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Society / The Seen

Power Poker Players Face Off in Houston, Raise a Record $1.42 Million for YES Prep

When Playing Cards Changes Lives

BY // 03.12.19
photography Priscilla Dickson

What: The YES Prep Public Schools Oil & Gas Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament

Where: Corinthian Houston

PC Moment: A record 550-plus poker fans played their cards on the evening that raised a record $1.42 million for YES Prep’s 18 campuses across Houston, which serve more than 13,300 students in grades sixth through 12. Of that multitude of players, there had to be a winner and in a thrilling final round, tournament emcee Bill Heuer of iHostPoker crowned Mickey Barrett, seated at the Vitol table, the winner of the 2019 tournament.

According to YES Prep board chair Mark Gregg, professionals in the industry come for near and far (some internationally) to participate. More than 75 corporate, foundation and individuals raised $835,000 through sponsorships while an additional $585,000 was accrued throughout the night. Among those contributing was Vitol, whose managing partner Ben Marshall made a surprise $50,000 challenge grant from the Vitol Foundation, a goal easily reached in this deep-pocketed crowd.

Since this event was founded in 2006, more than $12 million has been raised helping expand the program for underserved students. As veteran educator and YES Prep CEO Mark DiBella noted that against the 9 percent college completion rate of youngsters in the bottom economic quarter, YES’s rate is five times that with a goal of getting at least 75 percent of their alumni through college, which mirrors the national average for children living in top economic situations.

PC Seen: Joe Greenberg, John Arnold, Jeff Hepper, Garry Tanner, Jenny McCarthy, Debi Barrett, Ralph Eads, Brian Colona, Scott Miller, Carl Tricoli, Jordan Marye, David Marye, Chip Johnson, Reid Springmeyer, Jeff Springmeyer, Rob Horn, Dwight Scott, and Blake Webster.

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