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TST Combine results and strategies for passing

  #3 (permalink)

Trading for Profit
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Trading Experience: Advanced
Platform: TradeStation
Favorite Futures: ES
Pedro40's Avatar
Posts: 567 since Jan 2013
Thanks: 33 given, 375 received

So from the beginning I decided I will take it safe and slow and if I qualify for the refund I am already happy. Then if I am still interested, I can retry later. Watching other people try (on another forum) I saw them blowing it by day 3-5th. It is easy to catch a good trade with the maximum contracts allowed, but sooner or later the daily loss limit (DLL)came and took them out of the game.

I like to simplify things, so instead of looking at Combine dollar numbers, I looked at them as ES points per car. For example the 30K/10 days Combine is making 10 points in 10 days with 1 contract while not losing more than 10 points a day. Sounds easy enough, but if you have a losing day, your needed average goes up.
4 of the Combines have the 1 point per day per car profit target, but the 30K/20day Combine is even easier, only 3/5th points per day per car. Thus I had my choice. Now using 3 cars, my DLL would be 3.5 points, that is rather easy to hit, then I am out of the game for the day if not for good. But if I use only 2 cars, the DLL goes up to 5 pts, and with 1 car, I have to lose 10 points before I have to stop for the day. Pretty safe if you ask me.

Before I go into details, I reached the halfway 10 days with $330 in profits, so I was behind the target (should have been 1K) but all the other parameters (except one) were fine. Again, I was using only 1 contract, trading ES. Nothing to write home about, but compared to the blown out guys, I was satisfied. I had only 2 losing days, one of them accidentally. I was looking at the wrong column (without commission) and the number was blue, so I stopped trading, and I only realized later that the commissions took it into the red. I had one serious losing day when I went against the trend and 3-4 losing trades took me close to the DLL, thus I had to stop.

So the first 10 days were 8 winners, 70% winning, but the losers were bigger than my winners. Basicly 5 winning days, 4 breakeven and 1 big loss. On 2 days I started out with a loss but was able to bring it back to the green.

Now here comes one trick how I manipulated the parameters: Trading duration. This parameter is useless because it is rather meaningless and it is easy to manipulate. My average winning duration was smaller than my average loss, so I did 2 things:

1. I threw in a few quick losers. It is a shame a trader has to do this just to meet the parameters, but it worked. Getting in a position and pretty much immediately out with a 1 tick loss brought down my average loss duration way below my winning duration.

2. Twice when I expected a non-eventful night, I traded overnight and stayed in the position for 2-3 hours. The profit wasn't important, I just needed a few longer trades to raise my winning duration.

I accidentally got into positions twice, because I forgot to cancel the order, one winner and one loser, so they cancel each other.
So when I reached halfway, I missed the profit target (well half of it) but I qualified for the refund, so I met my minimal goal. For the second half I decided I will play 2 cars when I have built a little profit for the day....

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