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A TopStepTrader's Humble-Pie-Way: A TST Combine Journal of iqgod's "Take 2"
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A TopStepTrader's Humble-Pie-Way: A TST Combine Journal of iqgod's "Take 2"

  #1 (permalink)
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A TopStepTrader's Humble-Pie-Way: A TST Combine Journal of iqgod's "Take 2"

I start off humbled.

The earlier combine attempt got me introduced to the reality of the trading problem.

Here I will attempt to document the 'correct journey'.

I will start with the 'correct map' of the trading territory.

I will define my setups, provide extensive statistics that they 'work' and then go on and document the results as applied to the combine - each and every post will be emerging from humility for my own benefit and I will try to make each post as a gift to the community, from a sense of gratitude because I am where I am because of @Big Mike.

My posts recently had dwindled to a trickle, but not because I was dozing - I have been testing out my hypotheses of the market, I have been honing my reactions (The market does what it does - what do I do?).

The goal is to prevent any activating event causing an automatic reaction and focus on self and an actionable plan - this is incredibly difficult to do in real-time, on real money. The attempts will be described here in simple terms.

Since this is a combine, the goal (of course) is to take up a capital of $30,000 in a period between 10 days to 20 days and increase it to $31,500 or more while managing risk average win > average loss; win percentage > 45%; wins to losses > 1; winner hold time > loser hold time. Needless to mention, no day with a drawdown more than $490, never a drawdown above $1500, always execute with stops, always close positions before market close.

The important part of whether I pass the combine is whether I have done 'the Work'.

Following is a list of items I wish to place in this journal before I even open a single trade in the combine:

- Risk management per unit is simple for a one lot trader. However there is still work needed - Is my strategy all in all out / scale in / scale out etc. - provide the hard math as to which would be most beneficial

- Have I defined my setup well and what are the statistics that allow me to unfalteringly place a trade OR NOT in the face of an uncertain outcome. To put it correctly: Choosing the combine trading product and the setup that has been most favorable for passing.

Unless I have done this work the combine will not start.

This is a place of honesty and integrity, and my commitment OR NOT will show up in these pages - I can make this journal as beautiful as flowers or as stark as a prison cell.

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  #3 (permalink)
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Problem Area: Execution

Here I address the first problem area I encountered in the last combine.

Problem Area: Execution

The problem of execution had the following components for me:

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Unanticipated moves. When caught off guard, which itself is a result of poor planning. Execution errors are more pronounced when entering countertrend, and also when entering with-trend at a climatic reversal point such as a failed final flag.
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Added slippage, due to hesitation (see bar marked 5)
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Anticipated moves, but early entry. (see bars marked 2, 6, 7 and 10) These are simply Impatient entries most of which can be averted by entering on a stop order one or two ticks distance from the signal bar or range break.
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Execution paralysis. These are totally trader related. Scared quick exits without confirmation of reversal. No entry due to fear of trend having gone too far. Experience and practice reduce these errors. Late exits even after confirmation i.e. not exiting even after the market has shown its hand.
5. Missed entries. If these happen simply due to not anticipating and not being available when the market gets ready to move due to schedule, that is perfectly alright. A trader needs to eat, sleep and do other things. Trade-offs should not cause a resentation feeling, repenting or pining about missed entries and then cause further bad execution like chasing the market / more early entries without confirmation etc.

Of these (3) leads to greater MAE and / or causes money stops to be hit.

(1) means that a trader is trying to catch every wiggle of the market which is not bad by itself, but patience to wait for good setups always pays off - mainly due to the fact that (2) may cause being in a position which may then lead trying to close lesser positions which may cause NOT entering correctly when the really best opportunities present themselves.

(4) shows an incomplete understanding of the nature of trends, and the market in general and occasional lapses of discipline / attention

(1) and (4) show more practice and screentime is needed.


Here is a sample case presented from a recent chart of the ES on 22nd March 2013:

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Description of context wrt execution on Chart:

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At Bar marked 2 I read this as a point where buyers were certainly turned back, and any upmove to the right of the chart would possibly be met with stifff resistance.

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This long entry was made as a range break to the upside. I was aware of it being countertrend to the overall market structure which showed a steep bearish trend and a measured move down was on the cards more than an upmove, but I sensed a quick scalp and tried to squeeze out a countertrend long scalper's profit. There were two things wrong with this trade - I was entering at the extreme of a trading range where fades are the best moves moves but I insisted on taking a range break long. The second issue was that the long was not validated i.e. there was actually no range break and I was an early long due to which I had to bear the MAE as price went down back into the middle of the range but was turned away by the trendline where the actual entry should have been taken.

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Not marked, should be marked where price breaks to the upside from the trading range. This is where a valid entry shoudl have been taken and this was a perfect range break, only that it was countertrend and hence was only a scalp.

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This exit was correct of a nimble scalp but also was a scared exit, but the scariness here was for real and not a psychological issue.

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I hesitated to short here even though a clear bear trendline was offering a low risk high reward short trade - the hesitation cost me a lot of ticks as the market fell sharply and I was filled nearer the bottom of the bar. Waiting for further confirmation when there is confirmation leads to slippage which then may lead further issues like watching the price go against me which would not have otherwise happened had I entered from the place of the first confirmation (trendline touch and anticipation of reversal i.e. point 5 bar top)

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This was defintely a scared exit, but it was a profitable trade and would have been a perfectly good target had I entered at the top of the earlier bar as discussed above. Waiting for actual signs of reversal confirmation and exiting on a huge bar's extreme usually lead to same amount of profits, except in hard trends where the market does not look back. However 6 was a bad exit anyways.

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This was the worst possible early entry I could take - the market was still hugely bearish and no confirmation of a long was on the cards. This caused the maximum MFE and the stop was not triggered but was far away and if hit would have thrown a combine off track for that day.

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This was where the actual entry could have been taken as the market started reversing. I was acutely aware of being painfully early and the cost of being the early bird was high.

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This was where I was back in profit and should have ideally covered but I had a stubborn order two ticks above this swing point and even though I could see the market was reversing back to bear mode I did not cover. A mix of cockiness and 'knowing' that the market will go up. Both are bad when trading.

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This was the absolute low point of my day's trading. The cockiness made me take on one more long here even - I broke my rule of being a one lot trader and was edging into a trap - the classic newbie mistakes of 'averaging down' and was also 'chasing the market so as not to miss the big upmove'.

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This was a good exit for one lot. I should have held the other lot but exited after sitting through two lots and more MAE than I could bear.


Thus even though I had zero losing trades, the MAE was the worrisome aspect and it was totally my fault because the market behaved with precision and there were lot of easy reads but the problem components of execution were highlighted on which I keep trying to gain an upper hand since this is a critical problem area to overcome.


Last edited by iqgod; March 23rd, 2013 at 11:06 PM.
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  #5 (permalink)
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Question on time zone

Hi,
Profile says you are from India.
a>What time do you trade ? (7:00pm - 12:00 ) ?
b> Do you trade Nifty or just US market ?

Reason for asking: I trade Nifty want to transition to TST, doing some ground work. Thanks in advance


-Shashank

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Day 1: Trade Report

This is the platform trade report for Day 1 of the Combine:

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Goodluck for the combine.

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Day 1: Blow By Blow Account

A bright new day - well not so bright at 4:30 AM.

I'm fresh from a weekend holiday up in the mountains. Gorged on strawberries and the crisp mountain air.

State:

Confident of myself. In the moment. Weakness in patience.

Homework:

6E price action seemed dicey.

Need to follow clear cut price action.

Switched to CL, where a temporary reversal setup was manifesting itself. Multiple factors made it clear that a sharp downmove would materialize.

Reminder:

I must not get blinded however by the 'sureness' factor of the short as the major trend is up and need to be alert.

Chart:

Here is what I saw back then:

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- This denotes a 'fog area' also known as the hard right edge because I did not know what was really going to happen, so if you wish to follow me you need to remember that the fog area did not exist in that moment.

Figure: The Hourly CL Chart

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The area circled yellow is the potential reversal setup below which I planned to go short on further price action.

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Starting State

Ten Steps, taken the First Step:

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Confident, hence dared this (was a good idea, but.... Thought of the day: could this have been a bad idea?):

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Broke a rule - switched to CL instead of focuing on 6E.

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Day 1: Blow By Blow: Snapshot of trades


Here are the six trades circled (the crosses inside the yellow circles are the trades, I will dedicate one post per trade, following this post):

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