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Misunderstanding in poker-related transactions between players is not uncommon. Still, when a dispute is brought out in public, it can cause quite a stir within the poker community, especially when the parties involved are prominent players. This is precisely what happened when the 2022 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event champion Espen Jorstad tweeted details of a swap dispute with Greece’s Alex “Pwndidi” Theologis.
On August 29, Jorstad tweeted about a swap dispute with Theologis.
The following post is regarding a WSOP main event swap dispute with community member Alex Theologis, aka Pwndidi:
— Espen Uhlen Jørstad (@UhlenPoker) August 29, 2022
As the story goes, on Day 7 of the Main Event, the Greek player approached Jorstad about a 3% swap he had allegedly made with him in the Main Event. While Jorstad had no recollection or documentation of the swap, Theologis said that while he did not remember when and where the swap was agreed upon, he believed it was verbally agreed upon. The duo further discussed the matter in person and on Instagram, and upon reaching no conclusion, the matter was left unattended by both parties.
Up until this point, all was forgotten. However, things took an unexpected turn recently. Jorstad, who recently placed second in The One Drop Event at 2022 Luxon Pay Mediterranean Poker Party (MPP), was confronted by an intoxicated man during a meet-up game in Cyprus for not paying up Theologis.
Jorstad was rather disheartened about his integrity being questioned publicly and asked the poker community about their opinion on the matter, saying, “I strongly believe that it is crystal clear that there is no swap. However, if the community disagrees with me, I’m happy to go to arbitration with Ike, Timex, etc. If they believe the swap is on, I will happily pay Alex the 3%.”
After the dispute was made public, many prominent poker players tweeted their support for the World Champion.
For those who may not know, a swap is an agreement between players (generally good players) who agree to exchange a percentage of their potential winnings in a particular tournament to reduce the variance.
It all started on Day 7 of the Main Event. Jorstad was leading the unofficial final table with 83,200,000 in chips (69 Big Blinds) alongside United States’ Matthew Su (83,200,000 chips ~ 69 Big Blinds) when he received an Instagram message from Theologis asking about the 3% prize swap in the Main Event. Jorstad had no recollection or documentation about the swap and asked Theologis where it happened.
Theologis also did not remember when and where the swap took place and emphasized that he was sure they had verbally agreed to swap. The duo further discussed the matter in person and on Instagram, and upon reaching no conclusion, the issue was left unattended by both parties.
Jorstad shared four screenshots of his Instagram DMs with Theologis. The messages revealed Theologis had claimed to have swapped 3% in the WSOP Main Event with Jorstad — which, before taxes, would be about $300,000 — surprisingly, Theologis does not have a written note of the swap, nor could he remember where the swap took place.
In a blog shared by Jorstad, where he has listed down all the events relating to the swap, he claimed to have “no memory” and “no records” of ever swapping with Theologis, who he said he had only met a few times and had “never swapped in anything else.”
Series of Events
On July 13, just before Day 7 of the Main Event, Jorstad received Instagram messages from Theologis asking about the swap. Jorstad responded that he didn’t have anything written down about swapping and asked Theologis where it happened.
Jorstad shared a list of all the people he had swapped with during the WSOP, claiming he did not remember making the swap deal with Theologis.
The Greek player even reached out to Jorstad, congratulating him on his win and asking to meet up, which the latter agreed to.
As it turned out, Theologis has no documentation regarding the swap. On July 22, Jorstad told Theologis that even after giving it much thought, he could not recollect any details regarding the swap. Theologis replied on July 29. Though disappointed, he seemed to accept that nothing much could come of the issue.
Jorstad Tweets Asking For Arbitration on Swap Dispute
Recently, during a meet-up game in Cyprus, Jorstad encountered an intoxicated Irish man who pointed at Jorstad before saying, “pay the man his money, pay the man his money. You know what I’m talking about; pay him his 3%.”
This was not the end as the inebriated individual aggressively suggested, “do you want to discuss it outside?” Jorstad retaliated by saying, “I’m not sure what you’ve heard and from who, but I don’t owe Alex 3%.” And after some explanation, the Irish man walked off.
Jorstad believes that Theologis does not know this Irish guy. Regardless, the situation was rather unpleasant, and the Main Event champion did not like his integrity and credibility being questioned in a public setting. Jorstad also said he had received a DM on Instagram sometime back, telling him to “pay Alex his 3%.”
Jorstad had had enough unpleasantries due to this incident and said, “I strongly believe that it is crystal clear that there is no swap. However, if the community disagrees with me, I’m happy to go to arbitration with Ike, Timex, etc. If they believe the swap is on, I will happily pay Alex the 3%.”
“If anyone has comments, I’m happy to hear them, and I’ll gladly answer any questions on the matter. I hold my integrity in very high regard (which is why this situation is frustrating). I’m sure anyone who knows me well will attest to this.”
Theologis Shares His Side of the Story
In an interview, Theologis said that Jorstad’s description of the events was “pretty spot-on” but added that he believes a verbal swap took place.
Theologis said he had spoken to Jorstad on multiple occasions throughout the WSOP, including tournament breaks and while on the rail in the Tag Team Event – which Jorstad won.
“So we had a few times where we met and spoke, so I don’t remember exactly when it happened,” said Theologis.
Theologis notified that he had been messaging Jorstad on Instagram in the early stages of the Main Event and reached out to the other half of the 2022 WSOP Tag Team Event champions, Patrick “Pads” Leonard, over concerns about Jorstad not remembering the swap “long before the final table.”
“I think this is sort of important to point out that it’s not after Espen won that I decided to (say) ‘Hey hey, you owe me money.’ It was long before even the final table was made that the issue first appeared,” he said.
Theologis accepted Jorstad did not believe there was a swap and said he had no plans to fuel the dispute.
“Our last communication was over a month ago about the swap,” he said. “I’m not making drama out of it; I’m not asking for him to pay me. I understand that if he doesn’t remember it and I have no proof, it doesn’t matter. It’s over.”
Theololgis owned up that he “should always confirm my swaps 100%” but added that “I had a bunch of verbal swaps that we didn’t confirm in chat. It wasn’t just Espen.”
While he accepted Jorstad’s position, Theologis said that “if I had that situation occur to me from the other way around … I would have reacted differently. I wouldn’t have taken his stance.”
Theologis also banished the idea that he was trying to scam Jorstad, calling the notion of making up or lying about a swap “so crazy.”
“I’ve been playing high stakes for a very long time now, and I’ve never had any financial disputes with anyone,” concluded Theologis.
Poker Community Reacts
Several well-known names within the poker fraternity reacted to Jorstad`s tweet.
3- Espen simply forgot the swap because it happened so quickly/drunk maybe and Alex also doesn’t remember it because so quick/drunk and neither wrote for same reason
4- Alex swapped with somebody else (maybe somebody else at that dinner?) he remembers being Espen at time
— Patrick Leonard (@padspoker) August 29, 2022
The last message sounds like an ex trying to hurt you after a bad breakup
I think he believes there was a swap convo between you, but swap is off if there’s 0 recollection and no record
Your message is imo designed for people to confirm your POV
— Fedor Holz 🐧 (@CrownUpGuy) August 29, 2022
Absolutely no swap was in place.
Don’t get bullied by this guy. https://t.co/Mqkz6ljoFy
— Allen Kessler (@AllenKessler) August 29, 2022
Pretty clear no swap.. Sorry you’re going through this though, really lame situation.
— Scott Ball (@EndGameScott) August 29, 2022