Hans “Tuna” Lund was an individualist, a maverick, and a staunch believer that a man should follow the path he felt was best for him, and him alone.
Raised in Northern Nevada and calling Sparks, Nevada his home, Hans took up poker in his teens, and games were everywhere. He always looked like he just walked off the farm in Carson City, a huge country boy, and that “Aw, shucks” look and speech never hurt his image at a poker tables.
He didn’t care much for conventional work, but poker games were good at the Horseshoe, Harrah’s, and Zimba’s – along Commercial Row in Reno. He dove in headfirst, took his lumps, licked his wounds, and remembered every little nuance and move a player ever put on him. It might be years later, but he always found a way to turn an earlier loss into gold. And he liked gold.
In the 1980’s he bought a river dredge and waded into the chilly waters of the Truckee River, right along Virginia Street where newly divorced women were rumored to have thrown their wedding rings in the 1940’s. Bad Beat. No rings. A rare time he was drawing dead to a winning hand.
Hans earned the name “Tuna” because he was considered a big fish, but that nickname became a moniker he was proud of. At the 1978 World Series of Poker he earned his first Gold Bracelet by winning the $1500 Buy-in No-limit hold’em event.
Back home in Reno, “Tuna” won the “Beat Maverick Poker Tournament” at Harold’s Club in 1979 and extended his reputation as a force to be reckoned with, even if the title paid less than 10% of what he had earned at the WSOP.
Lund had the ability to gear up for big-money tournaments, and to grind down to the $20 buy-ins, and won more than a fair share of weekly tournaments in Reno. He was even willing to hang out with his friends and play $1-3 spread limit at Harold’s Club, a great poker room in its time.
His biggest win in Northern Nevada, however, came at the 1983 Super Bowl of Poker held at the Sahara at Lake Tahoe. Neither rain, nor snow, nor the incessant chatter of host “Amarillo Slim” Preston could deter Hans from the main event.
In that snowy winter tournament, “Tuna” parlayed a $200 buy-in satellite win into the $10,000 Main Event and then pushed and bullied his way to the final table, stealing blinds and stacking chips even when he wasn’t holding any quality hands.
Along the way to final-table heaven Lund beat the likes of Billy Baxter, Perry Green, Bobby Baldwin, and then finished off second-place finisher “Treetop” Jack Strauss to claim his share of the $550,000 prize pool.
When “Tuna” wasn’t playing live poker, he was watching over a crew of video poker players who attacked every decent progressive jackpot in Northern Nevada. He financed the venture, and administered the players. They almost never came home without hitting a jackpot and cashing winners.
Lund won his second WSOP bracelet in 1996, taking down $71,000 in the Ace to five lowball championship. He amassed nearly $2.75 million in career winnings while taking first-place in 28 major tournaments.
Hans “Tuna” Lund passed away in November 2009 at the age of 59. The local Reno poker star with the colorful love for life and amazing poker prowess will not be forgotten.