



We got the prizes for the day. We both did the New Year's swipe promotion and was given a mystery gift of a screen cleaner. I noticed the locals get way better offers from the kiosk than what we do.



Went back to the Gold Coast and to the Cortez Room for dinner. I tried the filet mignon this time and some of the cream of roasted corn on the side. Still vouch this place a great place to eat, its quality is as good as most places on the strip in which I paid a lot more in the past.



I stayed up for a few more hours after dinner to play more VP. For this trip, I planned to try out the half-dollar Phil strategy for the bulk of the play, and then some unique games like DDB Aces & Faces and 9/5 Triple Bonus Plus. More details on the Phil strategy later.

Day 2 - Heading to the Las Vegas Convention Center, Chasing for More Prizes at the Palms, Outcome of the Phil Strategy play

To experience the rest of the CES. We took a lyft ride to the convention center as social ridesharing has started last year. It was definitely cheaper than riding a cab ($22 vs $15 from the Gold Coast). They really had a lot of business with a dedicated station for them.





The monorail is also a good option.



The tech giants (Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, LG, etc.) made their presence felt at the Center Hall with their innovations in the kitchen, more flat screen televisions that many cannot afford, and handhelds/smartwatches.



This TV from Sony was considered the best TV on the showroom floor. An 4K LED with HDR lighting (High Dynamic Range, a lighting technology usually seen on cameras) with a clutter free cabling system on the back.



There was a lot of attention with Virtual Reality. How it can change experiences with simulation/training, movie watching, sight seeing experiences without having to travel to another country, adult film pornography, and video gaming.



There was a big advance made in the world of Electric Vechicles. The following was considered the best vehicle on the floor. The 2016 Chevorlet Bolt that has a single charge distance capability of 200 miles! People were also impressed with the price being around $30k.



This concept car Faraday Future won the best vehicle on the floor. It looks like the Batmobile but it is made to give Tesla some competition.



Went to the Palms casino after the day was done, redeemed the free Seafood buffet. Phone ran out of batteries so no photo shots of the food, I do recommend this to oyster and crab leg lovers who can handle high sodium intake. As for the gaming side, I tried out flat betting on the $1 Deuces Wild on the casino floor. It turned out I had nothing worth taking a shot of. A worse session than yesterday, played 1300 rounds for 6500 points, had no wild royals and barely a few 5 of a kinds. I got $15 worth of more gas cards combined with the excess play from yesterday. Have not experienced a painful loss like this in a while, but I still think highly of the Palms casino. The oddest thing I saw was someone holding a 10 on the progressive DDB and getting the other 4 to the royal. Why can't I get lucky?!?!?!?

Returned to the Gold Coast and had a coffee break using a coupon from the coupon book. I was so fortunate that they happened to run the It's on the House Promotion on Fridays and Saturdays in January. I was missing out on the free gift days which I had the last trip.



I quickly played two hands of Deuces Wild I eventually landed on 5x points on the wheel slice, but there were certain limitations that was not disclosed on the fine print. I did earn enough points to cover the excess food costs from the Cortez room beyond the food credit from the hotel stay. Also bought a few iced coffee along the way.



Since the play at the Palms was so terrible with a good amount of bankroll gone, I only did ten attempts at the Phil Strategy than the fifteen attempts.
Starting at $200, Denomination Shift at $250. Cash out at $500. 50cent/$2/$10. The $10 denominations were Airport Deuces which I practiced for the trip.
The Gold Coast was more kind to me as I at least hit a few wild royals





10 Shot Results using Phil Strategy

1st - Bankrupted 0 $10 Shots
2nd - Bankrupted 1 $10 Shots
3rd - Cashout - Ending Hand 50¢ Quad Dueces - 3 $10 Shots - $565.00
4th - Bankrupted 1 $10 Shots
5th - Bankrupted 0 $10 Shots
6th - Bankrupted 0 $10 Shots
7th - Cashout - Ending Hand 50¢ Quad Dueces - 1 $10 Shots - $555.00
8th - Bankrupted 7 $10 Shots
9th - Cashout - Ending Hand $10 full house - 4 $10 Shots - $517.50
10th - Bankrupted 0 $10 Shots

Total Coin-In: 19400 Points/Dollars

Finishing Hands

3rd Shot



7th Shot



9th Shot



Took 4 Potshots at the $10 Deuces Wild on the High Limit Room. Only the 3rd shot was successful, a Straight Flush.



Decided to try to get 6000 more points to retain Sapphire level for another 12 months at B Connected. I played 2000 points worth of DDB Aces and Faces, 9/5 Triple Bonus Plus, and Jacks or Better. To extend the play, I started at 50 cents, and then double downed to $1 bet when hitting a win 3 credits or better. I was able to get 1 set of normal quads on DDB, 2 quads on JoB, and the best hit was a dealt Straight Flush in JoB. Good thing I stopped playing D.W.



Day 3 - Chasing some more promotions before heading home

For the first time in many years, the CES Day 4 is on a Saturday. Unfortunately hotel rates are too much to pay for so we decided to head home. Unfortunately the SouthPoint casino has their $400,000 Spin 2 Win promotion on Sundays, would have been good to play that on the way home. Instead the plan was to stop by the M Resort for the Studio B Buffet promotion until I looked at the Scot Krause's Vegas Weekly value report on the American Casino Guide website.

The promotion at the Rio was to play 50 Tier Credits ($10 coin per tier credit, $500 coin in) to receive a voucher good for the next 48 hours for an entry to the Carnival World Buffet. We headed over to the Rio, and quickly played 100 hands of $1 9/6 DDB to earn the 50 Tier Credits for the buffet. Due to the bankruptcy issues with Caesars Entertainment, the original Seafood Buffet closed down and became an extension to the Carnival World Buffet.



The Carnival World Buffet was $32+tax for Weekend brunch, so it was worth it to play for it a better value than the 2000 points at the M Resort. I did not have much expectations, but the Carnival World Buffet did exceeded expectations.



I played 10 points for another spin at the kiosk on the It's on the House promotion. This time it landed on the Mystery Gift. It ended up being a 2016 planner. I was hoping for slot play or dining credit.



The Palms had one last promotion going on during the weekend. Now the gift giveaway is on Saturdays and Sundays, my last visit only had it on Sundays. I turned out to be a sucker again playing 500 points worth of Deuces Wild, again still no wild royal. Lost $70 trying to get it, so here is the $70 selfie stick. Sells for $20 at Target.





All in all, despite the heavy losses, I thought the CES trip aside from the gaming was great possibly being the last time I will consider going. Being able to see the sports stuff was well worth going a day early. Technology always advances, but this time it was a much bigger leap than other years, I wonder what Virtual Reality has in store for us. It is always pointless to see the new TVs, how they are trying to push 8K when less than a fraction barely has a 4K TV and even less 4K content is readily available.
It would have been great if the VP results were better, but I increased the variance using the Phil strategy and experienced the bad days. I played a lot to my standard, $40,000 coin in, but only got 94% return. It is about 5 trips worth compared to what I play at the local casino, so I will be taking at least a month break from playing video poker. I did get the value from playing at Vegas casinos, good odds with good promotions so I cannot complain.

faygo
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Post by faygo »

Very thorough and interesting. I enjoyed reading it.

Tedlark
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Post by Tedlark »

Interesting report and a great read too, thanks alpax. I have always given the Carnival World Buffet at Rio high marks too. I hope you make good use of your big screen cleaner and selfie stick.

DaBurglar
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Post by DaBurglar »


Best trip report in recent memories (right up there with VMAN's reports.)    Thanks a lot alpax for taking the effort......I myself particularly enjoyed this report, and you brought back a rush a memories for me which I will elaborate in a minute......for now, let me thank you from the bottom of my axels.The CES was a huge part of my life from around 1994 thru 2006, back when I worked in Los Angeles as marketing director for the largest distributor of Industrial packaging, paper and custom corrugated on the west coast.    This event was a big deal for our company and many others in the business, and because of it I was blessed to be able to learn a lot about Vegas and meet a lot of people.   I moved to LA in 1992 right after graduation, and living with friends from school who were also young and foolish, we made Vegas a prime destination for our weekends.   When my Job starting taking me there in 1994, I had a ringside seat for the "BOOM" which saw Vegas expand by leaps and bounds over the next decade, right up to 2007 when I moved back to New England......For a long long time there were generally TWO huge Vegas conventions, a November show called COMDEX and the January event still called the CES.   Both were HUGE back then.....I can tell you TODAY's CES is almost totally different from the shows and events I attended in the 90s thru early 2000s......back then it was dominated by the old PC market and Home Video market.....Bill Gates was often the main draw (at both shows) until  2001-2002  when Steve Jobs & APPLE  came back into vogue BIG TIME and Gates started winding down his business activity and focused on Philantrophy.....now CES is literally wide open with its products, services and overall focus being spread all over the place.   In a way it's amazing, but I still prefer (and miss) the "OLD" way of doing things......I applaud your choice of GOLD COAST (fortunately you had comps there).....One HUGE problem back in the 1990s was around convention time, the ENTIRE CITY literally was booked, or if not sold out charging EXORBITANT rates....as more and more places were built from 1999 thru 2005, this helped a lot in terms of always being able to get a room and bringing down cost.     I recall in 1997, just after New York New York opened along with Monte Carlo, there was still a relative dearth of prime location rooms to stay at during the larger conventions.....I had both customer/client companies (along with Vendors and even competitors) who sometimes had to have their convention delegation stay as far away as Henderson or even JEAN (at one of the two "TRUCKER" casinos that exist out there)!!   I was lucky to have a very savvy secretary who had us booked at least 2 years in advance of each year's show, so I rarely had any personal problems finding accommodations!My last CES attended (as a mere civilian/visitor) was 2010......I stayed downtown as usual.....Anyone else out there have fond memories of CES in Vegas?



Galeygoo
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Post by Galeygoo »

Another enjoyable "show and tell".  Thanks, Al.


alpax
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Post by alpax »

Very thorough and interesting. I enjoyed reading it.

Thanks faygo for reading through! I am no where near a Vegas Ironman like Vman is who can pull off 5+ day trips.

   Interesting report and a great read too, thanks alpax. I have always given the Carnival World Buffet at Rio high marks too. I hope you make good use of your big screen cleaner and selfie stick.

Glad you were able to enjoy it despite the VP results. I was reminded how you rave about the Carnival World Buffet at the Rio on your last trip report. I can fully understand why now, the best salad ingredients and a wide variety of quality dishes. It went well above my expectations, and I hope certainly hope this promotion will be there again when I get the chance to go back to Vegas. I never gave this buffet a chance since I scoffed at the high prices they charge, and they have a good reason for it now.

Paid dearly for the screen cleaner and selfie stick, I will find use for them and not give them away as a reminder how much was lost.

Another enjoyable "show and tell".  Thanks, Al.



Much appreciated Galeygoo for reading another trip report! These things are not as easy as I thought. I'll try to eat something different next time, its been all steak (I do not eat it that much outside of a casino)


Best trip report in recent memories (right up there with VMAN's reports.)    Thanks a lot alpax for taking the effort......I myself particularly enjoyed this report, and you brought back a rush a memories for me which I will elaborate in a minute......for now, let me thank you from the bottom of my axels.The CES was a huge part of my life from around 1994 thru 2006, back when I worked in Los Angeles as marketing director for the largest distributor of Industrial packaging, paper and custom corrugated on the west coast.    This event was a big deal for our company and many others in the business, and because of it I was blessed to be able to learn a lot about Vegas and meet a lot of people.   I moved to LA in 1992 right after graduation, and living with friends from school who were also young and foolish, we made Vegas a prime destination for our weekends.   When my Job starting taking me there in 1994, I had a ringside seat for the "BOOM" which saw Vegas expand by leaps and bounds over the next decade, right up to 2007 when I moved back to New England......For a long long time there were generally TWO huge Vegas conventions, a November show called COMDEX and the January event still called the CES.   Both were HUGE back then.....I can tell you TODAY's CES is almost totally different from the shows and events I attended in the 90s thru early 2000s......back then it was dominated by the old PC market and Home Video market.....Bill Gates was often the main draw (at both shows) until  2001-2002  when Steve Jobs & APPLE  came back into vogue BIG TIME and Gates started winding down his business activity and focused on Philantrophy.....now CES is literally wide open with its products, services and overall focus being spread all over the place.   In a way it's amazing, but I still prefer (and miss) the "OLD" way of doing things......I applaud your choice of GOLD COAST (fortunately you had comps there).....One HUGE problem back in the 1990s was around convention time, the ENTIRE CITY literally was booked, or if not sold out charging EXORBITANT rates....as more and more places were built from 1999 thru 2005, this helped a lot in terms of always being able to get a room and bringing down cost.     I recall in 1997, just after New York New York opened along with Monte Carlo, there was still a relative dearth of prime location rooms to stay at during the larger conventions.....I had both customer/client companies (along with Vendors and even competitors) who sometimes had to have their convention delegation stay as far away as Henderson or even JEAN (at one of the two "TRUCKER" casinos that exist out there)!!   I was lucky to have a very savvy secretary who had us booked at least 2 years in advance of each year's show, so I rarely had any personal problems finding accommodations!My last CES attended (as a mere civilian/visitor) was 2010......I stayed downtown as usual.....Anyone else out there have fond memories of CES in Vegas?




Thanks for reading though and I am glad to bring back fond memories to you. I totally agree that the landscape of CES has changed a lot in the decade. Most of the coolest products on display are no where near affordable to many people. It is interesting to hear what CES was like back then, it was not as big before the internet/world wide web took off and information can be spread quicker rather than people having to buy magazines to keep up with the technology news. I can imagine how much better things were back then. Though there are many haters of Bill Gates because he is the wealthiest person in the nation, he was definitely a trailblazer that revolutionized the Personal Computer as we known as the "PC" with the Windows 95 operating system. Most people thought PC's were a toy for the super nerdy, but now its a necessity to everyone.

Hotel rates are undoubtedly expensive, at least 8 folds more than a regular weekday rate. I would have to play a lot and lose a lot to have gotten a comp stay at the time. I was so fortunate that the Gold Coast was able to comp my stay, the Rio-Palms-Gold Coast triangle has become my favorite part of Vegas now. The biggest benefit for staying on the strip is the easy access to the monorail, and those who are into the nightclubs, the best DJs are in town that week.

Vman96
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Post by Vman96 »

Nice report! Sorry to hear about the results and those chintzy prizes. You definitely got the short end on some of those too.

alpax
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Joined: Sat Jun 14, 2014 4:42 pm

Post by alpax »

Nice report! Sorry to hear about the results and those chintzy prizes. You definitely got the short end on some of those too.

Thanks for reading through despite the honest lackluster results.

Most of the losses did come at the Palms. Despite the bad result, I still think it is a pretty good place to play for the first 2500 Video Poker points ($1 dollar coin in per point) if you go on a weekday. I never got any hotel stay or free slot play/food offers in the mail from there, just 20% off their hotel rates. Not sure if they track games with high theoretical returns or are favored towards locals. I experimented playing airport deuces this time instead of Jacks or Better/NSU Deuces this time to see if it makes a difference in mailer offers. I meant to say locals get more offers on the promotional kiosk screen than I do. I hope I can get some payback and better luck if I go back.

I forgot this image on the report, which I just added



The Gold Coast is less smokier than before, not because of better ventilation, but there are parts of the west wing of the floor that is non smoking. I saw Triple Wheel Poker there but I did not try it. Although the B Connected slot is 1000 points (or 600 for food) per $1 compared to the 400 points per $1 at the Palms, the hotel/free play/food offers make it a better value for me.

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