The Great US Poker SwindleMarch 21, 2011 10:50 am
With a plot line resembling something from ‘The Sting,’ police have recently issued a warning for live poker players to be on their guard after a group of grifters have been relieving gullible players of their cash.
Apparently, the group has had no trouble finding an endless supply of marks and have successfully been working their con across the US since 2003. Equally surprising is that professional scamsters are able to pull their stunt up to four times a day, netting thousands of dollars at a time.
In the most recent incident, Alex Tkach of Vancouver media and film industry fame was the latest mark to succumb to the groups swindle and was relieved of $9,000 of his money before he knew what had happened.
Basically, the group’s deception involves setting up a fake business deal with a deep pocketed businessman, before then manoeuvring him over to a poker table. In this instance, Tkach was to be involved in a $125,000 deal to base the men’s so-called reputable company in Surrey but found himself at the poker table while visiting the men at their rented office in Burnaby.
Alex Tkach was told the four businessmen playing sevencard stud were just finishing off a party thrown for a friend, when he was then asked to play a hand after one of the men received a phone call and had to leave the table in a hurry.
Instantly, Tkach won $2,000 for the absent player who then rewarded him with $1,000 for “winning him all that money.”
Tkach was then persuaded to play one more hand and was dealt a three 9’s and two 4’s full-house. Without enough money to cover the burgeoning pot, Tkach confidently agreed to cover any potential losses should he lose by going to the bank after the hand and sure enough he soon found himself down $9,000 to his opponent’s three jacks and two 6s.
After paying the men off, Tkach said he didn’t realise he had been scammed until reading a Hamilton police warning much later.
Unfortunately, the Burnaby RCMP said because Tkach willingly participated in the game there was little they could do. However, Tkach has since seen a lighter side to his being tricked and said:
“Everybody at the table has a role. Everyone has a script. Everything happens for a reason. It was so well played, I wish I could have recorded it.”