TopStepTrader - Good way to get started or to "restart"
So I've actually been on TopStep for months It is a serious program. It took me months to meet the goal and quite frankly the discipline and parameters they set are strict but attainable.
Sure you can Sim Trade for free on Ninja and what not but the amount of value you get for the $120 is pretty astounding.
First of all the Chatroom has become a very good resource. They bring in Live traders from the floor or sometimes call up traders and discuss market thoughts and dynamics. They have truly built a community as well. There are sometimes over 150 traders in the main "Lounge" and some of the traders share their charts and thoughts on market direction. It is by no means a "call room" though. It is an educational room. They try to get people engaged with the markets by implementing mini "games" such as "You make the call" or "Best/Worst" trade of the day. It's a great way to get newbies interested in the markets without all the artificial "mystique". Eddie the main broadcaster has been on the floor for over 20 years and provides neutral and entertaining insight. Along with Hoag another fellow Floor Trader/Broadcaster, they've been VERY instrumental in the opening hour deciphering Pit Noise and commentating on what the Pit traders and Banks are doing.
Secondly the software you get is very efficient. It is not pretty but it gets the job done. There are many gripes to be had for sure...the stop placement and the moving DOM is really very annoying but like I said it was built by engineers and not User Interface people. I've been on the CBOT floor and besides Trading Technologies X Trader almost all other traders use the T4 software. It is efficient and not too many bells and whistles but it handles the volatility we've been having fairly well. Also even on SIM they instill a strict stop management program. They WILL stop you out of your SIM position on the COMBINE to enforce discipline. You will NOT be taken Live if you violate their stops too many times. I can talk about this more later for those interested. I've blown out my fair share of accounts due to lack of discipline, emotional trading or over trading. They make sure you are penalized for such actions. EVEN ON SIM. The value of having stupid trading taken away from you is worth the trouble.
Third - Market Data - For $120 bucks a month by joining the combine you get access to almost ALL Live Futures quotes. All CME Equity Indices NQ, ES, YM etc, Also you get GC, CL and all currency futures like the 6E as well. Take a look at how much this costs with Esignal, Qcharts, Tradestation and the like. It is cheaper than those guys AND you get a Chatroom w/Pit Noise and possibly access to capital if you can prove you can trade.
They have seriously brought the barrier of entry to trading down to the masses. They are simply casting a VERY wide net and hoping to catch some good traders. It is a Scouting Agency... How long those traders actually stay is another matter...
By no means is this meant for everyone and I'm sure many "serious" traders will be turned off by some of the banter in the chatroom but it does provide a useful service. Because quite frankly if you can't make it past the Combine ie earning 6k in one month with $1k stops or the Accelerated Combine earning 2k in one week with $500 stops...maybe you really shouldn't be trading real money at all. Again they are looking for a fairly specific niche of trader. If your risk/reward ratio or your drawdowns cannot survive 1-2 contracts with $500-$1000 loss then this is not the option for you. I'm not saying you shoudn't be trading but this is not the firm for you. They give you the ability to trade up to 5 contracts and beyond..that is a lot of fire power that I don't recommend anyone new using the full 5 contracts. You should start with 1-2 and focus on certain 2 markets and build from there.
Had this program existed when I first started trading I wouldn't have pissed away thousands of dollars on stupid days doing stupid trades. I used to have weeks and months of profitability but would blow out accounts due to emotional over trading and not adhering to my stops. Some days you will get "bad beats" and get stopped out or close to the stop limit but just move on and come back the next day. Quite frankly TopStep is instilling that discipline and I maybe using it as crutch but it is a useful crutch at this point in time.
I'm sure there will be many loopholes people will find but this is a pretty transparent company. In fact, they have a daily session "Drill the Scout" where you can ask the Head Scout basically anything you want in regards to the company and trading.
Obviously I'm very biased bout everything as I have been with the firm for months. They are a Startup so lot of bumps in the road to be had. But I'd be happy to answer any questions. There is also a way to get a 30min delayed version of the software and charts for free for a month. The Chatroom will be Live though. For a free trial just PM me and I'll get you an invite.
I'm "Mavin" in the chatroom btw for any fellow Big Mike Trading folks.
Last edited by mavinwiz; September 1st, 2011 at 01:17 PM.
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TopstepTrader is tentatively scheduled for a webinar Q&A and introduction in February. As I get more details and a hard date, I'll put it on the schedule.
Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.
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Looking forward to the presentation. I would consider joining the Combine if only to use it to improve my trading as I think mavinwiz mentioned in an earlier post. Will decide after seeing what they have to say.