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Rich R.
03-10-2012, 08:43 AM
Thursday, my wife and I went to the Super Billiards Expo at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, previously held at the Valley Forge Convention Center, and I have to say that we were very disappointed in the new location.

Although the new location is roomy, I'm not sure it has twice the space as claimed on the SBE website and the appearance has much to be desired. Frankly, if it weren't for the white paint everywhere, it would look like an abandoned warehouse.

First thing in the morning, the amateur players arrived at the front of the building to register and, after receiving their badges, they had to go back outside and walk around to the opposite end of the building to enter because the main floor of the expo wasn't open yet. It's a good thing it wasn't raining. Once the expo opened, if a player went out of the player's door, they had to walk all the way around to the front entrance to get back inside.

If you were just attending the expo, and not playing, you were not allowed in until 11 am. In the old location, the expo opened at 10 am and a few areas were closed off until 11 am. I was always able to do a little early shopping and watch friends warm up to play before the entire expo opened. In this location I wasn't able to do that. If vendors are reading this, I would be doing a lot less shopping each day.

Once I got into the expo I found there were pieces of carpet for each vendor booth as well as the special playing areas, like the straight pool challenge tables. All other areas were bare concrete. No matter what type of footwear you have, the concrete gets to your feet and legs after a while.

It was very noisy in the expo center. I think the abundance of hard surfaces and the extremely high ceilings made all sound echo a little. Frankly, it wasn't too crowded on Thursday and it was noisy. I have to believe it will be worse through the weekend when it gets really crowded.

Although there were drop down lights over the tables for the straight pool challenge and the 3 cushion tournament, there were no table lights for any of the amateur tables. The warehouse type lighting was adequate for walking around but not for playing pool. One friend told me he had to look at an 8-ball shot 5 times because you couldn't make out the edge of the black ball in the shadows.

Food at the expo had mixed reviews and it seemed to change a lot based on what you ordered. Some friends told me it was very good and some told me it was terrible. From what we saw there, my wife and I weren't inspired to eat anything but a snack in the middle of the day.

In the end, I would have to rate the new SBE location a 3 on a scale of 10.

Pluses:
It is roomy.
It is all on one level.

Minuses:
Bare concrete floors.
Extremely high ceiling.
Poor lighting.
Noise.
Very poor playing conditions.
Food quality is mixed, at best.
No attached hotel.
No good restaurants.
Although they had a lounge, I don't believe it was a fully stocked bar.

I'm sure I'm forgetting some things and I can't comment on the pro arena because I didn't have time to go in and spend some time.

All in all, I was very disappointed in this new location for the SBE. I understand this was all done on short notice but I hope Allen Hopkins and his staff are looking for a new location in the mid-Atlantic region. I have to believe Atlantic City or some other city has a nicer and more attendee friendly convention facility to handle this event with hotels and restaurants in walking distance. I suspect Philadelphia has something that would work and I know Baltimore does.

My opinion is worth exactly what everybody is paying for it and this is only my opinion. I'm interested in hearing what others thought about the new location.

Bambu
03-11-2012, 10:25 AM
I dont have anything to compare to, but the bathrooms were really bad. I mean hold your nose 20 feet away from the door bad. Long lines at times too, and I dont think there were any fans in there, seemed like no ventilation. Some vendors were stationed right in the trenches too.

The lighting didnt bother me, but I could see others not liking it. The food was pretty bad too, but I still had a great time. As Rich said, the floors wore on your feet pretty quickly.

Fran Crimi
03-11-2012, 02:49 PM
Thanks for the review, Rich. Any idea why they moved to this location?

Tony_in_MD
03-11-2012, 08:44 PM
I believe the old site is becoming a slot casino.

I spent the day there Saturday and agree with much of Rich's observations. The lack of an attached and restaurants downgrades the site significantly. From all appearances, the location appears to be an warehouse, now converted into an expo center.It is not visually appealing, and the lack of carpeting, is tough for the long days.

Rich R.
03-11-2012, 10:47 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Fran Crimi</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Thanks for the review, Rich. Any idea why they moved to this location? </div></div>
Fran, the old Valley Forge Convention Center is being changed into a casino. I know Tony said a slots casino but it is going to be a full casino.
https://www.vfcasino.com/casino
This had been rumored for the past few years but sometime this past year it became a reality.
I passed the place on the way to the new place and you can already see changes to the outside. The Scanticon name is totally gone from that portion of the building, replaced by a huge "V". There is also a lot of construction going on.
I would say that it is the end of an era.

Tony_in_MD
03-12-2012, 05:12 AM
Wow, I did not know it would table games. I thought slots were only allowed in PA casinos, I guess the law changed.

JJFSTAR
03-12-2012, 07:30 AM
Had I known that the Rally in the Valley and the SBE were the same event I would have met up with you guys, oh well next time.

Eric.
03-12-2012, 03:07 PM
I had a similar opinion of the Oaks Expo Ctr. Overall, I didn't like it.

I made it a point to ask everyone I talked to (over 50 ppl). I asked them what their opinion was of the new Expo Ctr. I also asked them what, specifically, it was that they didn't like.

For the most part, these are the common complaints I heard:

-the building has no character/ambiance and feels like a dirty warehouse
-the lighting over some of the pool tables was terrible
-no hotel (need a car/inconveniet to go back to your room/cant drink due to driving)
-no restaurants within walking distance

These are the big ones. I left out the more nit picky ones.

Invariably, everyone I spoke with either said that the new place was "okay" or they didnt like it. Not one person mentioned that they liked it.

That said, I will still continue to support the SBE. IF anything, these aren't things that can't be fixed. From my understanding, Allen is signed up for a 2 year contract, so maybe some constructive feedback can change things.


Eric

Rich R.
03-12-2012, 08:36 PM
Eric, it seems the reports about what type of commitment Allen has at this expo center vary a lot.
One of the cue makers, who has been at the SBE for many years, told me that Allen didn't have a written commitment yet but it was coming.
You say he has a two year commitment.
Today, another good source said he was talking to Allen and he told me that Allen has a five year commitment.
I guess time will tell.

Rich R.
03-12-2012, 08:42 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: JJFSTAR</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Had I known that the Rally in the Valley and the SBE were the same event I would have met up with you guys, oh well next time. </div></div>
The Rally in the Valley is a TAP event but it is run in conjunction with the SBE. It has been part of the SBE for years.

JJFSTAR
03-13-2012, 09:15 AM
I sure wish I would have known that

dg-in-centralpa
03-13-2012, 12:18 PM
Rich and Eric,
My sentiments exactly about the building. I didn't like it. I thought they needed a lot more parking.
My table was in the room with the vendors, not in the main room. I could only get on my table to practice about 10 minutes before I was scheduled to shoot, as well as let my opponent warm up. There were shadows on my table as well.
Some of the vendors seemed to be lost in their small areas. Not sure if that was their fault or the fault of the set-up. I didn't like the way the trick shot and the 3 cushion tables were set up. It was hard to see them and they were in the middle of all the amateur tables. I found this very annoying.
I hope that Allen takes a hard look at this for next year and finds something more suitable.

Duane

enjoydgame
03-21-2012, 07:32 AM
I feel so good to be here and become a part of this interactive session. Good conversation is going on.