Lance T. Funston may be a regular in charity poker events. However, you will be surprised to learn that the philanthropist came to poker very late in his life. After graduating from Houston University back in 1967, and later attending Harvard School of Business, Lance went on to establish various companies and make his fortunes in different areas.
He is the CEO of CCA (Core Care America) and Ultimark Products. Back in the 1980s, Lance founded a merchant banking firm that acquired an excess of $500 million in the corporate property. He also founded the media company TelAmerica in 1993.
While Lance is a highly accomplished businessman, he also loves poker and plays in various charity poker events. According to the infamous punter, he was introduced to poker by a close friend and fellow poker lover Brian Haverson. At the time, Lance did not think of poker as a “real job” and had asked Brian to come to help him run one of his companies. Brian asked Lance to go with him to the “World Series”, a challenge he took him up on during the 2005 WSOP event. This was the first time Funston had ever played real-money poker or participated in a professional poker event.
Although Lance did not last the first day in the 2005 WSOP tournament, he was already hooked to the game and continued playing poker. He also took lessons from Haverson and soon began to build his skills. According to Lance, it was an effortless process as he used the same principles he runs his business with. However, Lance was not such a popular figure in the pokie world until his name surfaced in Poker News during a big tournament. He had his first chip lead, and many people were curious how someone who did not even know poker could achieve such a feat. He also appeared in a Harvard Review that said he “put the fun in Funston.”
Because of his busy business schedules, Lance does not play poker as often as he would love to. However, there is one more reason Lance is reluctant to play in major poker events. In his words, “it is not fun anymore.” According to Lance, poker has evolved tremendously over the past few years.
Modern players are too robotic, taking the fun away from the game. In the past, punters approached poker as a game and wanted to make it a sport. It wound up becoming too serious and still. These days, you cannot go into a major tournament knowing absolutely nothing about the game like Lance did back in 2005.
In charity poker, things are not as stale, thus why Lance was drawn to these events. What’s more, the money is “going for a good cause”, which makes the decision to invest in the game easier for the businessman. Funston has been quite successful in charity poker events winning 9 out of 10 years in the Save the Mind Foundation events. He also beat the famous Men (The Master) Nguyen resulting in a friendship that birthed a series of charity expeditions in Vietnam. For Lance, charity poker is less robotic and more fun, making it enjoyable for anyone with enough financial resources to buy or re-buy more chips.