Australian Man Loses Pension in $200,000 Poker Scam

9 months ago
Australian Man Loses Pension in $200,000 Poker Scam
12 Mar

An Australian grandfather has ended up penniless after fallen victim to a elaborate poker scam on the island of Bali, costing him his $200,000 pension and leaving him “devastated”.

The 66-year old from Perth, named only as Joe, was visiting the popular holiday destination last October when he became involved with a local family after a woman struck up a conversation with him at a shopping centre.

The Set Up

The Perth man was invited to the family home to talk about his home town, but soon found himself involved in an expensive poker game after family members taught him how to play – and the whole situation became much more serious, eventually costing him his entire superannuation pension.

According to, he was ‘persuaded to put down $200 as a starting bet’, even though Joe says he is not usually a gambler.

The Hook

When another man entered the game later, who Joe says ‘seemed very rich and claimed to work in the diamond and oil industries’, the Australian was also convinced to take money from the family and bet it – which Joe did, saying he ‘was motivated by wanting to help the poor family members’, and agreeing to split the winnings.

With the stakes increasing, the supposed ‘diamond and oil’ player bet $50,000 – and with Joe being dealt a hand which the family members ‘convinced him that he couldn't lose’ with, he flew back to his native Perth, and ‘returned with $50,000 in cash’.

The Sting

When the Aussie grandfather returned to Bali, he ‘gave the family members the cash as they met at a KFC in Manila’, the capital of the Philippines. According to press and police reports, they then ‘left him at the table to go to the bathroom but never returned’.

Joe told the ‘Today Tonight’ news programme:

“I've lost my whole superannuation for my retirement. I've worked since I was 15 and it's all gone. All my retirement's all gone. What am I going to do now? It just made me feel sick and then everything went into my mind stupid. I worked hard all my life and it's all gone in five minutes.”

Australia’s Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Penny Lipscombe, explained that:

"This scam is identical to the previous reports we have received. Victims are duped into believing that they have a winning hand and it's impossible to lose so this entices them to invest more of their money into the game." She added: "We strongly advise anyone going overseas not to get involved in these games as tempting as the proposition may be at the time. The perpetrators are professional criminals so won't take no for an answer and put enormous pressure on their victims to take part."

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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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