steps on Party or Full Tilt
No finance in this one, except the mention that playing poker re-enforces the disciplines necessary to succeed in investments.
I've tried the step tournaments on party poker with fair success. I have trouble maintaining interest with so many maniacs at the lower levels and so much repetition to advance through to the end. The structure makes it tough on good players. You are likely to have the super loose survivors end up with huge stacks early; and then have to slowly wear them down. In a small tourny with rapid level increases, there frequently isn't enough time. No limit holdem tables at Party are still an excellent profit source due to the maniacs and loose play in general; And a few rocks to bleed at each table. If you play at Party, get Poker Tracker, the first 1000 hands are free, the extra money you make and the holes you patch in your game will endure.
Full Tilt online poker has much tougher games. I like that in small tournaments. They have a low entry $4.40 qualifier that leads to the June 19, 30 WSOP seat guarantee tourney, with just one step in the middle. I love the thought of a 30 seat guarantee, being good enough to survive to the last 3 tables is a lot easier than winning the whole thing.
I gave it a try this last week. I blew out of the first $4.40 on the first hand, KK lp in the pocket, raised pre flop with several calls. The ep raised on the J&rags flop, several calls, my re-raise was met by his all in. Everyone else folded, He had AJo, an ace hit and I was gone. Dropped another $4.40 and entered again, won this one. Went to the $24 + 2 on the token. 49 players, all fairly good, no maniacs at least. Several players were very good, probably much better than myself. The joy of not being sucked out, they knew how to fold. There were plays put on, steals made and challenged, a great, enjoyable game where I had to pay attention to survive. The final three fought long and hard for the two tokens to the $500 +50, 30 seat WSOP guarantee. I managed to double up myself and cripple the leader when he thought my check raise to half my chips was a bluff and two queens had flopped, he re-raised me all in. In his defence he had seen me caught in a similar, smaller, bluff before, and I had folded to a large re-raise that time. My trips were good enough, he was gone in just 15 or 20 more hands. The win after that was anti-climatic since I had most of the chips, and we two remaining shared the two token prize. He went all in, I called, and I got lucky. Game over.
A most enjoyable game, and I improved my game against tough opponents.
I have trouble covering the rake in the no limit games at Full Tilt. I'm just barely negitive after you figure in the slow payout on their 100% bonus. But my game is improving, and I can't just use the stratagies that work so well at Party, so my stratagy is becoming more diverse. I also don't have enough hands to be statisticly significant. I could be far better or far worse than I think I am. I look forward to Poker Tracker working on Full Tilt, that is supposed to happen soon. I will start winning at Full Tilt table games, soon, I think.
Full Tilt's short steps paid off in several ways. Not just spending $8.80 to enter a $500 +50 tournament I would have paid full pop to enter.