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TopstepTrader's Michael Patak (Founder) - Ask Me Anything (AMA)
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TopstepTrader's Michael Patak (Founder) - Ask Me Anything (AMA)

  #621 (permalink)
Market Wizard
Sarasota FL
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Without wanting to get into controversy, a couple of thoughts:

1. There are not really all that many TST rules, nor are they all that complicated. Really. A person may legitimately disagree with them, but it is not hard to keep track of them.

2. They do put some requirements on traders that some would not want to accept, based on their trading styles and methods. Obviously, in that case the trader should not accept them.

3. If you think someone is going to rip you off by suckering you into paying a lot of fees for their Combines, then the right thing to do is stay the hell away from them.

I'm not picking a fight. I'm just saying, if you don't want to do it, then don't. It's a free country.

Some other people add things up differently, and think it works for them. There's no point, any more, in going over the pros and cons for the five hundredth time.

Everyone should make their own decisions and do what they want, which is what they are going to do anyway. What works well for one person may be terrible for another. Hopefully we will be willing to be responsible for the choices we make, and learn from the good ones and the bad ones.

Making TST either a villain or a savior is irrelevant. Use it or don't; it's a choice. Make it according to your own ideas of how you want to trade and what makes sense to you.


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  #622 (permalink)
The Narrow Road
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podski's Avatar
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Stacking the Rules

If you think that TST rules are stacked against you - just try winging it in a cash market with disregard for some of the rules. Then you will find that things are REALLY stacked against you.

TST provide infrastructure, that you have to pay a little bit of money for , to show them what you've got. The rules that they have are based around capital protection at almost all costs. No heroics allowed. If you don't want to .. or haven't got it .. then ... look the other way.

I would say that the general philosophy behind the rules is 100% in line with every valuable contributor or post I've read on BMT ... ahem .. I mean in the past few years.

I'd like it if they opened the Combine to EUREX products ....even if they were not going to fund you in that instrument... just for training purposes.


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  #623 (permalink)
Market Wizard
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Make your own choices

I read this whole thread and followed a lot of the controversial points about the TopstepTrader program, often mentally siding with the 'con' side. In the end I weighed up both sides and decided that it still offered a lot of benefits.

I was right, the only devils I face are all mine, not any of their rules and the support they have provided has been great. I'm getting a lot of hard-knock lessons at very low cost, and I trade cash in CFD/spreadbet accounts so I know how that all compares too.

I have no idea whether I will pass a combine, but I do know why I picked the one I did and what I wanted out of it, and it hasn't let me down.

If you don't like the shop then don't shop there - but don't knock something for the sake of it.


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  #624 (permalink)
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Moderator Note

This is not a review thread.

This thread exists to ask questions directly to Michael Patak, the President of TopstepTrader.

For all other posts, they belong in the main discussion/review thread.


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  #625 (permalink)
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Quick question: am I right in thinking that 10-day Combines have gone, and they're all continuous ones, now?

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  #626 (permalink)
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What time can you trade (CL and ES) products?

Specifically CL and ES?
Can you link the page?

I tried finding it as I saw it before but I just want to be clear.

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  #627 (permalink)
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KahunaDog View Post
What time can you trade (CL and ES) products?

Specifically CL and ES?
Can you link the page?

I tried finding it as I saw it before but I just want to be clear. Products/Times to Trade


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  #628 (permalink)
Market Wizard
Sarasota FL
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Tymbeline View Post
Quick question: am I right in thinking that 10-day Combines have gone, and they're all continuous ones, now?

Yes. I posed the question to @Hoag in today's "In the Know" chat session:

1. The 10-day Combine is now gone. They are all continuous.
2. There is no longer a mandatory 2-month minimum obligation. You can cancel at any time.

This is all now on the website.


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  #629 (permalink)
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bobwest View Post
Well, that's right as far as it goes. They will absorb your losses up to the max drawdown, and after 10 days, if you have a loss you are out. After that, you can't go to zero. That's all correct.

But, if you continue to grow the account, you can increase your contract size according to a schedule based on the max size attained. It may seem that this is no big deal, since you have to have the profits to qualify for the increase, but in fact, if you make withdrawals, or have losses that bring the balance down, the max contract size does not shrink down to something that is dependent on your current balance -- which is how it would work in you own retail account, where the account balance is your margin, and determines your allowable size.

In other words, the high point that your balance attained determines the number of contracts, your buying power, that you have to work with. It is not set by the current level of your balance.

That increased size, which is not limited by your current balance, is indeed continued "backing." They are putting up some capital as margin with their broker that you do not have to have in your account.


Quoting: "The lot size will increase according to the graph below, as you build equity. Once you reach an increase in buying power, it will not decrease if you make a withdrawal or if your balance decreases. Once your account balance is greater than 10K, you can request more buying power."

So you could be sitting with a fairly small retained balance in your account and be trading many more contracts than your balance would justify, if it were margin in your individual retail account. The additional buying power is supported by TsT's total margin position with its broker. They aren't going to put themselves in that position without you showing that it's a good risk. But there is a risk they are taking, and there is financial backing to you. In the meantime, you could have taken some of those profits and put them in your bank. Your number of contracts won't be decreased because the money is no longer there.

Obviously, the smart thing for the trader to do would be to periodically take withdrawals out, while keeping enough of a reserve against losses. And it's up to the trader to decide what's a safe level for him, and he should be prudent about it. But if he has done that and still wipes the account out, his loss is whatever he had in the account at the time; TsT takes the rest of the hit (and there is a "rest", because their margin was supporting that part of his trades that was not covered by his balance.) He keeps whatever he already took out.

One can get into semantics about what is "backing," or about anything else, for that matter. But this is the actual, full situation, whatever you call it.

BTW, almost all TsT questions can be answered via their Help pages:

For anything not found there, an email to their support usually works well.


Thanks Bob. This opens my eyes to a specific aspect that I wasn't thinking about. Which is actually pretty neat.

Rule number one in the markets is to never lose money. Well since that isn't realistic, I say if you're going to lose some money anyway then lose small, but when you win, give it all you've got and win big!
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  #630 (permalink)
Elite Member
Johor, Malaysia
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Favorite Futures: CL, GC
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tick exchange

Hi Michael or Hoag,

Just wondering when/if Topstep will add the continuous combine into the tick exchange items.



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