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Pedro's TST Combine
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Pedro's TST Combine

  #1 (permalink)
Trading for Profit
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Pedro's TST Combine

Finally I am ready for another one. This is going to be my 3rd. In the first one (30K/20days) I played it too safe, and used only 1 contract most of the time. I finished in the money with good stats and classified for a redo. The second one I managed to catch a doldrum in the market when in 8 days there were 6 dojis, thus the market went nowhere. At least that's what I blame, but for sure, volatility was low. Anyhow I was getting nowhere and at day 15 finally I blew it.
In the last 2 weeks I practiced a bit more and started to mess with oil and nat. gas. CL has responded better to my style, so I might use it if in the next 2 weeks while I keep practicing I get good results and I need more profit.

This time I picked the 50K/10days Combine. TST has changed the rules since my last 2 Combines and basicly they halved the profit target by making the 10 days into 10 days minimum. That is basicly 20-22 trading days, depending on the calendar and when one starts. I am starting tomorrow and because there is Good Friday being a bank holiday, it should be 21 trading days, but I treat it as 20 days.

The reason why I picked the 50K instead of the 30K, because the profit target is really not that different the way I used the contracts, and a 10 days minimum equals a 20 days former Combine as number of trading days. And if I do pass the Combine, the 30K/3 contracts is really not that big account.

Now this time I will concentrate more on the profits first and I will worry about the stats later. I figure if I can make the 3.5K profit target in the first 10-14 days, I have enough days to fix the stats, if they are not good. My biggest problem so far that I tend to run into trend days when I keep forcing counter trend positions thus in every 4-5th days I lose big. If I can avoid this and just go with the trend, I should be fine. Also generally I should stay in winners longer and use more contracts. Generally I will use 2-4 contracts.

To track my progress, I am going to use the graph below. I got the idea from indextrader7, and I think it is an excellent and quick way to see where one stands.
Above the green line, I am rocking and should be done in 10 days. Between the blue and green lines I am still OK, but it will take longer. Under the blue line, something needs to be adjusted.

I don't know if I will post results everyday, because that might put too much pressure on me, but this journal will be updated 2-3 times a week at least. Any comment or idea will be appreciated....

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  #3 (permalink)
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What is the end goal to all of this? To be consistently profitable or to get a funded account from TST? Curious because pushing your setup to reach an arbitrary profit target sounds like it can be counterproductive...

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  #4 (permalink)
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Bermudan Option View Post
What is the end goal to all of this? Curious because pushing your setup to reach an arbitrary profit target sounds like it can be counterproductive...

The maximum goal is to get funded. But only if I actually feel comfortable trading 5 contracts and I am staying long enough in the winning trades. So as the smaller goals:

-practicing patience, try not to be early, but staying longer in winners
-not over trading, less is more
-trading big when everything is in favour
-not to give up when the day starts out not so good
etc.etc

Speaking of the last point, I did give up today early, around 2:30. Didn't take trades after that...

Breaking down the day: Slight loss of -150$. I had a good signal at the open but I only went long with 1 contract. Should have been at east 2. For the next 2 hours I didn't have a clear view so I was just practicing oil in the other account. Once the market started to move up I recognized the pattern, but as usual I don't like to go with the trend, so I started to go short. The idea wasn't bad on a low volatility day, but only NDX gave a buy signal later on and that's when I should have got out of the short, but I was waiting for the signal on the SPX too, and that never came. Once again I lined up 2 limit orders for short, but only 1 got filled, so one small winner and later on I didn't want to take more chances.
Of course in the practice account the short worked out for 2 points. Overall a trend day which is not my forte with low volatility, I am not surprised that I ended up in the red, although I should have played the last 90 minutes...

On the positive side, I had a pretty good read on oil and made 41 ticks mostly trading 1-2 contracts. As long as I can avoid to go against a big trend, the oil trading seems to be working out...

Anyhow, the lessons from today:

- I have to trade bigger for this account size.
- Trade until the last minute.

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  #5 (permalink)
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OK, finally time to update this journal. The reason I didn't do it earlier because I didn't like the added pressure of posting P/Ls and the performance was rather lucklaster.

The good news is that after 19 days of trading I am still in the game and have a chance to qualify for the redo. The bad news is that I am slightly down. The performance is very similar to Kevin's TST, a little gain one day, a little more loss the next. The major problem is not staying long enough in the winners and not going heavy (more contracts) when there is a favorable situation.
The first 2 weeks were so-so, I only traded the ES. Last week I started nat. gas and oil too. Nat. gas was alright, 4 small winning days 1 small loser. Oil finally took me down, on Wednesday when the price tanked almost 3 dollars, I suffered an almost 800 bucks loss. Seeing just how much the price fell eventually, I am actually surprised I didn't lose more. That day I lost $950, making very close to the Daily Loss Limit and I was also 250 dollars away from the max. DD.

The next day shortly I dipped below the max. DD but came back nicely. (yes, you can do that) Finally yesterday I had my best day, 1100 gain, so right now the account sum is in the red by -400$ only. All my stats are in the green except the average loser, so the parameters are good, although the profits not. That just so you how unimportant the parameters are.

Anyhow, the bottomline is this: If I make $250 with the ES and $500 in oil in the next 2 days, I qualify for the redo. Obviously this is the goal right now...
The ES shouldn't be a problem, but in oil I tend to get scared out of winning positions. Yesterday I jumped out 3 times with a small loss where after a few minutes the position moved in my favour later on.

So if I lose this Combine, the major culprit is going to be oil, looks like I am not ready for that, I haven't figured out the correct stop loss, although I think it is around 12-15 ticks. I am going to pursue the oiltrading because 2 of my strategies are working very well in it and the problem is purely psychological.

One other interesting thing is that commissions do ad up quickly. My com. has been $1300, so as of today it looks like that by trading I did make money ($900), but the commissions took me into the red. So less is more.

I actually had this idea that I put a $5 bill next to the computer just to remind me that every trade will cost at least as much or the multiple of it.

So the plan is, forget about nat. gas since that is irrelevant right now if I don't make it back in oil and ES. And if I do make it in ES but fail in oil, I will not trade oil in a Combine until I am completely comfortable with it. But there are way more opportunities and volatility during the day in oil then with anything else, so it is worthy to put efforts into it...

One funny story: I had 3 charts (ES,gas and oil) with the 3 DOMs on the screen. I was also using the browser so things got a little messed up. Then the Thursday 10:30 gas report came. Later I learnt that TST doesn't want you to trade the report because it is extremely volatile. Anyhow I correctly guessed that the first rally will be a headfake and tried to short it, but it was moving too quickly, then when it reached the lower Bollinger band I wanted to go long and finally I was able. After 12 ticks gain I got out. A few minutes later when I was checking the ticket, there was no trades in gas whatsoever. So where did I make $120???
It turned out that I was looking at the gas chart but trying to trade it on the oil ticket. Since for that period oil moved similarly, I made that $120 in oil not in gas. So that happens when you have too many things on your screen. But as it turns out, I didn't violate the TST rule of not trading the gas report times....


Last edited by Pedro40; April 6th, 2013 at 08:21 AM.
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  #6 (permalink)
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If I make $250 with the ES and $500 in oil in the next 2 days, I qualify for the redo.

Apparently, I actually have 3 days. My Combine says "finish by Apr 10th". I wasn't sure if that allowed me to trade on the 10th, I assumed not, because I started on March 11th and the 30th calendar day is Apr 9th. So I asked in an email for clarification, and they said I can still trade on the 10th.

I guess that is less pressure with oil, but I still plan to make it in 2 days. If I can't I can swing it big on the last day....

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  #7 (permalink)
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So this was day #1 of the finish. Overnight I made $150 with the ES, so I was happy with that.(needed another 100 to reach redo level) Usually when before the open I am up around 200$ I end up losing it back during the day.

Anyhow, oil was rather simple to read today. That doesn't mean I stayed long enough in the trades or I took all of it. I made $400 mostly with 1 contract, but commissions took it down to $250, which was half of what I have to make up. So around 1 pm I stopped trading it. I need to make another $250 and make at least one trade long, so the stats would improve.Or have to throw in a few quick losers.

I should have done the same with ES, stop trading it. I was still up $100 after the midday doldrums, then I decided to short the afternoon outbreak. Didn't work that well. I am contrarian in nature and have trouble jumping on break outs, even if I see them. Eventually ended up losing $350 with commission, so I have to make up $600 now....

Both goals are still doable in 2 days, except the oil winners' holding time, all stats are good.

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  #8 (permalink)
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This is the best kind of trading, the overnight, while you where sleeping trading.

During the night I pretty much made up the loss in the ES yesterday and made $300 with 2 trades. The rally into the close was so strong that I correctly assumed that there will be an uptrend overnight thus I set trades with not very far targets and they got hit. So I need 250$ in oil and 340$ in ES right now....

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  #9 (permalink)
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Oh boy, what a fight we had! I am exhausted....

The bad news is that finally I oil kicked me in the butt and on the 21st day (well, pretty much at the end) I am finally out of the race. The good news is that I made $410 in ES so I was really close to make it to the redo level.

When I started to trade the day after oil fell down below 9300, there was a huge RSI divergence and I was pretty damn sure it will rally later on. I was even patient and tried to catch the wave without losing too much. There was the winners' duration that needed to be fixed, so once the price started to rally I stayed in for 12 minutes and almost 30 ticks. One contract only. I had really good readings again and the price was bouncing from level where I thought it would do so... Had I just been patient and taken 2-3 trades, I would have been done with my goal by 10:30 I think. But as usual, I jumped out early. Then came 2 hours of rather wide range but going nowhere. This used up my energy and concentration.
I tried to keep an eye on the clock so I wouldn't stay in losers for too long, but that is really not a good way to trade. Anyhow, after lots of frustrations, and overtrading, I was down I think -350 for the day half of it was commissions. Then finally the market started to rally again, and I nicely caught it with 1 contract. Just before noon I was positive (including commission) with oil and nicely up ES.

But my contrarian view got the better of me and when the beginning of this newer rally just got a little break, I started to short it. Although I saw that there was a good chance of the rally continuing, I really just had to short a small doubletop. The biggest mistake was that there was no RSI divergence, that could have given me a clue. At the second rest/pullback of this rally I actually could have got out of the now heavy (max. contracts) position with relative little loss, but I was so mentally tired (revenge trading earlier and the P/L not going anywhere) that I decided to just leave it. And of course the beast continued and hit both DLL and max. DD eventually.


I will summarize later what I have learnt, I am too tired now....

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  #10 (permalink)
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Posts: 555 since Jan 2013
Thanks: 31 given, 361 received


Oh boy, what a fight we had! I am exhausted....

The bad news is that finally oil kicked me in the butt and on the 21st day (well, pretty much at the end) I am finally out of the race. The good news is that I made $410 in ES so I was really close to make it to the redo level.

When I started to trade the day after oil fell down below 9300, there was a huge RSI divergence and I was pretty damn sure it will rally later on. I was even patient and tried to catch the wave without losing too much. There was the winners' duration that needed to be fixed, so once the price started to rally I stayed in for 12 minutes and almost 30 ticks. One contract only. I had really good readings again and the price was bouncing from level where I thought it would do so... Had I just been patient and taken 2-3 trades, I would have been done with my goal by 10:30 I think. But as usual, I jumped out early. Then came 2 hours of rather wide range but going nowhere. This used up my energy and concentration.
I tried to keep an eye on the clock so I wouldn't stay in losers for too long, but that is really not a good way to trade. Anyhow, after lots of frustrations, and overtrading, I was down I think -350 for the day half of it was commissions. Then finally the market started to rally again, and I nicely caught it with 1 contract. Just before noon I was slightly positive (including commission) with oil and nicely up ES.

But my contrarian view got the better of me and when the beginning of this newer rally just got a little break, I started to short it. Although I saw that there was a good chance of the rally continuing, I really just had to short a small doubletop. The biggest mistake was that there was no RSI divergence, that sould have given me a clue. At the second rest/pullback of this rally I actually could have got out of the now heavy (max. contracts) position with relative little loss, but I was so mentally tired (revenge trading earlier and the P/L not going anywhere) that I decided to just leave it. And of course
the beast continued and hit both DLL and max. DD eventually.


I will summarize what I have learnt later, I am too tired now....

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