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My $150K Combine Journey


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My $150K Combine Journey

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  #1 (permalink)
Market Wizard
Phoenix + AZ/USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Trading: MES, MNQ, M2K, MYM and MGC
 
Posts: 532 since Jul 2014
Thanks: 2,481 given, 831 received

A big thank you to Big Mike, TopStep Trader and all traders who followed and voted for my journal in the February Journal Contest! Because of you this journey into a $150K TST Combine is possible. My start date for the Combine is today, Tuesday, March 7th. As you many of you know, I have an indefinite amount to time to reach the Combine goals but not a deep pocket book, so my goal is to qualify for Funded Trader Prep within 1 month's time. What is required?
  • Trade a minimum of 10 days
  • Achieve a profit objective of $9,000
  • Do not exceed the daily loss limit of $3,000
  • Do not exceed the max drawdown of $4,500
To achieve my goal of qualifying within 1 month, basically I need to earn between $500 and $1,000 daily with the expectation that there will be some losing days. I will take trades in the following products:
  • ES
  • CL
  • NQ
  • YM
  • 6E and
  • 6J
Although, the Combine doesn't require it. I plan to exit any trades before major news events, and not enter into any trades 5 minutes before major news and until 5 minutes after high impact news events. Depending on the setup, instrument traded and the number of contracts traded I hope to achieve my daily goal with 2 successful trades. As most of you know, who have followed my journal I like to take some profit quickly (if not all) so T1 is usually between 10 and 16 ticks unless I am trading the ES then I like to take profit between 1 and 2 points (4 - 8 ticks).

A typical journal entry will look something like the screenshot below. Yellow dots represent my entry point, red squares mark my stops and the green diamonds represent where I took profit.




The majority of the time, I trade with a blank chart, but as seen above I may add pivot zones, sometimes I use the hourly pivot zones (using the 12 hour) or I will use the daily floor pivots. Occasionally, I will put a moving average on the chart and when I do it will be 1 of 3 moving averages: (1) a 20 VWMA, (2) 89 EMA or (3) a 21 EMA. The only other indicators that you will see on my charts are bar counters or range bar finders.

I will do my best to post all trades taken in the Combine and keep you all up-to-date on my progress.

Don't be controlled by GREED, Led by FEAR, or Puffed up with PRIDE!
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  #3 (permalink)
La Serena - Chile
 
 
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Best of wishes! Good Trades.

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  #4 (permalink)
Tampa, FL/USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
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Congrats and good luck.

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  #5 (permalink)
Market Wizard
Phoenix + AZ/USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Trading: MES, MNQ, M2K, MYM and MGC
 
Posts: 532 since Jul 2014
Thanks: 2,481 given, 831 received

I got a late start this morning. Just took this trade on 6J. It was a counter-trend trade, a little riskier, so I only used the 3Ks. Stop was 4 ticks and target was 10 ticks. Trade just filled as I was typing. A good start to the morning.

6J



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  #6 (permalink)
Market Wizard
Phoenix + AZ/USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Trading: MES, MNQ, M2K, MYM and MGC
 
Posts: 532 since Jul 2014
Thanks: 2,481 given, 831 received

Had to leave the computer and missed several setups that would have met my goal for the day. We are coming into the lunch hour now which usually is a little riskier trading. I may take a planned break this time and come back. I was hoping that I might get 1 more setup before 11:00am EST.

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  #7 (permalink)
Market Wizard
Phoenix + AZ/USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Trading: MES, MNQ, M2K, MYM and MGC
 
Posts: 532 since Jul 2014
Thanks: 2,481 given, 831 received

Been back at the computer for about an hour and the markets are dead this afternoon. I am going to call it a day. I am nowhere near my goal but with all the interruptions and late start I am thankful for the 1 trade and to start my Combine on a positive note. Unfortunately, I will not be around the computer tonight when the markets re-open at 6:00pm EST. I am usually able to get 1 good trade then.

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  #8 (permalink)
Market Wizard
Phoenix + AZ/USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Trading: MES, MNQ, M2K, MYM and MGC
 
Posts: 532 since Jul 2014
Thanks: 2,481 given, 831 received

It's a start in the right direction at least!



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  #9 (permalink)
Market Wizard
Phoenix + AZ/USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Trading: MES, MNQ, M2K, MYM and MGC
 
Posts: 532 since Jul 2014
Thanks: 2,481 given, 831 received

I took a small loss by entering early and closed the position as soon as I realized it and then I reentered on the next signal. However, I was just a little late and ended up 2 ticks beyond the trigger signal. As a result I elected to closed the trade at +10 instead of +12. The trade did fill at +10.

6J



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  #10 (permalink)
Market Wizard
Phoenix + AZ/USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Trading: MES, MNQ, M2K, MYM and MGC
 
Posts: 532 since Jul 2014
Thanks: 2,481 given, 831 received


I saw the 2 bullish bars open and close above the 89EMA and assumed my normal stop would hold and definitely the SL. However, what I didn't notice was the retest of the 2S without establishing a new high (essentially a DT) and where I was expecting a deeper pullback to occur the chart was telling me that it failed. No fun!

CL



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  #11 (permalink)
Market Wizard
Phoenix + AZ/USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Trading: MES, MNQ, M2K, MYM and MGC
 
Posts: 532 since Jul 2014
Thanks: 2,481 given, 831 received

Day of bad decisions. First, in my stubborn pride rather than going to sleep in the night I stayed up all night trading and took every bull micro looking for a retest of the high and as you know they all failed. Too make matters worse, when I finally did elect to go to sleep and woke up I knew it was a definite trend day to the downside but price had traveled so far south that I was afraid to take the setups to the downside and ride it out (because I kept telling myself there has to be a deeper pullback at some point). Nope! Okay, its afternoon time (I am past my daily stop loss limit of $750) and I have a good setup, so I try one more time. What were the conditions of the setup that lured me back into the market to try and recoup some of my losses and violate my own set rule?
  • Price at S5 level
  • Price had a channel break after grinding its way down
  • Price is about $2.70 from the HOD
  • Price then travels north more than 26 ticks
  • Price broke 2 previous swing highs
  • We had a second entry short failure (which turned out to be the bull trap)
  • So I am expecting the SL to hold
  • We get a bullish channel break
  • So I enter long on the 2L
  • Price travels 13 ticks from the low of the 2L
  • Now I am expecting the low of the 2L to hold with the possibility of a 1 or 2 tick trap
  • That was my big mistake (looking for a bear trap in a bear market "Stupid")
Now, I was on total tilt! The only good thing is that I stopped trading at this point and took my lumps, even though I had a perfect 2S shortly signal shortly thereafter which would have helped me recoup a major portion of my losses. Here is a pic of the above summary for my last trade of the day:


Its like I am revisiting the beginning of January all over again where I was so confident and as a result took a terrible fall. Well, I am taking a break and hopefully I won't allow myself to be led by fear tomorrow.

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  #12 (permalink)
Market Wizard
Phoenix + AZ/USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Trading: MES, MNQ, M2K, MYM and MGC
 
Posts: 532 since Jul 2014
Thanks: 2,481 given, 831 received

Here it is warts and all - Definitely over-traded and was not in sync with the market but you know all that.



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  #13 (permalink)
La Serena - Chile
 
 
Posts: 144 since Feb 2017
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sorry to hear that mate... i know you can do it.. tomorrow will be better. At least, and this is the only thing that matter now, you recognized your mistakes.

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  #14 (permalink)
Phoenix Arizona
 
Experience: Beginner
Platform: MotiveWave
Trading: CL
 
Posts: 125 since May 2013
Thanks: 325 given, 162 received

Hang tough BT!! At least you were well below max daily loss. I think it is smart to try to stay as far from that as possible. Take care and get 'em tomorrow!

Danny

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  #15 (permalink)
salt lake utah
 
Experience: Beginner
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Trading: ES
 
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Take it w a grain of salt, you probably need to stop doing trading at night. I've tried many combines before amd trying my best not to miss anything and to earn something at night and can get ahead for the next morning. I probably know what you're trying to do (maybe? Lol). Your brain needs rest.

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  #16 (permalink)
Market Wizard
Phoenix + AZ/USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Trading: MES, MNQ, M2K, MYM and MGC
 
Posts: 532 since Jul 2014
Thanks: 2,481 given, 831 received

Thank you for the encouragement everyone. I had another bad day! Chatted with my wife about it as well and here are some steps that I am going to implement. No trading tonight, or any night (as rintin2x said, "My brain needs a rest). I just wanted to post this real quick because I made the commitment to do that even when its ugly. I intend to get my life back on a regular sleeping schedule which means going to bed at a decent time, waking up the same time every morning and getting back into my old familiar routine which I had abandoned. Stop trading at 11:30 EST or earlier and go to the gym. If I haven't made my daily goal by then, I will return to watch the markets for 1 hour only in the afternoon session. If there is a setup, great; if not, that's okay and I will call it a day. I am also going to slow my charts back down again, not worry about a precise entry point but rather an area and allow more time for the trades to play out.

Hope everyone had a great day, I look forward to catching up on your journals tomorrow. Here is the summary for today, I will try and get back to posting my trades for evaluation again tomorrow.



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  #17 (permalink)
Madrid Spain
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Broker: NinjaTrader Continuum
Trading: ES CL
 
Posts: 26 since Apr 2016
Thanks: 7 given, 17 received


BoltTrader View Post
Thank you for the encouragement everyone. I had another bad day! Chatted with my wife about it as well and here are some steps that I am going to implement. No trading tonight, or any night (as rintin2x said, "My brain needs a rest). I just wanted to post this real quick because I made the commitment to do that even when its ugly. I intend to get my life back on a regular sleeping schedule which means going to bed at a decent time, waking up the same time every morning and getting back into my old familiar routine which I had abandoned. Stop trading at 11:30 EST or earlier and go to the gym. If I haven't made my daily goal by then, I will return to watch the markets for 1 hour only in the afternoon session. If there is a setup, great; if not, that's okay and I will call it a day. I am also going to slow my charts back down again, not worry about a precise entry point but rather an area and allow more time for the trades to play out.

Hope everyone had a great day, I look forward to catching up on your journals tomorrow. Here is the summary for today, I will try and get back to posting my trades for evaluation again tomorrow.



sounds like a good plan, do not worry to much but follow your plan. Do not know what instruments you trade but maybe today with the NFPs release is not the best day?

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  #18 (permalink)
Elite_Member
Wiltshire, United Kingdom
 
Experience: Beginner
Trading: US Equity Index Futures
 
matthew28's Avatar
 
Posts: 957 since Sep 2013
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Your own daily loss limit is $750 yet in the past two days you have lost $1,300 and $900. You might be better off shutting down your trading platform when you are at your limit. Accept that it doesn't matter what the market does when you are not trading. You will always be able to look at the chart the next day and see in retrospect the perfect trades where you could have made the money back. If you have journaled before look back through and see how many times by carrying on you manage to dig yourself out of a hole. I don't mean when you start the day with a small loss or two, but when you are still trading even though your rules say you should have stopped already.

For me if I start to dig a big hole for myself I tend to carry on. If I am so out of sync with what the market is doing or telling me, or just trading really badly, I almost never suddenly completely turn it around and get in line with the market and start trading well. I find it hard to be positive and trade confidently and accept the potential loss when I enter if I already consciously know that by clicking the mouse I am breaking my rules just putting the trade on. It isn't trading with a plan, it is just crossing my fingers and hoping, or revenge trading. You are not learning anything positive by carrying on, just bad habits and feeling wretched with yourself at the end of the day.

Everybody has done this. Having losing days much larger than you intend through not following your rules will not allow you to be consistently profitable. Remember you are not trying to pass the Combine. You are trying to pass the Combine, then do the same again in the FTP; then the same again live. You just repeat the same thing every day. This doesn't actually mean you do exactly the same thing every day as the market is different every day and does what it wants, but you control the only bit you can by focussing on your own process and rules and doing those the best you can and letting the daily ups and downs in the results even out to a positive through gradually building up over days, weeks, months, years.

The trouble with trading is that it all sounds simple before or after but ‘during’ is when the problems start. I think a lot of it is confidence and belief in what you are doing and how you do it, assuming the basic trading methodology is sound. With that confidence one can shrug off the losing days as just the cost of business and irrelevant to overall performance. Self sabotage destroys confidence.

So far you have done well to stop before your actual daily loss is multiples of your own limit. That is a good thing and can be built upon. Try writing a goal or two each day that you want to focus on and grade yourself at the end of the day on how you did and whether you want to focus on the same thing tomorrow, or something else.
Just the two cents of someone also working on a Combine.

Note. I wrote this imagining you as new to trading but after saving it I saw your panel and see that you have been around for quite awhile. It sounds like I am trying to 'teach you to suck eggs'. I won't bother deleting it as I think the points are valid, just unlikely to be something you haven't already heard/thought or discounted before. Good luck.

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  #19 (permalink)
Market Wizard
Phoenix + AZ/USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Trading: MES, MNQ, M2K, MYM and MGC
 
Posts: 532 since Jul 2014
Thanks: 2,481 given, 831 received

Well, I did everything I intended to do, which is awesome! I feel good! I also waited on entering my trade until I knew the big boys were in rather than messing around in the accumulation phase (trading range). I only traded 2Ks and took profit off at +13 ticks (3 ticks before the end of the expected move) on CL so I would clear $250. Nice way to start the day!



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  #20 (permalink)
Point Roberts, WA, USA
 
Experience: Advanced
Platform: IB and free NT
Broker: IB
Trading: ES
 
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Posts: 4,028 since Dec 2010
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matthew28 View Post

For me if I start to dig a big hole for myself I tend to carry on. If I am so out of sync with what the market is doing or telling me, or just trading really badly, I almost never suddenly completely turn it around day.

Everybody has done this. Having losing days much larger than you intend through not following your rules will not allow you to be consistently profitable.

The trouble with trading is that it all sounds simple before or after but ‘during’ is when the problems start.

Good luck.

some good stuff here Matthew - tks for not deleting it - I just read the comments as general to all traders and not specific to Bolt Trader.

We're all routing for you John!

BTW what did you wife say after you talked it over with her?
Any good insights?

..........
peace, love and joy to you
.........
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  #21 (permalink)
Market Wizard
Phoenix + AZ/USA
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Trading: MES, MNQ, M2K, MYM and MGC
 
Posts: 532 since Jul 2014
Thanks: 2,481 given, 831 received

Here is my trade report for Friday and today. I only had a few minutes in front of the computer today to trade. So I took a quick scalp with multiple contracts for +5, just so I could have at least 1 trade for the day and make a small dent in my hole. Hopefully, I will be able to trade all day tomorrow. Planning on a good nights rest, follow my plan and have a few good trades. Sorry, I haven't been able to catch up on everyone's journals. Hopefully, I can do that later tonight or tomorrow after trading. Again thank you for the encouragement all.



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  #22 (permalink)
Madrid Spain
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: NinjaTrader
Broker: NinjaTrader Continuum
Trading: ES CL
 
Posts: 26 since Apr 2016
Thanks: 7 given, 17 received


BoltTrader View Post
Here is my trade report for Friday and today. I only had a few minutes in front of the computer today to trade. So I took a quick scalp with multiple contracts for +5, just so I could have at least 1 trade for the day and make a small dent in my hole. Hopefully, I will be able to trade all day tomorrow. Planning on a good nights rest, follow my plan and have a few good trades. Sorry, I haven't been able to catch up on everyone's journals. Hopefully, I can do that later tonight or tomorrow after trading. Again thank you for the encouragement all.



Well that was a good one, congrats, I ended up in -50$ yesterday, CL did not move as normal

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  #23 (permalink)
vancouver, BC
 
 
Posts: 9 since Jul 2012
Thanks: 54 given, 1 received


BoltTrader View Post
Here is my trade report for Friday and today. I only had a few minutes in front of the computer today to trade. So I took a quick scalp with multiple contracts for +5, just so I could have at least 1 trade for the day and make a small dent in my hole. Hopefully, I will be able to trade all day tomorrow. Planning on a good nights rest, follow my plan and have a few good trades. Sorry, I haven't been able to catch up on everyone's journals. Hopefully, I can do that later tonight or tomorrow after trading. Again thank you for the encouragement all.



Are there any updates to this journal somewhere else?

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