This is exactly the right kind of cost/benefit analysis for deciding which Combine to go into, in my opinion.
I would just add the 50K, because the higher daily loss and max drawdown numbers give you more breathing room, and it's just another $15 over the cost of the 30.
But @Pedro40's advice has been right on target during this Combine: keep that exposure (trade size) low enough so it doesn't bite you; don't try for the big win, just some steady ones; and choose the max DD and daily loss limits wisely when you go in. Or so it seems to me.
The following 3 users say Thank You to bobwest for this post:
Sure. This is assuming the trader trades the full maximum allowed number of contracts all the time, and to make it easier, I will talk in ES points instead of dollars:
1. In the 30K Combine both the Max. DD and the profit target (PT) are 10 points away. So the challenge boils down to this: Can you make 10 ES points without losing no more than 10 points? (3.3 points daily)
2. In the 150 Combine the max DD is only 6 points away and the PT is farer, 12 points. So the same question goes like this: Can you make 12 ES points without losing no more than 6 points? (this is the exact same question in Combine 100K, so basicly no difference)
Now I will include the cheapest Combine here just for comparison:
3. Can you make 20 points without losing no more than 20 points? (6 pts daily) As you see the PT is higher but you have the max. wiggle room here.
Now because of these 2 variables PT and max. DD, the only way you can turn the higher combines into an advantage is by NOT playing it with full position.
Let's say you pay for the 100K Combine, but only play half of the max. position. Then your question is:
4. Can you make 24 ES points without losing no more than 12 points?
The volatility has been huge lately so one can make a lot (or lose a lot) using way less than maximum size.
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I've done a 150K, unsuccessfully. I would add that there is a big temptation to use too much size, (1) because it's available and (2) because the profit target is high, and you think you have to. It is uncommon to do this assessment of size in terms of the loss and drawdown limits vs. target, as well as the impact of over-sizing your trading if you don't already successfully trade larger size (big size means big losses, too.) But everyone should.
There is also a temptation to go for the largest Combine in order to have the largest funded account, "when" you pass the Combine (as if that were so easy.) It is better to pass the thing in the first place, at any level, before making decisions about any funded account down the road.
I chose the 30k for the reasons listed in the other post. The reason I did it over the 50k is that your profit requirement doubles, and I didn't want to trade more than a couple of contracts anyway. I just think the $1500 is easier to hit than the 3k.
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The really ironic part is, I have been trading 3 contracts on the $150K combine anyway. I looked back thru my trades and I would have qualified for the $30K combine in 6 days! I should have probably been doing the $30K all along. Since I just paid the $375 for the next month of the $150K, I'll continue it up until it's due again, either I'll complete it or drop back to a $30K combine.
The following 3 users say Thank You to mlarocco for this post:
Don't feel too bad, at least you were smart enough not to trade full size. Although 3 contracts maybe a bit low now, specially that you are in profits. As long as you keep making money you will eventually reach the profit target, it is just going to cost you a lot, at a minimum of 2 months fees.
If I were you, I would try very hard to reach the profit target by the 2nd month (it is rather doable) and if not, I would switch to a lower and cheaper combine. But if you are close to the target in the last few days, just swing it, there is nothing to lose at that time. I would not pay the 3rd month, that is just way too much. This continuous combine was designed to keep the players in the game.
Now let's suppose you do pass in 2 months, then you still have to deal with the LTP rules. If you felt the 150K Combine was too hard for you, I assume you could ask them to assign you to a lesser Combine's LTP.
Anyhow, you have already paid, so let's make a plan. Since there is about 40 trading days and your profit target is 9K, assuming fairly consistent trading you have to make 1.1K weekly or $220 daily on average. Now I don't know where you are exactly, but let's say if you are at day 25, you should be at 25 x 220=5500 profits. If less you have to raise your size, if more you can chill.
The point with this plan is that every day you should know where you are at with your average profits and step up in size or take it easy depending on the actual number. But this is just general guidance, and if you have better days, push those, and size down on days when the opportunities are not there.
Good luck with it. You might want to start a separate diary and we can try to guide you through it.
Last edited by Pedro40; March 5th, 2016 at 06:34 PM.
The following 4 users say Thank You to Pedro40 for this post:
Hi, I am considering a TopStep combine and perusing the board to learn all I can. I haven't yet read this entire 9 page thread but something jumped out at at me on the first 2 pages. Sorry if this was addressed later in the thread. I noticed you are taking profits at 5 and 10 ticks, but you're letting losers run 20+ ticks. That math will never work. Maybe think about disciplined stops (need to be fast with CL) and a bit more room on the upside. Best to you.