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Anybody heard of topsteptrader (review)
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Anybody heard of topsteptrader (review)

  #551 (permalink)
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Yukoner View Post
1) The environment. You have the opportunity to rub shoulders with some very good traders.

John Hoagland, Lewis Borsellino, to name two. And a lot of others who have years and years of trading experience to help recruits and funded traders each day.

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  #552 (permalink)
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jlwade123 View Post
John Hoagland, Lewis Borsellino, to name two. And a lot of others who have years and years of trading experience to help recruits and funded traders each day.

Seems to be a very hot topic. Good arguments by both sides. As a former live trader with TST and someone who passed 150k combine by the first try, and again by the second try later, I can say TST gives a very good discipline training framework. It makes you focus on discipline, patience and risk control. However, I would say few other points as well:
1. There is no point taking large difficult combine as you will be given same conditions as guys who pass small combines
2. There are very tight risk rules during live trading related to some arbitrary 10 rolling days periods. If you can't build a large enough profit by 10th day, you effectively may quit right away, as your draw-down will be cut to what you already made. So if it is little then you are doomed. It actually forces you to trade far more reckless during first 10 days as if you take is slow and steady you will end up with nothing, so better risk what they given to you initially and hope it works. This is a new rule AFAIK and it made things even tougher and more arbitrary.
3. During my time there were artificial limitations on trading time, that made it unpractical for traders that aren't in US East/Central time zone.
4. Currently they ask you to pay 85 dollars per market you trade, monthly. I.e. all 3 CME markets will cost you 255 per month. As a non-commercial trader I now pay just 15 usd for all these 3 markets with my broker. And TST takes these money not from your allocated drawdown as you expect but directly from you (credit card, etc). Information courtesy of several live traders that I know well.
5. For US-based traders tax rules are not advantageous. For most internationally located traders as well - income is coming as "consultancy/entrepreneurship" and usually falls into regular income and boosting tax brackets, trading your own account usually goes into "capital gain" and taxes separately as usually much lower rate.

Me personally - I had a good experience with TST and grateful for it. But I am scared to think about people who might leave careers to spend years in the grind doing Combines..

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  #553 (permalink)
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xelaar View Post
Seems to be a very hot topic. Good arguments by both sides. As a former live trader with TST and someone who passed 150k combine by the first try, and again by the second try later, I can say TST gives a very good discipline training framework. It makes you focus on discipline, patience and risk control. However, I would say few other points as well:
1. There is no point taking large difficult combine as you will be given same conditions as guys who pass small combines
2. There are very tight risk rules during live trading related to some arbitrary 10 rolling days periods. If you can't build a large enough profit by 10th day, you effectively may quit right away, as your draw-down will be cut to what you already made. So if it is little then you are doomed. It actually forces you to trade far more reckless during first 10 days as if you take is slow and steady you will end up with nothing, so better risk what they given to you initially and hope it works. This is a new rule AFAIK and it made things even tougher and more arbitrary.
3. During my time there were artificial limitations on trading time, that made it unpractical for traders that aren't in US East/Central time zone.
4. Currently they ask you to pay 85 dollars per market you trade, monthly. I.e. all 3 CME markets will cost you 255 per month. As a non-commercial trader I now pay just 15 usd for all these 3 markets with my broker. And TST takes these money not from your allocated drawdown as you expect but directly from you (credit card, etc). Information courtesy of several live traders that I know well.
5. For US-based traders tax rules are not advantageous. For most internationally located traders as well - income is coming as "consultancy/entrepreneurship" and usually falls into regular income and boosting tax brackets, trading your own account usually goes into "capital gain" and taxes separately as usually much lower rate.

Me personally - I had a good experience with TST and grateful for it. But I am scared to think about people who might leave careers to spend years in the grind doing Combines..

This is a really good and balanced review of the TsT program from someone who is very experienced in it, both in Combines and as a funded trader.

I would not put the same emphasis on various aspects of the trading rules and experience that he has, but that's fine, in fact, it's important: not everyone will find themselves naturally in tune with the rules and perspective on trading that TsT has. If you aren't, you probably should not look to this program as your path to a glorious future. It wouldn't be, for you.

These guys started out in the pits (actually, Michael Patak, the founder -- @TopstepTrader -- was a private trader and then prop firm trader who moved to the pits, but many others in the firm, like John Hoagland -- @Hoag --, started in the pits and made it their career for many decades.) They survived and prospered in a difficult environment by trading in a certain way, which included consistent, steady, and sometimes modest gains, and serious control of risk. At least the way I look at it, if you want to know why they have all the rules they have, that's how to understand it.

This doesn't mean that there are no other good and workable sets of rules, that would also control risks and let you make money. But that, in my view, is the fundamental reason for the rules, and the views and policies on trading, that they have.

So, if you read all the rules and take a look at the experiences of people who have tried it, both pro and con, and it doesn't look like your cup of tea, well, it probably isn't. That is not a good thing or a bad thing in itself, but it's a good thing for each person to find out about for themselves, and as early as possible.

I am doing Combines (plural -- still not all that good at it .) I have benefited from the discipline and risk control. I'm glad they have made that a major part of the program. I will, I certainly believe, eventually get this profitable trading thing down, and the work they have forced me to do on myself in order to truly limit my losses, and my tendency to take the losses in the first place, will be a large part of my total learning experience.

Right now, I am happy to work within their rules and their discipline, because I need it. Will I always? I don't know. Will it become second nature to me, so I just always look on risk a certain way (their way?) I don't know. But it's helping me now. Will I trade with them, if and when I pass a Combine? Sure, why not? I am well-enough in tune with their rules that they do not seem too restrictive to me. Will I always? Who knows?

My advice is to take the deliberate and explicit discipline of the TopstepTrader program, which came out of a very Darwinian environment, where those who didn't adapt didn't last, and put it to use to learn how to be in control of yourself. And then, use whatever trading methodology that appeals to you, assuming it can coexist with these rules.

And when you've got the discipline down pat, do whatever you want to with regard to TsT after that. If you're already very disciplined, that's cool too. If this program looks good to you, put it to use, and take what it can give you. If not, move on. What else would make any sense, anyway?

Bob.

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  #554 (permalink)
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bobwest View Post
This is a really good and balanced review of the TsT program from someone who is very experienced in it, both in Combines and as a funded trader.

I would not put the same emphasis on various aspects of the trading rules and experience that he has, but that's fine, in fact, it's important: not everyone will find themselves naturally in tune with the rules and perspective on trading that TsT has. If you aren't, you probably should not look to this program as your path to a glorious future. It wouldn't be, for you.

These guys started out in the pits (actually, Michael Patak, the founder -- @TopstepTrader -- was a private trader and then prop firm trader who moved to the pits, but many others in the firm, like John Hoagland -- @Hoag --, started in the pits and made it their career for many decades.) They survived and prospered in a difficult environment by trading in a certain way, which included consistent, steady, and sometimes modest gains, and serious control of risk. At least the way I look at it, if you want to know why they have all the rules they have, that's how to understand it.

This doesn't mean that there are no other good and workable sets of rules, that would also control risks and let you make money. But that, in my view, is the fundamental reason for the rules, and the views and policies on trading, that they have.

So, if you read all the rules and take a look at the experiences of people who have tried it, both pro and con, and it doesn't look like your cup of tea, well, it probably isn't. That is not a good thing or a bad thing in itself, but it's a good thing for each person to find out about for themselves, and as early as possible.

I am doing Combines (plural -- still not all that good at it .) I have benefited from the discipline and risk control. I'm glad they have made that a major part of the program. I will, I certainly believe, eventually get this profitable trading thing down, and the work they have forced me to do on myself in order to truly limit my losses, and my tendency to take the losses in the first place, will be a large part of my total learning experience.

Right now, I am happy to work within their rules and their discipline, because I need it. Will I always? I don't know. Will it become second nature to me, so I just always look on risk a certain way (their way?) I don't know. But it's helping me now. Will I trade with them, if and when I pass a Combine? Sure, why not? I am well-enough in tune with their rules that they do not seem too restrictive to me. Will I always? Who knows?

My advice is to take the deliberate and explicit discipline of the TopstepTrader program, which came out of a very Darwinian environment, where those who didn't adapt didn't last, and put it to use to learn how to be in control of yourself. And then, use whatever trading methodology that appeals to you, assuming it can coexist with these rules.

And when you've got the discipline down pat, do whatever you want to with regard to TsT after that. If you're already very disciplined, that's cool too. If this program looks good to you, put it to use, and take what it can give you. If not, move on. What else would make any sense, anyway?

Bob.

Bob, good remarks on Hoag and company as pit traders. I had same impression - the program had been built around their experiences and heavily favors scalpers and similar type of traders. That's fine, except they not acknowledge it, but it's ok.
What entertained me is their marriage with Bob Iiaccino CTD, which taught methods of trading more towards swing and medium term trading, and Bob many time talking about Forex. So there was some cognitive dissonance after all.

I think if TST would position itself as a scalper prophouse and provided relevant education like firms such as Futex or Propex do, that would remove a lot of questions and comments here and approach would be far clearer.

As it would be if Combine trading conditions would resemble those of Live account trading, which they aren't (or at least weren't during my time with TST).

Anyway, there is a good discipline and plan-following value in it, no doubt.

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  #555 (permalink)
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xelaar View Post
Bob, good remarks on Hoag and company as pit traders. I had same impression - the program had been built around their experiences and heavily favors scalpers and similar type of traders. That's fine, except they not acknowledge it, but it's ok.
What entertained me is their marriage with Bob Iiaccino CTD, which taught methods of trading more towards swing and medium term trading, and Bob many time talking about Forex. So there was some cognitive dissonance after all.

I think if TST would position itself as a scalper prophouse and provided relevant education like firms such as Futex or Propex do, that would remove a lot of questions and comments here and approach would be far clearer.

As it would be if Combine trading conditions would resemble those of Live account trading, which they aren't (or at least weren't during my time with TST).

Anyway, there is a good discipline and plan-following value in it, no doubt.

They don't regard themselves as scalpers, but that's all relative.

They'll go along with any type of trading ideas, but they want that risk control and consistent following of plan. Which I think we can all agree on about them, and which is their main value, as I see it.

Bob.

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  #556 (permalink)
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bobwest View Post
They don't regard themselves as scalpers, but that's all relative.

They'll go along with any type of trading ideas, but they want that risk control and consistent following of plan. Which I think we can all agree on about them, and which is their main value, as I see it.

Bob.

Let's put it this way - 10 day stretch only can be indicative if you are taking numerous trades per day so the law of big numbers let the probabilities and the edge work. Same conclusion comes from the fact that max loss limit is roughly about 2 day loss limits, so the idea is you should not experience more than two days of close to max losses and points out that it worth taking many trades a day, hence relatively high daily loss limit for larger combines.

I can tell you many good trading strategies and plans just would not work for these rules. And then live trading will have even more tougher rules, that can screw the strategy that worked well for Combine.

It could be the case you have a good strategy but trying to fit it into arbitrary framework imposed by TST. In my case I had to build a specific strategy that fits into TST rules. It was and still is a workable strategy, but incredibly time and attention intensive so once out of TST I never used it again. I prefer to use strategies that target larger moves that pay for many losers, and accept the fact I have some losers and some losing days as well. But as a result I have some life too.

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  #557 (permalink)
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xelaar View Post
Let's put it this way - 10 day stretch only can be indicative if you are taking numerous trades per day so the law of big numbers let the probabilities and the edge work. Same conclusion comes from the fact that max loss limit is roughly about 2 day loss limits, so the idea is you should not experience more than two days of close to max losses and points out that it worth taking many trades a day, hence relatively high daily loss limit for larger combines.

I can tell you many good trading strategies and plans just would not work for these rules. And then live trading will have even more tougher rules, that can screw the strategy that worked well for Combine.

It could be the case you have a good strategy but trying to fit it into arbitrary framework imposed by TST. In my case I had to build a specific strategy that fits into TST rules. It was and still is a workable strategy, but incredibly time and attention intensive so once out of TST I never used it again. I prefer to use strategies that target larger moves that pay for many losers, and accept the fact I have some losers and some losing days as well. But as a result I have some life too.

Agreed. If you don't fit this framework, don't try it.

There are lots of other ways to trade.

Bob.

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  #558 (permalink)
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bobwest View Post
1.I would not put the same emphasis on various aspects of the trading rules

2.These guys started out in the pits

1. Why not? After all the rules are the major thing that defines the Combine. The rules are everything and one can either be flexible enough to bend his trading style to be able to follow the rules, or not.

2. This is always brought up and there are 3 obvious observations related to it:

a/ Pit trading is completely different than retail trading by your computer. One doesn't necessary transfer over to the other. I heard back in the days in the pit one could trade just by following the noise. Try that in retail.

b/ If they were so good, why they are still not doing it instead of running TST? Could it be that they realized their advantage, strategies in the pit disappeared and they switched over to education because that is going to pay in any type of market enviroment? Not to mention with much less risk exposure?

c/ The Combine rules themselves won't teach you their experience, you have to pay extra for it, and even if you do so, you aren't guaranteed to become a profitable trader. The point here is that their experience is irrelevant if you just take the basic combine...

Just keeping it real...

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  #559 (permalink)
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Guys: Good arguments brought in here.. but not hitting the point!

What @Sufyan brought is calculating down to the basics. And true of what it is compared to a own account.
What @bobwest stated is a optimistic view into the future IF passing the combine and gaining on the future trades.

But what is really MISSING here:
Combines and all adequates are SIM - I repeat SIM trades.
This means there is not one real blood boiling moment.
As bobwest states - it is "their risk" and "their money".
If this is lost - who cares?

OK - what Sufyan says means making your hands dirty and trading YOUR own money at your OWN risk...

We had this in different threads already here - it makes a BIG Difference!
For your ego, for your cash and for your optimism if trading can/could be your daily business.

Think about it!

What can GFIs1 can throw in here for all the readers?

1) Start your own real time transparent journal here on futures.io (formerly BMT)
2) Show your trades with real wins / losses on your OWN money
3) Let the critical futures.io (formerly BMT) followers write real reflections into your thread - read them to learn
4) Accept what the markets do with your REAL money - and watch your money management
5) Learn from the faults and optimize your daily rules

IF you are consistent profitable you stay in the game and if you erase your account you might be out of business: POINT

GFIs1

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  #560 (permalink)
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Pedro40 View Post
1. Why not? After all the rules are the major thing that defines the Combine. The rules are everything and one can either be flexible enough to bend his trading style to be able to follow the rules, or not.

2. This is always brought up and there are 3 obvious observations related to it:

a/ Pit trading is completely different than retail trading by your computer. One doesn't necessary transfer over to the other. I heard back in the days in the pit one could trade just by following the noise. Try that in retail.

b/ If they were so good, why they are still not doing it instead of running TST? Could it be that they realized their advantage, strategies in the pit disappeared and they switched over to education because that is going to pay in any type of market enviroment? Not to mention with much less risk exposure?

c/ The Combine rules themselves won't teach you their experience, you have to pay extra for it, and even if you do so, you aren't guaranteed to become a profitable trader. The point here is that their experience is irrelevant if you just take the basic combine...

Just keeping it real...

You slightly changed the context of what I was saying when you quoted me.

My point was and is that it can work for some people, and not for others. If it doesn't work for you, obviously you should pass it by.

The point about pit trading was not that it's any better than anything else; it's that this is their history, which, I think, led them to want to take many small profits and avoid losses. I'm not pit trading, nor is almost anyone else any more, and I certainly am not going to try. It's just that the TsT rules are built around the "small profits, few losses" idea.

You could do it entirely differently, if you liked and if it worked for you. Why not try, for example, for a few very big profits and accept many small loses? That works for many people. It wouldn't work under TsT rules, probably, because you might build up a lot of losses before getting an overwhelming gain, and run into one of the loss limit rules. So, with such a strategy, TsT is not for you.

TsT generally may not be for you. Then forget it and pass on. Or, it may be right up your alley. Then give it a try. One size does not fit all.

If you like what you are doing, and if it works for you, then that settles that. If this looks interesting, you can make a decision about whether it is worth pursuing. This whole question of whether TsT is worth doing, or worth the money, is really very cut and dried. Certainly it is not for everyone and every style of trading, or of risk and money management. But it is for some. It's totally an individual decision.

Bob.

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