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--150K Topstep Combine Journal--


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--150K Topstep Combine Journal--

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  #1 (permalink)
Paris France
 
 
Posts: 8 since Jan 2021
Thanks: 2 given, 7 received

Hey, new to the forum, I thought it could be a good idea to share my Topstep Combine journey to improve my discipline.

- I trade the ES and rarely the NQ only if their is a correlation trade setup.
- I have 2 plateforms, one to analyze (sierra chart) and one where I execute my trades (Tstrader)
- My setups use a lot of momentum type strategies (OrderFlow, Correlation strengh, Volume profile..)

I will explain in this threads my trade recap, why I entered, why I exit, my risk management. I think this will help me to keep my strategy clear and help you to learn from my failures and success.

I started the trading combine January 5 2021, my first 2 days of trading was not real "trade day", it was more to learn how the tstrader plateform work and the losses was caused beacause of some orders mistakes that I made

Hope you'll enjoy this thread

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  #2 (permalink)
Portage, MI
 
Experience: Intermediate
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Broker: Tradovate
Trading: (M)ES & (M)NQ
 
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sounds like some great setups, look forward to following your progress

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  #3 (permalink)
Montreal, QC, Canada
 
Experience: Beginner
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Trading: ZB & UB
 
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Good luck! I just passed today step 2 of the $150K combine. I'll follow along on your journey.

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  #4 (permalink)
Paris France
 
 
Posts: 8 since Jan 2021
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Hey, Didn't traded yesterday so here I am to explain my trade of today's session :

First trade : Breakout +750$

My breakout setup is always the same, I Find a level with a big seller and place a buy stop order 2 ticks above this level, it's a momentum trade, so if I'm right it should move up pretty quickly and if it dosen't i close my position without hesitation. My Take profit is at 4 ticks and my Stop Loss at 2 Ticks

Enter at 3791.00 and take my TP at 3792.00 with 15 contracts

2nd Trade : Pull Back +175$

My Pull Back Setup is more complex and discretionary. First I need a zone where price could reverse, then I need correlations charts to work in my way and same thing for the heatmap. I have a 5 ticks stop loss and a 8 ticks profit for the first 2 contracts, then I adjust the TP for the rest of my contracts

So this trade was a sell pull back on the open, I normally trade with 6 contracts but this time I was only filled on 4. So enter 2 contracts at 3792 and 2 contracts at 3792.25, take my 8 ticks profits on the first 2 and breakeven on the last 2.

This setup was valid but the thing that keep me uncertain was the big level of buy limits on the heatmap from 3789.75 to 3788.00, that's the type of thing that could keep me away from the trade

3rd Trade : Pull Back -75$

Same Setup that the second trade, here it was on the pivot point. It was a valid entry in my opinion but when I saw the price stayed too long on that level and no buyers wanting to move up I decided to scratch my poisition with a loss of 75$, wich was a good decision. A second pull back entry was possible when price retraced to the open, but unfortunately I stopped trading a 11am and this entry was at 11:05

Total : + 720$ after commission
If you have questions about my strategies, risk management or anything else don't hesitate

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  #5 (permalink)
Europe
 
Experience: Advanced
Platform: TradeNavigator, BookMap
Trading: ES, CL, 6E, 6B
 
Posts: 431 since Jan 2017
Thanks: 2 given, 378 received

Sorry, but if I watch your trades, this is pure casino. Slow down a bit and trade way less contracts. With such a small account you cannot trade 15 contracts. Of course you can trade 15 contracts (it is up to )you), but on the long run you will not stay long in the game (just my thoughts

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  #6 (permalink)
Paris France
 
 
Posts: 8 since Jan 2021
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That's where you are wrong. in term of risk 15 contracts mean nothing if you don't consider the stop loss, for the breakout trade I have a stop loss of 2 ticks (12.5$*2 = 25$) and if you multiply by 15 contracts the result will be 375$, which represent 0.25% of the total Balance.

0.25% of risk per trade, that's not what I call pure casino, it's even very conservative for day trader

Risk is not about contract size, it's about relation between contract size and Stop loss

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  #7 (permalink)
Zurich, Switzerland
 
 
Posts: 1 since Jan 2020
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Selalu View Post
That's where you are wrong. in term of risk 15 contracts mean nothing if you don't consider the stop loss, for the breakout trade I have a stop loss of 2 ticks (12.5$*2 = 25$) and if you multiply by 15 contracts the result will be 375$, which represent 0.25% of the total Balance.

0.25% of risk per trade, that's not what I call pure casino, it's even very conservative for day trader

Risk is not about contract size, it's about relation between contract size and Stop loss

Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Interested in your journey ahead. If I may, I'd like to pick up on the risk / stop discussion. Quoting Adam Grimes (The Art and Science of Technical Analysis):

"Traders make these probability/payoff miscalculations all the time. One of the classic examples is the choice to use very tight stops because the trader wants low-risk trades, not realizing that a tight stop is often a very small but certain loss. Over a large set of trades, the risk of the those many small losses may actually be much higher than the risk associated with a larger stop, because the wide stop will be hit much less often."

I'm sure you have data that suggests your strategy is viable, but simply having a tight stop will not stop you from losing money. It could lead to death by a thousand cuts.

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  #8 (permalink)
Europe
 
Experience: Advanced
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Selalu View Post
That's where you are wrong. in term of risk 15 contracts mean nothing if you don't consider the stop loss, for the breakout trade I have a stop loss of 2 ticks (12.5$*2 = 25$) and if you multiply by 15 contracts the result will be 375$, which represent 0.25% of the total Balance.

0.25% of risk per trade, that's not what I call pure casino, it's even very conservative for day trader

Risk is not about contract size, it's about relation between contract size and Stop loss

No problem, of course you can do whatever you want .

Because of your stop-loss: You are thinking that you are risking 2 ticks (which is nothing in the ES), but you have always think about it, that most of time you will get fills with 3 ticks (at least if you will trade on a real-account in the future).

Now to the risk: You think you are risking 0.25%, in this case you are absolute wrong, you cannot calculate your risk on the name of the account ($150k), your account-size in reality is $ 4,500.-- (= max. allowed drawdown) and your daily-loss limit is $ 3,000,--. If you would have real $ 150,000.-- the calculation would be correct, but think about it.

Believe me, I really don't want to blame or teach you, this are just my personal thoughts and experience.

I wish you all the best and trade well

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  #9 (permalink)
Site Moderator
Sarasota FL
 
Experience: Advanced
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Selalu View Post
in term of risk 15 contracts mean nothing if you don't consider the stop loss, for the breakout trade I have a stop loss of 2 ticks (12.5$*2 = 25$) and if you multiply by 15 contracts the result will be 375$, which represent 0.25% of the total Balance.

0.25% of risk per trade, that's not what I call pure casino, it's even very conservative for day trader


tr8er View Post
Now to the risk: You think you are risking 0.25%, in this case you are absolute wrong, you cannot calculate your risk on the name of the account ($150k), your account-size in reality is $ 4,500.-- (= max. allowed drawdown) and your daily-loss limit is $ 3,000,--. If you would have real $ 150,000.-- the calculation would be correct, but think about it.

Believe me, I really don't want to blame or teach you, this are just my personal thoughts and experience.

I wish you all the best and trade well

I also don't want to "blame or teach" you, but I think you definitely should re-think your assumption that you are operating with a margin of $150,000. This it the formal amount that the account is labeled as having, but they will pull the plug if you lose your max drawdown, a number that trails up with you and that can, on any day, be less than the initial value of $4,500. But in real terms, this is the amount you have to work with, not the sim balance of $150,000. You will never be allowed to lose the $150,000, so it is not the equivalent of 150k of actual margin.

Not to beat on this horse too much, but in real terms this is how it's best to look at it. If you succeed in the Combine, as I hope you do, the funded account will not be opened with a balance of $150 k. It will be opened with a balance of zero (this is how TS opens the accounts, which are sub-accounts of their main account with their broker -- they just keep track of your P/L), and you will have a certain number of contracts you can trade with and a max drawdown number. This is realistically how you should be looking at your resources on this account. Think of your available balance as the amount you can lose.

I haven't followed your trading closely, and I do hope you are successful. Good luck to you.

Bob.

When one door closes, another opens.
-- Cervantes, Don Quixote
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  #10 (permalink)
Paris France
 
 
Posts: 8 since Jan 2021
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boersianer View Post
Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Interested in your journey ahead. If I may, I'd like to pick up on the risk / stop discussion. Quoting Adam Grimes (The Art and Science of Technical Analysis):

"Traders make these probability/payoff miscalculations all the time. One of the classic examples is the choice to use very tight stops because the trader wants low-risk trades, not realizing that a tight stop is often a very small but certain loss. Over a large set of trades, the risk of the those many small losses may actually be much higher than the risk associated with a larger stop, because the wide stop will be hit much less often."

I'm sure you have data that suggests your strategy is viable, but simply having a tight stop will not stop you from losing money. It could lead to death by a thousand cuts.

Probability it self is just half of the trading success, the other half is the Risk:Reward ratio. If my R:R was not equal at 1:2 you can be sure that I would never choosed a stop of 2 ticks

But thanks to the 1:2 ratio even if I'm right 33,33% of the time I'm breakeven (If you don't consider commissions)

The big reason why I choosed a stop of 2 ticks it's because I don't need a 8 ticks stop to know that I'm wrong, if it don't go in my direction in the next seconds that means I was wrong and I take my 2 ticks loss. This trade setup is based on possible stop loss above the big level, so if I'm right stop loss of others traders should be triggered to give me a small explosive move

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  #11 (permalink)
Paris France
 
 
Posts: 8 since Jan 2021
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tr8er View Post
No problem, of course you can do whatever you want .

Because of your stop-loss: You are thinking that you are risking 2 ticks (which is nothing in the ES), but you have always think about it, that most of time you will get fills with 3 ticks (at least if you will trade on a real-account in the future).

Now to the risk: You think you are risking 0.25%, in this case you are absolute wrong, you cannot calculate your risk on the name of the account ($150k), your account-size in reality is $ 4,500.-- (= max. allowed drawdown) and your daily-loss limit is $ 3,000,--. If you would have real $ 150,000.-- the calculation would be correct, but think about it.

Believe me, I really don't want to blame or teach you, this are just my personal thoughts and experience.

I wish you all the best and trade well

There is slippage of course that's part of the market, but a 3 ticks of slippage seem a little extreme in a market like the ES (I traded this setup in live and a 3 ticks slippage never occured to me). But I would never use this trade setup in a market like the NQ for sure


I don't quite follow you about the "real" balance account. Even if my real account balance was 4 500$, the max drawdown stop at 150 000$ and don't increase when my "name of the account" reach 154 500$, so if I grew the "name account" until 160 000$ the max drawdown will still be at 150 000$. So in this case what would be my real account size ?

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  #12 (permalink)
Paris France
 
 
Posts: 8 since Jan 2021
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bobwest View Post
I also don't want to "blame or teach" you, but I think you definitely should re-think your assumption that you are operating with a margin of $150,000. This it the formal amount that the account is labeled as having, but they will pull the plug if you lose your max drawdown, a number that trails up with you and that can, on any day, be less than the initial value of $4,500. But in real terms, this is the amount you have to work with, not the sim balance of $150,000. You will never be allowed to lose the $150,000, so it is not the equivalent of 150k of actual margin.

Not to beat on this horse too much, but in real terms this is how it's best to look at it. If you succeed in the Combine, as I hope you do, the funded account will not be opened with a balance of $150 k. It will be opened with a balance of zero (this is how TS opens the accounts, which are sub-accounts of their main account with their broker -- they just keep track of your P/L), and you will have a certain number of contracts you can trade with and a max drawdown number. This is realistically how you should be looking at your resources on this account. Think of your available balance as the amount you can lose.

I haven't followed your trading closely, and I do hope you are successful. Good luck to you.

Bob.

Ok so if I follow what you and tr8er said the max drawdown wich is the account balance is what I can afford to loose and that seems logical, but if the balance is at zero or 4 500$ how can they have the margin which is necessary to trade like 15 contracts ? And even if they had access to margin that low how can they still manage to give me access to 15 contracts if my account balance is at 2 000$ (Max drawdown - 2500$) for exemple ?

No offense to you and tr8er, just trying to understand your point of view which I appreciate

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  #13 (permalink)
Europe
 
Experience: Advanced
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Selalu View Post
Ok so if I follow what you and tr8er said the max drawdown wich is the account balance is what I can afford to loose and that seems logical, but if the balance is at zero or 4 500$ how can they have the margin which is necessary to trade like 15 contracts ?

No offense to you and tr8er, just trying to understand your point of view

First at all, you only can trade 15 accounts with step1, after that with step2, pro-account and real-funded account you have to follow the scaling plan and can start with 3 contracts.

The starting-balance of funded accounts is 0 and you have the same drawdown as you have in your combine, in your case, you will start the funded-account with balance 0 and the max trail drawdown will start at - $4,500.--.

If you bring your 150k to 160k, of course your real account-size is 10k

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  #14 (permalink)
Paris France
 
 
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tr8er View Post
First at all, you only can trade 15 accounts with step1, after that with step2, pro-account and real-funded account you have to follow the scaling plan and can start with 3 contracts.

The starting-balance of funded accounts is 0 and you have the same drawdown as you have in your combine, in your case, you will start the funded-account with balance 0 and the max trail drawdown will start at - $4,500.--.

If you bring your 150k to 160k, of course your real account-size is 10k

Seems more clear, thanks

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  #15 (permalink)
Site Moderator
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Experience: Advanced
Platform: Sierra Chart
Trading: ES, YM
 
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Posts: 6,253 since Jan 2013
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Selalu View Post
... but if the balance is at zero or 4 500$ how can they have the margin which is necessary to trade like 15 contracts ? And even if they had access to margin that low how can they still manage to give me access to 15 contracts if my account balance is at 2 000$ (Max drawdown - 2500$) for exemple ?

No offense to you and tr8er, just trying to understand your point of view which I appreciate

Excellent question. The answer is that a funded account is actually a sub-account of the main TS account with the broker, and that overall account has the necessary margin for all the trades that the various sub-accounts take.

It's not like you are trading as an independent retail broker customer with $150 k. You are trading a portion of the company's funds. The margin requirements are managed with the broker by TS, not by a balance in your sub-account.

During the initial period of the live account, your "buying power" (the number of contracts you can use) is restricted -- you don't start out with 15. Over time, as you build up a positive balance, you can be given the use of additional contracts. It has been some time since I worked through the information on the TS website, but it's all spelled out there. If I recall correctly, it's covered in the "scaling plan."

--------------

I became curious if I had remembered this right, and so I went over to their site to check. Yes, you can find this information in the section on the Scaling Plan, here: https://help.futures.topstep.com/hc/en-us/articles/220389528-What-is-the-scaling-plan- Note that the scaling plan applies to Combine accounts in Step 2 and to funded accounts. There's a video as well as some bar graphs to explain it.

It is really important to scour every part of the website to make sure you understand all the issues and how the parts fit together. It's logical and makes sense, but it is a good idea to work through all of the content of the site, to be sure you have it all down correctly.

For example, there are major differences between the rules for Step 2 compared to Step 1. See more here: https://help.futures.topstep.com/hc/en-us/articles/360000044028-Trading-Combine-Step-2-Rules-Targets

Bob.

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-- Cervantes, Don Quixote
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  #16 (permalink)
Rovigo (ITALY)
 
Experience: Intermediate
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Hi, I just discovered your journal.
If I can suggest something, be very open minded about what other users in Futures.io suggest you. Many of them have been trading for years.
No one will ever tell you directly "you are doing it all wrong" or "your trade style is BS" or anything like this, because there is no right or wrong in trading.
However be smart and read between the lines. Be smart and understand what they are trying to tell you, you will save a lot of time and learn quicker.

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  #17 (permalink)
Paris France
 
 
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SBtrader82 View Post
Hi, I just discovered your journal.
If I can suggest something, be very open minded about what other users in Futures.io suggest you. Many of them have been trading for years.
No one will ever tell you directly "you are doing it all wrong" or "your trade style is BS" or anything like this, because there is no right or wrong in trading.
However be smart and read between the lines. Be smart and understand what they are trying to tell you, you will save a lot of time and learn quicker.

My intention was not to be mean or to prove my point of view and be closed-minded , I hardly express myself because english is not my primary language so it's harder for me and you may be made wrong interpretation of what I said, so sorry if it was the case

any criticism good or bad is of course welcome

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  #18 (permalink)
Rovigo (ITALY)
 
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Selalu View Post
My intention was not to be mean or to prove my point of view and be closed-minded , I hardly express myself because english is not my primary language so it's harder for me and you may be made wrong interpretation of what I said, so sorry if it was the case

any criticism good or bad is of course welcome

yes, don't worry I did not perceive you as mean or impolite... I just point out that that a couple of people with a lot of experience gave you some good advice that on the long run will help you a lot and I had the feeling that you did not pick the importance of the advice.

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Minoqua Wi USA
 
 
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I trade initially 1 car to 20k, 2 cars to 50k, 3 cars to 100k, 4 cars after that... good money can be made all while protecting your money. For some traders that may be too conservative. It took 3 blowouts for me to be at my comfort zone. To each his own, I guess.

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