Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Back In Budapest - Amsterdam Affiliate Conference Recap #1

Each time I go away it is with good intentions of blogging on the go.... and each time I return the first thing is to announce it here and apologise for no updates! Ah, well - let me make it up to you with part #1 of my re-cap of an excellent trip to Amsterdam for my first poker business conference.

Will post a more personal version of the trip report here - going to do a business one over at www.pokeraffiliatelistings.com - the greatest commumity of poker affiliates

Fortunately, the annual 'Queens Day' celebration coincided with the conference, meaning we were able to don orange hats and join in the biggest party of the year in the Netherlands... would recommend this to anyone, literally the whole city was out in Amsterdam with people from all walks of life enjoying the day / night together. Did make getting to our hotel a little arduous, but hey.

Ah, the hotel. We stayed in the Krasnapolsky on Dam square... have been to the Netherlands many times and stayed in many hotels - but this one was a let-down. The building / staff and location were all excellent... but the room! Dated, small and tatty, bah. Back to the Barbizon next time (which has the added benefit of being next to my favorite breakfast place - the 'Prince Hendrik Sandwich Bar')

A definite advantage of staying at the Kras was the proximity of the sponsored bar - the 'Players Bar' - which was literally 2 minutes walk away. Went to the networking events both Thursday and Friday there to sup the free beer. The first day felt a little odd really, not knowing anyone at all, while everyone else seemed to know each other. Did chat with some affiliates and operators, however now recognise that the cold 'Hi, I'm Mark!' networking routine is not my thing, much easier when you have a starting point to meet people from... which was demonstrated Friday where we knew a few faces and felt much more comfortable.

Meeting with Greg Powell and Jeremy Enke was high on my priority list before leaving. These gentlemen are some of the pillars of the poker affiliate community and turned out to be really great guys too - looking forward to sharing many more beers with both at future conferences.

Staying in the centre of the city we had to work out how the Amsterdam tram system worked to get to the conference centre (the RAI). Brilliant way to see the city for just a couple of Euros... if anyone is wondering you buy a long ticket with 15 spaces - when you get on the tram the driver or ticket guy will stamp 2 or 3 depending on how far you go, simple.

The conference centre was huge and it actually took a while to locate the right conference. Several of the operators had laid on nice set-ups, a 'Party Poker' Bar, Boylesports Guiness / Darts, Cake had a giant kitchen setup, SmartLive a real roulette table and so on... many of the providers also used the age-old tactic of using pretty ladies to hand out leaflets / get you to the booth / or swap gifts for business cards... will give my top rating to BetUS (oops, I mean, I was not looking, erm, did not notice, eyes are only for you Erika!).

Some operators were more aggressive in getting attention than others, and to be honest 1 or 2 well known ones were a little too aggressive for our tastes. Going to keep the post positive, so will not mention any names.

Well, my list of things to do is massive.... so will continue this post tomorrow with some more of the business side of the trip.

Gl at the tables, Mark

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