Monday, August 19, 2019

14 Pizzas!

This is about my last Ventura poker session before my Vegas trip.  But poker isn't the biggest part of the story.  This is more about what happened before I got to Ventura.  No worries, I will get a little bit of poker in at the end.

To understand this story, I have to tell you about a bit of schtick, or a running gag, if you will, that I enjoy with my pals Woody & LM, who I've mentioned numerous times before.  Also mentioned before is that I like having a slice of pizza and/or a hot dog at Costco.

Woody & LM like the hot dogs and the pizza at Costco too.  Who wouldn't?  The hot dog is the best deal on the planet, I'm quite sure.  For a mere buck and a half (plus tax, where applicable) you get a good sized, quality, all-beef hot dog plus a 20-ounce soda, with free refills.  You might even call it a "jumbo hot dog."  At any food court I'm familiar with, the soda alone would cost more than $1.50, so it's like getting the jumbo hot dog for free.  A slice of pizza is only $1.99 and it's excellent pizza.

The other great thing about Costco—aside from the convenience of being able to buy a 25-gallon jug of mayonnaise—is that they sell gasoline for a lot less than the neighborhood Shell station.  When you live in CA, where the incompetent fools brilliant politicians who ruin run our state keep coming up with newer and higher gas taxes, that really helps.  One more tax increase and it will actually be worth it for me to drive from my home to Vegas just to fill up the tank.

Well, somehow, it got to be a thing with Woody, LM and me that whenever one of us was at Costco, either for gas or the food court (but not for the mayonnaise), we would inform the others.  Frequently, a photo of the food about to be consumed would be sent. We'd get a full report on how long the lines for the gas were (usually plenty long, since it's such a bargain, relatively, that is) or if the food court was crowded.  Or if we ran into any interesting characters at the food court.

For example, one time Woody & I were at the food court (because some of the mechanics we use to fix our cars are conveniently located near a Costco and we look for any excuse to indulge) and we were almost done.  A woman came over to us with some trash in her hand—like used paper plates, used napkins.  It looked like she was on her way to the trash can but she stopped by us and started picking up our used plates and napkins!  We said that wasn't necessary, we could bus our own stuff, but she insisted.  She said, "It's ok.  This is what I do."  And took away all our trash. To make clear, she was just another customer, she didn't work for Costco.  That was weird.

For some reason, I've always felt that "junk food" was the ideal meal before a poker session.  Why have steak when you can have a hot dog and pizza, right?  So I've gotten into the habit of eating at Costco on the way to my Saturday poker sessions in Ventura.  When the weather is good, it is really convenient because there is a Costco just about midway between my house and the poker room.  And it is just off the freeway so I don't have to go out of my way at all to get there. I made the comment about the weather because the food court at this particular location is outdoors.  On those rare occasions when the southern California weather betrays us, it is not a good option to stop there.  Fortunately, the Costco nearer my house has its food court indoors and I can stop there.

So to make a long story short (pause for hysterical laughter, at least from those of you still reading), this particular Saturday I was making my traditional Costco stop on the way to poker.  I had just gotten into one of the lines at the food court to order my food when I got a text from Woody.  It read, "At Costco getting gas.  Taking extreme willpower to NOT get a dog or pizza, or both.  I'm hungry.  I will keep you apprised."

Woody was just around the bend filling up his tank at the very location I was at.  I should point out that Woody tries not to get a hot dog or a slice of pizza at Costco because he is trying to eat healthier.  But he frequently gives in.  He always gives in if I'm involved.  I'm what's known as a "bad influence."

It was such a coincidence.  Of course I texted him back immediately, "I am in the food court line here right now!"

Woody responded with surprise and said ok, he'd join me for a slice of pizza.  "That put me over the top, Rob."

Well I suspected Woody would be awhile at the gas pump, so I figured I would just add a slice of cheese pizza to my order.  My thought was I'd be able to get the food, find us a table and already have his food there so he wouldn't have to wait in line.

That was the plan, anyway.

Meanwhile, LM, who was home, was seeing all these texts.  And she replied, "A clandestine tryst at the food court!"  Yeah, we were kind of stepping out on her.

Of course, my luck, I had  managed to pick the slowest line to get in, it just wasn't moving at all.  I was tempted to get into another line, but you know the rule about lines, right?  The one you are in is always the slowest, until you move into a different line.  Then the line you left moves the fastest and the one you moved to becomes the slowest.  I figured I'd wait it out.

Finally there was only one party in front of me, and I figured it wouldn't take long, it was just one lone guy, he's probably buying a hot dog or a slice of pizza, how long could he take?  Meanwhile, Woody had shown up and had gotten into a different line, and it looked like he was going to reach the counter before I did!

Well the guy in front of me was actually picking up an order that had been phoned in.  So he was waiting while they got it.  The girl brought out four or five whole pizzas.  She had to open the window to hand him his pizzas.  He took off, and I moved up to the counter.  The girl said, "Oh no, he's coming back.  He had to make two trips.  He ordered fourteen pizzas."

Fourteen pizzas? Talk about running bad.  Not only did I pick the slowest line, but then the guy in front of me had to pick up fourteen damn pizzas. I had to wait for him to return after dropping off the first part of his pizza order in his car.  It took awhile.  Parking at any Costco is not easy.  He returned to see the rest of his pizzas waiting for him but get this….now he had to pay for them!  I would have thought a big order like that (over $140) would have to be paid for in advance when the order was placed.  Otherwise, what if he didn't show up?  Also, they gave him at least five pizzas before he paid for any of them, what if he just took the five pizzas and took off without paying?  Man, are they trusting at Costco!  Imagine if his credit card had gotten declined!

I got to the window about two seconds before Woody was about to get to his, so I placed the order.  We found a table in the shade and started to enjoy our meal.  We were sitting next to an elderly woman, whose husband finally joined her with their food.  Woody and I were trying to calculate how many people were going to that party with 14 pizzas. Those are huge pizzas and one could feed at least three adults even with very healthy appetites.  So if it was all adults, it could easily feed 42 people, if not more.  If there were kids involved, figure it could be closer to 55-60, right?  I mean so many people were going, why didn't they invite us?

Woody is a very sociable guy and he started chatting with the guy next to us.  Turned out they had mutual hobbies and Woody pretty much got this fellow's life story out of him in just a few minutes. By the time our lunch was over, the two of them were practically lifelong buddies.  I later joked with LM that Woody had invited the couple over to dinner later in the week.  And then the man started telling us that he was delayed getting his food because a fellow in front of him was getting 14 pizzas!  So it turned out that this guy had been standing right behind me in the line the whole time.

When Woody got up to refill his cup, I noticed there was a text from LM for both of us.  It was a voice text (we tend to use voice texts a lot).  So I started to listen to it.  I believe the old guy hadn't arrived yet so it was just the older woman sitting very near to me.  I start playing LM's voice message and I hear, "So you guys are having a nice lunch while I'm stuck here working my f***ing ass off!"  Gulp.  I immediately stopped playing the recording but it was too late.  I dunno if the woman heard it but it was certainly loud enough that she could have.  What kind of friends must she think I have?

The lady at one point wandered off to get more soda, and didn't return promptly.  Her husband went looking for her explaining that she has some mental issues and sometimes forgets where she is or where she is going.  Ooops.  Fortunately he found her and all was well.

Well, eventually Woody and I went our separate ways and I made it to the poker room. It was 2/3 and I bought in for $300.  I raised with Ace-King, got two calls.  I c-bet on an Ace-high flop and took it down.

Next hand I limped in from early position with Ace-10 of clubs, it was 6 or 7 ways.  The flop was not bad, Ace-10-10.  I checked but it checked around.  The turn was a 9 and someone bet $10, I just called and there were still four of us left in the hand.  The 8 of diamonds put three diamonds on the board, which I liked.  It checked to me and I bet $25.  I did get one call.  He mucked when he saw my boat but he said he had a straight.

Then there was a long stretch where I bled chips, getting playable hands that didn't pan out.  Finally, I called $15 with pocket 4's and it was three-way.  The flop was Ace-4-3.  The preflop raiser bet $15 and I just called.  The last guy to act shoved approximately $100.  The preflop raiser reluctantly folded.  I of course called.  He had Ace-10.  My set held up.

I had King-Queen of hearts on the button.  There was a straddle (UTG) and then a raise to $15.  I called. It was three-way.  The flop was Queen-9-3, rainbow.  The preflop raiser, who happened to be the table's designated aggro, shoved his last $65.  I called and the other guy folded.  There was another 9 on the turn, but that obviously wasn't his card.  A blank hit the river and when I showed my King-Queen he mucked and left the game.

I left with a $90 profit and a story about 14 pizzas.


  1. Oh wow. Very entertaining post. Its amazing how much detail you remember. I would love to know if that lady did hear my profanity and if so, what she thought. The jumbo hot dogs are beyond delicious. And, did Woody have only a slice of pizza or did he eat a dog too?! Is the tax on the pizza and hot dogs less in Ventura County? All the more reason to eat at Costco on your poker day!

    1. Thanks, LM. I'm guessing she didn't hear you cussing, or if she did, she wasn't able to process it because of her mental issues.

      Woody ONLY had the cheese pizza, no dog. And yes, the tax is less in Ventura county. Of course the meal is so cheap it doesn't make that much of a difference. But any fewer pennies I pay to those goniffs that run our state, county and city governments is a win.

  2. love Costco up north they have a Brat or hot dog.. also Beef brisket from time to time....I always lose my car in the parking lot

    1. Thanks, Geezer. I see that brisket sandwich but it doesn't tempt me cuz I just don't like brisket.

      As I explained in my car horror story post form the beginning of the year, I always get lost in the Vegas Costco parking lot! Unreal. At the local ones I go to I have no issue.