Party Poker - Home of Step Tournaments
The buy-ins for Party Poker's step tournaments are $11+$1, $50+$5, $200+$15, $500+$35, and finally, $1,000 +$65.
The idea is basically this: A player enters the $11 tournament, and if she places well, she wins an entry to the $50 tournament. If she's successful at that level as well, she climbs to the next step, and so on. Consequently, a player can for a small price win an entry to a high-stakes sit-and-go - a little like a series satellite tournaments, which end in a $1,000 main event.
It's possible, however, to buy in directly at any level, so players can decide where they want to start. The $1,000 step is therefore heavily populated with high-stake regulars accompanied with a couple of players who have made the journey through small and mid stakes.
More Players Advance at the Higher Levels
At the lower levels, only two players advance to the next step. This requires a quite aggressive approach to the game and you want to build a stack by risking your tournament life - winning coin-flips and applying pressure on your opponents.
On the higher levels, however, more players advance. At the forth step, for instance, four player win an entry to the $1,000 step, and the fifth player wins another entry to the $500 step. Therefore, you have the opportunity to play a little more careful than at the first steps. But this could also be easily exploited since a lot of players will try to avoid coin-toss situations, especially if you have a decent amount of chips.
Although it's quite hard to get to the highest step - where the pros unfortunately sit and wait - step tournaments are a good way to get to high-stake action for a small buy-in.