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TST Combine Journal


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TST Combine Journal

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  #1 (permalink)
Birmingham, AL
 
 
Posts: 1,065 since Apr 2012

SUMMARY OF COMBINES:

Combine #1

Start Date: 4/3/2013

Days traded: 1

Results: I exceeded the daily loss limit of $3,000 on the first day. I refused to take a small loss, and added to a losing position.





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Combine #2

Start Date: 4/8/2013

Days traded: 8

Results: Daily Loss Limit exceeded on 4/17/2013. Stopped trading right before hitting the DLL, but then attempted a trade later in the afternoon knowing that if it went a few ticks against me, I could exceed DLL and be DQ'd from the combine. This combine had a multitude of trades in it that simply risked too much for a single trade to risk.








------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Combine #3

Start Date: 4/23/2013

Days traded: 9

Results: Outsized losses resulting from doubling/tripling down on losing positions cost this combine a lot. Four losing trades had a combined P/L of -$7,600. The other 82 trades had a combined P/L of +$2,810. The refusal to consistently take my small losses is absolutely destroying my edge. There is no edge without proper risk management execution on every single trade.









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_________________________________________________________________________________________________
ORIGINAL POST

Hello all,

I'll be starting a combine soon at TST (TopStepTrader). I've chosen the $150k, 20-day combine. I will not be a walk in the park for sure, but I'm up for the challenge.

I WILL POST EVERY TRADE OF EVERY DAY IN THIS JOURNAL. IF I HAVE NO TRADES FOR THE DAY, I'LL POST MY BLOTTER PROVING THAT I HAD NO TRADES. EVERY DAY.

In addition to posting my trade recaps, I'll be posting my P/L and trade stats; as well as psychological notes.

Pass or fail, you'll see how it unfolds here.

For those of you who aren't familiar with how a TST combine works, here's what I know:

You're given a $150,000 account to trade.

You have to trade a minimum of 20-days, and a maximum of 40-days (60 Calendar days) if you want.

$4,500 maximum drawdown limit. Hit this and your combine is over.

$16,000 profit objective.

You pass the combine if you achieve the profit objective without hitting the loss limit AND have:

- win% > 45%
- overall winning days of 50% or better
- average win: average loss ratio of at least 1:1
- average winning trade hold time longer than average losing trade hold time
- always use stops with any open position
- there's also a daily loss limit you can't hit, but my daily stop will be way within that limit

The only language I've come across that I'm not really happy about is the fact that even if you do pass the combine per requirements listed, it is still at their discretion whether to give you a funded account or not. Kinda scary.


I could get deep into details of what it will take to pass the combine as far as winning days and such. I'll just say that if you did it in a straight line (which won't happen) it would require having 8, net 50-tick winning weeks in a row. (If I take all 60 calendar days (40 trading days) which I plan on doing.)

This is not what to focus on though.

I can only control how I trade, the market determines how and when I get paid.

Speaking of the trading. Many of you may know I like to trade TF. I do, but currently you can only trade a combine on CME products. So My vehicle will be CL. I've traded it a good bit over the past few months.

I trade price action setups. Pullbacks within a trend, breaks of trendlines, tests of support/resistance, failures of levels, etc. I also have a mean reversion strategy that I use when the time is right. I won't be sharing how that one works exactly, but will let you know when it's a mean reversion trade.

My timeframes are small. I'll take a look at 30min chart to get some major levels to watch, but other than that I'll watch a 500 tick, 250 tick, and 2 or 3 range chart to fine tune entries.

My stops will most always be within 20 ticks. Often times my average loser trading CL is within 10 ticks once you average in the -1's and -2's losers that I scratch.

Profits are either taken at targets of S/R levels, or trailed by candles of looking for a direct move or by swings if giving it more room. Depends on the market environment we're in. I'll make plenty of mistakes along the way on that BTW.

I'll be trading 4 contracts most of the time. Although, I'm considering an initial entry of 2 with an add (to profitable trades only) of 2 more to get to a full size position. We'll see on that. I came up with 4 contracts based on the risk:reward profile for succeeding I'm looking for. Trading 4 lots, I'll need to make 400 ticks (net) while never having a drawdown of more than 112 ticks (gross). Commissions are $5/RT. Trading 3 contracts the profit objective goes up to 533 ticks and the max DD widens to 150. Man, it's a lot of ticks to make whether 4 or 3! Either way, if I get in a drawdown and things aren't going well, I'll reduce size a bit until I get things in order.

I'm sure there's something I've left out, but it will surface eventually if I have.

Looking forward to this. I'll begin posting tomorrow even though I will not have started, just to get in the swing of things.

Happy trading

-IT7


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  #3 (permalink)
Temecula, CA
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: Ninja
Trading: CL
 
Posts: 146 since Sep 2012
Thanks: 91 given, 172 received


I'm looking forward to reading about your combine.

I'm curious, why do the 150k combine that allows you to trade up to 15 contracts but then limit yourself to 4 contracts? I have been playing with contract numbers and risk/reward and you have to really make those 4 contracts count to hit the profit target.

Good luck!

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  #4 (permalink)
Birmingham, AL
 
 
Posts: 1,065 since Apr 2012


tgibbs View Post
I'm looking forward to reading about your combine.

I'm curious, why do the 150k combine that allows you to trade up to 15 contracts but then limit yourself to 4 contracts? I have been playing with contract numbers and risk/reward and you have to really make those 4 contracts count to hit the profit target.

Good luck!

Risk is more important than return my friend; at least when it comes to where our focus as traders should be.

If you trade 15 contracts, you fail the combine if you ever lose 30 ticks. That can happen in ONE second trading CL. Not really good chances to hang around there. I'm not exactly comfortable with trading 4 contracts and only having 112 ticks of cushion. I have 100 tick drawdowns from time to time.

 
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  #5 (permalink)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
 
 
Posts: 563 since Jan 2013
Thanks: 33 given, 375 received

First, thank you for not starting this journal in the Elite section! Second, good luck. Third, have you read my journal on TST Combine strategies how to pass? I think I gave a few useful tricks that might help you to meet the parameters.

I like your approach of trading 1/3rd of the allowed maximum number of contracts. That's how I started too, and even though I didn't reach the profit target, I safely qualified for the refund. Although occasionally when your signal is a strong one, you could go and swing it good.

I wonder, how did you decide on this particular Combine? This is one of the hardest one as daily profit average goes....One extra advice, treat it like it is a 20 day Combine and use the extra days only if you have to fix the parameters or you need just a few extra days more to reach the profit target. If you are taking it too slow (thinking you have plenty of days left) unless you are very disciplined, it can give you a false sense and eventually not going to make it to the profit target...

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  #6 (permalink)
Birmingham, AL
 
 
Posts: 1,065 since Apr 2012

Ok, I traded sim today. The main focus was to 1) get back into the feel for how CL trades, 2) learn how to execute efficiently on the T4 DOM. (I'm used to using ninjatrader and multicharts trading from the charts).

Overall it went pretty well. I got better with the DOM as the day went on. It's fairly intuitive.

CL on the other hand, was quite a beast today. I came out ahead, but it was a real fight.

I took 11 trades. BE, +10, -7, BE, BE, -11, BE, +5, +21, BE, +3. Total +21 ticks.

Most all of the breakeven trades had favorable moves of 10 or 15 ticks, but I was looking for larger moves. That could be a good thing that I was doing a good job of seeing shifts in temporary order flow, or a bad thing that I need to do some adjusting with my targets. I won't let one fairly choppy day determine that yet. CL seems to be trading a bit differently than it was when I last consistently traded it back in October.

Here are the trades:




The relevant stats for the Combine:

Winning Days: N/A
Win %: 67% (4 winners, 2 losers, I've confirmed that BE trades do not count for combine stat calculations)
win:loss ratio: 9.75 to 9 which is 1.08
winner: loser hold time: haven't calculated specific yet, but winners were def. held longer. The 2 losers were quick.
P/L: +785 after commissions.
max DD: -$745

One thing I have to remind myself is to always immediately put a stop in the market. I have an old habit of knowing where my stop would be and manually clicking CLOSE trade to exit when price doesn't act right. I can still do that, and maybe have an emergency stop in place somewhere, but the main thing is that the combine will fail you if you don't trade with a stop in always.

 
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  #7 (permalink)
Kampala, Uganda
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: TOS
Broker: TOS
Trading: SPX
 
Boomer34's Avatar
 
Posts: 164 since Mar 2011
Thanks: 74 given, 56 received

Thanks for sharing your experience with this...I am looking forward to following along.

Quick question, as I am not familiar with TopStepTrader...what is the goal of the Combine? They fund you similar to a prop trader?

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  #8 (permalink)
Legendary Data Wizard!!!
Cincinnati Ohio
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: TastyWorks
Broker: TastyWorks
Trading: FX, Stocks, Options
 
Silver Dragon's Avatar
 
Posts: 1,812 since Feb 2011
Thanks: 5,115 given, 4,179 received


indextrader7 View Post

One thing I have to remind myself is to always immediately put a stop in the market. I have an old habit of knowing where my stop would be and manually clicking CLOSE trade to exit when price doesn't act right. I can still do that, and maybe have an emergency stop in place somewhere, but the main thing is that the combine will fail you if you don't trade with a stop in always.

That is awesome to hear you have started the combine! Good luck!

In case you didnt know; They have a OCO button on the dom. I use this to enter all trades in my combine. This way I will be sure to have a stop in place.

Robert

Edit: added picture


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  #9 (permalink)
Birmingham, AL
 
 
Posts: 1,065 since Apr 2012


Boomer34 View Post
Thanks for sharing your experience with this...I am looking forward to following along.

Quick question, as I am not familiar with TopStepTrader...what is the goal of the Combine? They fund you similar to a prop trader?

Yes, whatever account you trade the combine with is the account you will be funded with when you pass the combine. At that point, yes, you're like a prop trader.

All the details are on their website.

 
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  #10 (permalink)
Birmingham, AL
 
 
Posts: 1,065 since Apr 2012



Silver Dragon View Post
That is awesome to hear you have started the combine! Good luck!

In case you didnt know; They have a OCO button on the dom. I use this to enter all trades in my combine. This way I will be sure to have a stop in place.

Robert

Edit: added picture


Thanks a lot Silver Dragon,

I noticed that function, but I have a problem. Most of my entries I literally click the buy or sell button as opposed to entering some limit on the actual DOM. When you click the buy or sell buttons, the Auto OCO does not work even if you have it highlighted. Do you know a workaround? Actually now that I think about it, I can just click a limit entry somewhere above price and it's practically a market order like I want, and it will also trigger the OCO. Sorry for answering my own question here, but thanks to you for providing the steps to get there!

Hope you stick around and continue to add valuable feedback here. Thanks again.


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