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Ashmat's Topstep Trader Combine Journal


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Ashmat's Topstep Trader Combine Journal

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  #1 (permalink)
Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
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This forum was created to journal my trade activity during my combine with Topstep Trader. My combine is 20 days in duration and I plan to post both the good and bad in the hopes it will make me a better trader. I plan on starting my combine on Monday, August 12th. Hope my posts are helpful!

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  #3 (permalink)
Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
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Ready for day one! My plan is to keep it as simple as possible. I'll start small, trading just one contract initially, especially the first few days. If I am able to build a cushion, I can then consider adding another contract. I'll be trading Crude during this combine. I like the volatility and it suits my trading style.

My set up is pretty simple. I use Pivots and simple trendlines and let price action dictate my direction. One thing I need to work on is letting my winners ride a bit longer. I will be focusing on that a lot during this combine and will hopefully have some successes I can note.

Good luck to all the other combine traders out there! I'll start posting my trades today and we'll se how it goes!

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Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
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Well, today was a very short day. I like to get a position near the WTI open and manage it from there. Keeps me from being biased, as I can just concentrate on where price is going. Took a long at 547 based on the break of a short term trendline. I reversed to be short one contract at 537 based on a reversal break of the same trendline. Got 20 points and set stop to B/E. Was stopped out shortly thereafter at 537 as Crude rallied back through the pivot point of 530, but still below the initial trendline of 542.

Short term trend was still down, so I reentered a short position at 531. At this point I was biased toward the downside, which I think is a mistake. I tend to get biased instead of concentrating on my set ups, something I continue to work on. Anyway, I didn't think the short was a horrible trade considering the short term trend was still showing lower. No follow through to the downside, so I got stopped out at 546 because it broke above 542.

Final trade was a short at 542 as it looked like it was going to run back down through that level. Ran about 5 ticks then reversed back up. Got stopped out at 558 and decided to call it a day since the action in Crude was choppy and trading in a narrow range. This strategy does not work in narrow, choppy price action. My stop on this last trade should have been a bit tighter as well.

Positives: I was disciplined and followed my plan. I stuck to what I had planned to do, and with the exception of the last trade, I kept my stops tight and kept myself out of danger. I stopped trading when my plan wasn't working and I just wasn't feeling it.

Improvements: I think I over traded. I am looking for a direction based on the WTI open. When it works, I can take advantage of some strong moves. I think Iíll update my plan and discard the strategy after 3 failed trades. B/E would be considered a failed trade in this scenario.

One more thoughtÖÖ My initial thoughts before I started this combine was to execute the WTI opening strategy and after 3 failed attempts, shift to scalping, which is my true comfort level. Scalping to me is taking 5 to 20 ticks, while keeping stops no wider than 10. While I am determined to prove to myself the opening strategy works, if I donít show positive results from this after a week, I may consider abandoning it and stick to scalping.

Plan for tomorrow: Execute WTI open strategy, abandon after 3 failures if necessary, switch to scalping and hope to have a positive day! Going to paper trade some scalp set ups to prepare for tomorrow.

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  #5 (permalink)
Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
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I was overall happy with my trading today. I implemented my WTI open plan and it worked today. Had two losers and one winner for a nice net gain. I did get a bit side tracked, as I had set up a reversal trade that triggered, but had too many stops left over. As I was replacing the initial stop, I FORGOT to change the DOM to stop mode (S) and ended up getting out of my position earlier than I would have liked. I really need to work on not making those mistakes. Going to tape something to my computer to remind me of this, otherwise I will probably make the same mistake again.

After I took my profits from the opening session, I went into scalp mode. Shorted one on a retracement to settlement, got 8 ticks. Went short on another retest, but only took a couple of ticks as it didn't react as strongly to the downside as I would have liked. Took a couple losing trades at the pivot point, then rode another for a nice profit, though my stop was wider than I would have liked.

The last trade I became biased to the downside and placed my short based on my theory that price was going to blow through the daily pivot. I was lucky it did, but am not happy that I became biased again. The problem with getting biased is I tend to widen my stop more than I am comfortable with. Going to focus on removing directional bias and just focusing on trading my levels. I really like the daily pivots and will work on fine tuning better entries.

Positives: Stuck to my plan, stayed disciplined

Improvements: Need to work on bias, as that does not fit my trading style. Scalp entries could have been better and I failed to pull the trigger on a couple decent set ups.

Same for tomorrow, but I will work on better entries so I can minimize my downside risk a bit better. Really going to study key support levels and how price reacts. Crude is a new instrument for me, so not quite used to it yet.

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  #6 (permalink)
Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
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I have NO idea what I was doing today. =) I took a WTI open trade and took 8 ticks profit. I did not know how the market would move before the EIA number, so I decided it might be best to watch. I did take a couple scalps, one break even and one for a small loss.

Once the number came out, I waited to see what it would do to the dayís high. It broke through to the upside, then back down. I took a long at the dayís pivot and this is where I just lost it. I closed it at B/E, too worried about taking a loss. Good trade, poor execution. It broke above the previous high, so I went long again. I donít think it was a bad trade, rallied a bit, then stopped out for a small loss. I then sold on the breach of the previous high, reversed long and then as CL fell below the level, I forgot I had a trading plan and proceeded to catch a falling knife. I got cut to shreds. =) I stopped trading at my personal daily loss limit of $600. Combine calls for $1000.00.

Anyway, going to shorten this up a bit. The reason I lost today was because I let emotions dictate my trading and abandoned my strategy. This has been the demise of many a trader, but I refuse to fall into this trap! Having successfully traded before, I know what I have to do. Now I just need to do it. Iím getting caught up in the wrong things, like being new to Crude. Thatís a lame excuse. While CL does have certain characteristics I like, trading is trading, and my plan should work well for Crude. Just have to execute and quit trading scared.

Positives: Started off on the right foot, kept to my daily loss limit and stopped trading when I hit it.

Improvements: Stopped following my plan, chased trades, and traded scared.

Plan for tomorrow: Going to abandon my WTI open strategy, as I have to react way too quickly and am not really trading off any significant levels. I may place trades before the WTI open depending on levels, but for now I will focus on key levels that the market actually looks at. I believe my trading plan is sound if I just have the guts to follow it.

I want to be a full time trader again so bad I can taste it. I believe that if I can get through this combine, I will be well on my way. I LOVE this format!!

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  #7 (permalink)
 JGSmith 
LŁbeck, Germany
 
Experience: Intermediate
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Ashmat View Post
I believe my trading plan is sound if I just have the guts to follow it.

The big question:

Why do you believe that your trading plan is sound? If you can not objectively and honestly answer this question to yourself, then you actually do not believe that it is a sound plan.

And, if you do believe it is sound, then you owe it to yourself to trade it. You will never be happy until you actually trade your strategy. Therefore, the true secret to happiness in trading, trading your strategy - without fail - until you know for sure that it does or does not work.

Excited about your journey and hoping the best for you!

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Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
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Thanks for the response, JG! I do have reasons I believe my trading plan is sound. The only way I will truly know is to actually trade it correctly. I really won't know for sure until I see results from actually following it.

Thanks for the thoughts and the encouragement! I'm taking it to heart!

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 JGSmith 
LŁbeck, Germany
 
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cool

Very happy that you have a sound plan....Looking forward to reading posts about how you followed it exactly over and over and over again until you are very wealthy.

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  #10 (permalink)
Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
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Have to be in Yuba City early today, so no trading. Should resume tomorrow.

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 JGSmith 
LŁbeck, Germany
 
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Have to be in Yuba City early today, so no trading. Should resume tomorrow.

I grew up in Yuba City, CA! Spent almost 30 years of my life there.

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  #12 (permalink)
Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
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Wow, Germany is a long way from Yuba City!

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Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
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Only had 3 trades today. First trade was a short reversal off the intraday high at 10766. Crude had broken above on a huge move earlier and I waited for a decent entry. I was stopped out at 10775 for a 9 tick loss. I was fine with that trade as the continuation down after a large move did not surface and my stop protected me.

2nd trade was another short below the R1 pivot at 774. My only critique of this trade was that entry could have been better. I risked 21 ticks, which was above the R1 pivot of 10789 and target was the pivot of 10724 for 50 ticks. I was again stopped out at 10795 for a 21 tick loss.

3rd and final trade was a long at 10810. I had a stop at 10780 and target of 10860. Again, I was not happy with my entry, though sticking to my trading plan. A loss would hit my personal daily loss limit of $600.00, so I was okay with that as well. I was stopped out at 10780 and stopped trading for the day.

I am questioning the way I trade my strategy. I am not comfortable with 20 and 30 tick stops, but want to give these trades a chance to run a bit. The combine parameters are tough, and while I will not abandon my strategy, I may look at scalping the strategy until I become more comfortable with larger risk/reward trades. My strategy works for both shorter and longer term trades, but I am concerned about hitting my max loss limit. Would only take a few trades to hit that parameter while looking at larger moves.

Positives: Followed my plan, did not over trade.

Improvements: Need to improve my entries. Questioning my risk/reward parameters. Missed a couple good set ups because the 50 tick move in 2 minutes made me more cautious and I was less willing to pull the trigger.

I guess I need to decide if Iím a scalper or a longer time frame trader.

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Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
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Well, Iím making progress. I got off to a late start and was determined to trade my plan today.

First trade was a long off short term support at 685. I was stopped at 673. Not a bad trade, HOWEVER, I did not use my typical confirming entry. In this case, an entry above the close of the support line would have adhered to my plan. I was trying to get a better price and still not terribly disappointed in the trade.

Second trade was a short at short term resistance at 697. This trade was executed per plan, but I was stopped at 707. I really hate starting the day off with 2 consecutive losers, but I was determined to stick to my plan.

Third trade was a long off support at 707. I widened my stop to below previous support and closed the trade out at the daily pivot area, filled at 729. I did not plan to let it run, as my goal was to get back even.

At this point I was break even and decided to focus on trading around the pivot.

Went long at 732 and closed at 728, when it hit the pivot line on the downside.

Went short at 724 and covered at the pivot line again at 730.

Went long again at 733, above the pivot, and reversed at 724.

At this point I had a 30 tick profit target and was filled at 694.

That was the final trade for the day. I booked a small profit and decided to stop on a plus. I wanted to avoid over trading and I also prefer to start earlier.

I have a ways to go, but was happy I stuck to my rules today. Helps to do that during a live trading session, as it helps to reinforce whether the plan actually works.

Positives: I stuck to my plan today, even though I got chopped up a bit.

Improvements: I think I really needed to wait for better levels, such as the daily pivots. Looking to be more patient tomorrow.

Even though my profit was low today, it was a profit and I felt very good about my trading. Now I just need to do this consistently.

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Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
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Combine Day 6

Well, I am still struggling with my discipline. 3 trades today.

First trade was long at 565 off the S2 pivot and I was stopped out just below the pivot at 555 for a 10 tick loss.

Second trade I re-entered long above the pivot, but moved my stop as it went against me. I was very lucky the trade eventually went in my favor and I closed out at an 11 tick profit, making me even for the day. Lucky is not a good thing in this situation. I gambled, plain and simple.

Third trade I did the same thing, shorting at support at 642. I knew the stop should have been 649, but I did the same thing. My thought process was I was tired of my first trade being a loser and I was determined to make it a winner. Instead of doing what I was supposed to, I moved my stop again and finally just closed the position for a 41 tick loss.

These are old habits that have crept back into my psyche. Part of the problem is I started the first few days of the combine in the hole. And the fact that it seems my first trades are often losers, not sure why there, but thatís not the issue.

The issue is I have to get the psychological issues resolved or I will never progress as a trader. How will I ever know if a trading plan works if I donít have the discipline to execute it?

I am very close to my loss limit in my combine. I have a plan for tomorrow and will hopefully be able to scratch myself back. If not, Iíll continue to trade the account for practice and hope I can learn something to apply to my next combine. I know what I have to do, the question is, can I do it? Time will tell. I have been a successful trader in the past and refuse to give up.

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Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
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Decided to step back for a day and re-assess my plan. Think I'm ready to get back to work tomorrow. I am close to the loss limit, so hopefully I can post some positive numbers. I have a better idea what I want to do and will hopefully do it without emotion. One day at a time!

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Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
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I banked profits early this morning and was very happy with the way I traded. Of course having a profitable day does make it easier.

I made a couple observations yesterday that I want to record for my own benefit. Whether they mean anything, time will tell.

1. When buying/selling off support/resistance, make sure the short term trend is still intact.

2. Observe larger trades at key levels to determine if I can read anything into that. Not necessarily going to trade off that until I can see patterns, if any.

3. I think for me, this is the most important! Look at intraday levels closely. Not having traded Crude before, I have been struggling on finding true key levels. In looking back historically, there are very good levels created from intraday action that may not necessarily fall in line with pivots. I also plan on recording the strongest levels and focus on those. Still a journeyÖ.

I am still trying to determine whether a 10 tick stop is reasonable based on where I place my trades. Seems a 20 tick stop might allow for some more wiggle room, but so far it seems most of the time when I move my stop further from 10 ticks, I still get stopped out. For now, I am hoping to keep my stops at 10 ticks and record what happens. Will give me a better idea.

First trade was a scratch. Went long at the WTI open right above the pivot, it ran up a bit, and I moved my stop to BE and was stopped out.

Second trade was a long at the pivot, without a confirming signal. I moved my stop from 10 to 18 ticks, which was short term support, and was quickly stopped out. Once again, was trying to get a better price, but did not receive a confirming signal. I have done this before.

At this point, I have started in the hole once again, mainly because I did not trade on my confirming signal.
The next 3 trades were solid, rule based trades and I ended up 34 ticks on the day.

Still alive and with a fighting chance. Felt much better going into the trading session today, and even though I started in the hole, I was determined to trade my plan. Still working on my consistency. I know these posts are lengthy, but they have been helping. Hopefully I am benefiting another trader who is having the same struggles. Back at it tomorrow, but will do a little paper trading for the rest of the day.

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Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
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When I traded stocks, I used stops a lot to enter trades. I think eventually, I moved away from that and became much more of a rogue trader, thinking I was Godís gift to trading. That didn't end well . I decided to implement that in my trading today. I have found when placing market orders, Crude is oftentimes well above or below where I would have liked to get in. I also find that when I use stops to enter trades, I am expecting a very specific momentum move. When that doesn't happen, I am able to remain more disciplined and get out quickly, since the move was not what I had expected.

I placed several trades at a few key levels and without getting too lengthy, I was stopped out at BE on every single trade. The one trade I didn't pull the trigger on was at the biggest move of the day. I have gone from being trigger happy to trigger shy. I had the set up and was ready to go, but got BIASED to the downside again. Will I ever learn?

Bottom line for today is I was much more comfortable adapting my old style. I will continue to do this going forward and I think it could work very well for Crude. I never once moved my stop because I panicked. Itís interesting that 4 trades today moved 10 ticks in my favor, but my target was a minimum of 30 ticks profit and I move my stop to B/E after a 10 tick run in my favor. Iím going to keep an eye on this very closely, though for now, I will look for larger targets as long as there is room (i.e. clear from previous sup/res areas. I canít go broke breaking even, but I canít make money doing that either.

I consider today a great day. I think I am evolving, as I should be. And while it was not a profitable day, it was a fantastic learning day. Next step is to take my trading style and tweak it until I believe I can be consistently profitable. Donít know if Iíll recover to even earn a rollover, but so far this has been a phenomenal experience!

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Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
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I didn't even open up my computer screen on Monday and no trading on Tuesday or Wednesday due to some last minute morning commitments. I'll be right back at it Thursday!

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Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
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Today was a poor day to trade momentum. I executed my plan and stayed disciplined until my last trade. Again, I was frustrated that I couldn't get the few few trades in the black. I followed my entry rules for the last trade, but moved my stop and got stubborn on the position, determined to will it to move my way. It didn't and I was stopped out and got close to my $600 personal daily limit. The problem I have now is I am only $120.00 away from my max drawdown.

It has been a very difficult week personally, but regardless, I should have been patient and not let my emotions get to me. That is the current battle! I am going to skip trading tomorrow and resume after the holiday. I'll do some paper trading tomorrow and see if I can get this figured out. If I blow this combine, there is always another. I know I can do this once I take the emotions out of it, accept the fact losses will happen, and let my profits run a bit. I know had I just traded my plan, the damage would have been far less. I have to get past letting those first few trades get to me. I also need to look if there might be a reason few of my initial trades are ever profitable. Patience maybe? I'll have to take a look. I can use the 4 day break coming up to clear my head. I will get this!!

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Pedro40
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
 
 
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The problem I have now is I am only $120.00 away from my max drawdown.

be aware the you can dip below the max. DD, but by the end of day you have to bring the account above it. The daily loss limit is different, you can not break it...

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Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
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Thank you Pedro40! I wasn't quite sure about that!

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Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
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I discovered something today. I am not a big move trader. I look at charts and see these large moves off of major levels and think I can do that. It does not fit my trading style or comfort level. I am a short term, momentum trader and find when I trade that way, I am more disciplined and consistent.

Today was a rough day. I was up $310.00 and had a personal target of $400.00. I proceeded to lose the $310.00 and then became desperate, as I was only $120.00 away from my maximum drawdown. Very hard to stay focused when that number is hitting you in the face. I tend to start out very strong and then fade later. Part of this is due to wanting to catch these large moves.

Anyway, the plan going forward is to trade 2 contracts and look for good momentum set ups. Thatís it, no more swinging for the fences because I tend to strike out! Maybe one day I can develop a method that will allow me to take advantage of large moves, but for now, I need to stay true to my style. No more conflict.

I still have 10 days to use the combine account as practice, and in two weeks I will start another combine and hopefully will have my plan in place. My goal for the next 10 days is to trade my style exclusively and get the combine account profitable, even though it is too late to be considered.

Of course, the conundrum here is trading a practice account that doesn't count will be easier than trying out for the combine. I realize that and will just focus on placing good trades that fit my style. I am just going to focus on trading my style and will continue to update the journal daily.

I continue to learn about myself through this and think I may have turned a corner. I wonít know for sure until the next combine, but for now, I remain confident for the future!

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Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
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I had to travel this morning, so I was unable to trade today. I have been following a couple other combine traders and it's interesting to see the same struggles I go through. It really hits home how truly psychological trading is. We know what to do, but for some reason we don't do it when the "money" is on the line.

I think this is truly the key! I have a plan and have seldom followed through. I also have gone kind of back and forth on levels, strategies, etc. This is part of the process to become a successful trader, but eventually one needs to settle on the strategy that works and figure out how to minimize the psychological aspect.

I plan on trading tomorrow with only 2 distinct strategies. I'll keep my daily loss limit at $600 and consider lowering that if needed. My hurdle will be the psychological issues I deal with. The combine to me is like trading real money, which is why I like it so much.

This journal has really helped me move in the right direction. I hope that I can figure this out soon and really hope the others going through the same thing can find their success!

Trading is hard as hell! That's why I love it so much!!

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Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
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Well, more of the same today. Considering I blew up my combine, I didn't take my trading seriously. I mentioned that I had 2 distinct strategies that I was going to play today. I implemented the first strategy at the open, taking two trades with a small loss. I then decided I was just going to play around (not a smart idea) and work on my risk/reward parameters. I managed to get back to even, took a really stupid long trade that reversed immediately. After that I traded recklessly and eventually hit my daily loss limit on my characteristic last desperation trade.

Itís really interesting that I continue to look at historic charts, develop a sound plan, and trade COMPLETELY OPPOSITE of that plan. Truly, I trade the exact opposite of the plan more so than not. I try to catch bottoms, find tops when a signal has already stated the possible direction. Itís weird and I just donít get it. I have 9 days left and if I want my next combine to be successful, I had better treat this as if I was still alive in the combine.

Not sure if I will be able to trade Friday, just because I am travelling. I know what I have to do. Hopefully I can talk about my next trading day in the context of actually following my plan.

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 ratfink 
Birmingham UK
 
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W
Itís really interesting that I continue to look at historic charts, develop a sound plan, and trade COMPLETELY OPPOSITE of that plan. Truly, I trade the exact opposite of the plan more so than not. I try to catch bottoms, find tops when a signal has already stated the possible direction. Itís weird and I just donít get it. I have 9 days left and if I want my next combine to be successful, I had better treat this as if I was still alive in the combine.

I use words other than 'interesting' to describe what our obviously shared genetic ancestry causes us to do.....aaarrrggghhhh! Have a great weekend.

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Ashmat
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I use words other than 'interesting' to describe what our obviously shared genetic ancestry causes us to do.....aaarrrggghhhh! Have a great weekend.

LOL, very true! I have probably used every word possible there! You have a good weekend as well!

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Ashmat
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I placed 3 trades today, with the intention of simply working risk/reward. Every trade was a loser, as I was stopped out at 20 ticks each, with a 50 tick target. Frustrates me that when I have done this in the past, the trades end up being losers, just as today. Happy with entry and my targets and stop losses, but still trying to figure this out. I guess I canít measure the success on only 3 trades, so Iíll keep working on this.

Monday Iíll be back to working my 2 primary set ups. My goal is to trade without fear, which is easier since this combine doesnít count, but I have to work on my setups and discipline. If I can use the next 8 days to trade as I would the new combine, I might be ready when that time comes. I need to reinforce the good habits, regardless of the outcome for now. Again, I know what to do, but have yet to do it with any consistency. This will be my focus.

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Ashmat
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Well, today was a very short day. I like to get a position near the WTI open and manage it from there. Keeps me from being biased, as I can just concentrate on where price is going. Took a long at 547 based on the break of a short term trendline. I reversed to be short one contract at 537 based on a reversal break of the same trendline. Got 20 points and set stop to B/E. Was stopped out shortly thereafter at 537 as Crude rallied back through the pivot point of 530, but still below the initial trendline of 542.

Short term trend was still down, so I reentered a short position at 531. At this point I was biased toward the downside, which I think is a mistake. I tend to get biased instead of concentrating on my set ups, something I continue to work on. Anyway, I didn't think the short was a horrible trade considering the short term trend was still showing lower. No follow through to the downside, so I got stopped out at 546 because it broke above 542.

Final trade was a short at 542 as it looked like it was going to run back down through that level. Ran about 5 ticks then reversed back up. Got stopped out at 558 and decided to call it a day since the action in Crude was choppy and trading in a narrow range. This strategy does not work in narrow, choppy price action. My stop on this last trade should have been a bit tighter as well.

Positives: I was disciplined and followed my plan. I stuck to what I had planned to do, and with the exception of the last trade, I kept my stops tight and kept myself out of danger. I stopped trading when my plan wasn't working and I just wasn't feeling it.

Improvements: I think I over traded. I am looking for a direction based on the WTI open. When it works, I can take advantage of some strong moves. I think Iíll update my plan and discard the strategy after 3 failed trades. B/E would be considered a failed trade in this scenario.

One more thoughtÖÖ My initial thoughts before I started this combine was to execute the WTI opening strategy and after 3 failed attempts, shift to scalping, which is my true comfort level. Scalping to me is taking 5 to 20 ticks, while keeping stops no wider than 10. While I am determined to prove to myself the opening strategy works, if I donít show positive results from this after a week, I may consider abandoning it and stick to scalping.

Plan for tomorrow: Execute WTI open strategy, abandon after 3 failures if necessary, switch to scalping and hope to have a positive day! Going to paper trade some scalp set ups to prepare for tomorrow.


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Ashmat
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I was overall happy with my trading today. I implemented my WTI open plan and it worked today. Had two losers and one winner for a nice net gain. I did get a bit side tracked, as I had set up a reversal trade that triggered, but had too many stops left over. As I was replacing the initial stop, I FORGOT to change the DOM to stop mode (S) and ended up getting out of my position earlier than I would have liked. I really need to work on not making those mistakes. Going to tape something to my computer to remind me of this, otherwise I will probably make the same mistake again.

After I took my profits from the opening session, I went into scalp mode. Shorted one on a retracement to settlement, got 8 ticks. Went short on another retest, but only took a couple of ticks as it didn't react as strongly to the downside as I would have liked. Took a couple losing trades at the pivot point, then rode another for a nice profit, though my stop was wider than I would have liked.

The last trade I became biased to the downside and placed my short based on my theory that price was going to blow through the daily pivot. I was lucky it did, but am not happy that I became biased again. The problem with getting biased is I tend to widen my stop more than I am comfortable with. Going to focus on removing directional bias and just focusing on trading my levels. I really like the daily pivots and will work on fine tuning better entries.

Positives: Stuck to my plan, stayed disciplined

Improvements: Need to work on bias, as that does not fit my trading style. Scalp entries could have been better and I failed to pull the trigger on a couple decent set ups.

Same for tomorrow, but I will work on better entries so I can minimize my downside risk a bit better. Really going to study key support levels and how price reacts. Crude is a new instrument for me, so not quite used to it yet.


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I have NO idea what I was doing today. =) I took a WTI open trade and took 8 ticks profit. I did not know how the market would move before the EIA number, so I decided it might be best to watch. I did take a couple scalps, one break even and one for a small loss.

Once the number came out, I waited to see what it would do to the dayís high. It broke through to the upside, then back down. I took a long at the dayís pivot and this is where I just lost it. I closed it at B/E, too worried about taking a loss. Good trade, poor execution. It broke above the previous high, so I went long again. I donít think it was a bad trade, rallied a bit, then stopped out for a small loss. I then sold on the breach of the previous high, reversed long and then as CL fell below the level, I forgot I had a trading plan and proceeded to catch a falling knife. I got cut to shreds. =) I stopped trading at my personal daily loss limit of $600. Combine calls for $1000.00.

Anyway, going to shorten this up a bit. The reason I lost today was because I let emotions dictate my trading and abandoned my strategy. This has been the demise of many a trader, but I refuse to fall into this trap! Having successfully traded before, I know what I have to do. Now I just need to do it. Iím getting caught up in the wrong things, like being new to Crude. Thatís a lame excuse. While CL does have certain characteristics I like, trading is trading, and my plan should work well for Crude. Just have to execute and quit trading scared.

Positives: Started off on the right foot, kept to my daily loss limit and stopped trading when I hit it.

Improvements: Stopped following my plan, chased trades, and traded scared.

Plan for tomorrow: Going to abandon my WTI open strategy, as I have to react way too quickly and am not really trading off any significant levels. I may place trades before the WTI open depending on levels, but for now I will focus on key levels that the market actually looks at. I believe my trading plan is sound if I just have the guts to follow it.

I want to be a full time trader again so bad I can taste it. I believe that if I can get through this combine, I will be well on my way. I LOVE this format!!


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Only had 3 trades today. First trade was a short reversal off the intraday high at 10766. Crude had broken above on a huge move earlier and I waited for a decent entry. I was stopped out at 10775 for a 9 tick loss. I was fine with that trade as the continuation down after a large move did not surface and my stop protected me.

2nd trade was another short below the R1 pivot at 774. My only critique of this trade was that entry could have been better. I risked 21 ticks, which was above the R1 pivot of 10789 and target was the pivot of 10724 for 50 ticks. I was again stopped out at 10795 for a 21 tick loss.

3rd and final trade was a long at 10810. I had a stop at 10780 and target of 10860. Again, I was not happy with my entry, though sticking to my trading plan. A loss would hit my personal daily loss limit of $600.00, so I was okay with that as well. I was stopped out at 10780 and stopped trading for the day.

I am questioning the way I trade my strategy. I am not comfortable with 20 and 30 tick stops, but want to give these trades a chance to run a bit. The combine parameters are tough, and while I will not abandon my strategy, I may look at scalping the strategy until I become more comfortable with larger risk/reward trades. My strategy works for both shorter and longer term trades, but I am concerned about hitting my max loss limit. Would only take a few trades to hit that parameter while looking at larger moves.

Positives: Followed my plan, did not over trade.

Improvements: Need to improve my entries. Questioning my risk/reward parameters. Missed a couple good set ups because the 50 tick move in 2 minutes made me more cautious and I was less willing to pull the trigger.

I guess I need to decide if Iím a scalper or a longer time frame trader.


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Ashmat
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Well, Iím making progress. I got off to a late start and was determined to trade my plan today.

First trade was a long off short term support at 685. I was stopped at 673. Not a bad trade, HOWEVER, I did not use my typical confirming entry. In this case, an entry above the close of the support line would have adhered to my plan. I was trying to get a better price and still not terribly disappointed in the trade.

Second trade was a short at short term resistance at 697. This trade was executed per plan, but I was stopped at 707. I really hate starting the day off with 2 consecutive losers, but I was determined to stick to my plan.

Third trade was a long off support at 707. I widened my stop to below previous support and closed the trade out at the daily pivot area, filled at 729. I did not plan to let it run, as my goal was to get back even.

At this point I was break even and decided to focus on trading around the pivot.

Went long at 732 and closed at 728, when it hit the pivot line on the downside.

Went short at 724 and covered at the pivot line again at 730.

Went long again at 733, above the pivot, and reversed at 724.

At this point I had a 30 tick profit target and was filled at 694.

That was the final trade for the day. I booked a small profit and decided to stop on a plus. I wanted to avoid over trading and I also prefer to start earlier.

I have a ways to go, but was happy I stuck to my rules today. Helps to do that during a live trading session, as it helps to reinforce whether the plan actually works.

Positives: I stuck to my plan today, even though I got chopped up a bit.

Improvements: I think I really needed to wait for better levels, such as the daily pivots. Looking to be more patient tomorrow.

Even though my profit was low today, it was a profit and I felt very good about my trading. Now I just need to do this consistently.


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Ashmat
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Combine Day 6

Well, I am still struggling with my discipline. 3 trades today.

First trade was long at 565 off the S2 pivot and I was stopped out just below the pivot at 555 for a 10 tick loss.

Second trade I re-entered long above the pivot, but moved my stop as it went against me. I was very lucky the trade eventually went in my favor and I closed out at an 11 tick profit, making me even for the day. Lucky is not a good thing in this situation. I gambled, plain and simple.

Third trade I did the same thing, shorting at support at 642. I knew the stop should have been 649, but I did the same thing. My thought process was I was tired of my first trade being a loser and I was determined to make it a winner. Instead of doing what I was supposed to, I moved my stop again and finally just closed the position for a 41 tick loss.

These are old habits that have crept back into my psyche. Part of the problem is I started the first few days of the combine in the hole. And the fact that it seems my first trades are often losers, not sure why there, but thatís not the issue.

The issue is I have to get the psychological issues resolved or I will never progress as a trader. How will I ever know if a trading plan works if I donít have the discipline to execute it?

I am very close to my loss limit in my combine. I have a plan for tomorrow and will hopefully be able to scratch myself back. If not, Iíll continue to trade the account for practice and hope I can learn something to apply to my next combine. I know what I have to do, the question is, can I do it? Time will tell. I have been a successful trader in the past and refuse to give up.


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Ashmat
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I banked profits early this morning and was very happy with the way I traded. Of course having a profitable day does make it easier.

I made a couple observations yesterday that I want to record for my own benefit. Whether they mean anything, time will tell.

1. When buying/selling off support/resistance, make sure the short term trend is still intact.

2. Observe larger trades at key levels to determine if I can read anything into that. Not necessarily going to trade off that until I can see patterns, if any.

3. I think for me, this is the most important! Look at intraday levels closely. Not having traded Crude before, I have been struggling on finding true key levels. In looking back historically, there are very good levels created from intraday action that may not necessarily fall in line with pivots. I also plan on recording the strongest levels and focus on those. Still a journeyÖ.

I am still trying to determine whether a 10 tick stop is reasonable based on where I place my trades. Seems a 20 tick stop might allow for some more wiggle room, but so far it seems most of the time when I move my stop further from 10 ticks, I still get stopped out. For now, I am hoping to keep my stops at 10 ticks and record what happens. Will give me a better idea.

First trade was a scratch. Went long at the WTI open right above the pivot, it ran up a bit, and I moved my stop to BE and was stopped out.

Second trade was a long at the pivot, without a confirming signal. I moved my stop from 10 to 18 ticks, which was short term support, and was quickly stopped out. Once again, was trying to get a better price, but did not receive a confirming signal. I have done this before.

At this point, I have started in the hole once again, mainly because I did not trade on my confirming signal.
The next 3 trades were solid, rule based trades and I ended up 34 ticks on the day.

Still alive and with a fighting chance. Felt much better going into the trading session today, and even though I started in the hole, I was determined to trade my plan. Still working on my consistency. I know these posts are lengthy, but they have been helping. Hopefully I am benefiting another trader who is having the same struggles. Back at it tomorrow, but will do a little paper trading for the rest of the day.


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Ashmat
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When I traded stocks, I used stops a lot to enter trades. I think eventually, I moved away from that and became much more of a rogue trader, thinking I was Godís gift to trading. That didn't end well . I decided to implement that in my trading today. I have found when placing market orders, Crude is oftentimes well above or below where I would have liked to get in. I also find that when I use stops to enter trades, I am expecting a very specific momentum move. When that doesn't happen, I am able to remain more disciplined and get out quickly, since the move was not what I had expected.

I placed several trades at a few key levels and without getting too lengthy, I was stopped out at BE on every single trade. The one trade I didn't pull the trigger on was at the biggest move of the day. I have gone from being trigger happy to trigger shy. I had the set up and was ready to go, but got BIASED to the downside again. Will I ever learn?

Bottom line for today is I was much more comfortable adapting my old style. I will continue to do this going forward and I think it could work very well for Crude. I never once moved my stop because I panicked. Itís interesting that 4 trades today moved 10 ticks in my favor, but my target was a minimum of 30 ticks profit and I move my stop to B/E after a 10 tick run in my favor. Iím going to keep an eye on this very closely, though for now, I will look for larger targets as long as there is room (i.e. clear from previous sup/res areas. I canít go broke breaking even, but I canít make money doing that either.

I consider today a great day. I think I am evolving, as I should be. And while it was not a profitable day, it was a fantastic learning day. Next step is to take my trading style and tweak it until I believe I can be consistently profitable. Donít know if Iíll recover to even earn a rollover, but so far this has been a phenomenal experience!


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Ashmat
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Today was a poor day to trade momentum. I executed my plan and stayed disciplined until my last trade. Again, I was frustrated that I couldn't get the few few trades in the black. I followed my entry rules for the last trade, but moved my stop and got stubborn on the position, determined to will it to move my way. It didn't and I was stopped out and got close to my $600 personal daily limit. The problem I have now is I am only $120.00 away from my max drawdown.

It has been a very difficult week personally, but regardless, I should have been patient and not let my emotions get to me. That is the current battle! I am going to skip trading tomorrow and resume after the holiday. I'll do some paper trading tomorrow and see if I can get this figured out. If I blow this combine, there is always another. I know I can do this once I take the emotions out of it, accept the fact losses will happen, and let my profits run a bit. I know had I just traded my plan, the damage would have been far less. I have to get past letting those first few trades get to me. I also need to look if there might be a reason few of my initial trades are ever profitable. Patience maybe? I'll have to take a look. I can use the 4 day break coming up to clear my head. I will get this!!


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I discovered something today. I am not a big move trader. I look at charts and see these large moves off of major levels and think I can do that. It does not fit my trading style or comfort level. I am a short term, momentum trader and find when I trade that way, I am more disciplined and consistent.

Today was a rough day. I was up $310.00 and had a personal target of $400.00. I proceeded to lose the $310.00 and then became desperate, as I was only $120.00 away from my maximum drawdown. Very hard to stay focused when that number is hitting you in the face. I tend to start out very strong and then fade later. Part of this is due to wanting to catch these large moves.

Anyway, the plan going forward is to trade 2 contracts and look for good momentum set ups. Thatís it, no more swinging for the fences because I tend to strike out! Maybe one day I can develop a method that will allow me to take advantage of large moves, but for now, I need to stay true to my style. No more conflict.

I still have 10 days to use the combine account as practice, and in two weeks I will start another combine and hopefully will have my plan in place. My goal for the next 10 days is to trade my style exclusively and get the combine account profitable, even though it is too late to be considered.

Of course, the conundrum here is trading a practice account that doesn't count will be easier than trying out for the combine. I realize that and will just focus on placing good trades that fit my style. I am just going to focus on trading my style and will continue to update the journal daily.

I continue to learn about myself through this and think I may have turned a corner. I wonít know for sure until the next combine, but for now, I remain confident for the future!


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Ashmat
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Well, more of the same today. Considering I blew up my combine, I didn't take my trading seriously. I mentioned that I had 2 distinct strategies that I was going to play today. I implemented the first strategy at the open, taking two trades with a small loss. I then decided I was just going to play around (not a smart idea) and work on my risk/reward parameters. I managed to get back to even, took a really stupid long trade that reversed immediately. After that I traded recklessly and eventually hit my daily loss limit on my characteristic last desperation trade.

Itís really interesting that I continue to look at historic charts, develop a sound plan, and trade COMPLETELY OPPOSITE of that plan. Truly, I trade the exact opposite of the plan more so than not. I try to catch bottoms, find tops when a signal has already stated the possible direction. Itís weird and I just donít get it. I have 9 days left and if I want my next combine to be successful, I had better treat this as if I was still alive in the combine.

Not sure if I will be able to trade Friday, just because I am travelling. I know what I have to do. Hopefully I can talk about my next trading day in the context of actually following my plan.


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Ashmat
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I placed 3 trades today, with the intention of simply working risk/reward. Every trade was a loser, as I was stopped out at 20 ticks each, with a 50 tick target. Frustrates me that when I have done this in the past, the trades end up being losers, just as today. Happy with entry and my targets and stop losses, but still trying to figure this out. I guess I can’t measure the success on only 3 trades, so I’ll keep working on this.

Monday I’ll be back to working my 2 primary set ups. My goal is to trade without fear, which is easier since this combine doesn’t count, but I have to work on my setups and discipline. If I can use the next 8 days to trade as I would the new combine, I might be ready when that time comes. I need to reinforce the good habits, regardless of the outcome for now. Again, I know what to do, but have yet to do it with any consistency. This will be my focus.

I am looking forward to getting back to trading on Monday. My plan still has not changed, but it has before once I start trading. I really want to focus on trading my plan and not letting myself get frustrated. I hope to say I had a good trading day, win or lose.


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Ashmat
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Here is how my combine looks to date. Yes, it's ugly, but full of lessons!


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Ashmat
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So I can say I traded my plan today. I made a small, profitable trade at the open. I then decided to trade off the Pivot Point and went long after a breach and then a move upward. Once I got 10 ticks, I moved my stop and was stopped out shortly thereafter. I then got long again above short term support with a stop below the pivot. Again, I was stopped out, this time at a loss. I continued to trade around the pivot and was chopped up brutally. I suppose after the 3rd breach of the pivot, I should have given up attempting to trade that level.

My risk/reward was 3 to 1 on the initial entry, but I felt like maybe I should widen my stop. I could not get 30 ticks positive for the life of me and was thinking I need to give these moves a chance.

While I am writing this, I am listening to MtnMan on squawk and he made a very interesting comment. This is an inside day and he said if you are down big today, which I was, you should maybe look at your strategy for trading this type of market. I was looking for larger moves around the pivots, and the market just didn't allow for that today. Since MtnMan is a professional and well respected, I am going to heed his advice and really look at my strategy closer. I am trying to trade a style I am not comfortable with and I really need to assess my current strategy. I keep saying I will attempt to trade in my style, but I keep experimenting, unsuccessfully.

I will decide how I want to approach my trading in the morning and will discuss it in the journal. I have an idea, but have verbalized these and did something different.

Here are what my trades looked like on a 60 tick Candlestick chart. The green arrows were buys, red sells. The last green arrow was my last trade and I was stopped at a 28 tick loss.



I have always been an active trader, so I'm ok with my trade volume today, but honestly, they were just not good trade set ups based on the type of activity. Still looking for a profitable day. Hopefully tomorrow.

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FYI, a couple of your screenshots in your last post are not showing up.

Mike

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Ashmat
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I can see all of them. Is there something I have to do to insure everyone sees them?

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 Big Mike 
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I can see all of them. Is there something I have to do to insure everyone sees them?

I am referring to post #42.

You can see them probably because they were cached by your browser. If you press Ctrl-F5 a couple of times, it should re-verify the validity of the items on the server and you'll see they aren't available.

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Ashmat
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I have no idea what has happened to me as a trader. My personal life has been rough of late, so that may have something to do with my trading. I havenít been able to put together a winning day for the life of me. Today I simply traded reckless, and really should not have traded at all. I just want to be able to trade under any circumstances, test my will. So far, I havenít been able to figure it out. While I may be down, Iím not out. I have 6 more days on this combine and am determined to figure this out.

I missed my opening trade, so I thought I was ready to trade plan 2. First trade was a long on a break of short term resistance. I was stopped and reversed to a short. That trade got stopped out and I reversed again. That trade was also stopped out and I did not reverse. I went long again and held the trade for a 25 tick profit. At this point I was only down about 10 ticks. My last trade was long and short term trend was up, but it reversed, I moved my stop, and lost close to 40 ticks.

Positives: Not much today. UI wasnít even happy with my one winning trade

Improvements: I need to find my discipline. I traded 2 contracts today in a desperate attempt to gain some profits. I was reckless and lacked patience. I didnít have a specific plan if the trade went against me.

The thing that really frustrates me is I have traded successfully before. I am going back to the drawing board and will continue to see if I can find my trading mojo again.




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Today was pretty much a waste. I attempted to execute my opening trade strategy using a trailing stop, but the moves are so fast at the open, itís difficult to execute a reversal quickly. I still like the strategy, but need to figure out the exact steps to actually make it work. It involves doubling the number of contracts on the stop, but I have to be very quick, since I canít execute a reversal on the initial order.

After the first couple of trades, I just decided to try some scalps. Since the account is a practice account at this point, I traded 2 contracts. I did have 3 winners, and got back close to even, and then my next 4 trades were all losers. It was frustrating because I was trying to scalp pullbacks, and every time I did, the short term trend reversed. Had I been trading one contract, I would have had some more room to play.

I have 5 days left for this account and really need to be disciplined. Iím not going to get the account back to even, so Iíll go back to a single contract and just focus on good trade strategy. I would at least like to earn a rollover on my next combine. The good thing is the combine format really forces you to be disciplined and patient. If I can find balance there, I will be on my way. I am not quite there yet. I included a couple charts to help remind me not to trade like this! =) I used OHLC bars so you can see where the trades were placed.




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Ashmat
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Finally put together a winning day! It wasnít perfect, but I made better decisions and kept my stops in place. I used wider stops with larger targets, based on short term support/resistance.

First trade was based on my pit opening strategy. I had a stop of 10 and a limit of 20 ticks and hit my target. The next five trades were based on the S1 pivot. Unfortunately, price chopped around the level and I didnít get any follow through.

The last trade was a buy below the pivot, so this was not a pivot play. It was based on price action and the fact price had approached the low of the day. I placed my stop about 15 ticks below the low to keep myself from getting stopped out from a stop run. The stop was a bit more than I like, about 30 ticks, but my profit target was placed at 55 ticks, which was just below the my second resistance point. I was fortunate enough to get my target hit and since Friday volume tends to dry up as the day goes on, I decided it would be good just to bank a profit.

Positives: I had a reason for every entry and every stop. While I was not yet at my comfort level, there have been many days where I traded out of desperation and had no rational reason for entries or stops.

Improvements: Still trying to find my comfort level and the style of trading that best fits me.

I have 4 days left and know exactly what I want to do for those 4 days. I will be doing another combine and would really like to finish strong in preparation for the next combine.


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Ashmat
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Today was a good day, even though it was a losing day. Iím going to break down my trades and see where I can improve my execution. I am now comfortable with the strategy I want to use, but have some work on managing those trades once open.

I took a short right after the RSI open and got a quick 20 ticks. My target was 30, so I was more focused on the target than short term support. I closed and reversed the trade for a 3 tick loss, based on break of the upper resistance line. I should have been looking at support and watched that level closer. I could have closed the first trade at a small gain and been ready for the next setup.

The long trade was not a good trade because I did not allow for confirmation. I went long on the first breach of resistance. I prefer to enter above the bar that broke the line, but I did not wait for that. I reversed that trade for a small loss as well. Being short and heading for support, I ignored it again and held the trade for a while, hoping for some carry through on the downside. That didn't happen and I placed one more reversal on another breach of resistance. At this point I decided this would be my last trade since I was approaching my daily limit. I moved my stop to 30 ticks, a few ticks below the daily low, and my target to 60 ticks. I was stopped out and that was the end of the day.

Positives: Finally feel comfortable with how I want to trade my strategy.

Improvements: I need to learn how to better manage those trades when short term support/resistance is present. My goal for this strategy is to get 30 ticks, but if that target does not get reached, I need to better manage that and not necessarily hold out for 30 ticks on the first trade.

There will be times I will get 30 ticks on one trade and be done. Itís managing those trades that donít ďcooperateĒ that is my challenge.

I felt very good about today, as I think I was truly able to see what my next step is. Very excited about the future. Itís comforting to know when you first stare at that screen, you actually have a plan in mind. Iíll have to figure out a personal loss limit as well, since I canít be pushing the daily limit on my next combine. Just going to work on perfecting the plan as best I can. If it turns out itís not a great plan, I can at least know I did my due diligence and start looking for another plan.




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Ashmat
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Not only was this the first strong trading day in sometime, I was also able to hit a milestone by banking profits above $1000.00. I stuck to my plan and kept my stops fairly tight. While one day does not make a career, it was just good to have a strong day! I was asking myself yesterday why itís so easy to lose $1000 in a day and why itís so difficult to do the opposite. While my goal today was just to continue to implement my trading plan, once I got $300 in profits, I decided I would double up on the contracts and see if I could hit a milestone event.

The first several trades were placed around the RSI opening. I was again looking for 30 ticks, but price would not carry through. I also have to consider the ES!(?) report comes out on Wednesdays and can create narrow ranges before the news comes out. Iíll have to watch that going forward.

The 2nd to last trade was a bounce off the Pivot and it actually worked. I placed a limit of 30 ticks and was filled after the news came out. That was probably more luck than anything, but Iíll take it.

The last trade was a long above the dayís high with a stop below the R1 pivot. My target was simply enough to end the day over $1000. Luckily price cooperated this time and I had my day.

Positives: Stuck to my trading plan for the most part. Still needs a few tweaks. First milestone.

Improvements: Need to watch the news on Wednesdays and figure out the plan for that. I would rather not have a position going into the news. Still need to fine tune trading plan and continually work on my discipline. One good trading day does not make a career.




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Ashmat
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One of my goals in the last week was to book a 30 tick day based solely on my opening levels. Today I was able to do that, so two days, two goals and 2 positive days in a row. A definite victory for me! While I left some money on the table, I am fully at ease with that. I came just one tick away from being stopped out at break even, but was lucky enough for price to move lower and finally hit my target. One single trade today with a $590.00 profit. Iíll take it!

Tomorrow is my last day of this combine. I am starting to settle into a trading plan I am feeling comfortable with. I will have to watch myself very closely, as I know I am not where I want to be. The cool thing about this journal is how my mindset has progressed. It really felt like I had NO idea what I was doing in the beginning, and while I am not quite there, I am starting to feel I am making some serious progress. Weíll have to see how much during the next combine.

My goal for tomorrow is to continue to trade my plan and see if I canít get a second milestone of a plus $1000 day. If I donít hit it, I wonít be too disappointed, as long as I am following my trading plan and showing patience.


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Ashmat
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While I am not happy with the performance of my combine, I can definitely say it has helped me immensely in my progress. I am truly beginning to see what it takes to become a professional trader and I believe I do have those qualities. I am really looking forward to my next combine and know that while I may not get funded, it will have improved on my previous attempts. I will continue to keep a journal and know that it is only a matter of time before I am funded.

Today I had one goal and that was to hit another $1000 milestone. I did trade around my levels, but honestly I was more gambling than anything. I ended the day at a loss, but am not unhappy with not reaching the $1000 milestone. Personally it has been a brutal month and I am proud of myself for continuing to plug away. Now that things have settled for me, I will be better prepared for the next challenge.

Although I did trade off levels, I was kind of all over the place. I did place a nice short at settlement, but did not let the trade run as I should have. Trading with 2 contracts makes it more difficult since I could lose twice as much as I could make. I also donít think itís a good idea to set a monetary goal, as goals should be to trade the plan and let the money do its thing based on solid trading. I knew that going in, but was really just concerned about hitting the milestone.

Here is my completed combine and I look forward to showing a profitable one for my next challenge.


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Ashmat
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While I do keep my own journal, I thought it would be good for me to continue to post my progress for this latest combine. So far, I have had good success, with 4 up days and 1 down day. The only issue is the one down day I had took away my profits for the first 3 days. Today I was able to get a good down move at the WTI open and am back in the black for my combine.

My strategy for this combine is really slow and steady. In my previous combine, I was more concerned with large moves, and that created larger stops and bigger losses. For this round, I am implementing my strategy and just taking smaller profits. Yesterday told me I still have some work on my discipline, but I am starting to get more comfortable with crude. In fact, yesterday would have been positive, but I forgot to put in a reversal at the EIA news and got stopped out, when I really wanted to reverse. I was too slow and won't let that happen again. I should have stopped there, but was hoping for some carry through from the news, as has happened on 3 previous weeks. Instead, it remained a bit choppy after the initial move down and I had to stop trading before I got too chopped up. It was another learning experience.

I did one trade today, 30 ticks, and since I am positive again, I'm going to stop. I would rather go into the weekend with a positive trade day. Better for me psychologically.


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Ashmat
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It's interesting the progress I'm making. I don't feel the need to over trade and am happy taking things a bit slower than my previous combines. Today I placed one trade before the WTI open based on a breach of the daily pivot. I had a target of about 60 ticks, but saw a bit of strength and ended up with 39 ticks. I was happy with that trade, though I still need to work on maximizing my profits. The target was based solidly on support and it acted as it should. Right now I would like to build up a small cushion and gain some confidence so I can work on larger profits. Regardless, I like the direction I am taking and will continue to remain cautious and patient. I have plenty of time with this combine and am very happy I have posted profits 5 of 6 days. I never even came close to that on my previous combines.

Tomorrow I have the same plan, be patient and keep losses small. I have gained a lot more confidence, but know I have to be very aware that I can destroy those profits with a single bad trade. That is my biggest hurdle at this point, so I will continue to remind myself to stay disciplined. I am looking for consistency, and while a rollover would be great, I still have the ultimate goal to meet the profit objectives and get funded. I really wish I had discovered TST 2 years ago!


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Ashmat
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I was a bit more active today, placing 4 trades. I had a monetary goal in mind today, which I think is a mistake. the good news is, I did manage to hit that goal. I think going forward I just need to focus on good trades. I have a decent cushion and the only monetary goal I should worry about is the end result and not focus on these goals daily.

First trade was a break even based on WTI open. I got more than 10 ticks and moved my stop to break even. I try to keep the stops tight around the open because of possible volatility.

My next entry target was around the S1 support line. Crude had been showing weakness pre-market, so I wanted to place a trade from a bounce off the S1 support. I got a good fill, but there was not much follow through, so I closed the position with a small profit.

3rd trade was a pure momentum play and since I didn't get a quick 10 ticks, I was stopped for my typical 10 tick loss.

At this point, momentum was just not working, but I felt crude still had some upside potential. I decided trade 4 would be my last trade. I had a 50 tick target and a 30 tick stop, just below the S1 line. I figured if it breached that line, I was wrong and would end the day with a loss. Luckily, crude eventually ran and after missing my target by a couple ticks twice, it finally hit the target and I ended up with a nice day.

The last trade is not typical of my style, so I still need to proceed with caution. I don't like using that wide of a stop, but I was at least willing to stop trading either way. Hopefully I can get some good momentum plays tomorrow. Still feeling very good about my trading, but I do acknowledge I still have some cracks in the armor.


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Ashmat
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Today was a day of missed opportunity. I missed the reversal at the WTI open and got out too quickly on a couple other trades. My discipline has definitely gotten better, but I have 3 glaring things I need to work on.

1. Not getting out of trades too early

My theory here is that the times I let trades run a bit more will more than make up for the few times I get stopped out below my initial target. I have included a chart image on where I should have been more patient. Hopefully it will remind me to give some trades a chance to be more profitable.



2. Knowing when to call it quits for the day

This one still puzzles me. I really have no idea when it would be a good time to throw in the towel for the day. I considered stopping after my third trade, as I was just not feeling confident, especially after missing my reversal at the WTI open. If anyone has any suggestions on a good rule of thumb, I am wide open! Maybe I should just trust my instincts.

3. Forcing trades

When I miss an opportunity I should have taken, and know I should have taken, I tend to start forcing things. I placed several trades today that were just not great. they weren't horrible, but the risk/reward ratio was not good.

The good news is I only lost 5 ticks plus commission. I placed several trades that were forced at best. My discipline is at least keeping me from larger losses, but I need to continue to work on my patience and wait for better set ups. I will also be more conscious of not forcing trades and just waiting for set ups I am more comfortable with.



Here is the missed reversal.


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Ashmat
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Well, I'm a little puzzled. . I had my best day so far for this combine, I traded well, and don't believe I made any mistakes. I am puzzled because I am wondering where this trader was for the first two combines. Guess I'm actually learning something. Who knew?

I placed 4 trades, all based on sound levels. 3 profitable, one B/E. I kept my stops tight and was fortunate enough to get some decent moves, especially my last trade. I love the momentum trades! These type of trades are my sweet spot, as that is the way I traded when I did stocks. I have also found that using stops to enter trades has been very beneficial. Pretty much all my entries and exits are stops. It has allowed me to take advantage of strong moves, whereas before I often missed good entries.

I am going to post my charts so I can go back and see what I did right and what entries or exits were less than stellar. I still need to work on when to call it a day if my trades are not working. It's easy when all the trades work, but that probably won't happen every day. I need to remember to keep that in mind.

I think the biggest benefit to me today is that I got some confirmation that using tight stops does work and will hopefully help me reinforce that thought. I remain cautious and humble, as I know all too well one bad day of trading can wipe out an entire two weeks of good trading. I remember when I went full time trading stocks, I thought I was the king of trading and was quickly humbled. I failed to respect the market and it handed me a very tough lesson. I will always respect whatever market I trade, no matter how well I am doing.




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Ashmat
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Today was a good test! I placed 5 trades, 1 B/E, 1 loss, and 3 profitable. The test came at trade 4. I placed a short at the current HOD based on the fact there was no follow through. I kept my typical 10 tick stop and was stopped out, only to see price continue downward. My first reaction is to get mad, but I recognized this, and was able to move on. Stuff happens in trading and this was just part of it. Instead of dwelling on the negative, I chose to move on, what was done is done, and look for another opportunity. I was still up 7 ticks at this point.

Final trade was also interesting. I had a sell stop placed just below the daily pivot. Price had not been showing strength and I was betting on a continuation downward once the pivot was broken. Price often bounces off these levels, but the chart was showing weakness. One thing I noticed was price kept rejecting at 140. My instincts were telling me to short at that level. It was a low risk trade, so I followed my instinct and placed a sell limit order at 141. Price rejected again and I was out with a 30 tick profit. In the past I have had trouble focusing, and that inner voice was usually silent. Even when it does speak, I am usually too nervous to place the trade. This was a huge step for me and I am finding that now I am settling into a comfort level with my trading, my mind is much clearer. While I will still enter the majority of my trades on stops, I may place a few limit orders if I get that kind of instinct again. I still need to remain humble.

Half way through my combine I am at 8 profitable days and just 2 losing days. I am just above half way to the profit goal. Just very happy with my progress and growth. While I could have let some of these trades run a bit more, especially the last trade, I closed positions based on information the chart was showing me. I plan to continue to take this slow and steady. So far it has worked out very well.




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Ashmat
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I chose not to trade yesterday as I was uncertain how the delayed EIA report might affect crude. I did have a stop placed to try and pick up a momentum trade on the report, but it failed to do anything, so I never picked up a position.

Today was an excellent example of how much focus it takes to be successful at this vocation. While I didn't have a terrible day, I was not 100% focused, had some distractions, and it interfered with my feel. The first couple trades were typical, no issues with those. The third trade I placed a long at support and simply closed it too quickly, not allowing my stop to prove me wrong. The next few trades were not bad, but I just didn't have a good feel for anything today. My 20 point loss was way too much for the circumstances and I should have easily lost less on the trade based on my parameters.

Anyway, without going into too much detail, the lesson learned today was I need to be 100% focused or I simply should not trade. I may have still incurred losses today, but I would be better with that if I felt I was 100%. I was 80% at best today. The good news is I have the discipline to recognize this and know when I should just stop trading. Combine still looks good and I still have a great shot at getting funded. Wed-Fri I should be better focused on the task at hand.






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Ashmat
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Well, found a chink in my armor today. I got no follow through on any of my trades and was going to settle for a loss of $435. Instead, I forced it and ended up down $830. I get into these modes and need to show more discipline. I did not want to have 2 losing days in a row, and seemed determined to make sure that did not happen. Instead I traded horribly and just lost it. The best thing I can do is learn from this and be disciplined tomorrow. I am still profitable by $725 and am going to change my personal daily loss limit to $500. If I hit that the next 2 days, I will end up hitting my loss limit and be out of the combine. I am not going to let that happen. If I want to be a professional trader, I need to stick to my plan and not worry about milestones and losses, etc. I have had 11 days of consistent trading and I sure don't want to blow that effort in a few days. I will study my chart from today and see the mistakes I made and have a better plan for tomorrow.

My momentum trading does not work as well in choppy markets, so I will need to study the best approach when the markets get choppy. Though for today, the bottom line is I got mad and moved my stops away from my normal limits and took larger losses than were necessary. Hopefully I can get back on track tomorrow.






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Ashmat
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Well, it only took me 3 days to wipe out 2 weeks of profits. What I have discovered is that my method works well when the market is trending, but fails when it is choppy, which it has been the last few days. I have 7 days left and am only about $300 from hitting my max drawdown. While I am not happy, I can either dwell on the negative or try to extract something positive from all this. I was determined not to move my stops, and as usual, I started right, but got frustrated as I went back and forth, moved my stop WAY above where I should have and had to close the trade to save my combine. At this point, my goal is to at least get a rollover. I have discovered that when a momentum trade does not work, a reversal at key levels does. I over traded today as I started with a loss, and kept going back and forth, trying to get positive and then getting two in a row. That did not happen and I just lost it. So very frustrating when I start out so well and then blow it in a few days.

So.... lesson learned today is I need to learn how to trade when the markets are choppy and when a momentum trade fails. I will need to find that balance. My goal tomorrow is to watch for reversals off of key levels and keep my stops tight. While I still may attempt some momentum trades, I will be conscious of when that does not work. I'm down but not out yet! No chart today, just too messy.


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Ashmat
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I wanted to throw in a quick update. These last few days have been a test, to say the least. I have spent the morning looking at different levels and I think I have actually found a specific level I can trade from. I am going to ditch the WTI open trade, as I have found it tends to be too inconsistent and if I were to go back and look at all those trades, I am guessing I would be break even at best, but probably a net loss. It's very difficult to trade right at the open as the movements are so quick. Instead, I am going to spend the rest of this combine working off daily highs/lows. I am actually kind of relieved I am getting rid of the WTI trade. I think it will allow me to get into a better frame of mind and not feel like I have to force a trade and get the reversal in before it moves.

I am really excited about what I have seen on historical charts and trading off these levels will allow me to have similar results whether crude is trending or ranging. Hopefully I am not too late with this combine, but sometimes it takes a hard lesson to make the necessary adjustments. Looking forward to seeing what happens tomorrow!

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Ashmat
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I started the day off making a big mistake and was lucky enough to recover. I implemented my new strategy by going long on a breach of the daily high, but failed to reverse when I should have. This trade was placed before the WTI open and I questioned taking this trade before the WTI open because the strategy I have been looking at involves entering a position AFTER the WTI open. This thought process seemed to screw me up and I failed to reverse as I should have. I was lucky for the recovery and was able to place a couple more trades and ended the day with a small profit. Since I had made the initial mistake, I didn't want to push it, but did want to have a positive day to help my combine criteria. I was happy to take a 12 tick profit and called it a day.

I plan to go back and look at pre-WTI historically and see if my strategy works before the WTI open. It would have been a great trade had I done what my plan says to do. Of course I didn't, so I will need to work on that as well.

I have 9 profitable days on the combine, so I just need 2 more profitable days and not drop below 50k to hopefully earn a rollover. While there is still a chance I can hit the profit objective, based on my trading this week, I will be happy with a rollover. Hopefully I can get my discipline back next week!


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Ashmat
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Very strong day today. Still not maximizing my profits, however, I am one day closer to meeting the win/loss percent for my combine. I placed 2 trades today based on the LOD near the WTI open. I was short and then reversed for a 50 tick run, net 44 ticks. I do realize that you can't have winning days less than losing days and make money in the long run. That being said, I am happy I was able to recover from less than professional trading last week and get myself a cushion. Still have a ways to go to reach a high, but nice to make progress in the right direction.

I took my profit at 9795 because it was approaching a round number, 9800. Personally, I hate trading around those numbers because I have found that price can get choppy. It was a 50 tick profit for the trade, so I was ok with my exit. I will have to watch that in the future, as normally I would have watched price action around the HOD and then the R1 support. Still, I'm ok with the trade and need just one more profitable day to meet one of the combine's criteria. The fact I am able to recover after coming so close to hitting my overall drawdown shows I am progressing as a trader.




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Ashmat
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Another 2 trade day and good results. I now have 11 profitable days, so I hit that goal. For the next 4 days, I am going to make a push to hit the combine profit goal, while watching my drawdown very carefully. I will need to balance hitting the profit objective versus achieving a rollover. I need to average about $600 a day to meet the $3500 objective. I will add another contract tomorrow and will do my best to not be a nervous wreck. Trading is about managing risk, and these next few days will be a good test. In fact, tomorrow will most likely determine whether I shoot for funding or a rollover. If I have a losing day, I will work on a rollover the final 3 days. If I am profitable, I will keep plugging away.

Tomorrow the EIA numbers come out. I have struggled with Wednesdays, but I don't plan on doing anything else other than following my plan. If I think about the number too much, it will screw me up. Just going to trade as usual and hope for the best. I have tried to trade on the news, but the volatility makes it very difficult. Best to not attempt that and stick to my plan.

Here we go........




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Ashmat
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I really don't do well on Wednesday's. The EIA report that comes out at 9:30 CST just throws me off. I'm not sure whether I should wait until after the report comes out or implement my plan prior. Guess I better decide going forward. I'll have to look at some historical charts and make a decision.

Anyway, I gave it a shot to try and hit my profit goal and fell short. I wasn't unhappy with my trading, but did try a few mom B/O's that didn't really pan out. Was not a good day for momentum and I was really pushing for strong moves today. I traded 2 contracts per entry today and was lucky to be down 15 ticks plus commission. I admit, I did not execute my normal plan today as I was really trying to make something happen. This never really works, but I'm ok with it. Last week really killed my momentum and I was gambling more than anything today. I stayed mindful of not hitting my max drawdown and was able to avoid that. I stayed fairly disciplined, but really relied more on luck than anything. Probably not the best strategy, but it is what it is and while I didn't give it my best shot, at least I gave it a shot.

I have 3 days left, so my focus will be on getting a rollover. I feel pretty confident I can do this and will drop back down to 1 contract for the next 3 days. If I am able to get a rollover, I really think I will have a good chance of getting considered for funding the next go around. I have improved with each combine. Have to survive the next 3 days.






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LogicalTrader
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Ashmat View Post
I have 3 days left, so my focus will be on getting a rollover. I feel pretty confident I can do this and will drop back down to 1 contract for the next 3 days. If I am able to get a rollover, I really think I will have a good chance of getting considered for funding the next go around. I have improved with each combine. Have to survive the next 3 days.

I have also been in your situation 4 times so I somewhat know what you are going through. I know it is difficult but try to not let the 3 day deadline play tricks with your mind. Focus only on executing your plan because like you said, you feel you are going to successfully complete the next combine. Why waste 3 days for an objective different than that? If funding is the objective then rollover is not, so focus on funding.

Trade the plan, nothing else. Doesn't matter if it rolls over or not. You can always get into another combine either way. I know it is hard but as Yoda would say "Do or Do not, there is no try"

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Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
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iNeo View Post
I have also been in your situation 4 times so I somewhat know what you are going through. I know it is difficult but try to not let the 3 day deadline play tricks with your mind. Focus only on executing your plan because like you said, you feel you are going to successfully complete the next combine. Why waste 3 days for an objective different than that? If funding is the objective then rollover is not, so focus on funding.

Trade the plan, nothing else. Doesn't matter if it rolls over or not. You can always get into another combine either way. I know it is hard but as Yoda would say "Do or Do not, there is no try"

Thanks iNeo. I did give it a shot, but for now with one day left, I just want to make sure I get my rollover. I have $200 to risk, so who knows. I'll push as long as I'm above water. Either way, I think I am ready for the next combine. I came so close and just let it get away from me for 2 days. Should be interesting and I really appreciate your feedback!

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Ashmat
Newcastle, CA/United States
 
 
Posts: 60 since Aug 2013
Thanks: 0 given, 22 received

I didn't post yesterday as I was just too busy after I finished trading. I was hoping to get about 20 ticks, but missed a HUGE short and just grazed all day. Anyway, could have been worse. I also ended up adding to a position because I clicked the wrong side of the DOM. Then I placed 2 more trades in error because I didn't have the DOM trade parameters set correctly. Very frustrating, since I haven't done that lately. Just a reminder to make sure I have the DOM set up correctly for the trade I am trying to execute.

Today I placed 2 trades with very tight stop parameters. I played one as a momentum break to the downside and then played a bounce of the LOD. Neither trade had any momentum, so I just closed both out at small gains and called it a day. I can risk $200 on Monday, the last day of my combine. If I'm not a complete moron (I have shown that propensity) I should get a rollover. So far I am meeting all the rules and I will get aggressive Monday as long as I am above my goal. Otherwise, I'll take my lumps and hopefully get a rollover. Here is where I stand as of yesterday. With the exception of Oct 23 and 24, I think it looks pretty good.




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nemeis45
delhi, delhi, india
 
 
Posts: 59 since Dec 2013
Thanks: 10 given, 14 received

i think if you stop trading the open at crude your trading would improve sharply.
In my experience only rookie traders (mostly) trade the opening.
dont trade the open outcry unless you are very sure about it since it can be very tricky often.

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