Dave Betten Takes Top Spot in <I>TSC's </I>Investment Challenge

Betten, who turned $500,000 into a staggering $28.3 million, wins a day in the trenches with Cramer. Harris Kupperman placed second.
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No surprise here.

Dave Betten, who had led

TheStreet.com's Investment Challenge

for weeks, took the top prize in the event, which ended Aug. 20. Betten turned $500,000 into a staggering $28,293,360.

On Betten's heels was 18-year-old

Harris Kupperman, who finished with an impressive $19,093,868. Out of the more than 9,000 players in the challenge, these two stood out from the rest of the pack. The third-place finisher, Michael Fung, ended with $12,127,738.

Betten says he felt the pressure from Kupperman to maintain his first-place standing, but "wasn't really worried" about the rest of the competition. Kupperman wasn't taking the competition too seriously in the beginning, but once he pulled into the top ranks, he started concentrating more on the challenge.

Betten, a professional trader at

George Weiss Associates

, says making money was easier toward the end of the challenge because his fat portfolio enabled him to make big bets. But realizing that it was just as easy to lose money, Betten played it safe the last few days and made only about two trades each day.

"My worst enemy was making a mistake," says Betten.

Now that Betten has won a day in the trenches with

Jim Cramer

, Betten says he wants to "see exactly what

Cramer sees" when he's trading. Will Betten offer Cramer any tips? "I don't think there's anything I could help him with," he says.

Betten's strategy was to mainly concentrate on IPO trading. He says he read

Ben Holmes'

IPO commentary every week. Betten made about $7 million by trading

Red Hat

(RHAT)

alone.

Kupperman, meanwhile, says he thought the whole thing was "pretty cool," and it taught him a lot about trading. And while Kupperman also made large amounts of money through IPO trading, he thinks the challenge was too dominated by IPOs. His suggestion: Don't allow trading in IPOs until the day after the stock starts trading.

Kupperman had to go to work the days of the Red Hat and

MP3.com

(MPPP)

IPOs, both huge hits for Betten.

"The challenge isn't really fair to people who don't have time to trade the IPOs," says Kupperman. Not knowing much about fundamentals, his overall strategy was based on stock "momentum." Kupperman will attend

Tulane University

this fall and plans on using his trading skills later in life.