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TST Combine results and strategies for passing

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Trading Experience: Advanced
Platform: TradeStation
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Posts: 567 since Jan 2013
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TST Combine results and strategies for passing

I am aware that there are several Combine Journals in the Elite section, but since I am not an Elite member (I am still deciding how long I will stick around), thus I can't read them. The purpose of this thread is to post your Combine results and to share certain tricks and tips that can make it easier to fulfill the requirements. If this is the wrong forum, please move it to the appropriate one.

I am not affiliated with TST, actually I have my doubts about them, but regardless I am in the middle of my Combine, and I learnt a few tricks along the way, that I will share for future Combiners. If you have tips, don't hesitate to jump in and share. Again, this thread is not about the vendor, but the challenge itself and how to pass it.

I am not going to rehash the rules of the Combine, they are available on their website. Read them carefully, and when you are done, read them again.

So anyhow, I looked at this Combine as a mental challenge. The rules are what they are, I don't necessary like them, but since I can't change them (except the costume Combine) I figured I will alter my trading style so I can still be successful at it. So let's start before you start with the Combine:

1. Read the rules. Read them again. And again. There are way too many, but that is not excuse to blow your chances, just because you misread or forgot one. To understand the challenge is pretty much the start.

2. Get to know the platform. I first hated the T4 but now I kind of got used to it. NT is also available but buggy. Download it and practice on it, until you won't make mistakes based on unfamiliarity.

3. A free way to practice for the Combine is to try to pass it while you are in the practice mode. Chances are if you are not close to passing it while practicing, you are not going to make it in the real thing either. You can actually have more than just 2 weeks practice with a little ingenuity.

4. Assuming you understand the rules, and comfortable with the platform, strategize against the parameters. The hardest is the DLL (daily loss limit), if you hit this one, you are out of the game. Thus choosing the correct number of contracts is essential. My tactic was to decide that from the beginning I am going to use 1 contract only, and go up only when I have a safety pillow. So far it has worked, but I am behind the profit target.

5. Choose your Combine carefully. There are 8 of them, but they are not all equal. Based on the profit per car per day, there is one easy, 4 average and 3 harder. Alright, I will tell you, the easiest is the 30K/20 days, that's what I have chosen.

6. No matter what, you do have to have a profitable trading strategy. I guess you could just do random trades and get lucky for a few days, but most likely your luck will run out after 4-6 days. Not to mention the parameters.

7. You have to realize that there are actually 2 challenges:
A/ Passing the Combine by reaching the profit target and being good with most of the parameters.
B/ Getting a refund by finishing in the green and being good with some of the parameters.

Obviously B/ is easier and you can either ask for a refund or retry it. BUT!!! If you blow your DLL, you disqualify yourself from the refund, so you actually are going to lose money. And you have to still watch those parameters!

8. Decide what to trade. I would suggest to stick to 1 or 2 trading vehicle, because you have to qualify at each of them. Oil and nat. gas are obviously dangerous, but if you have a good system, that is where the quick money is at.

9. When to start. Since your time frame is given after you started, it is important to start at a favorable time. Before holidays and unpredictable events is obviously not a good time. Here is a tip: If you have a rather rare but high percentage event/strategy, it is smart to wait until that occurs and jump in and start your Combine that evening, thus you can start out with a possible decent winner.

10. Although you have to be flat 10 minutes before the close, you can still swing trade. You can trade in the AH, but the trades this evening will count for tomorrow's date.

So this is it for starters, in the next posts I will explain how I strategized and how I am doing in my Combine. My minimal goal is to at least get a refund, so if nothing else, it should be a free trading exercise....

Last edited by Pedro40; January 7th, 2013 at 07:57 PM.
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