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Thread: 2022 WSOP Main Event winner Espen Jorstad accused by fellow pro Alex Theologis of stiffing him on 3% swap worth $300k

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    2022 WSOP Main Event winner Espen Jorstad accused by fellow pro Alex Theologis of stiffing him on 3% swap worth $300k

    Remember in 2006, when small time Hollywood agent Crispin Leyser accused fellow agent-turned-Main-Event-Champ Jamie Gold of stiffing him of $6 million? Leyser claimed that he and Gold had been awarded one seat by Bodog in exchange for getting Matthew Lillard to play the Main in Bodog gear, and they had to decide which one of them would play. Leyser claimed that he and Gold agreed that Gold would be the player, but they'd split the winnings 50-50. Gold went on to win the $12 Million top prize, but claimed Leyser was lying. Fortunately for Leyser, he had a voicemail from Gold saved, promising him the money. Oops! (They ended up settling out of court after a lawsuit was filed over the matter.)

    Well, something similar is happening sixteen years later, except on a much smaller scale.

    And this time, it appears the Main Event winner might be the one in the right.

    Norwegian Espen Jorstad, who won the 2022 Main Event for $10 Million, came to Twitter yesterday to tell everyone that Alex Theologis has been spreading rumors that he's owed 3% of Jorstad's score, via a Main Event "swap" they did.

    For those that don't know, swaps involve two players in the same event agreeing to trade a piece of each other's action. This is quite common, and sometimes occurs before the event, and other times occurs during the event. In fact, I did a small (2%) swap with Victor Ramdin during the Seniors Event, when we saw each other in the hallway during a day 2 break, and we had relatively equivalent chips (I had a bit more than him at the time). He lasted longer than me, so he owed me around $160, which he paid.

    Here's Jorstad's tweet, and then I will post the full story he linked:

    https://twitter.com/#!/x/status/1564322263599554563


    Quote Originally Posted by Espen Jorstad
    he following post is regarding a swap dispute with community member Alex Theologis, aka Pwndidi.

    After having a pretty uncomfortable experience a couple of days ago, it became clear to me that this is a situation that needs addressing before the rumour mill gets going. Iíll get back to the mentioned incident at end of this text, but first I'll describe the specifics of the swap dispute.

    On the 13th of July (day 7 of the main event), I got the following messages from Alex:
    1: https://gyazo.com/97d18bd0704504c26e74a953bbf662e5
    2: https://gyazo.com/fa05f42fddedbbe9ba68f462da574d49
    3: https://gyazo.com/5c9429512172bfb951c6b88e652065cb

    Alex also approached Patrick Leonard (Pads) around this time, saying that he had an awkward situation. He explained that he thought he had swapped with me, but could not find any evidence for the swap. Pads asked me about it, and I told him that I had no memory of ever swapping with Alex. By the time I was chip leader going into the final table, Alex had become certain that there was a swap in place. Fwiw I think this is probably a cognitive bias on his part and not something based on ill intent.

    We go on to meet at a hotel in Vegas, and we talk about the situation. I explain to Alex that I have no recollection of swapping with him and that I have no records of it either. Whenever I swapped with people for the main (or any other tournament) we always confirmed it in a chat, and I also wrote it down in my own document to keep track. For Alex, I had neither.
    Next part of the conversation below:
    https://gyazo.com/751eb85ff10dfd3c33524e38f6aa6885

    Key points:
    - Before the main event we had only met twice, and we have never swapped in anything else.
    - I have no recollection of swapping with him.
    - I did not have it written down.
    - He did not have it written down.
    - We had nothing about it in our chat.
    - For every other swap during WSOP I immediately wrote it down in my own document + confirmed in chats. I have to assume this is routine on his part too.
    - Alex did not remember when or where we had this swap convo, or any other details about it.

    I strongly believe that it is crystal clear that there is no swap. However, if the community disagrees with me, Iím happy to go to arbitration with Ike, Timex etc, and if they believe the swap is on I will happily pay Alex the 3%.

    If anyone has comments Iím happy to hear them and I'll gladly answer any questions on the matter. I hold my own integrity in very high regard (which is why this situation is very frustrating to me). Iím sure anyone who knows me well will attest to this.

    To go back to the situation I mentioned at the beginningÖ During a meet-up game I was playing in Cyprus two nights ago, a clearly intoxicated Irish fellow came up to my table and pointed at me, saying ępay the man his money, pay the man his money. You know what Iím talking about, pay him his 3%Ľ. He proceeded to get right up to me and said stuff like ędo you want to discuss it outside??Ľ etc in a pretty aggro manner, basically hinting there would be violence if I did not pay Alex. I calmly told him that ęIím not sure what youíve heard, and from who, but I donít owe Alex 3%.Ľ I explained that my conscience was clean, and in the end he said he believed me, and walked off. Fwiw I have no reason to believe that Alex knows this Irish guy, and he probably just heard about the situation through the grapevine. I by no means think that Alex would want this situation to occur.

    Regardless, it was a very uncomfortable situation, having a drunk aggro guy in my face ęwanting to discuss it outsideĽ, and questioning my integrity and credibility in a public setting. Itís also not the first time I get approached with this, as I also got a DM on Instagram a couple of weeks ago, telling me to ępay Alex his 3%Ľ.

    I'll give Alex the benefit of the doubt here, and I don't think he is trying to tarnish my rep out of spite or anything like that. He probably mentioned it to a couple of close friends in confidentiality, and then someone he told started spreading it. In any case, itís important to me to tell my side of the story here, as people absolutely love gossiping about situations like this, and I donít want it to get out of hand.

    Theologis did not bring this to social media. Jorstad brought it up himself, feeling the need to get ahead of the situation.

    I will comment more on this in the next post.

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Here is a picture of Alex Theologis:




    Alex has a bracelet, and about $2 million in tournament cashes: https://www.cardplayer.com/poker-pla...dros-theologis



    Clearly he is a competent player, but did Jorstad really do a 3% swap and forget about having done so?

    I doubt it. Note that in the story, Alex supposedly did not remember when or where the swap occurred -- simply that it happened! I find that very hard to believe. Notice that even I remember the circumstances of my small swap with Victor Ramdin in the Seniors Event -- despite it netting me a whopping $160!

    More notably, even though the story is only being made public now, it took place in July when Jorstad was in Day 7 of the Main. At that point, Alex would have definitely remembered the details of the swap, as there's no way it would have been that long prior.

    I will admit that, in the few swaps I've done, I never got anything in writing. I have only done a Main Event swap once, but this was 1% between several parties back in 2006 -- and only one of us cashed. This was indirectly done in writing, as we had the discussion via AIM. If someone wanted to swap 3% with me in the Main, and I agreed, would I demand something in writing? Yes and no. It would depend upon the person and their reputation and financial situation, as well as how well I know them. Since 3% of the Main is potentially $300k, it's probably worth getting something in writing (even as simple as a text message), but if $300k isn't life-changing money to the person involved, and if they have a good history of integrity, then it's unlikely they would scam you.

    It is highly unlikely that Espen Jorstad, who is well respected in poker and never been involved in any scandals, would intentionally stiff Alex out of $300k when he's just won $10 million. However, is it possible that Jorstad simply forgot about the swap?

    I guess anything is possible, but it's not likely.

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    Patrick Leonard, who has been in the middle of this whole thing, has had this to say:

    https://twitter.com/#!/x/status/1564329521100345348
    https://twitter.com/#!/x/status/1564330443134337024


    Josh Arieh is not having it:

    https://twitter.com/#!/x/status/1564482094876676097



    I agree with Josh. There is no freeroll against Alex here, if they go to arbitration -- the freeroll is against Espen!

    It's very simple: If you don't remember having done a swap, and if there's zero evidence of the swap (and the accuser can't even remember where/when it was made), then the swap didn't exist.


    The community is largely on Espen's side here. I hope he doesn't back down.

    Timex (Mike McDonald) wouldn't be a good arbitrator, though. As sharp as he is with prop bets and everything else, he's also often immature and has really weird takes on some things. I wouldn't trust him to come to a fair decision. Ike Haxton would be the better choice of the two, but even he is out in left field sometimes.

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