2008 was the last time I had a chance to make it out to the London Affiliate Conference where I had a lot of fun, so I decided it was time to head back, even though the idea of being in London in January didn’t appeal to me that much. Regardless, I had always wanted to go back to the iGB Awards, so decided to make the trip this year to catch up with some old friends and meet some new people.
I flew out on Tuesday night and arrived in London at 9am Wednesday morning. Since my hotel would not be ready for several hours I decided to head over to the main hotel (as I stayed at the Shaftesbury Notting Hill Hotel the first night, which probably had the world’s smallest hotel room) to meet up with Nick (from Casino Coins) and his girlfriend Jenna for lunch. Upon arrival to the hotel there were many familiar faces in the lobby. I ran into Riyaz from Bodog Affiliates, Mike Wittmeyer and Roger (2 PAL members) and we hung out for a bit, and grabbed Nick from upstairs. After lunch we Nick, Jenna and I decided to head over to ICE (another big more land based focussed casino conference) that was going on just before the LAC event. It was pretty cool to see some the “future of games” in land based casinos. I saw some of the coolest slot machines that I have ever seen, with a lot more focus on electronic chip management for table games. Still running on no sleep from the morning before, I had to head out as I had dinner plans with Odette from PKR. Odette took me on a tour of the offices at PKR which have apparently been expanding like crazy over the past few years. It was pretty cool to see what happens behind the scenes at an online gaming company. After the tour, we headed for dinner at Shaka Zulu, which was a really cool South African restaurant at the same venue as where the Fire and Ice party was being held that night. We tried some Biltong (a South African cured meat), had some curried shrimp, fish as the main course and of course some delicious cocktails. Odette ordered an Ostrich dish which she let me try, which was also really delicious! After dinner we headed upstairs to the Fire and Ice party where PKR had a table right in the best location of the club. The rest of the evening involved lots of champagne, vodka, and all sorts of mystery shots plus some excellent entertainment involving many painted naked ladies, midgets, performers and much more. All in all, it was a great night and I got to party with many other affiliates and affiliate managers (too many to list everyone). One nice parts of the night was I managed to work out some differences with Nick K., an affiliate who I had some issues with in the past but I think he might have finally started to see my side to the problem from the past
Here is a picture of our table with some other affiliates (borrowed from Odette’s pics):
After getting home late from the night before I managed to get a few hours sleep before getting told that I needed to check out by the Shaftesbury hotel, so I headed over to the Grange St. Pauls, and checked into my room there. I had always wanted to stay at the main conference hotel, as there is where most people usually congregate but in the past I typically booked my hotel last minute and it was always sold out, fortunately I did this time, as this hotel was quite amazing! The rooms were really nicely done and had tons of space (even though I hardly spent any time in there). Most of Thursday during the day was spent hanging out in the hotel Lobby with Nick and Jenna. I met lots of different people (affiliates and affiliate managers) and had a couple of beers to help overcome the hangover from the night before.
Thursday evening I was invited to the iGB Affiliate Awards with Martyn from Affiliate Edge (formerly CWC Affiliates). Martyn is highly regarded as one of the best AM’s in the industry, so this was an excellent opportunity to hang out with his team and meet some new casino affiliates since I am trying to learn more about the casino side of the industry. Affiliate Edge had 2 tables and I got to have dinner with several casino affiliates that I had seen on the forums such as CasinoMeister, Simmo (Ian), Christine (Streak Gaming / Affiliate Guard Dog), as well as several others. After dinner I decided I was going to call it a night and ran into Tony (belgamo on the forums) and hitched a ride back to the hotel with him and his wife. Right as I entered the hotel lobby I ran into Troy from Bodog who was with Dana Workman (the new CalvinAyre.com reporter) and said they were heading to Chyna White to meet some affiliates and asked me to join, so I decided sleep could wait for a bit. At the club Nick and Andreas were partying with a few other affiliates and balling out of control on several massive bottles of vodka. I only had a couple of drinks though but it was still lots of fun and finally around 2:30 or 3 Troy, Dana and I decided to call it a night and headed back to the hotel (our oringinal plan to only stay an hour quickly went out the window).
Here is a picture from the Awards (photo credit to the iGB Events Facebook Group):
Continued in Part 2