Posted Tue, Oct 16, 2012 by The Mittani
I was in Las Vegas again this weekend for the third ‘Eve Vegas’ event. Yet despite my train-wreck fascination with this town, eyes wide open to the lives it destroys, I have had more fun and collected more absolutely wild stories in the past four days than in any other similar period in my life. Fanfest in Reykjavik was once heralded as the wildest event in online gaming, yet Eve Vegas made Fanfest - with its drunken staggering down Laugavegur and nonstop Icelandic partying - seem like a dentistry convention. And that's entirely due to Vegas itself.
Vegas has always fascinated me; I'm a student of self-destructive and irrational human behavior, and no place else in the universe combines raw American capitalism with the exploitation of our inherent cognitive flaws quite like Vegas. It sucks in the tourists and convention-goers, strips them of their capital, and spits them back out; the cycle never stops except during the slow months of November and December, an incessant balls-to-the-wall party of gambling, overpriced food, and poor decisions. You'll see more women with breast implants in one weekend in Vegas than you will in the entire rest of the year elsewhere in America.
The locals don't seem to gamble, if you catch them outside of a casino and talk to them. My cabbie on the way to the airport unloaded a horror story on me when I confessed that I avoid the tables and slots: an elderly woman she'd driven from the airport catching a one-way ticket to Vegas and bankrupting herself in just one night at the slots, losing $12,000 in a single sitting, unable to get home without begging for cash for a flight. I imagine this 'wild scenario' is more common than one would think, since the entire economy and industry of Vegas depends on this kind of degenerate gambling addiction and alcohol abuse.
Unlike Fanfest, or most other conventions, at Eve Vegas the partying is front-loaded. The very first event of the conference is a bar crawl on Friday night - from a piano bar to a sports book to Margaritaville to the Shadow Bar (so named for the dancers silhouetted behind thin panels besides the bar) to Pure, the nightclub at Caesar's Palace. Tickets ensured VIP admission to Pure - but the event began to go off the rails for me when we got hooked up with an insider connection to XS, one of the finest clubs in Vegas at the Wynn. With a handful of goons and the most reliable partiers of CCP we got a 'walk-in' to XS, skipping entirely past the massive line for admission and set up with bottle service at a prime table right in front of the dance floor - the best real estate possible.
After this, things became a blur. Gangam Style came on and CCP Guard - who was standing on top of a platform - began to do a perfect imitation of the PSY dance, then a few minutes later had to be restrained as he started taking his shirt off while dancing - a no-no in the better clubs. Girls began trying to invade our table area, and because we were a gaggle of married Eve nerds we blew them off - surprisingly well-behaved of us, when you think about it. An armada of cocktail waitresses carrying LED torches and a massive bouncer hoisting aloft a six-liter bottle of champagne invaded the dance floor; a sheik's son had dropped $50,000 on bottle service. All eyes on him and his bottle: a young Asian man, abruptly so insecure that I noticed that he had 'hover hands', unwilling to bring himself to touch the waitresses who were trying to snuggle with him. He was miserable - I'd never seen so much money wasted so rapidly before.
There are many Vegases. This was my third time to the city; I had an amusing enough time at the last Eve Vegas, and each time I've seen a different slice of the city. The first 'Eve Vegas' was thrown together in 2009 and held in a back room at the Imperial Palace, a casino so sketchy that you'd want to cremate your shoes after you had stepped on the carpets. The event was revived in 2011 by Zapawork, a former CEO of Goonfleet, and moved to Paris - not the city, but the casino. The new management and locale increased the size of the event, yet the fabled Vegas insanity was still missing. Eve Vegas in 2011 was fun, but the city hadn't yet lived up to its hype.