WSOP Main Event Champion Espen Jorstad Denies Making 3% Swap with Alex Theologis

  • Theologis claims he made a 3% swap agreement with Jorstad before the Main Event
  • Jorstad brought the story to light after a threatening incident in Cyprus
  • Neither player can produce any evidence that a swap was agreed to
  • The poker community has largely backed Jorstad in the disagreement
pocket Kings
2022 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Espen Jorstad denies making a swap agreement with fellow poker pro Alex Theologis. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Cyprus incident prompts post

Norwegian poker pro Espen Jorstad scored a career-defining victory in July when he won the 2022 World Series of Poker Main Event, taking home a $10m prize. That win has brought controversy with it, however, as fellow pro Alex Theologis claims he agreed to a swap with Jorstad which should have netted him 3% of the massive payday.

Jorstad wrote about the situation on social media Monday, bringing the issue to the public after he says someone indirectly threatened him while in Cyprus.

According to Jorstad, “a clearly intoxicated Irish fellow” approached him during a poker game in Cyprus, demanding that he “pay the man his money.” Jorstad says he explained the situation to the man, who eventually walked off without incident.

Theologis would be entitled to $300,000 in winnings

If the two men agreed to the swap, Theologis would be entitled to $300,000 in winnings before taxes. Jorstad publicly acknowledged making many WSOP swaps with other players, including 14 such agreements in the Main Event:

In total, Jorstad said he kept about 56% of his action for the $10,000 buy-in tournament.

No evidence of swap

However, those swaps don’t include the one in question with Theologis. In his post, Jorstad shared messages exchanged with Theologis, in which the supposed swap comes up on Day 7 of the Main Event. Jorstad eventually reached the final table of the Main Event as the chip leader.

“Btw our swap is for 3% right?” Theologis writes in the Instagram exchange. “I looked in our chat but we didn’t confirm it in writing.”

“Don’t have written down anything about us swapping,” Jorstad replied. “When/where did we do this?”

Both men agreed that they had no records of a swap.

Jorstad says that the two met at a hotel in Las Vegas to discuss the situation. Both men agreed that they had no records of a swap. Jorstad maintains that he has no recollection of any such agreement, despite Theologis’ insistence that a deal was in place. According to Jorstad, the two had only met twice, had never previously made a swap, and Theologis couldn’t recall anything about when they made the supposed agreement.

While Jorstad said he is certain that no swap took place, he doesn’t believe Theologis is acting in bad faith. He also offered to arbitrate the situation if the poker community thought it was possible that there had been an agreement.

Poker community backs Jorstad

Many poker players did respond to the situation, with almost all of them taking Jorstad’s side:

“Personally feel you’re being far too kind towards Alex here,” poker commentator Henry Kilbane said in a reply to Jorstad on Twitter. “This strikes me as someone who is masterfully manipulative.”

Others were kinder to Theologis, while still agreeing that Jorstad was in the right:

“I doubt anyone here is acting in bad faith,” Tony Dunst tweeted. “Given that you created written records for all swaps and have no recollection of the agreement, I’d say you don’t owe Alex anything.”

Jorstad also shared later messages with Theologis, in which the Greek online pro shared his disappointment with the outcome of their conversations.

“I feel so betrayed and disappointed I guess,” Theologis wrote. “Lesson learnt I guess, not sure how you can sleep at night and be happy with yourself but yeah.”