Bryan Campanello, Lynda Warner and Shonda Schaefer kicking off the night.


GRACE held its 1st Annual Poker Tournament this past Saturday at Legends Hall at The Marq Southlake. Mark Nelson and Terry Perkins, owners of Classic Wine Storage of Southlake, provided the venue and a fabulous array of collector level wines for our guests. The always generous Chef Ted Bilsky, owner of Scratch Kitchen, kept everyone happy and well fed with a drink and food menu fit for a “high roller.” Seats at the poker table went for $1,000 for one player and their “good luck charm” guest. Spectators were welcomed and encouraged to cheer on the players and partake in the scrumptious fare, wine and cocktails at $100 per person.

The evening commenced with our special guest, Bryan Campanello – a World Series of Poker Circuit Main Event Champion with over $1,000,000 in winnings – explaining some tips from the professional poker arena to the audience. The game then began with 18 players at two separate tables. A few hours later, they were down to one table as those that remained began dropping out one by one. Finally, the game was narrowed down to three: David Parrish, Ted Bilsky and Steve Alford.


Reluctantly, Parrish parted after a long run, but did not leave empty handed as our final three received swag bags from RunGoodGear. Chef Bilsky not only provided the food and drinks that evening, but also played valiantly. Bilsky was down to his last chip (not even enough to make the small blind) as he held on for several more hands, exciting the crowd as he gained a few more chips each round. In eager anticipation, the spectators watched the last hand as Bilsky revealed three-of-a-kind after Alford had gone all in. We thought we had our winner until Alford displayed his flush to claim his title.

Our friend Steve Alford of Alford Media will forever be known as The First-Ever GRACE Poker Tournament Champion! His Grand Prize Package includes a 3 day, 2 night stay at the luxurious Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas provided by Shannon O’Brien with travel by American Airlines, and, of course, bragging rights. Bilsky was not too sore as his second place finish also scored him a bottle of Macallan 18 that was kindly donated by Don Casey.



Scratch Kitchen served up bacon-wrapped bourbon-glazed shrimp shooters, beef tenderloin spring rolls, their signature Teddy Cakes and famous three cheese mac among other savory dishes. An assortment of “made from scratch” brownies, cookies and trifles kept our sweet cravings satisfied, and Scratch even thought to have late night munchie bags ready to console the players on their way out. Sure, it’s no luxury Vegas vacation, but who wouldn’t be cheered up by a bag of blueberry French toast, Texas breakfast tacos and loaded Cowboy Cookies?

The tournament players also included our GRACE President of the Board Paul Bischler, Sean Ford, Johnny Campanello, Doug Canter, Jennifer Dealy, Bill Dean, Jason Hess, Tom McGauley, John Miller, Anthony Russo, Ty Schafer, Greg Taylor, and Kevin Townson. Plus a few more seats purchased courtesy of Greg Thompson and Lynda and Robert Warner. The night was a huge success thanks to your spirited generosity.



GRACE is beyond grateful to Lynda and Robert Warner for conceiving the tournament idea and all of their effort in seeing it through to fruition. A special mention to Michael’s Tobacco of Euless for gifting a box of El Trovador cigars for our attendees to enjoy. What an exciting game and entertaining evening. We wish to thank everyone for their participation in making this now annual event possible.