EPT11 Prague: High-flying Brian Altman leads at end of tortuous day

Day 2 is a cruel day on the European Poker Tour. It is the one on which great pools of diamonds appear shimmering on the distant horizon, but which turn out for most players to be mere mirages by the time six levels have been played.

Today in the Czech capital, where it was confirmed that the main event of the EPT Prague Poker Festival has broken its own attendance record, the prospect of close to a million euros was dangled in front of the masses. By the time it came to bag chips for the night, more than 400 of its suitors were slain.

They included the World Champion -- Martin Jacobson was pegged back to size -- and some former champions couldn't make it through the day -- Kevin MacPhee, Dimitar Danchev, Harrison Gimbel, Bertrand Grospellier and Benny Spindler were knocked out. But when the ability to trudge on was beyond so many fine talents, others found it in their bones to sprint ahead.

The leader of the pack tonight, looking for a first prize of €969,000, is Brian Altman, the PokerStars qualifier we met for the first time towards the end of Day 1A. The man from Massachusetts, now living in Canada, has never before cashed on the EPT, but has a stack of 704,100 already and will have to pull off some kind of miracle to miss the money.

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High flying Brian Altman

He already had more than 500,000 when they called last hand for the night, and then won a huge pot right at the death to put clear air between him and the chasing pack. Earlier in the day, Altman was picked to be followed by the EPT Live cameras, and made the most of his time in the sun. He is in this tournament for €320, so is on a huge spin up.

Over his shoulder, Altman will see the following:

Gustav Nordh, 584,000
Omar Lakhdari, 568,000
Stephen Graner, 558,200
Andras Nemeth, 442,900
Rhys Jones, 411,900
Pablo Sanz Quiles, 397,600
Jonathan Wong 397,100
Artem Metalidi, 357,900
Simon Ravnsbaek, 352,800
Davidi Kitai, 342,300
Mickey Petersen, 168,000
Vanessa Selbst, 139,000
Eugene Katchalov, 116,300
Johnny Lodden, 56,600
George Danzer, 38,700

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Liv Boeree and Omar Lakhdari, both through a tough day two

Thirteen players entered this tournament before the start of Day 2, bringing the total for the tournament as a whole up to 1,107 - an increase of precisely 100 on last year. Including the newbies, there were 613 in the starting field today, but only about 200 at the end.

They will burst through the money bubble tomorrow, which is otherwise known as "Day 3", and then it will be choppy waters through another three days until we know our champion.

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Pieter de Korver: One champ still in

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ElkY: One champ now out

You can look back on the action from today on the Main Event page. There are blow-by-blow reports and full chip counts in the panel at the top of the page and feature pieces below.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in Prague