Society / Featured Parties

Record $2 Million Poker Night Means Big Bucks For YES Prep Thanks to Houston’s Oil & Gas Power Players

The Corinthian is Transformed Into the Ultimate Houston Gambling Hall

BY // 03.09.22
photography Priscilla Dickson

Vitol’s gasoline trader Jean-Marc Monrad is one pleased dude but not as happy as YES Prep CEO Mark DiBella. Monrad was winner of the wild and woolly Oil & Gas Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament that earned a record-breaking $2 million for the charter school system that serves more than 16,400 students across 23 Houston campuses.

The majestic, neoclassical Corinthian Houston was transformed into one massive gambling hall where more than 550 guests from 82 corporate, foundation and individual sponsors rallied around the scores of poker tables, placed their bets and let Lady Luck be their mistress for the night.

The Corinthian’s lower level, including a bank vault, played a hand in the festivities. Here, top sponsors and their guests were welcomed at the Vitol VIP reception where blackjack, roulette and craps tables beckoned and where Jackson & Company began its night of inspired food service.

The closely contested final round between Monrad and Robert Greenberg, from the Alta Resources/Kiwi Energy table, took place in the vault with the duel not ending until close to midnight. As the end approached, tournament emcee Bill Heuer of iHostPoker announced the progression of proceeds that soared from $1.6 million to $1.7, to $1.8 and ultimately to the record $2 million. Adding to the total, Vitol Foundation agreed to a $150,000 matching gift towards all donations made by Vitol employees and an anonymous guest tossed in $100,000 to reach the even number.

The steering committee which organized the event were Aaron Byrd, Brian Colona, Michol Ecklund, Austin Elam, Mark Gregg, Ajay Khurana, Jenny McCarthy, Mike Miller, Steve Mohtashami, Bill Nelson and Frank Stagg.

PC Seen: YES Prep board chair Melanie Trent, chairman emeritus Mark Gregg, Leading Houston Forward campaign chair Joe Greenberg, Doug Foshee, Brad Molden, Doug Martin, Matt Petroccio, Luly Castillo, Chuka Ilochi, Nella Garcia Urban, Ann Ziker, Jarrod Farmer, Hailee Browning, Mike Metz, Sam Wamwiri, Jacob Boles, Matt Diffendal, Dylan Seff, and Pat Mizell. 

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