With the new changes at TopStep, I decided that I should take a swing at a combine.
While I have my own account and trade it almost daily, the prospect of levering up on someone else's dime appealed to me.
I have a multi-day ES swing trading strat that I want to fund through the proceeds from TopStep if I succeed.
The plan is to qualify for FTP and funded status as quickly as possible. I mainly trade the NQ, but also trade YM, CL and ES when the time is right.
I will trade max 6 contracts on the NQ and 1-2 on other symbols when I have the best risk to reward ratios. This will give me the opportunity to trade 2 in FTP to hit the goal of $3K on 5 of my typical trades. I may place another single contract on another symbol at the same time if warranted.
Since my typical NQ trade nets ~10-30 pts, I will limit myself to 1-2 NQ trades a day unless the market is in a large expansion. The other symbols when the setups are there.
As time permits, I will be posting a screen shot of the dashboard for each day. I will not post charts.
I signed up last night and started trading this morning.
I have attached a P&L from my platform because the results have not been posted to the dashboard yet.
All-in-all, today was a good day. I had a $1,778.98 day on 15 trades, for some reason my platform didn't remove the commissions on the report. It could have easily been $3K. Also, the last NQ trade was with 3 contracts instead of 6.
I took a total of 2 YM trades, 2 ES trades and the remainder were NQ trades. I should have done better, but I let a couple come back on me a little too much. It was a lower volume day and not enough volatility. Plus, I closed out a YM trade once it covered an earlier loss + a few ticks.
I took more trades today because the moves were there and I wanted to build the profits fast. When I make the target, I will be a little more conservative.
However, the avg daily of ~$1,200 should make the goal obtainable. Especially since I haven't taken a single crude trade. There were at least three 25 tick CL trades available (system wise) but I really don't like trading Mondays on CL unless it is really moving.
I am concentrating on putting large size on the best entries, then scale back size or stop trading all together if I hit $1,800 or $2K by EST lunch.
All I need is 4 more large NQ days and a few good CL trades and then I will just bat the other days out.
As a side note, I think the the approach many take on the combines may be too conservative. On anything other than the 100K or 150K I calculate the odds of making funded status as very low.
The approach that I feel is most appropriate is the following:
Use reasonably large size early and often
Be aggressive on making the profit target early. The longer it takes, the more you will start to press.
Get your FTP goal out of the way as quickly as possible, go into preservation mode once you hit it.
Press hard on the funded stage while you have the $3,000 - $4500 loss limit in place.
Scale up fast as you can on the funded trading stage. You only have 10 trading days with the loss limit in place.
ALWAYS keep in mind you are competing for a FIRST LOSS account balance day 11. You are trying to build an account balance of at MINIMUM $7K by the end of 10 days, ideally $10K. At that point, you have created an account to trade by your hard work.
At that time you scale back to 1-2 lots and trade it to $15K, get your first check and then trade appropriately.
Try to keep at least $10K in the account so you can trade 4-5 lots on only the BEST of BEST trades. Ideally, only trade the TS account 3-5 days a month max. Three to five $1500 days allows a good return on time.
That's my take on it anyway.
Last edited by Hickock; March 28th, 2016 at 10:48 PM.
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I follow the logic, completely. It's the numbers that are giving me some palpitations, I think: I'd find it pretty scary trading 5 lots/contracts of anything, with $10k in the account, but I admire your ambition.
To me, the goal of the combine process is to trade on the "markets money" as much as possible. If I can get the account to ~$10K in the first 10 trading days it's like placing a reasonably large bet on RED and hitting. All for the price of 1-2 normal everyday full stop outs on my live account.
I am working with a NQ strategy that has an automated back tested 78% win rate of 10 pts or greater. I have done better in real life and forward testing by incorporating a couple of filters that determine half or full size entries.
Avg stop: 5pts = $100 per contract
Target 1: 10 pts = $200 per contract
Target 2: 20 pts or greater = $400 per contract
Average Trade: 4 contracts
Max Risk: $400
2@ target 1 = $400
2@ target 2 = $800