Society / Featured Parties

Oil & Gas’ $1.67 Million Poker Night Turns Houston’s Corinthian Into a High-Stakes Scene

Coronavirus and Tanking Gas Prices Can't Slow This Feel-Good Roll

BY // 03.09.20
photography Priscilla Dickson

Despite fears of the coronavirus and 14 day quarantines and the pinch of tanking oil prices, energy execs and pals turned out more than 550 strong on Thursday for the 15th annual Oil & Gas Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament, which, beyond expectations, brought in a whopping $1,666,432 for YES Prep Public Schools.

It was a wild west sort of night at the Corinthian Houston with high-roller gamblers scouting lucky tables and placing their bets. Chief among them were ladies and gents from Vitol, that energy firm’s players purchasing a cool $100,000 in chips. The Vitol Foundation added to the  pot with its matching gift of $50,000.

And then there were Alta Resources president and CEO Joe Greenberg and Kiwi Energy CEO Mark Gregg, each of whom purchased $100,000 in chips for their teams, paving the way for the night to surpass its original goal of $1.5 million. Those two have a special interest in the school system which serves more than 14,000 students on 19 campuses across Houston. Gregg is YES Prep board chair and Greenberg is chairman emeritus.

With all those chips at play, it was no surprise that above the din of a rollicking good time, there were intermittent bursts of cheers as a gambler would win big at his or her table. The night presented a cornucopia of fashions as some headed to the Corinthian straight from the office while others dressed in casino chic and a few wore rodeo-ready outfits.

Some 74 corporate, foundation and individual entities and their guests contributed $813,000 through sponsorships. The remaining $852,000 and change was earned through the night.

In the thrilling final round, Bill Heuer of iHostPoker crowned Kevin Lee, seated at the Vitol table, as winner of the 2020 tournament. Lee went home with a trophy and serious bragging rights.

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