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Step Higher, Step Lower

, 2005-04-22, by TwoGun

The original Party Poker steps tournaments are widely popular These are single-table sit and go tournaments where players at lower buy-ins win entries into higher buy-in single-table tournaments. You can work your way up from a $11+$1 buy-in up to a $1000+$65 buy-in tournament.

The original steps tournaments had a pretty large rake, but it was not extreme. The rake was large because plaeyrs would often win entries into lower buy-in steps tournaments. For example, for step 4, the buyin was $500+$35. The top four received a buy-in into the highest step tournament, fifth place received a buy-in into another step four, and 6-8 received a buy-in to step two.

When a person received a buy-in into another steps tournament, Party Poker receives additional rake. The reason is because the money from the prize pool is used for the buy-in as well as the entry fee for the steps tournaments. So basically, if you win an entry into another steps tournament, Party gets to charge their fee again. So they want you to keep on playing and playing steps tournaments so they can charge more fees. This money does not come striaght from your pocket; it comes from the prize pool. Therefore, people often do not realize they are being charged these fees.

For the original steps, the rake was not so high as to make these tournaments unplayable. Most of the time, you were able to move up or down the steps fairly quickly, so you did not continuously pay more money in rake.

Party has launched two new steps tournaments, which both have very harsh rakes. For example, their "Step Higher" starts with a $30+$3 buy-in and escalates all the way up to a $15000+$500 buy-in.

The reason the rake is so large in this step higher is illustrated by step four, the $3000+$300 buy-in. Party awards only one seat from step four into step five. Players 2-5 play Step Four again, players 6-7 play Step 3 again, and player 8 plays step 2 again. Player 9 receives a whopping $90 cash.

Anyway, Party makes tons of money off of this because players repeatedly keep on playing in the steps tournament, so they keep on being able to charge more and more money in entry fees.

The same logic applies to the new "Mini-Steps." These buy-ins start as low as $5+$1 all the way up to $400+$30. Because people generally just win buy-ins to more steps tournaments, Party ends up eating most of the money in the prize pool through entry fees.

While the decision to play in these tournaments ultimately lies with the player, I would avoid them. The original steps are okay, but these new steps tournaments (as well as the WSOP steps) simply have too high of a rake to justify playing in them.

For more information about Party Poker, check out the Party Poker Review.

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