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Anybody heard of topsteptrader (review)


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Anybody heard of topsteptrader (review)

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  #601 (permalink)
 xelaar 
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Drtro View Post
I paid for a couple combines almost 1 1/2 to 2 years ago, and did about 3 through the tick store. Never could pass them because my trading strategy doesn't follow their rules. I enjoy their community though. I try to get on everyday to chat with Viraj, FredDecker, and a few others. They're all nice people. It's sad to see good people leave like ChrisAP. They always have new funded traders but as stated in this thread, I don't know of many that last. It's a great place to learn and possibly get funded, but I think a majority of people there are only there for the learning experience, not to get funded and trade for a living with TST. I can't speak for their education program, but did I sign up for a free class when Bob Iaccino was there and enjoyed it. It was about the importance of location (high of day, low of day, support and resistance, etc.)

Yeah, community was great during my times, dunno about it later on. Gold pit was mostly empty but general pit was chatty. Crude pit was disturbing for me, packed and people constantly giving signals and opinions, blurring my own vision. I try to get away from all these skype groups, chats, while actually trading. A lot of gun slingers going through their hundredths combine too.

Trade to live. Not live to trade.
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  #602 (permalink)
Drtro
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xelaar View Post
Yeah, community was great during my times, dunno about it later on. Gold pit was mostly empty but general pit was chatty. Crude pit was disturbing for me, packed and people constantly giving signals and opinions, blurring my own vision. I try to get away from all these skype groups, chats, while actually trading. A lot of gun slingers going through their hundredths combine too.

Yeah I don't listen to their opinions or calls really. Only a few seem to know what they're doing. The rest just basically scalp/gamble off "intuition" with no real plan. If anything, I'd do the opposite of what a majority of traders are doing there, or anywhere for that matter. I joined a secret Facebook group for trading futures that has a few good traders in it. Mostly /CL and /ES traders in it. 10 members. I think 7 or 8 of them trade for a living, or at least make substantial money in it.

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  #603 (permalink)
 SpyderTrader 
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Ok just signed up for the Combine.
2 month commitment, total came out to 300 bucks.

So these guys are only using Rithmic for their data.
The feed is pretty decent...but it doesn't look totally similar to Kinetick feed (which in my opinion is the premium option for data).

Has anyone noticed any difference in their indicators, like values get plotted differently using different feeds?

I didnt think it would...but its kind of noticeable.

btw their record keeping and book keeping of every trade is awesome.

Around 5% move the market. 10% try to follow the 5%. The rest provide liquidity.
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  #604 (permalink)
 sharmas 
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Now you have signed up....here is the best plan i have seen and from my teacher VK from Kong Zana Trading

We have 10 days to hit $3,000 profit using 5 contracts in NQ, GC, CL so lets break this into $300 profit per day.

Need to have some hard rules in place and have to follow them but this is nothing unusual for us and that goal is very easy to reach.

No one will throw money at you knowing that you don't have a rule based strategy to follow. To get paid you need to follow the RULES and follow the TREND not so called "experts"


Good Luck

Sharmas


SpyderTrader View Post
Ok just signed up for the Combine.
2 month commitment, total came out to 300 bucks.

So these guys are only using Rithmic for their data.
The feed is pretty decent...but it doesn't look totally similar to Kinetick feed (which in my opinion is the premium option for data).

Has anyone noticed any difference in their indicators, like values get plotted differently using different feeds?

I didnt think it would...but its kind of noticeable.

btw their record keeping and book keeping of every trade is awesome.


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  #605 (permalink)
 SpyderTrader 
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Wait...who on earth is VK?

Around 5% move the market. 10% try to follow the 5%. The rest provide liquidity.
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  #606 (permalink)
 cory 
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SpyderTrader View Post
Wait...who on earth is VK?

That would be Venom or Kingpin.

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  #607 (permalink)
 MrTrader 
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SpyderTrader View Post
Wait...who on earth is VK?

LOL.

VK is his/her teacher.



Sent from my phone

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  #608 (permalink)
 MrTrader 
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SpyderTrader View Post
Wait...who on earth is VK?

Read this and you may get the idea



Sent from my phone

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  #609 (permalink)
 sharmas 
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SpyderTrader View Post
Wait...who on earth is VK?

Here is the thread referring to VK


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  #610 (permalink)
 SpyderTrader 
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Sharmas are you a scalper or do you look for bigger moves?

Around 5% move the market. 10% try to follow the 5%. The rest provide liquidity.
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  #611 (permalink)
 spideysteve 
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What does VK have to do with TST ??

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  #612 (permalink)
 JimmyB 2011 
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This discussion is very interesting and highlights the different views across futures.io in terms of how members view trading. I looked recently at the TST site as I'm thinking (again!) about doing a Combine and noted some clear changes to the format. Here's my 'Two Penneth' on TST and the Combine/Funding process....

TST is a business and as such are in the business of making $$. Training and education is great and I'm sure there are a lot of traders that have benefited from TST training etc. and going through the Combine process BUT TST I believe isn't in existence solely to make great traders and allow them to go out and fill their own pockets with bags of $$. This may sound harsh but the changes to the format of the Combine and Funding process clearly highlight their business plan and the main sources of revenue;

1) Combine Process
2) Funded Traders

The 10 Day, 20 Day and Continuous Combines have been changed to the one Current offering that has no time limit to achieve the Profit Targets. The key takeouts are;

No Refund on successfully following rules & >0 Profit
No Automatic Rollover
You can reset the Combine during the current month by paying $100
If you have not reached your profit target in month1 you can continue (ad infinitum) by paying for another month

I believe the above changes bring in more $$, add to the success rate and also help improve traders, in that people are more selective with the trades they take and patience as most know is a key criteria to long-term profitability.

The above means more Combine completes.. and potentially more funded traders

This is where it get really interesting...

TST have improved the post-combine process by being more transparent having two clear steps;

1) Funded Trader Preparation
2) Funded Trader

In terms of the $150k Combine this means..

TFP: Follow the rules, trade 10 days in 60 calendar days and achieve $3k profit (as apposed to the Combine Target of $9k) but now with the added condition of a Scaling Plan



This makes the $3k Profit Target harder as you have to start with only 3 Lots. Before you can go to 4 Lots you have to make $1.5k .. that's 40 (Net) Ticks in the ES. To go to 5 Lots it's another $500 .. that's another 10 (Net) Ticks. You get the picture .. It's more like real life .. It's harder than going for a $3k profit with 20 Lots and a 12 Tick target and hoping your right!

Overall the TFP Target should be achievable if you follow the rules (including being FLAT on News Releases).

Bingo .. Your now a Funded Trader What does that mean?

An initial 10 Trading days trading within the rules under the Scaling Plan then the Clock Stops

Whatever Profit (Net) you have after 10 days is your Loss Limit. That's tough under the Scaling Plan.

TST are limiting their exposure moving forward (very clever) and If you succeed (can build on the initial 10 days) everyone wins.

Overall I think the changes are good and make sense (especially for TST's bottom line). It would be interesting to see how many Funded Traders get through the first 10 days and can continue to build on their account with the very tight Draw-down Limit. I guess the key is being very selective when you trade and trying to make sure each of the first 10 days is a winner!

I'm not sure I am disciplined enough to work within these rules but it would be a worthwhile challenge

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  #613 (permalink)
 bobwest 
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Funded Trader Stats

I would not say that the TST program is right for everyone or that it is a good match for everyone's trading style. But it seems to be working for many. I thought I would share something from an email from TST that was sent out on December 30, 2015:

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

With that said, I want to share how those with TopstepTrader® found success in 2015:

97% of Trading Combine® participants surveyed stated that the Combine has improved their trading skills
Over 370 traders succeeded in achieving a Funded Account™
Those funded maintained discipline, with less than 4.3% violating their Daily Loss Limit
71% of funded accounts are maintaining or growing

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

(Email from Michael Patak, CEO, sent 12/30/15.)

In my view, that is one hell of a lot of funded traders for the year.

Bob.

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  #614 (permalink)
 matthew28 
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bobwest View Post
71% of funded accounts are maintaining or growing

Thanks Bob. I had wondered what this figure was. I had guessed something much lower, maybe two or three times the generally bandied around figure of 10% or so of day traders making it and the rest failing. Over two-thirds of the accounts is very impressive.
I didn't get this email so will now go and check my spam folder and see what else is in there.
Happy New Year.

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  #615 (permalink)
 Tymbeline 
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matthew28 View Post
Over two-thirds of the accounts is very impressive.

It certainly is. I imagine that having the FTP stage effectively increases that figure quite a bit, and that it's more than "earning its keep".

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  #616 (permalink)
 matthew28 
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Agreed.
FTP always seemed like a good idea to me. I couldn't understand the posts complaining about having to spend another ten days doing it. They seemed to regard passing the Combine as a one off prize and not that they were required to repeat the same profitable performance over the weeks/months/years of the future.
Reading the TST review over on TradingSchools.org (which I learnt about from another thread), they give a figure of 50% of people maintaining their live status, though that review was last year. But either of those figures or somewhere in between is a big step up in performance over the general trading population.

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  #617 (permalink)
 Scalpingtrader 
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matthew28 View Post
Agreed.
FTP always seemed like a good idea to me. I couldn't understand the posts complaining about having to spend another ten days doing it. They seemed to regard passing the Combine as a one off prize and not that they were required to repeat the same profitable performance over the weeks/months/years of the future.
Reading the TST review over on TradingSchools.org (which I learnt about from another thread), they give a figure of 50% of people maintaining their live status, though that review was last year. But either of those figures or somewhere in between is a big step up in performance over the general trading population.

Probably, the total number of failed combine attempts plotted against maintained live accounts ends back down in the single-digit %s. It shows though that they have a good system for finding [or 'training'?..] the consistent traders.

I personally took a lot from my combine attempts & the LTP. And even if it's ultimately not for you - there are much much MUCH more expensive ways of learning in the trading world.

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  #618 (permalink)
 bobwest 
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I just got this email from TST, which I think is very significant.

Many of the rules, including some that traders have found to be restrictive, are being eliminated. What's left is more in the nature of loss control rules, which I have always thought to be the main value of the rules anyway:




Of course, there will still be those who think any rules are too much, but that's another story.

Bob.

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  #619 (permalink)
 michaelf 
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bobwest View Post
I just got this email from TST, which I think is very significant.

Many of the rules, including some that traders have found to be restrictive, are being eliminated. What's left is more in the nature of loss control rules, which I have always thought to be the main value of the rules anyway:




Of course, there will still be those who think any rules are too much, but that's another story.

Bob.


Removed:
Always implement stops with an open position


Really???? For me that's the most important rule I have in trading.
Sorry, I don't get it, why did they remove that rule?

Also I see that the business with founded trader getting hot.
Lewis Borsellino does now the same thing and that after being a guest speaker on the TsT Squawk Radio!! A kind of nasty

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  #620 (permalink)
 bobwest 
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michaelf View Post
Removed:
Always implement stops with an open position


Really???? For me that's the most important rule I have in trading.
Sorry, I don't get it, why did they remove that rule?

It's an important rule for many traders. You can still make it your own rule, it's just not required now.

There are lots of traders who either have very wide stops, or no stops at all. They rely on their reading of the market to tell them when to get out. (For example, many of the excellent traders on the spoos thread do not have stops in the market -- @Big Mike is one of them.)

I know that over time, many traders, with diverse trading styles, have wanted a relaxation of some of the rules, including this one. It looks to me like TST has simply kept the crucial rules that require you to control your losses, and kept unbreakable limits on the losses they are willing to accept, and then left it up to the traders how they are going to manage that.

In the past they have made a big deal about not telling traders how to trade, just requiring them to keep losses under control and to turn a profit. This is another step in that direction.

Note that it doesn't say, "Don't use stops." They just are not going to disqualify you if you don't. But they will disqualify you if you lose too much....

Bob.

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  #621 (permalink)
 SpyderTrader 
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N0vocane View Post
Guys I want you all to know my experience with TopStep. I was given a discount code by a funded member in a newsletter. I used this discount code to purchase a $150,000 combine. I completed the combine by following all the rules and making a little over $9000 in profit.

I emailed the funding department and asked to be moved forward in the process. Mick responded and told me the promo code I used was not supposed to be given to me therefore he was closing my account and not moving me forward. According to Mick the individual who sent out the code was not supposed to share it but I'm not sure how true that is.

TopStep did not have a problem taking my money and letting me trade the combine while using the discount code until I passed the combine and applied for funding, then it became a problem. I'm shocked at how these guys are doing business. I attached a copy of my combine 24 hours before I made the final $250 needed to get my $9000 profit and 1 day prior to reaching day 10. I would have attached my new report but they closed my account so I don't have access to it now.

Please don't waste your time or money here guys. It's a complete scam.

If this is true...then yes...its truly shocking.

My experience with the 30k combine was perfectly fine...I just couldnt be bothered with it because I was trying my own account live...but didn't have anything to bad to say at all.

I hope TST can address this (I'm sure they can pull your account based on your screenshots).

Around 5% move the market. 10% try to follow the 5%. The rest provide liquidity.
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  #622 (permalink)
 lemons 
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N0vocane View Post
Guys I want you all to know my experience with TopStep. I was given a discount code by a funded member in a newsletter. I used this discount code to purchase a $150,000 combine. I completed the combine by following all the rules and making a little over $9000 in profit.

I emailed the funding department and asked to be moved forward in the process. Mick responded and told me the promo code I used was not supposed to be given to me therefore he was closing my account and not moving me forward. According to Mick the individual who sent out the code was not supposed to share it but I'm not sure how true that is.

TopStep did not have a problem taking my money and letting me trade the combine while using the discount code until I passed the combine and applied for funding, then it became a problem. I'm shocked at how these guys are doing business. I attached a copy of my combine 24 hours before I made the final $250 needed to get my $9000 profit and 1 day prior to reaching day 10. I would have attached my new report but they closed my account so I don't have access to it now.

Please don't waste your time or money here guys. It's a complete scam.





I waited something similar to be posted today in some forums.

First you friend made you disservice by passing the discount code.
Second you got your money back ( 1 dollar for each combine ).

Why I waited something similar to be posted today ?
Yesterday in TST chat was trader who agreed to TST 150k combine rules
but failed to follow the rules and forcefully demanded is money back that he payed for combine.

If you cool of a bit and think back that bigger mistake was made by your friend
and TST has room to improve by implementing " check if discount code is valid " on combine signup page.

But as you have pass combine once you can do it again for sure.
Fortunately most of FIO users not that TST real deal not scam.

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  #623 (permalink)
 lemons 
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N0vocane View Post
Spyder, I attached a copy of the email that was sent to me by Mick. I used the code twice on two different accounts. I read their disclaimer and no where does it say that a code cannot be used twice. It also doesn't say you cannot have more than one account. He basically says in the email the person who gave me the code abused it and wasn't supposed to have it, so I am being punished. If TopStep was interested in finding good traders this would not be a problem as I passed the combine. Apparently they are just interested in taking peoples money.



My reply



And seeing you had e-mailed with Mick.
I have only good words to say about him.

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  #624 (permalink)
 matthew28 
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N0vocane View Post
Guys I want you all to know my experience with TopStep. I was given a discount code by a funded member in a newsletter. I used this discount code to purchase a $150,000 combine. I completed the combine by following all the rules and making a little over $9000 in profit.

I emailed the funding department and asked to be moved forward in the process. Mick responded and told me the promo code I used was not supposed to be given to me therefore he was closing my account and not moving me forward. According to Mick the individual who sent out the code was not supposed to share it but I'm not sure how true that is.

TopStep did not have a problem taking my money and letting me trade the combine while using the discount code until I passed the combine and applied for funding, then it became a problem. I'm shocked at how these guys are doing business. I attached a copy of my combine 24 hours before I made the final $250 needed to get my $9000 profit and 1 day prior to reaching day 10. I would have attached my new report but they closed my account so I don't have access to it now.

Please don't waste your time or money here guys. It's a complete scam.

I read this and thought, that's a bit harsh, they should have at least given you your money back. And then read your next message showing the email where they say, something that you forgot to mention; that they are refunding you your money, and also that you had only paid $2 in total which wasn't mentioned when you were saying how they were happy to take your money.
So you bought two $150K combines costing $375 each, for $1 each. Didn't that price seem suspiciously low? You had a code you shouldn't have had and the error wasn't picked up until your details and account were looked at properly after you submitted the completed Combine.
As Lemons said, if you actually want to get funded then just do one more Combine properly for 10 days and you're done. I don't see that TST have any duty to consider you for funding and have to go through the checks and 'interviews' required when you never actually paid to take their test in the first place.

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  #625 (permalink)
 sakisf 
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I used the same code passed by one of their traders too to buy 3 100k combines. Blew them all then asked them to close them in order not to further charge me. I was informed that the code was abused (by me too) as well and that I am not entitled to any future discount in my account. I was ok with that, what worried me is the wording in their e-mail:

"There is a fee to the Combine because we want our trades to take this seriously and have some personal investment. If you would like to sign up for a Combine in the future, you will need to pay the full monthly cost, you can no longer user promo codes on our site."

I knew instantly that if I had passed any of the 3 combines that they would reject me because I didn't pay the fee and "didn't take it seriously" despite having paid already for a full combine previously.

Just keep it as a warning if you use any discount codes in the future and you don't pay the full fee. At least I expected it, was using it more as a trial but what they did to Novocane sucks - there was no warning whatsoever and they could have disabled the promo as it was running for almost 15 days -, because it seems like they are mostly interested in collecting the fee instead of having a good trader (Novo) funded.

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 bobwest 
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N0vocane View Post
Guys I want you all to know my experience with TopStep. I was given a discount code by a funded member in a newsletter. I used this discount code to purchase a $150,000 combine. I completed the combine by following all the rules and making a little over $9000 in profit.

I emailed the funding department and asked to be moved forward in the process. Mick responded and told me the promo code I used was not supposed to be given to me therefore he was closing my account and not moving me forward. According to Mick the individual who sent out the code was not supposed to share it but I'm not sure how true that is.

TopStep did not have a problem taking my money and letting me trade the combine while using the discount code until I passed the combine and applied for funding, then it became a problem.

...

Please don't waste your time or money here guys. It's a complete scam.

I am sorry about your disappointment, and do not mean this at all negatively.

But whatever the merits of the use of the discount code, which you did not receive from TST, you were not ripped off for the money. You paid two dollars, and you got it back. They were not after your two bucks, and didn't take it, either.

At most, you might have a beef with them about not honoring the discount code, which you apparently did not receive from an authorized source. It would have been better if they had told you they would not honor the code before you put in the time in the Combine, but it seems they did not realize that you were not authorized to have it until they actually looked at your account. This is not your fault, and it is a hole in their procedures, but it does not support the idea that this is a "complete scam" done to just take your money, which they did not do.

I agree with @lemons that there is room for TST to improve their procedures by verifying the code when it is used -- apparently it was a valid code, but they had never offered it to you. That does not mean you were actually harmed. If you had received the discount offer from TST, that would be another matter, but you didn't. TST did not actually ever offer you a discount; you got it from another source. There are discount codes floating around the internet for many things, and if they are not received from authorized channels, that does not mean that they must be accepted as if they had been actually offered to the person who uses it.... as in this case, it had not been.

Again, I'm sorry you put in the time and effort, and had the disappointment you experienced. I just don't see that you were ripped off, or that anyone is operating a scam by not honoring a discount that they did not actually offer to you.

Bob.

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 bobwest 
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I just noticed a flurry of BS posts by @N0vocane, obviously to get his post count up, as he actually said in some of them, probably so he could post images. Probably these very images that he was using to complain about how unfairly he was treated.

WTF???

This is bad stuff. Don't do that to this forum.

I suspect @Big Mike will soon have a word with you.

Bob.

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 lemons 
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N0vocane View Post
A lot of you guys have made good points, but I think you are missing the bigger picture. The supposed point of TopStep Trader is to find good traders that make money. They say the only reason they want someone to pay money for a combine is to make it more realistic, to have some "skin in the game." So if I can trade and make the company money, who cares if I paid $1 or $375? In the end TopStep should be trying to find traders that can make them money trading, but that's not apparently what is really going on.

If I saw someone who was able to make $9000 in 10 days, had a draw-down of only $1500, and was profitable on 77% of his trades, I would be very impressed and move this guy on to another phase to see if he is the real deal as he has the potential to make thousands of dollars for my company. Instead they are mad they didn't collect $700 from me for 2 combines. Are you guys seeing what's going on here? They don't care about finding good traders, they just want to take money from people and this situation shows their business plan.

How can anyone disagree with this?

Edit - To Lemons, you obviously didn't read what I wrote because they closed my account and I was not able to post a final trade report. Please don't insult me when you have not read the entire discussion. Also I did not pass out the discount code, it was sent to me in a newsletter by a funded trader. Anyone who signed up for his newsletter would have received it as well. It seemed legitimate

Edit - And to Bob, yes I did make 10 bs posts so I could post here. But I feel it was important to let people know right away what happened so their time was not wasted and they could see that TopStep is not out to find profitable traders, just to take money from people using their demo accounts. If for some reason I posted something inappropriate in this thread a mod could have easily removed it. I'm sorry you took such insult to me getting my post count up so I could inform people of the bad business practices of TopStep.

Yes I read and made changes in 2 minutes after initial post.

But be the bigger man prove us all wrong.
It takes only 20 + 10 days

Deal ?

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 lemons 
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N0vocane View Post
I actually would be more than happy to do it again but given this situation I'm worried about loosing my $375 if I do make it. I don't want them to find another technicality to disqualify me. If TopStep was really looking for good traders, they would move me on to the next phase as the second phase is a demo account as well. It really won't cost them anything, that is why I'm so puzzled to all of this. It really makes me think they just want to take $375 from me and they are not looking to find good traders.

Thanks for being civil and correcting the post. I appreciate it

Bending the rules now and then will be big headache for running business.
Yes its hard to pass combine and you did good work.

But lets make exeption for you and give pass you to next step.
Another trader breaks the daily loss limit by 1 $
another break weekly loss limit by 1 $

Where do we draw the line ?
Rule help.

Margin call will be also executed by exact rule / dollar amount.

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 lemons 
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@N0vocane

But you didn't got discount code from TST.
Your friend got personal discount code.

You are pissed up for nothing.
If this irritates you some much.

Then market will irritate even more and countless surprising ways.

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 bobwest 
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All gone. Hammer fell.

Rules do matter. (See post on BS posts to boost post count.)

So that's the end of this saga.

Bob.

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 bobwest 
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N0vocane1 View Post
Well I was banned for posting how TopStep is ripping people off. BigMike must be getting money from them to promote their scam and not let users who get ripped of tell the truth. Funny how all my posts were deleted by him. The least he could have done was kept my information on here so other people didn't get put in the same position by TopStep but apparently Big Mike doesn't care about people loosing money and time from a scam company. Sad to see this is what's going on over here. I'll be posting about my experience somewhere else and to let everyone know to stay away from here.

Yeah rules do count Bob, so does people getting ripped off. I can continue to make thousands of accounts here and continue to let people know not to get scammed. You don't care and neither does Big Mike but I do. I use Tor and can do this all day long. Keep deleting posts and not letting the Truth out.

This is not really going to work that well for you.

And Topstep had nothing to do with your banning. It was the rule against junk posts. Spam is not OK.

@Big Mike does not do anything to get money from anyone; he does keep an orderly forum. He's also not as easy to fool as you believe.

Bob.

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 Michaelktrader 
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I am in the process of completing my combine. The service has been top notch and professional.
Something that needs to be remembered is that these people are letting you trade real hard earned money with no real risk to you after you show your worth.
If there are a few hiccups along the way its best to remember that this is by far the best option and opportunity a retail trader has to become funded.
This is of course my personal opinion.
GL all.

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 Topstep  Topstep is an official Site Sponsor
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Quoting 
N0vocane - Guys I want you all to know my experience with TopStep. I was given a discount code by a funded member in a newsletter. I used this discount code to purchase a $150,000 combine. I completed the combine by following all the rules and making a little over $9000 in profit.

I emailed the funding department and asked to be moved forward in the process. Mick responded and told me the promo code I used was not supposed to be given to me therefore he was closing my account and not moving me forward. According to Mick the individual who sent out the code was not supposed to share it but I'm not sure how true that is.

TopStep did not have a problem taking my money and letting me trade the combine while using the discount code until I passed the combine and applied for funding, then it became a problem. I'm shocked at how these guys are doing business. I attached a copy of my combine *24 hours before I made the final $250* needed to get my $9000 profit and 1 day prior to reaching day 10. I would have attached my new report but they closed my account so I don't have access to it now.

Please don't waste your time or money here guys. It's a complete scam.

All,

I wanted to share the deleted post above, so there would be a context to our response and resolution.

This was a unique situation, as we have never had a trader continue trading once they’ve reached the profit target. We quickly realized this was an extenuating circumstance that needed to be handled differently.

We personally reached out to this trader to apologize for his experience, refunded him, and corrected the situation.

We’re happy to report, this trader was very understanding and is beginning his Funded Trader Preparation tomorrow. We are thankful for his feedback and hope to have him in a Funded Account soon.

Trade well,

Michael

If you have any questions about our products or services at Topstep (formerly TopstepTrader), please send me a Private Message or use the FIO "Ask Me Anything" thread.
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 sharmas 
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Both for the trader in question and for Topstep.

I know and understand through sheer frustration the trader did post few messages here and hoping Mike will do the same and reinstate him in this Forum.

Its sheer frustration that got better of him and with Topstep going out of their way and hoping Mike will do the same.



Sharmas

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 Big Mike 
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Just now reading this thread, after returning from my vacation.

That guy was banned for making junk posts to bypass forum rules. Every user is very expressly warned against that.

I hadn't even read his posts here until just this moment.

I never deleted any post of his with the reason of "not helpful to discussion" as he claims. It's possible @sam028 did this in my absence.

The guy then proceeded to further violate rules by creating two duplicate accounts, spamming the forum again to bypass post rules, and then make posts here again.

After being banned again (thanks Sam) he then wrote me an email with a bunch of childish bs about how he has nothing but time on his hands and will dedicate his life to ruining me, etc etc etc.

Then he emailed again and said someone at TST resolved his problem and he wants to come back on the forum. I said no, he purposely violated our rules, and his actions have consequences.

Then he said again how he would ruin me, etc.

Those are the facts.

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 sam028 
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Big Mike View Post
...

I never deleted any post of his with the reason of "not helpful to discussion" as he claims. It's possible @sam028 did this in my absence.

...

Nope, the only posts deleted were because the user was banned posting random text to boost his posts count.
And then when he came back with another name from another source IP address, posting the same random text:

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 ratfink 
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From this sequence I have once again learned (at my ripe old age) that:

1) It is better to ask a question than to demand an answer or insist on an outcome.
2) Always say sorry first, then think about kicking-off - but wait until tomorrow, it might not seem the same.
3) That 'tilt' has many forms of expression, in a DOM, in a forum or on the road, and we are all better off without it, in trading and in life.

Cheers

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 bobwest 
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I just got a PM from a trader who asked me for a suggestion for a Combine, and who was concerned whether "all the rules" would fit his trading style or not.

I gave it my best shot, which is basically about the different things to weigh against each other in deciding which to do, and whether to do any of them, and also told him I would post a version of my response out on the forum in case it was useful to anyone else who is trying to decide.

So here it is:

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

Well, it's always a big responsibility when someone thinks I know enough to make a recommendation. I'm really not that expert. But I'll try to lay out some pros and cons.

The first thing is being clear about "all the rules," which sometimes seem more and worse than they are. Also, they have been somewhat relaxed recently.

Here's the entire list of rules as of now:

1. You need at least 10 days of trading -- no maximum (for a Continuous, which is the current standard.)

2. Basically, you can trade from a list of CME and CBOT products (it's either most or all of them), day trades only, and you must close out by 3:10 PM CT, or whenever the contract closes if different. You can close at 3:10 and re-open at 5:00 CT (or whenever), but not hold straight through. You also will need to always trade the "front month" (the most active.)

3. You have a daily loss limit. If you hit it during a trade your trade is closed out and the Combine will not be eligible for funding. It resets every day, so you should just stop if you approach it, and next day you're good up to the same amount. For instance, for a 50K Combine, it's $1,000/day. It's higher for larger accounts, lower for smaller ones. This is one way to blow the Combine.

4. You have a "trailing max drawdown" which is a certain amount below your account's high point. For a 50K Combine, it's $2,000. So as the account balance increases, the max drawdown level advances to stay $2,000 below its highest level. It stops advancing once it gets up to your starting balance. If you slip back down to the max drawdown level on a closing basis, you're done. So when you start, your max drawdown level is $48,000. If your balance goes up to 51,000, the max drawdown trails up to 49,000, etc. This is the other way to blow it.

5. You have a limit of a certain number of contracts per trade. For 50K, it's maximum of 5.

6. You have to make the profit target, on or after the tenth day. For a 50K, it's $3,000.

If you hit the loss limits, the Combine won't be considered for funding, but you will still have the data feed and can use it for practice until you reset it (there's a $100 charge), or you email them to cancel it. The subscription also keeps renewing (being charged) on the normal date, whether reset or not, unless you cancel.

If you hit all the marks, including the target, you need to email them to let them know you're ready to have it evaluated.

You can see that there's really nothing much to these rules except the restriction to day trading only, the two loss control rules, the max trade size, and the profit target after 10 days. (And presently, you can't do a Combine for something that is not on the CME.)

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

If you can't trade within these terms -- for example, if you need to swing trade overnight -- then it's not for you. If you can, then here's my suggestion:

First, go to the TST website and be sure you are not just taking my word for the rules. You can start here, and then click the links to get more info: https://www.topsteptrader.com:443/learnmore

Particularly pay attention to the differences between the trade size, daily loss limit, max drawdown and profit target.

Then, look at the trade-offs between these for the different account sizes. For instance, I would not be at all comfortable with the smaller two Combines, the 10K and the 30K, because their smaller daily limits wouldn't give me the leeway that I would want to have to absorb losing trades. For me, 50K is OK, because I am comfortable with the $1,000 daily loss limit (which I further limit to about $750 as my own personal limit, because I don't want to hit theirs.) If someone were a more precise trader than I am, perhaps he would be OK with a tighter limit, and a cheaper Combine. Or, someone might want more leeway, and so go for a larger account. But then there is also a higher profit target to consider.

There should also be some thought given to the trade size. I do not attempt to trade the 50K with the maximum allowed size of 5 contracts, because 5 contracts can give you a bigger loss very quickly. I trade the 50K with just one contract, because it has a much bigger loss limit than the 10K, which has a max of one contract, but a super-tight loss limit of $300. I'm perfectly happy to pay a higher Combine price for the higher loss limit. So this is also a factor to weigh in the balance, and will be completely individual.

Many people dream they will get rich very fast, and go for the 150K and use the max 15 contracts, which can be suicide if you don't already trade that much with success.

Finally, for me, funding would be nice, but the required discipline and structure is the main thing. Also, it is much closer to real trading than just plinking away at pure sim, because there is something at stake, but I'm not losing my own money while I do it. It has been an effective way to improve, and to learn to handle my personal weaknesses, which are what really hold me back.

These are the things that I would try to balance out. If you need me to clarify anything, just let me know, and good luck, whichever way you go.

Bob.

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emini2000
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bobwest View Post
3. You have a daily loss limit. If you hit it during a trade your trade is closed out and the Combine will not be eligible for funding. It resets every day, so you should just stop if you approach it, and next day you're good up to the same amount.

Bob.

Ah sweet. That was the one I was most concerned about.

And thanks for that informative post.

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 kburks 
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bobwest View Post
I just got a PM from a trader who asked me for a suggestion for a Combine, and who was concerned whether "all the rules" would fit his trading style or not.

I gave it my best shot, which is basically about the different things to weigh against each other in deciding which to do, and whether to do any of them, and also told him I would post a version of my response out on the forum in case it was useful to anyone else who is trying to decide.

So here it is:

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

Well, it's always a big responsibility when someone thinks I know enough to make a recommendation. I'm really not that expert. But I'll try to lay out some pros and cons.

The first thing is being clear about "all the rules," which sometimes seem more and worse than they are. Also, they have been somewhat relaxed recently.

Here's the entire list of rules as of now:

1. You need at least 10 days of trading -- no maximum (for a Continuous, which is the current standard.)

2. Basically, you can trade from a list of CME and CBOT products (it's either most or all of them), day trades only, and you must close out by 3:10 PM CT, or whenever the contract closes if different. You can close at 3:10 and re-open at 5:00 CT (or whenever), but not hold straight through. You also will need to always trade the "front month" (the most active.)

3. You have a daily loss limit. If you hit it during a trade your trade is closed out and the Combine will not be eligible for funding. It resets every day, so you should just stop if you approach it, and next day you're good up to the same amount. For instance, for a 50K Combine, it's $1,000/day. It's higher for larger accounts, lower for smaller ones. This is one way to blow the Combine.

4. You have a "trailing max drawdown" which is a certain amount below your account's high point. For a 50K Combine, it's $2,000. So as the account balance increases, the max drawdown level advances to stay $2,000 below its highest level. It stops advancing once it gets up to your starting balance. If you slip back down to the max drawdown level on a closing basis, you're done. So when you start, your max drawdown level is $48,000. If your balance goes up to 51,000, the max drawdown trails up to 49,000, etc. This is the other way to blow it.

5. You have a limit of a certain number of contracts per trade. For 50K, it's maximum of 5.

6. You have to make the profit target, on or after the tenth day. For a 50K, it's $3,000.

If you hit the loss limits, the Combine won't be considered for funding, but you will still have the data feed and can use it for practice until you reset it (there's a $100 charge), or you email them to cancel it. The subscription also keeps renewing (being charged) on the normal date, whether reset or not, unless you cancel.

If you hit all the marks, including the target, you need to email them to let them know you're ready to have it evaluated.

You can see that there's really nothing much to these rules except the restriction to day trading only, the two loss control rules, the max trade size, and the profit target after 10 days. (And presently, you can't do a Combine for something that is not on the CME.)

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

If you can't trade within these terms -- for example, if you need to swing trade overnight -- then it's not for you. If you can, then here's my suggestion:

First, go to the TST website and be sure you are not just taking my word for the rules. You can start here, and then click the links to get more info: https://www.topsteptrader.com:443/learnmore

Particularly pay attention to the differences between the trade size, daily loss limit, max drawdown and profit target.

Then, look at the trade-offs between these for the different account sizes. For instance, I would not be at all comfortable with the smaller two Combines, the 10K and the 30K, because their smaller daily limits wouldn't give me the leeway that I would want to have to absorb losing trades. For me, 50K is OK, because I am comfortable with the $1,000 daily loss limit (which I further limit to about $750 as my own personal limit, because I don't want to hit theirs.) If someone were a more precise trader than I am, perhaps he would be OK with a tighter limit, and a cheaper Combine. Or, someone might want more leeway, and so go for a larger account. But then there is also a higher profit target to consider.

There should also be some thought given to the trade size. I do not attempt to trade the 50K with the maximum allowed size of 5 contracts, because 5 contracts can give you a bigger loss very quickly. I trade the 50K with just one contract, because it has a much bigger loss limit than the 10K, which has a max of one contract, but a super-tight loss limit of $300. I'm perfectly happy to pay a higher Combine price for the higher loss limit. So this is also a factor to weigh in the balance, and will be completely individual.

Many people dream they will get rich very fast, and go for the 150K and use the max 15 contracts, which can be suicide if you don't already trade that much with success.

Finally, for me, funding would be nice, but the required discipline and structure is the main thing. Also, it is much closer to real trading than just plinking away at pure sim, because there is something at stake, but I'm not losing my own money while I do it. It has been an effective way to improve, and to learn to handle my personal weaknesses, which are what really hold me back.

These are the things that I would try to balance out. If you need me to clarify anything, just let me know, and good luck, whichever way you go.

Bob.

Great post, thank you...........

skrubtrader

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 MsFutures 
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I recently tried a Combine but did not pass so I emailed the support to discontinue the Combine 3 business days before the monthly charge date. The support emailed me back that credit card charges would stop. I didn't think much about it afterwards but two weeks after that I looked at my credit card charges I realized there was a new charge of $375 on previously scheduled date. I immediately told them about this mistake and they agreed to refund me within a few business days.

This concerns me, because the burden of due diligence is on my shoulder. If I did not check carefully or if something happened to me then they got away. You must be highly alert when giving someone "continuous charge" authority. I do not know if this is an honest mistake or it is something they play to see if they can get away with. Has this happened to any one besides me?

I also do not like the way they control my credit cards. Once you give them your credit card, you can not delete it from your account page. I have used different credit cards to pay for Combines before, they possess all the numbers of my cards and can't replace one with another unless I call.

I think their rules for passing Combine are fair enough and I am willing to play by their rules. However, with the continuous charges authority and sometimes charges by mistakes I think that's bad situation for participants. What do you think?

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 bobwest 
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MsFutures View Post
I recently tried a Combine but did not pass so I emailed the support to discontinue the Combine 3 business days before the monthly charge date. The support emailed me back that credit card charges would stop. I didn't think much about it afterwards but two weeks after that I looked at my credit card charges I realized there was a new charge of $375 on previously scheduled date. I immediately told them about this mistake and they agreed to refund me within a few business days.

This concerns me, because the burden of due diligence is on my shoulder. If I did not check carefully or if something happened to me then they got away. You must be highly alert when giving someone "continuous charge" authority. I do not know if this is an honest mistake or it is something they play to see if they can get away with. Has this happened to any one besides me?

...
What do you think?

I have cancelled Combine payment subscriptions many times, and never had any issues.

I would say that sometimes real mistakes happen, that's all.

Bob.

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 rossco 
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Does the TST Combine data feed include market internals?

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 Big Mike 
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Hi guys,

It is my pleasure to welcome back John Hoagland of TopstepTrader on Thursday, September 1st @ 4:30 PM Eastern US.

The title of the webinar is: "From The Pits To The Screens", with John Hoagland and Mick Ieronimo of TopstepTrader.

John and Mick will discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of the transition from pit trading to screen trading. They will review how every trader can take advantage of ongoing evolution in the trading industry.

Bullet points for this webinar:

- Immediately adoptable strategies that lead traders to success
- How discretionary traders can find profits and consistency in their trading
- How to sniff out competition and find the "stronger" money
- How to utilize these strategies without risking any capital

You can visit TopstepTrader's website here:
https://www.topsteptrader.com:443/

Register for the event (space is limited):
https://on.futures.io/zsmn6

Mike

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 bobwest 
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I was looking for something else on the TST site, and I came across this.




I am not at all surprised. I have found them to be totally reasonable, and I do not feel that anything has come to light to suggest otherwise. And they do what they say.

I also strongly believe that the TST program is not for everyone. If your trading involves holding overnight, or accepting larger losses than they allow in order to scale in, or trading different size, or if any of the other rules do not fit you, it would be crazy for you to even try it.

If it works for you, good. If not, move on.

Different strokes for different folks.

Bob.

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 citikot 
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rossco View Post
Does the TST Combine data feed include market internals?

As I understood, no. Becuase datafeed is Rithmic. As I know those data is available at CQG or some other vendors.

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 tturner86 
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Room is open and webinar will start at 4:30 PM EDT.

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 karentrader 
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Can I get some confirmation on this? I thought I was clear on the overnight, but this sentence above confused me:

"2. Basically, you can trade from a list of CME and CBOT products (it's either most or all of them), day trades only, and you must close out by 3:10 PM CT, or whenever the contract closes if different. You can close at 3:10 and re-open at 5:00 CT (or whenever), but not hold straight through. You also will need to always trade the "front month" (the most active.)"

Is it day trades only? Or can we open positions during Globex?

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 tturner86 
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You can open during globex, just not hold through the close.

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 HoopyTrading 
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karentrader View Post
Can I get some confirmation on this? I thought I was clear on the overnight, but this sentence above confused me:

"2. Basically, you can trade from a list of CME and CBOT products (it's either most or all of them), day trades only, and you must close out by 3:10 PM CT, or whenever the contract closes if different. You can close at 3:10 and re-open at 5:00 CT (or whenever), but not hold straight through. You also will need to always trade the "front month" (the most active.)"

Is it day trades only? Or can we open positions during Globex?

"Combine traders must only trade the “front” (most liquid/highest volume) contract month for ALL products. Overnight trading is permitted, although positions must be closed prior to a product’s electronic market close."

Confusing, ain't it?

What they are basically saying is that you are allowed to trade a product during it's "off hours", which I think they mean by non-pit hours. This is kind of misnomic these days, because most markets no longer have pits/open outcry.

That's my guess. All TST wants is for you to not have an open position between market's close and then re-open the next trading day, which for many instruments would be an hour later.

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 bobwest 
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karentrader View Post
Can I get some confirmation on this? I thought I was clear on the overnight, but this sentence above confused me:

"2. Basically, you can trade from a list of CME and CBOT products (it's either most or all of them), day trades only, and you must close out by 3:10 PM CT, or whenever the contract closes if different. You can close at 3:10 and re-open at 5:00 CT (or whenever), but not hold straight through. You also will need to always trade the "front month" (the most active.)"

Is it day trades only? Or can we open positions during Globex?

You can open during Globex. You just have to have closed at the electronic close of the instrument, so you can't hold multiple "days," defining days as ending at the electronic close.

When I wrote "day trades only," that's what I meant to convey, not that you had to use pit or "regular trading" hours.

Here's the official statement from the website:




Source: https://help.futures.topstep.com/hc/en-us/articles/226286928-Important-Trading-Combine-Info

When the new "day" has begun -- that is, when it re-opens -- as defined by the CME, you can trade it again. "Days" aren't really days any more. You can trade it all night if you want to.

Bob.

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 bmtrading9 
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bobwest View Post
You can open during Globex. You just have to have closed at the electronic close of the instrument, so you can't hold multiple "days," defining days as ending at the electronic close.

When I wrote "day trades only," that's what I meant to convey, not that you had to use pit or "regular trading" hours.

Here's the official statement from the website:




Source: https://help.futures.topstep.com/hc/en-us/articles/226286928-Important-Trading-Combine-Info

When the new "day" has begun -- that is, when it re-opens -- as defined by the CME, you can trade it again. "Days" aren't really days any more. You can trade it all night if you want to.

Bob.

How about $1000 restriction? Will that be based on trading hours or new day? For example if we loose $500 in regular hours and the lost another $600 after reopen of trading but before 12 midnight are we technically out of 50k combine?

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 bobwest 
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bmtrading9 View Post
How about $1000 restriction? Will that be based on trading hours or new day? For example if we loose $500 in regular hours and the lost another $600 after reopen of trading but before 12 midnight are we technically out of 50k combine?

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Well, I should always point out that I am no official source on any of this, and that the TST website and/or support phone/email is.

Given that, midnight and other calendar date/times are not the point. Nor are regular hours. It's a new "day" after the instrument re-opens. Check when CME regards it as a new trade day and go by that.

If this is important to you, I suggest sending the question to support to be sure of it, but that's how I understand it.

Bob.

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 bmtrading9 
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bobwest View Post
Well, I should always point out that I am no official source on any of this, and that the TST website and/or support phone/email is.

Given that, midnight and other calendar date/times are not the point. Nor are regular hours. It's a new "day" after the instrument re-opens. Check when CME regards it as a new trade day and go by that.

If this is important to you, I suggest sending the question to support to be sure of it, but that's how I understand it.

Bob.

I was just curious about that scenario.

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 Big Mike 
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Big Mike View Post
Hi guys,

It is my pleasure to welcome back John Hoagland of TopstepTrader on Thursday, September 1st @ 4:30 PM Eastern US.

The title of the webinar is: "From The Pits To The Screens", with John Hoagland and Mick Ieronimo of TopstepTrader.

John and Mick will discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of the transition from pit trading to screen trading. They will review how every trader can take advantage of ongoing evolution in the trading industry.

Bullet points for this webinar:

- Immediately adoptable strategies that lead traders to success
- How discretionary traders can find profits and consistency in their trading
- How to sniff out competition and find the "stronger" money
- How to utilize these strategies without risking any capital

You can visit TopstepTrader's website here:
https://www.topsteptrader.com:443/

Register for the event (space is limited):
https://on.futures.io/zsmn6

Mike

Here is the webinar recording:



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 Big Mike 
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What did everyone think of the webinar?

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 HoopyTrading 
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What did everyone think of the webinar?

Mike

To me it seemed there was a bit too much history of the old way of trading versus electronic. The history is very interesting to know, but some of that time could have been saved for more Q&A after the main presentation. I had two questions, and only one was answered because we ran out of time.

Next time, shrink the time for the history, and add more time for and about the ins-and-outs of TST, the Combine, and Q&A.

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 bobwest 
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HoopyTrading View Post
To me it seemed there was a bit too much history of the old way of trading versus electronic. The history is very interesting to know, but some of that time could have been saved for more Q&A after the main presentation. I had two questions, and only one was answered because we ran out of time.

Next time, shrink the time for the history, and add more time for and about the ins-and-outs of TST, the Combine, and Q&A.

If you put your question to @Hoag (John Hoagland) here, he does check this thread and odds are good he will answer.

Specify his username, Hoag, with the @ so he will be notified.

Bob.

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 HoopyTrading 
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bobwest View Post
If you put your question to @Hoag (John Hoagland) here, he does check this thread and odds are good he will answer.

Specify his username, Hoag, with the @ so he will be notified.

Bob.

Thank you for the suggestion bobwest. I realize there are many ways to get unanswered questions answered here, or through TST direct. But Big Mike's query was what we thought of the webinar, so that is the feedback I provided.

I feel that with a few modifications, TST might get a bit more interest from their webinars by folks who are new to this "line of work". Lord only know how many people lost interest after the first 15 mins. Nobody has an attention span these days. That's the basis of my feedback. :-)

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What did everyone think of the webinar? Mike

Somewhat interesting on the personal history and pits part and the two guys combined together make it more lively.

I have tried to understand TST to see if it is something I can recommend in good conscience to say beginner Colombian traders. My main concern is them developing very bad habits from complying with TST rules on the 30-50k combines especially. We have a lot of gifted minds here facing high entry barriers however though I could fund them myself, I can't be bothered managing them so I'm glad someone else is doing it. I accept that TST is a learning tool not a long term affair, impersonal natural selection however regarding the presentation...

I'm scratching my head a little to see how,within the 30-50k 2nd and beginner funded stage restrictions a trader might take the heat using profile delta divergence reading as John describes without being taken out soon enough? Its part of a larger picture but you need to be very competent and experienced to appreciate this I fear.

On one level swing trading techniques are being promoted (edit: or at least seems strongly implied), on another the compulsory news event exits & EOD exits make swing trading very messy. The boss says swing but the rules make less efficient scalps almost inevitable. Maybe he forgets the 1st stage combine is just a sales hook and TST traders cannot trade like he does on his personal accounts?

Worth the time to watch it though.

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Rory
 
 
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I'm preparing for my talk with Latin traders (mostly finance students) and I have a question I have open with TST but I have not got a clear answer yet. Hopefully later today but I must update someone.

It relates to Pro/Non-pro status when someone has a pre-existing, non-Pro brokerage account.

When funded can the two co-exist? I understand TST don't ask you to close existing accounts, they have confirmed that part.

If however you pay the Non-Pro $15-20 a month for the full CQG bundle + Tick etc. on your 'personal' account can you just pay the higher TST Rithmic Pro data fee as a separate matter?

Essentially does trading under contract for TST mean one is 'Pro' across the board and so one also needs to declare and pay higher Pro fees for what was a personal (e.g. NT Brokerage) account or not?

I know I kind of asked the same thing twice there just its a little tricky getting a clear picture

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 HoopyTrading 
Boston, MA
 
 
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@Hoag Query...

On folks' TST journal pages, there seem to be commission + fee totals that are much lower than many other brokers.

Here's a simple example, lifted from a TST combine folk...



Let's take Mar 24th as an example. He had 70 total contracts round trip, yes? Through my broker, 70 cts round-trip is an average of $4.30 per ct.

So that would be $301 in commish and fees, not $128.

At the rate posted in that screen shot, you guys are charging $1.83 per ct round-trip?

I guess the main question is how are those columns defined. In total contracts column, is that 70 single-sides/35 RT? Or 70 RT? The fees and commish, is that single-side or RT?

Do funded accounts through TST get these same rates as what is displayed in the combines? That's a huge discount!

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 matthew28 
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Total contracts is total volume, not round turns. So it was 35 round turns not 70. The Combine round turn cost is $3.68. Their live cost is $3.88 for equities on the majority of their platforms. A couple of platforms have platform fees so their round turn cost is higher.
Details here for other products and platform costs.
https://help.futures.topstep.com/hc/en-us/articles/220739207-Funded-Account-Fees

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 Big Mike 
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John Hoagland has left TopstepTrader.

We always appreciated John's willingness to spend time and share his knowledge, particularly in webinars on FIO. You will be missed, John, and I wish you well in your new journey!



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 inpilna 
Boca Raton, FL
 
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My experience with TopStepTrader.

So, as many others, 3 months ago I decided to take a TopStepTrader challenge.

I passed a 30K combine, I think, on the 3rd attempt. I concentrated exclusively on trading /CL, not the easiest of the markets and developed my own little strategy influenced by the combine rules.
I realized eventually that to be consistent and to pass a combine trading /CL you need to trade max amount of allowed 3 contracts and NOT start with 1 contract and slowly build your equity: it will take you forever to reach the target.
If my 1st or 2nd trade of the day were successful, I booked about $150-200 (on 3 contracts it's much easier) and quit for the day, or quit after 2 losing trades. Eventually it worked and I passed.

Now, a lot of traders don't know but there's a 2nd little stage introduced by TopStepTrader before they fund you: a funded trader preparation phase. It seemed so easy to achieve: just $500 in PNL in 10 days or longer. However, there're two little insignificant details:

1. if you traded with 3 contracts before now you can start trading with only 2 contracts (it seems insignificant but I had to change the strategy. Here's an example on 2 contract entry, I reached my stop of $70, however if I traded 3, I would still be in the trade and eventually would've made $100 instead of loosing $70)

2. after 10 days of trading your account should be above $0. So if you made $300 in the first 5 days, and the next 5 days you lost $350, you are DONE. You failed the FTP stage. You won't be funded. You can go back to combine if you want. To be honest that rule is prominently specified in FTP preparation, I just overlooked it.
I thought FTP stage is just another combine with a min. of 10 days but this time with a smaller target. If instead of taking the FTP stage they asked me to do another combine with $1500 target and the same set of rules, I am sure I would've done it.

Here's a thought for TopStepTrader: give a trader who passed a combine a choice instead of going through FTP stage to do another similar combine with the same original rules and then fund him/her. You're interested in profitable traders, are you not? Unless of course you don't care.

All these things made me think:

1. Is TopStepTrader's business really finding profitable traders and fund them and then make 20% off of their PNL or is it more lucrative for them to keep running combines? After all, this FTP stage seems to be an artificial way to get rid of a potentially profitable trader. Why not make the trader repeat his previous successful run?
So they made $450 off of me in combine fees but potentially they would've made much more if I traded.

2. If they fund me with an ability to trade 3 contracts, I can fund myself with about 4K in my account to day trade 3 /CL contracts or 2K to trade 3 /ES or /6E contracts and keep all my profits and have trader's status (instead of employee's) for tax purposes.

3. If I trade with TopStepTrader and trade /6E, /CL, /ES I will have to pay 3 x $85 in data feed fees monthly instead of 3 x $5 for nonprofessional status.

4. Was it worth it? I think it was, I had to adjust my rules so they can fit the combine rules. I stared at the charts and price action on /CL for 3 months and eventually reached the target and understood how to do it and what works and what doesn't. It only cost me $450, perhaps, if I traded my own account 4K account I would've lost about 1K before I learnt and became profitable or stopped trading after loosing a predetermined amount: I don't have an issue to stop trading if a certain amount is lost.

I will update if and when I start trading my own account using what I learned while sim trading with TST.

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 bobwest 
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inpilna View Post
I will update if and when I start trading my own account using what I learned while sim trading with TST.

Cool. Thanks for sharing the ups and the downs.

You might want to start a trading journal thread for your own trades.

Bob.

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  #669 (permalink)
 forgiven 
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if you can... why would you go through all that b.s..start out backing you with 1500 to lose. lola and they charge you for data. if you need to play trader use sim.. seems unreal ..

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  #670 (permalink)
 tpredictor 
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I've monitored TST since shortly after inception. I continue to periodically review their offering to see if it might be something for myself. However, the terms have never really been very attractive in my opinion. As a vendor, also TST has offered some affiliate program but I didn't pursue that because I'm not convinced of the program and because I didn't think it would be worth much anyway.

My biggest problem with the program has always been the amount they fund traders with is rather trivial. The max DD is only 2x the daily loss limit for the 50k combine but not even 2x the daily loss limit for the higher combines. It seems pretty obvious that if the daily loss limit represents a realistic amount of risk that can be taken per day that the drawdown must be some higher multiple of the loss limit. And, I don't see why they even offer the higher combines when they only are willing to increase the max DD 50%. Beyond that, additions like FTP which seem like another possible way for them not to fund you and constant rule changes are a negative.

I will add that one time I did inquire one time about doing a custom combined. My terms were approved more or less. But, they did not offer any of the higher funding levels for the custom combines. And, so I did not pursue. I do think the custom combine was a step in right direction. I'm not sure whether or not it is still offered.

The other problem is that TST bills itself as a way to develop traders. But, it seems rather more likely that imposing so many constraints, starting so undercapitalized, etc would more likely lead to failure than success. Of course, that is not to imply that some constraints might help the developing or even already successful futures trader.

But, just if you turn the scenario on its head and someone came to me and told me they had 1k for me to risk per day in the markets and then told me they only had 2k total-- in any other scenario that'd be ridiculous. So, I don't see why so many people give TST a pass. And then with such a constrained starting position to put a time limit and a profit objective on top of that-- just doesn't seem serious in any way.

The big deal is that profit and risk are fairly strongly correlated among traders. The novice trader imagines that the great trader is able to profit without taking any risk. The reality is that the better traders take the same or more risk than the bad traders but they make better decisions overall which leads to profitability.

We shouldn't expect to hit our loss limit frequently. But, on the other hand if it that represents the true amount of maximum risk we can take then we should not hit it too infrequently either or else wouldn't be maximizing profit. There are any number of ways to estimate what a realistic DD level should be for a risk limit. I find 12x to be a reasonable guestimate. But, if you take the probability of hitting your max loss limit as 30% then over a trading month you have about an 80% (76.8%) chance of hitting the max DD limit. You can figure this using a runs calculator. Real life is worse because this assumes you are always make a profit on the days that you don't hit the loss limit or that they cumulatively cancel each other out. The calculation is 20 day trades, streak of length 2, loss probability 30%. You can search for "streak probability calculator" and find any number of such calculators on the web. An alternative method of calculating it, could be to create various random normal distributions but it still stands to reason that if you are going to be able to take a risk "near" the loss limit that the loss limit will be hit at some probability greater than zero.

The point is we know the MAX DD must be some multiple of the loss limit. But for the higher combines, it is not even 2x the loss limit. Even if you could do it then take the 100k combine, trade on a free simulator and put back the $325 per month into a savings account and you could start with more than total you are given in 10 months.

If I try to imagine what a realistic and serious TST type program might look like then I imagine it might look something like the following:

1. The max DD would be at least 6x the daily loss limit and could easily be justified much higher. That would translate to a 12k funding level for the 2k loss limit or 4x as much as they actually offer. Even this is a rather tight funding level. However, the premise would be that your loss limit would and risk would increase over time as you demonstrate capability.
2. The length of trader evaluation would probably be longer, more open ended, and not the same for every trader.
3. A super system might have to be developed to hedge the various positions. It would probably require that traders can trade from either side (long/short) depending on the overall position of the system. I.e. if the system says trade short you only can take short trades. Such a requirement should decrease the probability of luck being involved because the trader is forced to trade from a specified side of the market as dictated.
4. During the training period, a trader might have to profit from random sides of the market. But during the live phase, the side dictated would be determined based on overall/total exposure.

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  #671 (permalink)
 Tymbeline 
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tpredictor View Post
The big deal is that profit and risk are fairly strongly correlated among traders. The novice trader imagines that the great trader is able to profit without taking any risk. The reality is that the better traders take the same or more risk than the bad traders but they make better decisions overall which leads to profitability.


Here, and elsewhere in your post, you make some very good points, of course - and you make them well. It's interesting to see your views, Tpredictor.



tpredictor View Post
But, just if you turn the scenario on its head and someone came to me and told me they had 1k for me to risk per day in the markets and then told me they only had 2k total-- in any other scenario that'd be ridiculous.


Perhaps so, but the fact is that it isn't in any other scenario: it's in their scenario, and that perhaps makes all the difference?



tpredictor View Post
So, I don't see why so many people give TST a pass.


I think the underlying reason is perhaps that, at least to some extent, "it works" in that they are actually successfully funding some people who wouldn't otherwise be able to trade futures at all, and that is, after all, their target market?

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  #672 (permalink)
 bobwest 
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Tymbeline View Post
Here, and elsewhere in your post, you make some very good points, of course - and you make them well. It's interesting to see your views, Tpredictor.

...

I think the underlying reason is perhaps that, at least to some extent, "it works" in that they are actually successfully funding some people who wouldn't otherwise be able to trade futures at all, and that is, after all, their target market?

I agree that @tpredictor's points are interesting and make sense from the perspective he is using. I would say that he should therefore not try the Combine, and, of course, he has decided not to.

It's important to realize that not everything is right for every person. Many critics of TST probably should just conclude "it's not for me," and move on.

As for why TST is doing it, the answer seems very simple. They are looking for traders for their prop firm. They are not really training anyone to trade (although trading the Combine has its value over pure sim trading because there is something at stake for the trader.) They are in fact just looking for people who can trade, within their rule structure, that they can offer to hire for their prop business. Is the rule structure not right for you? Then don't trade it.

They have actually funded a very large number of traders; they make announcements of the new funded traders every month or so. I assume some of those traders go on to make money. I know that some don't (we see some say so in their journals on FIO.) I assume that the more successful ones tend to eventually take some or all of the money and put it into their own accounts and trade them instead, because the profit split is better (100%) and the tax treatment is much better (you're an independent contractor with TST, and, because you're not trading your own capital, your earnings are ordinary income at the same tax rate you pay for employment earnings.)

I would assess the odds of success in getting funded, and then succeeding as a funded trader, as pretty low. The odds of failing as a short-term trader are often quoted as being in the 90% range (although I don't know exactly where that comes from, and it might be worse), so the odds of succeeding in the TST universe should be fairly low as well, and it seems to be so, from the many journal posts on the subject.

Personally, I think the Combine is worthwhile, assuming you can trade within the loss rules, mainly because of the discipline of being accountable, with something at stake (the money you put up) -- unlike in pure sim, where you can just say "la-la-la" and reset your sim account. So it's good practice, basically, and not being free is a feature, not a bug. If you can't afford $165 a month, or whatever you choose, you have bigger problems than needing to learn how to trade.

A person who has a job and a little personal discipline can save up enough, in time, to self-fund an account. The main thing is not the funding, it's learning how to trade. I think this is always an individual matter, and the Combine is just a tool to facilitate it. It's still basically all you.

But if your basic assessment is that the rules don't make sense for you, then save the money and find another way to get where you want to go.

Bob.

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  #673 (permalink)
emini2000
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bobwest View Post
As for why TST is doing it, the answer seems very simple. They are looking for traders for their prop firm.

Bob.

I think that's actually pretty naive.

Their business model is to make big money off the combines, and if they can make some money off funded traders then that's gravy. It's pretty obvious that the combines are where the money is. They make most of their money off the hope of being a full time trader, not actually funding traders. I'm not criticizing or agreeing with the model. It just is what it is.

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 bobwest 
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emini2000 View Post
I think that's actually pretty naive.

Their business model is to make big money off the combines, and if they can make some money off funded traders then that's gravy. It's pretty obvious that the combines are where the money is. They make most of their money off the hope of being a full time trader, not actually funding traders. I'm not criticizing or agreeing with the model. It just is what it is.



Maybe I'm just a sucker. Maybe that never occurred to me, maybe that's why I'm so naive.

Maybe not.

Do you care? I don't.

Bob.

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  #675 (permalink)
 Tymbeline 
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emini2000 View Post
They make most of their money off the hope of being a full time trader, not actually funding traders.


How do you know?

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  #676 (permalink)
emini2000
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Tymbeline View Post
How do you know?

Well @bobwest actually said it himself, but it wasn't the point he was making by saying it.

I would assess the odds of success in getting funded, and then succeeding as a funded trader, as pretty low. The odds of failing as a short-term trader are often quoted as being in the 90% range (although I don't know exactly where that comes from, and it might be worse), so the odds of succeeding in the TST universe should be fairly low as well, and it seems to be so, from the many journal posts on the subject.

Quite a few get funded if you get the emails every few weeks that show who has been funded. So how many then makes up the hundreds (if not in the thousands) of the 90% that fail? Multiply that by the combine cost, multiplied by the number of people that fail, and many do it multiple times trying to pass. Then you have those that did pass, and how many times did they take the combine to do that?

Like I said, it's pretty obvious that the bulk of the money is made from the combine, not the trading. Like I said, I'm not criticizing it, just telling it like it is.

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  #677 (permalink)
emini2000
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bobwest View Post


Maybe I'm just a sucker. Maybe that never occurred to me, maybe that's why I'm so naive.

Maybe not.

Do you care? I don't.

Bob.

Nah. Already said I'm not criticizing it. It is what it is.

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  #678 (permalink)
 bobwest 
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This is just an argument or discussion that is not worth having.

Anyone who wants to avail themselves of what TST is offering should do so. Anyone who doesn't should not.

It is pointless to repeat that TST is in the business to take your money. They make an offer, they fulfill it as stated. You may pay a lot of money before you pass a Combine, or you may never pass a Combine, or you may pass it the first time.

Revealing the earth-shaking truth that they will collect your money whether you pass it or not is not a hard thing to understand. It's also irrelevant. People should decide what they want to do, and then do it. You will probably have to pay something to someone. Spend it wisely, based on your own assessment of the pros and cons.

This is all really cut and dried.

Bob.

Edit: although I do stand by what I wrote, I don't want it to be personal, so I apologize if it comes across as confrontational or personal. I think it is obvious that TST will be making money from those who are taking the Combine, and it is also obvious that if someone finds it of value, they should go ahead with it. That's all I mean to say here.

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  #679 (permalink)
 tpredictor 
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@bobwest I do not have a problem with TST being a business. Traders pay for trading products all the time. The problem people have with TST is that they claim to be one type of business when in reality many people believe their business model is another model. And, that's the problem because that is disingenuous. They make 2 basic claims (and at least 2 implied claims): one, you can trade through them without risk and the second claim is that their primary objective is to derive profits from the markets and not by charging traders for sim trading. There is a 3rd implied claim which is Patak is now a successful trader, and became successful by following some sort of risk of management protocol similar to what TST offers. A cynic might even suspect that the reason they started requesting traders withdraw their first 5k in profits is so that they would have some evidence of paying out traders and therefore they would not technically be a fraud. As for trading without risk, if you subscribe to the 100k account for a year then you would spend more than the total amount of risk they are giving you (325*12=$3900 total while funding level is only $3,000). The final implied claim is not only that you can be profitable but as a firm that they have the resources and wherewithal to allow the trader to make a living. I do not find any of these claims believable. But, I agree there are not many opportunities for traders without capital. That is is a problem that the exchanges should address really.

Even if a firm is legit then they could still lose money. Businesses lose money all the time. But, there are a couple of clues that they might not be trying to derive profits from their trading operations. The first is the 100% payout on the first 5k. Again, a cynic might suspect they needed to show they had payed out some traders and that was what that was all about. The second is whether or not they hold back profits. You have to keep your star traders if you have any hope of making a business like this work. The only way you can keep your star traders is to earn their loyalty or to hold their profits and make it painful to leave. There are a couple other hints too. If the combine is really supposed to find the star traders then why would anyone who passes get sent back to the combine? If you pass then you should be passed for life or at least a year or some tangible time. They might sent you back to the simulator but the idea they will charge you again is yet another red flag. If they have star traders who are loyal then they should present them. They share a ton of statistics regarding traders who pass their combines so they don't really have much excuse for not sharing some very basic, non proprietary stats, about how much their top traders are making. How many traders that came through TST have hit a high water mark of 30k+ in their accounts? 60k+? 100k+? 500k+? 1 million+? And how long have they been with TST and whether or not they are still with TST. Those are the only questions that people care about. If they could show even 10 traders clearing 500k or more I'd be wowed.

Now a few questions, can someone describe how the funded trader prep works? Also, on another forum/comments someone reported the profits you can make in the first 10 days determines how much you can risk? Is there any truth to that? Are there any non competes? If you don't at least get the trivial risk capital promised then that's really bad.

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  #680 (permalink)
Pedro40
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bobwest View Post
This is just an argument or discussion that is not worth having.

Yet you keep coming back, the same way you "left" the Al Brooks thread. Like 5 times. Hate to tell you Bob, but you come across as an incredible naive cheerleader for these vendors. If a vendor misrepresenting himself that is as tpredictor said correctly disingenuous, if not an outright fraud.

If you are working for someone or wanting to learn from someone the minimum you would want to know is how they really make their money....

But I guess you are not the curious type...

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  #681 (permalink)
 SoftSoap 
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Does it matter where TST makes most of their money from?

The guidelines are laid out and it's your choice as to whether or not you accept them. You are paying for a small chance of having what a lot of traders can only dream of. Trading someone else's capital.

I don't see the TST website talking about how easy it is to make it in this industry. And I see no evidence in this thread about the company being a fraud.

I see assumptions that they make more off the combines than they do off their traders, but we have no confirmation/denial from any official representative. So we should be careful when turning assumptions into reality without facts.

There are ways to obtain the information, and fighting with other members who are just as much in the dark as you, isn't it.

Let's not turn this thread into the shit show that was the Al Brooks thread.

Cheers.

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  #682 (permalink)
 tpredictor 
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@SoftSoap

I would normally agree that rehashing the same points over and over would be pointless. However, this is a firm that's made some audacious claims and received relatively widespread support from the industry. They are the one making the audacious claims and they are responsible thus for backing them up. If they said, hey we have this awesome sim platform for $150 per month and it's really worth it because you get all these stats and all these benefits then I wouldn't have a problem with that. It is when they claim to have one business and they really have another business then that's why we have a problem. They claim they make money from finding great traders and placing them with their partner. In reality, their customer is the "trader" and they take the "hit" on the other side, to keep the charade going. And, it is clear to a lot of us that they started requesting traders take their first 5k withdrawal because none of their traders were staying in the game long enough to get any withdrawals and they were probably afraid that it'd make them a fraud. To keep the charade going, to keep the TST cash cow going, that's why they started giving 100% on the other side. So, technically they can point to those payouts as evidence that they aren't a fraud.

However, my opinion based on pure logic strongly suggests all of the following:

1. Claim #1 TST is a risk free way to trade the markets

Reality: Subscribing to TST 100k program for a year would cost $3900 which is more risk then the $3000 they give you. Even if you think it won't take an entire year, let's imagine it only takes 3 combines, that's appx $1,000 or 33% of the risk of trading live. Plus you add on professional datafeeds and profit split! It's a terrible deal. Worse it looks like they don't even give you the full risk. It's a charade either way but technically it's not fraudulent if they give you the money to lose in the markets but there's a decent amount of evidence that they don't give you the full risk in every case and that to me, if it is true, would make it a fraud. But, their scheme would probably fall apart either way -- so they have to limit the damage.

2. Claim #2 TST is a scouting agency that makes their money from PLACING the trader with their partner. They claim they are a prop firm with the primary objective to profit from trading in the market.

Reality: The real objective is to make money from the combine fees. Why is this logical? Any real prop needs to keep their star traders. You keep the star traders by earning their loyalty by being nice to them and giving them the opportunity to make more money trading for you then they could anywhere else and by holding back profits and locking them up. It's the only way something like this can work.

Also, think about this.. If the combine is to find the star traders then it'd be a one time fee or at most a yearly assessment. If you pass a combine and go live and don't make money then what's really going to happen? First, most likely you won't get another shot. The combine failed to weed you out but the market did. Why would you want to risk even more money on a trader who managed to "game" your tryouts? It would be the greatest evidence that this trader either has a strategy that doesn't work in the live markets or chokes and can't trade under real pressure. Even if they really believe in their model, you'd go back to the simulator and they wouldn't charge you.

I imagine a realistic combine might want to see a larger ratio of the total profit to the maximum drawdown. That'd be the best risk metric and proof that you could trade. It'd be over a longer period of time too. A realistic combine would probably give you 12k to 25k of total risk capital and they'd probably give you 3 months or 1 year to hit some very high multiple of that max drawdown ratio and there'd be some minimum. Realistic parameters might look something like the following, max 1k risk per day, 12k risk total, 4x your maximum drawdown and at least > 12k profits returned over a period of 3-4 months.

3 Claim #3 Patak is a prop firm with the sole objective of making a profit from the markets and giving their traders the ability to make a living. Reality the Patak is an entity designed for making the scheme technically legal with no real objective except to risk and lose as little money in the markets as possible while making sure they payout just enough to traders so if anyone examines their books they can point to those payouts.

Reality: A legitimate business must try to make money. Giving traders 100% payouts is no way to make money. Restricting the risk traders can take to virtually nothing --- is no way going to allow for a business to grow and make real money.

Have you looked and seen how many people TST is hiring? You are paying their salaries with your endless combines. You are basically paying someone who can't trade, who will never trade, and who was probably never passionate about the markets to tell you that you can't trade. Anyone who can really trade on so little capital, 2k for the standard combine, should easily come to the conclusion that it makes more sense to trade their their own money. If TST were the real deal then they'd clearly ramp up their best traders with more risk capital. They might start you off low but they'd ramp you up. Not because they are nice but because they'd have too in order to survive. And you would get maybe a 50/50 payout and be able to a make a living.

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  #683 (permalink)
 jackbravo 
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Just a question....are they claiming to make money from traders/as a prop firm? I haven't seen that stated anywhere.

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  #684 (permalink)
 bobwest 
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jackbravo View Post
Just a question....are they claiming to make money from traders/as a prop firm? I haven't seen that stated anywhere.

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For a funded account, they hire you as an independent contractor, give you a certain number of contracts to trade and split your trading profits with you: 80% to you, 20% to them.

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  #685 (permalink)
 Big Mike 
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Just because someone has a different opinion, it does not make them a troll.

I encourage debate, even a lively one -- so long as it remains polite and helpful. So let's be very careful to not discourage such debate here on FIO when it is civil.

Mike

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  #686 (permalink)
 bobwest 
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Big Mike View Post
Just because someone has a different opinion, it does not make them a troll.

I encourage debate, even a lively one -- so long as it remains polite and helpful. So let's be very careful to not discourage such debate here on FIO when it is civil.

Mike

OK, you're right.

I deleted my post.

Bob.

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  #687 (permalink)
 tpredictor 
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Apparently Michael is claiming to have been a profitable trader now, I hadn't seen that before.


Quoting 
Unfortunately, I didn’t have a finance background or know a soul in trading, but I was determined. After saving up my hard earned money, I moved to Chicago in my early twenties to pursue my dream. By the time I was 24 years old, I had lost it all - $90,000 to be exact. I took a step back and realized I needed to safely develop my trading strategy without risking any more capital. I spent 6 months trading on a simulated account, following simple risk parameters and trading rules. Only after I proved to myself that I could consistently make money each day did I put risk back on.

I went on to routinely average 6-figure profits each year, including a best day of $33,000.

Have any TST traders went on to earn 6 figure profits? Have any TST traders went on to have 25k+ days? These are valid questions. Was Michael profitable in his last 2 years of trading to the same degree? These are valid questions given his claims. Does he have any account statements backing up these claims?

One thing I'm really interested to learn is I've read that there is this 10 day period where whatever you make in the first 10 days determines what you are able to risk. I'd like to know what the deal is on that? Because it makes it seem like a fraud if they aren't giving you the full risk claimed.

I just received an email "554 funded accounts" over 2016. Were all these accounts given the full risk that the traders earned? That's what's implied. But, if a large portion of these accounts were cut off early then that's deceptive.

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  #688 (permalink)
 tturner86 
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SoftSoap View Post
Does it matter where TST makes most of their money from?

Yes it does. Where a business generates it's money will determine where it puts its focus. Is the focus on generating profitable traders for your fund or running as many people through the mill to collect a fee.

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  #689 (permalink)
 Scalpingtrader 
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In the end, I agree with both sides of the argument.

a) TST is providing a good opportunity to - relatively inexpensively - test and improve your trading against external rules and observation. And yes, this point benefits mostly learning (i.e. losing) traders who take multiple combines. I myself have probably spent 2.5k$ on combines in total. Before that, I lost a good bit more live in the markets - with probably about the same learning experience. Actually, I lost about twice as much in one single day, a couple of years ago - I would have been VERY grateful had I known about TST at that point already.

b) the business design of the funded trader stage is somewhat flawed. I am not saying fraudulent. Just flawed. And, to some extend, TST is aware of this as I've seen various iterations of the same statement on their site: the successful traders take their payout and then stop to trade the funded account in order to trade for themselves. Which is financially the financially the right thing to do, at least given how the funded accounts are designed currently. However they are 100% transparent about the rules and what to expect, so no one can really complain on that end.

Given the two points above, I am pretty certain that a significant part (probably the majority) of their income is achieved from "selling" combines.

Being aware of aforementioned aspects, I personally don't really care how they are marketing themselves. I know why I am taking the combine and I know what steps will follow for me.

Cheers, ST.

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 Tymbeline 
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tpredictor View Post
Have any TST traders went on to earn 6 figure profits? Have any TST traders went on to have 25k+ days? These are valid questions.


TST is presenting its service for the potential benefit of people who don't have enough capital to trade futures on their own.

Underfunded/unfunded people.

There are no entry barriers whatsoever (other than the ability to pay $150 or however much it is, for a Combine).

Successfully funded traders there, many of them very part-time because they have jobs as well, start off trading a maximum of 2-3 contracts, and their agreement with TST is for only a year anyway.

Is it really a valid question to ask if they're "earning 6-figures", or "having 25k+ days"?!

Do you really think that it's some sort of "slight" on TST, if the answer to both those questions is (obviously) "no"?

I don't.

If TST were somehow stating or implying that people are getting rich, earning 6 figures, or making thousands per day, then they'd be valid questions.

But that just isn't the case.

So I think these are questions that boil down to implicitly finding fault with TST for failing to produce something that they've never suggested or implied they'll produce. I think you're assessing them on the basis of their being something completely different from what they claim to be. It's hardly surprising that they're "falling short" on that basis, because the implicit basis underlying your "valid" questions is itself an inappropriate one, in my opinion.

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  #691 (permalink)
 tturner86 
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Scalpingtrader View Post

Being aware of aforementioned aspects, I personally don't really care how they are marketing themselves. I know why I am taking the combine and I know what steps will follow for me.

Cheers, ST.

Agreed, and that is the power of a consumer. You choose what matters to you and you decide where to spend your money.

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  #692 (permalink)
emini2000
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Scalpingtrader View Post
Given the two points above, I am pretty certain that a significant part (probably the majority) of their income is achieved from "selling" combines.

Being aware of aforementioned aspects, I personally don't really care how they are marketing themselves. I know why I am taking the combine and I know what steps will follow for me.

Cheers, ST.

Exactly. It's not hard to see how they make most of their money. And as you said, you know why you are taking it and they are giving you the opportunity. It is what it is.

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  #693 (permalink)
 tpredictor 
North Carolina
 
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@Tymbeline

Quoting 
Is it really a valid question to ask if they're "earning 6-figures", or "having 25k+ days"?!

Did you look at where I quoted Michael Patak from their own web page? He said that he went on to earn an average of 6 figures with a best day earning 33k. He is the one who said that the key to his success was learning to tightly manage his risk. He is the one who is strongly implied that the TST program is modeled after his own trading rules that produced that success. I'd like to learn more about his trading. Was he pit trading or screen trading during this time? That's important too because pit traders had/have inherent advantages over screen trading. I'll bet he was pit trading.

The reason I asked previously if they'd share stats on how many traders cleared various amounts such as 30k,60k,100k,150k,500k, is that it tells us if anyone is actually able to make a living trading for their firm. If nobody is making a living from trading their firm then it suggests something about the nature of the business. Remember they are only taking 30% of the profits. Look at how much TST is spending! The sad part is they are offering their regular employees real benefits while the traders, who if we are to believe them who are producing the profits, get zero benefits.

Your argument might be but it's not fair to ask how much their traders make. It's a privacy issues. My reply is I'm only looking for basic stats. No personal identifiable information. This is a fair question given that they proudly boast about how many traders get funded accounts every chance they get.

Keep in mind they've been around for 6 years or so. In the U.S., even producing 50k per year (with zero benefits) would be a struggle in many cities. Even one such trader trading with them over the past 4 years would have cleared or hit a high water mark of 200k (50k*4 years = 200k). A trader producing 100k over the most recent 3 years would have hit a high water mark of 300k.

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 amoeba 
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About 12 months ago I was curious to give a TST combine a try, I couldn't mold a discretionary strategy to fit their risk thresholds but I did have a 100% mechanical strategy which looked like it would pass ~70% of the time. It looked like a good opportunity to test a strategy which I was not ready to put into my own portfolio.

The caveat being this strategy did not have a high return rate (around 1.25). It took two attempts to pass the initial combine, it passed the live traders prep, but when it went live it hovered around b/e for the 10 days so I was invited to go back and do the LTP for free, which I took, the strategy passed the LTP, but went into draw down during the first few days of live trading the second time and after 10 days I choose not to return to the combine.

All in all, the strategy was up over the total period, but my luck was such that the draw downs or flat line occurred during live trading periods. You could argue that there was a difference between the sim & real market, but my strategy allowed for 2 ticks of slippage either way so it wasn't a major factor.

My take away, in neither of the live attempts did I reach the max draw down, it was the 10 day rule that took me out. You have no control over market in "10 days" if they want to be serious this is the rule that should be reconsidered. I have no issue with anything else.

I viewed it as a cheap testing ground and maybe an opportunity for a strategy to pay its own way, ultimately I could see I was going to be stuck in a loop of pass-return so left and took the risk in my own portfolio.

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  #695 (permalink)
 SoftSoap 
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I'm the kind of guy who enjoys a logical discussion, even when it turns into a friendly debate.
  • First I'll explain my position because I don't want to give the impression that I'm on TST's side, or against them. I'm more on the neutral side. I haven't paid for a combine, but I do see myself taking the test in the near future. As a matter of fact I stumbled into this thread because I'm in the middle of creating the same parameters on NinjaTrader so that I can run my own "combines". This way I don't have to pay any fees until I've proven that I can successfully trade under their parameters.
  • Secondly, you have to be careful about labels. Just because you label something a "reality" doesn't mean it isn't an assumption. Reality requires facts and while you bring a logical argument, we don't have the facts. It's okay to have a discussion around assumptions, but let's be honest and call them what they are.
  • Thirdly, there are ways to contact TST for the answers (if they are willing to provide them). The CEO is on FIO, I'm sure they have social media or other ways to get in touch with them. They have also done webinars on FIO in the past so I wouldn't be surprised if they'll do one in the future. So if anyone wants to prove their assumptions right, I think that's the best route.


tpredictor View Post
@SoftSoap

1. Claim #1 TST is a risk free way to trade the markets

Reality: Subscribing to TST 100k program for a year would cost $3900 which is more risk then the $3000 they give you. Even if you think it won't take an entire year, let's imagine it only takes 3 combines, that's appx $1,000 or 33% of the risk of trading live. Plus you add on professional datafeeds and profit split! It's a terrible deal. Worse it looks like they don't even give you the full risk. It's a charade either way but technically it's not fraudulent if they give you the money to lose in the markets but there's a decent amount of evidence that they don't give you the full risk in every case and that to me, if it is true, would make it a fraud. But, their scheme would probably fall apart either way -- so they have to limit the damage.

You might be confusing what TST is, with what TST can be.

The exchange isn't your money for a TST account. It's your money for a chance at an account, depending on your trading ability. For most it will never be more than a dream, and you can say the same about trading.

I find it interesting that you bring up the maximum risk allowed and compare that with the cost to "play". This is something I've personally taken note of, but I don't see people discuss it that way. I think more traders should look at this instead of only looking at the potential upsides. Specially because I've read some journals where traders pay for the combine over and over because it's just "300", and then they pay 100 to re-do it before the month and they never get funded. And if they did get funded after trying 20-25 times, they would have to survive long enough to get back their capital in order for it to be worth it from a $-perspective. Time-wise, that's a different story.

However, we can't ignore the potential upsides of a $100k account. You can have a max position size of 10 contracts with the $100K account. You cannot have a position of 10 contracts with a $3,000 account. At least not while trading ES and so on. Brokers like IB require a minimum deposit of $10,000 just to open up a broker account.



tpredictor View Post
@SoftSoap

2. Claim #2 TST is a scouting agency that makes their money from PLACING the trader with their partner. They claim they are a prop firm with the primary objective to profit from trading in the market.

Reality: The real objective is to make money from the combine fees. Why is this logical? Any real prop needs to keep their star traders. You keep the star traders by earning their loyalty by being nice to them and giving them the opportunity to make more money trading for you then they could anywhere else and by holding back profits and locking them up. It's the only way something like this can work.

Also, think about this.. If the combine is to find the star traders then it'd be a one time fee or at most a yearly assessment. If you pass a combine and go live and don't make money then what's really going to happen? First, most likely you won't get another shot. The combine failed to weed you out but the market did. Why would you want to risk even more money on a trader who managed to "game" your tryouts? It would be the greatest evidence that this trader either has a strategy that doesn't work in the live markets or chokes and can't trade under real pressure. Even if they really believe in their model, you'd go back to the simulator and they wouldn't charge you.

I imagine a realistic combine might want to see a larger ratio of the total profit to the maximum drawdown. That'd be the best risk metric and proof that you could trade. It'd be over a longer period of time too. A realistic combine would probably give you 12k to 25k of total risk capital and they'd probably give you 3 months or 1 year to hit some very high multiple of that max drawdown ratio and there'd be some minimum. Realistic parameters might look something like the following, max 1k risk per day, 12k risk total, 4x your maximum drawdown and at least > 12k profits returned over a period of 3-4 months.

The primary objective of an organization doesn't have to equate with their primary means of generating income.

Take an upstream petroleum organization as an example. Their primary objective is to make money from extracting oil and selling a product, either refined or non-refined. They may have other sources of revenue such as a petrochemical division, and depending on market conditions it could make more money than their primary objective.
With oil being at low levels in the last 2 years, a lot of companies (at least in Canada) were losing money for every barrel they produced, while their petrochemical divisions were able to make money. But that doesn't mean that their primary objective is to now make money off their other divisions and neglect their primary division, because it's all about what the company prioritizes over the long-term.

What I'm going to say is an assumption. But if TST's primary objective is to fund traders, they can only make money from their successful traders. Unfortunately successful traders are very hard to come by, and the best will be harder to keep as their profits grow.

So if their primary objective isn't very effective over something they have little control of, should they restrict the # of combines so they still make more money off their traders? It would be an illogical business decision to consciously impede growth in another section of their organization due to their primary department not doing as well. I'm sure if it was up to them they would love to add thousands of extremely successful traders, but that's something that isn't going to be done with their current business model (having people come to them, as opposed to them recruiting and training rising traders).

In terms of keeping prop traders around what is the going rate for a prop trader? Are prop traders taking 75% of the profits that they make? I understand they don't have to risk their own capital, but how big is the upside? This is not a rhetorical question, I actually would like to know.



tpredictor View Post
@SoftSoap

Also, think about this.. If the combine is to find the star traders then it'd be a one time fee or at most a yearly assessment. If you pass a combine and go live and don't make money then what's really going to happen? First, most likely you won't get another shot. The combine failed to weed you out but the market did. Why would you want to risk even more money on a trader who managed to "game" your tryouts? It would be the greatest evidence that this trader either has a strategy that doesn't work in the live markets or chokes and can't trade under real pressure. Even if they really believe in their model, you'd go back to the simulator and they wouldn't charge you.

I imagine a realistic combine might want to see a larger ratio of the total profit to the maximum drawdown. That'd be the best risk metric and proof that you could trade. It'd be over a longer period of time too. A realistic combine would probably give you 12k to 25k of total risk capital and they'd probably give you 3 months or 1 year to hit some very high multiple of that max drawdown ratio and there'd be some minimum. Realistic parameters might look something like the following, max 1k risk per day, 12k risk total, 4x your maximum drawdown and at least > 12k profits returned over a period of 3-4 months.

I think you're looking at their business model as if it's a dichotomy. Meaning they either find star traders or they make money off "suckers", but that's not how it has to work, they can attempt to do both. Finding start traders while making money off the majority of traders who will never make it in this industry. This way they make money off the people who will never pass, and can use that for the traders that do pass (as well as overhead costs of course).

As for the risk parameters that might be ideal for you or for a larger population of traders, but it isn't ideal for the people running the organization. I hate to say it but it's up to the leaders in the organization to define what their best parameters are, and we have little influence outside of formal feedback to TST or by either purchasing or abstaining ourselves from purchasing their product. The company is also relatively new, so they are constantly trying things out and evolving. I know that the CEO of TST was talking about changes to their combine that will be announced shortly. Those changes could be closer to what you have, or further away, only time will tell.


tpredictor View Post
@SoftSoap

3 Claim #3 Patak is a prop firm with the sole objective of making a profit from the markets and giving their traders the ability to make a living. Reality the Patak is an entity designed for making the scheme technically legal with no real objective except to risk and lose as little money in the markets as possible while making sure they payout just enough to traders so if anyone examines their books they can point to those payouts.

Reality: A legitimate business must try to make money. Giving traders 100% payouts is no way to make money. Restricting the risk traders can take to virtually nothing --- is no way going to allow for a business to grow and make real money.

This is very bold assumption (pun intended).

TST only gives you 100% profits on the first $X dollars you make. I could be wrong but I think that's first $5,000 (or $7,500) if you pass a $150K combine.

We don't know why that decision was made. For all we know someone said "we'll have traders who spend up to $2,000 on the combine, and they will have to pay $80 in data fees, so let's be a good company and help them recover those costs ASAP by letting them keep 100% of their first $X in profits"

Again, we can only speculate.

tpredictor View Post
@SoftSoap

Reality: A legitimate business must try to make money. Giving traders 100% payouts is no way to make money. Restricting the risk traders can take to virtually nothing --- is no way going to allow for a business to grow and make real money.

They only give you 100% for the first bit, after that it's 75/25 split. This is a business incentive.

It's similar to credit cards that offer you "no interest in the first 3 months". In theory you could get a card, rack it up, and pay it off within 3 months. Then after that cancel the card and go with another card that gives you 3 months no interest. If everybody did that then a credit card company wouldn't bring in enough revenue to cover their overhead costs. But they are providing you an incentive in exchange for your loyalty. Knowing that in the long-term they will make that money back and then some. Maybe not with you specifically (if you are like me and make money from your CC), but with enough clients and over a long enough period, they will.

Also, most companies that offer those type of incentives have more than one way to make money. Credit cards make money charging fees to the client, fees to the retailers, partnerships, cash flow, etc. Sound similar? TST can provide these incentives because they have another way of making money. Combines.

You talked about incentives to the traders for loyalty in return. From a business standpoint, this fits your criteria for that. Is it enough to keep traders around? Probably not, but it sure is a nice bonus.



tpredictor View Post
@SoftSoap

Have you looked and seen how many people TST is hiring? You are paying their salaries with your endless combines. You are basically paying someone who can't trade, who will never trade, and who was probably never passionate about the markets to tell you that you can't trade. Anyone who can really trade on so little capital, 2k for the standard combine, should easily come to the conclusion that it makes more sense to trade their their own money. If TST were the real deal then they'd clearly ramp up their best traders with more risk capital. They might start you off low but they'd ramp you up. Not because they are nice but because they'd have too in order to survive. And you would get maybe a 50/50 payout and be able to a make a living.

We live in a capitalist society, for good or bad, but that's how it works. There's a cost of overhead in every product that you purchase. It's good that you view things that way because most people don't, but there's little we can do about it apart from choosing with our wallet.

As for someone who doesn't trade telling you that you can't trade. Everyone has to choice to do that themselves. The parameters are laid out in detail publicly, and you can copy them to see whether or not you can trade. If someone chooses to pay money without running through those parameters on their own first, then that's on them.
It's no different than traders who choose to start trading without spending a minute in SIM, they have nobody to blame but themselves when they lose money over preventable mistakes.

As for TST ramping up their traders, do we know that they don't do that? What do they do with their best traders to keep them around? If they have traders who are making good returns and don't offer them more capital, then that's an opportunity lost and they are suffering through opportunity costs. Chances are that over the long-term they will lose the traders. But IF they do that then it doesn't mean they are a fraud, it just means they could make some improvements in their strategic processes.

But again, do we have any facts around that?




As for choosing to trade with 2K or taking the combines it all depends on the person.

If you're a good trader and can fit within their parameters, you should reach your destination faster trading TST.

If you're not a good trader though, you will lose your money whether you spend it on combines or you day trade yourself.

I think it's the people in the middle that get screwed. Those traders that can make money in the markets but can't fit their trading within the TST parameters.


Cheers.

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 SoftSoap 
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tpredictor View Post
Apparently Michael is claiming to have been a profitable trader now, I hadn't seen that before.



Have any TST traders went on to earn 6 figure profits? Have any TST traders went on to have 25k+ days? These are valid questions. Was Michael profitable in his last 2 years of trading to the same degree? These are valid questions given his claims. Does he have any account statements backing up these claims?

One thing I'm really interested to learn is I've read that there is this 10 day period where whatever you make in the first 10 days determines what you are able to risk. I'd like to know what the deal is on that? Because it makes it seem like a fraud if they aren't giving you the full risk claimed.

I just received an email "554 funded accounts" over 2016. Were all these accounts given the full risk that the traders earned? That's what's implied. But, if a large portion of these accounts were cut off early then that's deceptive.

No idea for most of your questions, but this is on their site.

$4,523 most profited in a day by a funded trader.

So at least we have one answer

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 SoftSoap 
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tturner86 View Post
Yes it does. Where a business generates it's money will determine where it puts its focus. Is the focus on generating profitable traders for your fund or running as many people through the mill to collect a fee.

From a business standpoint you are absolutely right. But none of us are sitting on the business side of TST.

Yes it'll have an impact on whether they spend most of their money on marketing (to generate money off combines), or coaching (to improve their traders). But as a potential customer, does it have an impact on my ability to pass the combine?

As long as they don't make the parameters unrealistic then I would argue no, and thus I personally wouldn't care whether they make more money off their traders, or off their combines. And if anybody finds their parameters to be unrealistic then they should choose with their wallet and not take the combines.

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emini2000
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emini2000 View Post
Well @bobwest actually said it himself, but it wasn't the point he was making by saying it.

I would assess the odds of success in getting funded, and then succeeding as a funded trader, as pretty low. The odds of failing as a short-term trader are often quoted as being in the 90% range (although I don't know exactly where that comes from, and it might be worse), so the odds of succeeding in the TST universe should be fairly low as well, and it seems to be so, from the many journal posts on the subject.

Quite a few get funded if you get the emails every few weeks that show who has been funded. So how many then makes up the hundreds (if not in the thousands) of the 90% that fail? Multiply that by the combine cost, multiplied by the number of people that fail, and many do it multiple times trying to pass. Then you have those that did pass, and how many times did they take the combine to do that?

Like I said, it's pretty obvious that the bulk of the money is made from the combine, not the trading. Like I said, I'm not criticizing it, just telling it like it is.

I wrote the above post in response to someone asking me how I knew they made their money from the combines. So I want to go in a little more detail since this post was made by @tpredictor.


tpredictor View Post
I just received an email "554 funded accounts" over 2016. Were all these accounts given the full risk that the traders earned? That's what's implied. But, if a large portion of these accounts were cut off early then that's deceptive.

I got the same email. @bobwest said that he thinks maybe 10% of those that try pass the combine. So let's take these figures. 554 funded traders last year. That's 10% of 5540 total traders that took the combine if 10% funded is correct. If you take the funded traders away, that leaves just under 5k that weren't funded. But we'll round it up to 5k to make the numbers easier. I think it's probably less than 10% that pass, so about 20 more non funded to round up is no big deal.

The cheapest combine is $150. So those that weren't funded at the LEAST spent $750,000 taking combines. But as you know, some take the most expensive, some take in between and some do it over and over and pay monthly as they continue to try and pass, so the figure is actually much more than $750,000 spent on combines. Let's just say it's definitely over a million, and could be a few million.

Now there is a lot more I could do here, such as then look at the average of what each trader probably makes, and then the fact that TST let's the trader have the first 10K (or is it 5k?), and then they only take 20% of the profits after that. And all of these traders are not successful after they pass. If someone wants to do all that math they can. But it's not hard to see that the money from the combines FAR exceeds what they make off traders. That's really an unarguable fact. They may actually even take a loss on the actual trading part.

Again, not criticizing it. But plainly their business model is to make profits off the combine. And if they give a few traders the opportunity to be full time traders with their money, no big deal. Even if they take a loss on that part of the business. And as @Scalpingtrader said:

"Being aware of aforementioned aspects, I personally don't really care how they are marketing themselves. I know why I am taking the combine and I know what steps will follow for me." Same reason I took it even though I can see what their business model is. It's still an opportunity to trade full time. So I'm not hating on TST at all. Just stating what I think is pretty clear about the business model when you look at it really close.

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 SoftSoap 
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amoeba View Post
About 12 months ago I was curious to give a TST combine a try, I couldn't mold a discretionary strategy to fit their risk thresholds but I did have a 100% mechanical strategy which looked like it would pass ~70% of the time. It looked like a good opportunity to test a strategy which I was not ready to put into my own portfolio.

The caveat being this strategy did not have a high return rate (around 1.25). It took two attempts to pass the initial combine, it passed the live traders prep, but when it went live it hovered around b/e for the 10 days so I was invited to go back and do the LTP for free, which I took, the strategy passed the LTP, but went into draw down during the first few days of live trading the second time and after 10 days I choose not to return to the combine.

All in all, the strategy was up over the total period, but my luck was such that the draw downs or flat line occurred during live trading periods. You could argue that there was a difference between the sim & real market, but my strategy allowed for 2 ticks of slippage either way so it wasn't a major factor.

My take away, in neither of the live attempts did I reach the max draw down, it was the 10 day rule that took me out. You have no control over market in "10 days" if they want to be serious this is the rule that should be reconsidered. I have no issue with anything else.

I viewed it as a cheap testing ground and maybe an opportunity for a strategy to pay its own way, ultimately I could see I was going to be stuck in a loop of pass-return so left and took the risk in my own portfolio.


Can you elaborate on what was tough about the 10 days?

Is it the scaling plan? Is it the weekly loss limit? Max drawdown? Or is it the fact that your account must be above $0 after 10 days?

A lot of people have mentioned this and I'm curious to know.

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 bobwest 
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Apparently Michael is claiming to have been a profitable trader now, I hadn't seen that before.



Have any TST traders went on to earn 6 figure profits? Have any TST traders went on to have 25k+ days? These are valid questions. Was Michael profitable in his last 2 years of trading to the same degree? These are valid questions given his claims. Does he have any account statements backing up these claims?

One thing I'm really interested to learn is I've read that there is this 10 day period where whatever you make in the first 10 days determines what you are able to risk. I'd like to know what the deal is on that? Because it makes it seem like a fraud if they aren't giving you the full risk claimed.

I just received an email "554 funded accounts" over 2016. Were all these accounts given the full risk that the traders earned? That's what's implied. But, if a large portion of these accounts were cut off early then that's deceptive.

"Fraud" is a term with a particular legal meaning. You may be just a little too loose with it. I will pass on the question, however.

By the way, yes, Patak says that initially he was an individual trader (and says he lost a ton of money), and then was a trader for a prop shop, and said he made money, then went to the pit, then left the pit and went to the screen. Then started up TST. I read all this a couple of years ago, so it isn't new information. Do I know whether he actually did all that? No.

I think I can answer the 10-day period question, though, and this may be helpful.

During Funded Trader Prep, you have 10 days during which you can run a negative balance. At the end of the ten days, you have to have made a profit, and you need to stay positive from then on out, until you meet the profit objective for funding. In other words, after 10 days, you have to stay profitable.

There is also a Weekly Loss Limit and a Trailing Max Drawdown for FTP, based on your completed Combine. These limits are dropped after 10 days.

In the past, the same requirement to be above zero after the first 10 days and stay above zero was imposed on the Funded Account. I believe this has been or soon will be dropped or modified, but it is still on the TST website as of tonight: https://help.futures.topstep.com/hc/en-us/articles/220739167-Funded-Account-Rules Perhaps the web site has not been updated, or I may have it wrong. I am interested in the question, and will check with support next week.

The Weekly Loss Limit and Trailing Max Drawdown are also dropped after 10 days for funded accounts.

Finally, after 10 trading days you can add Eurex or ICE products to what you trade.

I do not know of any other 10-day requirements, and I have just scoured their website, so I think this is it. So I do not believe there is anything to "whatever you make in the first 10 days determines what you are able to risk." As far as I know, this idea is not correct.

Now, the amount you can trade is a different issue. For both the FTP and the Funded Account, the number of contracts you can trade is determined by the "scaling plan," given here on the TST website: https://help.futures.topstep.com/hc/en-us/articles/220389528-What-is-the-Scaling-Plan-

You may note that the buying power you are given is never expressed in terms of an account balance, for either the FTP or the Funded Account. You do not, for example, ever get a funded account with a balance of $50,000, nor does TST ever say so. The FTP and Funded Accounts open with a balance of zero. This is because they are not retail accounts, with a certain amount of margin backing up the number of contracts you can trade. They are sub-accounts of the firm's main account with its broker, and you will never know, or need to know, the amount of margin the broker requires them to have on hand. This is not "your" account: you are a contractor and you are trading the firm's money. You will have the ability to trade a given number of contracts, which initially is pegged to your Combine size, and can be adjusted upward depending on how you do.

You are never given an account with a certain number of dollars in it, and TST has never said you would. You are given access to an account with a certain limit on the contracts you can trade. I hope that was clear, because it's what the offer has always been, and it has always been spelled out this way.

It's also been discussed in wearying detail, on this thread and on the other TST thread on FIO.

I suggest you not spend time in this thread, asking these questions, or on some other forum, but just read over the TST website in detail. It will take under an hour, and you will have your questions answered, and answered by the source.

I hope I answered your question about the 10 days at least, or pointed to where it can be answered.

Bob.

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