John, maybe a "trial run" at a smaller show, like Gaming Times at Arizona Charlie's Superbowl weekend would be worth consideration. ..and you could think about sharing a table with another 1st-timer as a dealer, or try to hook-up with an experienced dealer. The GT AZ Charlie's show isn't that much smaller than the convention show. I've been thinking about trying to get together with someone to do just what I've described.
I got some GREAT deals from some of the dealers at the convention. I bought a lot of chips at far under book value. ...even had a dealer give me extra change on a buy from their 'bargin bin' on the last day. I can't fault any dealer for their pricing. I don't have to buy any chip at their price either. Overall, every dealer that I've bought chips from have treated me right, and that's how I'd treat people too.