Espen Uhlen Jrstad shared details of the swap dispute

Espen Uhlen Jrstad shared details of the swap dispute


Norwegian poker player Espen Uhlen Jrstad, who won the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2022, has clarified that he never agreed to swap chips with Greek pro Alexandros Theologis. Theologis claimed that Jrstad had agreed to swap his chips for 3% of his $10 million paycheck. Jrstad said that he never agreed to swap chips with Theologis.

In an era when poker pros frequently swap pieces of action with each other in major events, it is a certainty that a few of these swaps go awry. Espen Uhlen Jrstad shared details about a swap involving three percent of his life-changing win, though the most likely explanation is that the swap never actually occurred.

Jrstad asked for the help of veterans in the poker community about the swap claimed by Greek pro Alexandros Theologis, who is also an instructor for Phil Galfond’s RunIt. This was offered as a conversation starter by Jrstad.

Jrstad explained further details of the alleged swap, one that he claims never occurred, in a post on the twit longer. Jrstad appears to have come under some pressure to make good on the supposed swap, not only from Theologis, but from at least one other player, who approached Jrstad at a cash game in Cyprus and stated something like, You know what I mean, pay him his 3%, in an aggressive and threatening manner.

Theologis told another outlet that he didn’t know who the intoxicated player was and never asked anyone to act aggressively toward Jrstad about the swap. Theologis said that he had walked away from the matter a month ago, and that it was likely Jrstad’s encounter with the intoxicated player in Cyprus that prompted him to detail the story.

Jrstad also posted four snippets of ongoing text messages between him and Theologis, which begin with Theologis inquiring about the 3% swap he thought was in place, Jrstad checking through his list of swaps, and noting no such deal with Theologi. Lesson learned, not sure how you can sleep at night and be happy with yourself.

Theologis may have experienced what Jrstad termed a “cognitive bias”, willing an agreed-upon swap into place where no such deal ever occurred. According to Jrstad.

Other pros agree with Jrstad’s interpretation of the facts

The details provided by Jrstad paint a rather convincing picture that neither a deal nor a meeting of the minds was ever in place. Many pros said that he shouldn’t be pressured into sending Theologis the 3%, which would have been $300,000 of Jrstad’s $10 million paycheck. These comments were included in the sample comments.

On the seventh day of the main event, Theologis approached Jrstad about the swap. According to Jrstad, Theologis had mentioned a swap to noted pro Patrick Leonard, and that Alex also approached Patrick Leonard. He said that he thought he had swapped with me, but couldn’t find any proof. I told Pads that I had never swapped with Alex, and that he asked about it.

Theologis admitted that he had talked to Leonard at least a couple of days earlier and that it might get awkward because they didn’t confirm in chat. Jrstad had no record of a swap deal in either place, and he always records his swaps in two different ways.

After Jrstad entered that day’s play as the chip leader, the weight of Jrstad’s hunch was added to by the fact that at least two days elapsed between Theologis’s claimed chat with Leonard and his subsequent Main Event Day 7 contact with J Leonard then offered his own thoughts on the situation.

The majority of opinions to date favoring Jrstad make a need for mediation unlikely, though Jrstad asked for further input from pros.

Main event swaps have created controversy in the past

Even if Jrstad’s current situation doesn’t qualify for a Main Event swap, it’s no surprise that there are occasional controversies about it. Nick Marchington was sued by a group of stakers who had bought pieces of Marchington’s Main Event action, only to see Marchington back out of the deal while claiming he wasn’t going to play the ME. Marchington received an even more generous offer from different backers, and made it all the way to the final table, triggering the breaching-contract claims.

The saga of Jamie Gold’s 2006 triumph in the Main Event for a still-record $12 million payouts is the granddaddy of all ME swap disputes. Gold received his own $10K seat as payment for putting together a celebrity team of players for Bodog Poker. In exchange for Bruce Crispin Leyser getting half of anything Gold won, Gold brought on Bruce Crispin Leyser to help secure some celebrity players.

Leyser had his share of the $12 million first-placePayout frozen until a settlement was reached early in 2007, after Leyser sued Gold for being slow in paying his share. Gold was threatened with a lawsuit by another man, Francis Dellavecchia, who claimed that Gold had promised him 1% of his winnings from that same event for providing similar celebrity-signing tasks. Bodog had a publicity firm called Riptown Media that Dellavecchia was a part of.