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EPT9 Prague: Midday update

It becomes increasingly evident the more tournaments you visit that the opening exchanges are not especially relevant in the wider scheme of things. Even the big pots from the opening days rarely represent much more than an ante by the time we reach a final table, and it is difficult to get excited about anything rendered so quickly irrelevant.

However by the time we get to about the mid-way point of day two - ie, now - the tournament tends to be taking shape. In addition to the hand-by-hand updates you can find at the top of the main EPT Prague page, we will also try to provide an overview of the way the tournament is going in a regular post we are calling: "Midday update". Basically, this is an update from the middle of the day. It's not rocket science.

Right now, there are about 270 players remaining from the 864 total that started the tournament and 462 who returned to play day two. The top of the leader board is dominated by names that before this week we had barely heard of, much less were able to spell.

Iosif Beskrovnyy, our Day 1A chip leader, has continued to prosper. Although he has only added about 30,000 to his overnight stack, that gives him 270,000, which leads the pack.

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Iosif Beskrovnyy: Yes, that's a double "y"

His countryman Sergey Kuzminskiy has about 250,000, while Sergio Espina is sandwiched by both of the Russians. He has 260,000 and is the latest to make a bid at a maiden title for Spain.

The biggest mover of the day is Johnny Lodden, who has more than doubled his overnight stack of 93,000. Lodden now sits with about 230,000, which is a top-five stack.

The thing with Lodden is that he could easily double it again, or easily dust it off. It's almost impossible to say when talking about the ultimate in swing players. He is fascinating to watch, but it's not great for the heart rates of his nearest and dearest.

Pier Paolo Fabretti - who is being filmed for MTV - is also enjoying one of his best EPT events of his career so far. Fabretti has already outlasted his Italian Team PokerStars Pro colleagues Luca Pagano, Dario Minieri, Salvatore Bonavena and Max Martinez and is now flying the flag with about 210,000.

But there are big names aplenty still loitering with intent in the middle of the field: Marc-Andre Ladouceur (202,000) has the momentum of the French Canadians with him; Andrew "tufat" Teng (185,000) is certain to final table one of these things soon; John Taramas (160,000) is busy proving his third place in Loutraki was no fluke; and Richard Toth (115,000) is still well in the mix.

The average stack is about 96,000, which means that anyone with a stack of there or thereabouts has the chance to win this thing still. That includes Alex Kravchenko, Mike Watson, JC Alvarado or Aaron Gustavsson, while ElkY, Jeff Sarwer or Martin Finger are still clinging on too.

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Alex Kravchenko: still there to be counted in Prague

However the day, and tournament, is already over for Eugene Katchalov, Praz Bansi, Toby Lewis, Jason Mercier and Philipp Gruissem, among many others. Fortunate that there are still about a million side events to keep them entertained.

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Gloomy news for Eugene Katchalov

Follow hand-by-hand coverage, plus latest chip counts, in the panel at the top of the main EPT Prague page.

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