An Australian pensioner lost his entire savings in a Balinese poker con, prompting the local authorities to warn tourists not to fall for the same scam.
Growing up in a small Welsh Valley of 3,000 people makes you a little sheepish, and I’m not talking about the strange habit of sticking the back legs of the white fluffy things inside wellies and pushing them towards the edge of cliffs as your underpants accidentally fall due to the wind.
It’s a safe place.
It makes the world at large frightening.
And so when my wife told me she wanted to move to Bali so our daughter could attend the Green School, a few things crossed my mind. How can I afford that? Will we die of Ebola? Will I be robbed, buggered or eaten by sharks?
The last place I thought I would be in danger would be at the poker table.
How could I be so naive?
A 66-year-old retired man named only as Joe had visited Bali numerous times when on this occasion he befriended a young lady in a shopping mall (as you do). They became friends. She invited him to her home. Joe held her hand.
When Joe arrived at the Balinese gaff, the family were playing poker. Joe had never played before; he is not a gambling man. According to press reports, Joe pulled $200 out of his pocket and began playing under the tutelage of the family.
After a while, as Joe began feeling more comfortable, a wealthy looking man entered the game. The family told Joe the man was in the diamond and oil business (I think the scammers need to replace this part of the ploy with a youngster in a baseball cap and hoodie).
The tycoon whips two grand out of his pocket. Joe doesn’t have the money. The family front him and keep fronting him until the tycoon is placing a bet of $50,000. The family tell Joe that he can’t lose. Now, this is where reports get a little sketchy. At some point, Joe flies back to Perth and returns with $50,000 in cash. I have to assume he lost the bet and felt the need to return home to collect the money. The game continued, and Joe eventually lost his entire $200,000 pension savings (several flights later), which he handed to two family members in a KFC in Manila, and they skedaddled with it.
Joe told the press he was trying to help the family.
“I worked hard all my life, and it’s gone in five minutes.” Said, Joe as a warning to anyone else falling for the charms of the Balinese women, their food or the game of poker.
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection Penny Lipscombe said the scam is not a new one and warned visitors not to fall for the ruse.
I got it.
Don’t get robbed, buggered or eaten by sharks.
Don’t contract Ebola.
Don’t go to a strangers house to play poker, lose $50k in a $200 sit down game, fly home, withdraw my life savings, return, and hand my life over to a complete stranger.
Damn it, that was my only option of getting my little girl to the Green School. I had better get my wellies on.