Once Live - you don't have to maintain a performance req. You just can't lose too much of firm capital. You are not required to trade everyday or meet quotas. Just don't over trade. In fact they'd prefer you don't.
By no means is this easy. But it's not impossible either. They really are just creating an environment with strict parameters for people to trade within. Searching for talent....they never implied this is a one size fit all deal. MOST will fail. However, how many people play basketball? How many people make it it to the NBA? Granted this is a very unconventional way to scout. However given the recent Linsanity and Jeremy Lin phenomenon...how is it bad giving people a chance to trade if they can perform?
I never criticized them and said they were 'bad'. I was coming from the context of a trader and if they can learn from it, good. A lot of traders have huge stops and small TP's and wouldn't even understand the value of that education until they went through it.
My understanding is that even when you are live that there are metrics you have to meet. At least that is what their old verbiage from the website mentioned about a year ago.
My daddy used to back a poker player.The player won more than he lost. My dad would split the profits with the guy and then we wouldn't hear from the guy for a while. Eventually, he would show up broke and ask my dad to back him again.
My dad told me the guy blew all his winnings on women, whiskey and horses. Which I fail to see where the problem with that is.....
I'm just a simple man trading a simple plan.
My daddy always said, "Every day above ground is a good day!"
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I spent the last two weeks trading as a TST Trainee. I'll put it right out front: I liked it enough to register for a 20-day Combine (more on that in a bit).
I mentioned it a bit on my journal, but after two weeks it is pretty clear that TST are pretty close to being risk fanatics. And I mean that in the most positive and admirable way. Since I often trade the overnight, I'm in the market less during RTH. That gives me the chance to interact within a couple of the TST Pits. Watch your risk, wait for your setup, what's the market state?, what's your risk?, know your levels, what's your plan?, watch your risk, and so on. Those are the type of things you hear and read across all the pits. Day in and day out, you get a steady message: trade smart.
And it's always done in an encouraging way. The whole vibe is very supportive, both from TST staffers and from traders. I've spent a couple minutes trying to boil down the overall groove to the pits and I've come up with this: sharp. There is a sharpness that keeps you on your toes in case you thought about slipping. At least that's what I get. There's a sense of respect and expectation that if you are there you are a pro. You may not be backed yet or you may not even be profitable yet, but you're expected to conduct yourself as though you are. Trade like it is your job. Again, I really dig it. I'm sure some don't but I'm not one of them
TopStepTrader Wants YOU!
But should you want TST? For some people, the answer will be no. Quite simply, it is not for everyone. First and foremost, TST is not for people learning how to trade. Sure, you can pick up some ideas and so forth, but it's not advertised or designed to teach you how to trade. That may seem obvious, but judging by some disparaging comments I've seen elsewhere, I think some people are going to TST expecting to be taught how to trade. If you are still trying to get a hang of the markets and figure out your trading style, etc. then TST is probably not an ideal fit for you right now.
It's also not for people who are looking to trade someone else's money and have no rules, requirements, expectations, or performance metrics. If that's you, perhaps you'll find a better fit than TST. Same thing goes for the Combines. In fact, to some extent, the Combines have more requirements. Makes sense to me. They use the Combines to find traders they can put with backers. Again, we all have choices so if trading by someone else's performance requirements doesn't suit you, no sweat, right? Just keep doing your thing.
While TST doesn't have "What's a Stock?" type classes, they do provide ongoing training and development. The main focus areas are psychology, market state, risk management, trading plans, coaching, and the like. One of the programs they offer Intuitive Development for Traders (IDT) is very highly regarded among Combiners and Live traders. Plus, if you go through the IDT program ($250) and you go live, instead of a 60:40 profit split you start with a 70:30 split.
While I’m cool with the overall scene, there’s still some stuff that is less than ideal to me. The first thing is you do have to trade via their chosen trading software. You don’t have to use their charts, but you will be using T4 (from CTS) for your trading. If that’s already what you use, then you should be golden. That was not the case for me and as recently as last Friday I was still learning stuff about the trading software. Expect at least some sort of learning curve if you’ve never used any version of T4.
You will be trading from the DOM. This was a bigger obstacle for me than the software itself. I have a lot bad DOM-related habits. I feel like a completely different trader when I trade from my charts. Actually, I feel like a trader. When I trade via DOM, not so much. And to be honest, I really didn’t think much about it until I had my first losing day during training. I’m still trying to come up with a solid approach to use the DOM without falling into my old bad habits. Anyway, if you are already a DOM trader, you too should be golden.
The requirements and stipulations. No I don’t think they are unfair or excessive or anything like that. There’s just some stuff that they want that is different than some of the ways I do stuff. This is probably the smallest of the warts. You go anywhere and they’re gonna have rules, regs, and so forth. If you don’t like it, keep moving. No big deal.
TST recently made some changes to their programs and some more changes are on the horizon. In fact, some price changes (increases of $50-100 depending on the program) are due to begin tomorrow, April 23rd 2012. One of the biggest changes was converting the Combines from 2- and 4-weeks to 10- and 20-day programs to be completed within 30- and 60-days, respectively. For more details on the new Combines click on the link. From what I’ve seen, TST is constantly working to expand and improve their whole program. Interactions with several traders would seem to confirm this impression.
For ease of access, I’ve provided several useful TST links. These are all just straight-through, non-affiliated links. However, they do give each trader (from Trainee up through Blue Chip) their own referral url, so here is my link: omni72 referral link. I think the only way I benefit is by getting TST Ticks which can be used in the Tick Exchange. They can be used to get stuff like TST hats, shirts, and jackets. You can use Ticks to ‘buy’ a Combine. Anyway, if someone is looking to try it out, there ya go. If not, don’t sweat it. All the other links take you directly to the corresponding page with no referral stuff.
Training Program - This is what I just finished up. When I signed up, it was a 2-week program and could use the 'bigmike' promo code to get the 2-weeks for free. They've since changed it to a 30-day program so dunno how the promo code thing works now. The 1-week free training is still available too.
IDT - Caught a little of the all-day version of this on Saturday. Definitely seems pretty intense. Everyone I've talked to about it who went through the course can't say enough good stuff about it. And that's coming from Combiners and Live traders.
Add a Trading Partner - Very cool program. It's optional and cost you nothing, but you can partner with TST traders (Combine and Live traders). I've heard and seen that some traders have been reluctant to try it out, but both people I approached (one is a Combiner and one is a Live trader) were cool with it and agreed to partner up. Tomorrow is the first day of my combine and partnering so I really have no idea how it will go. I've communicated with both and wouldn't have agreed to it if I didn't think it could be valuable for everyone involved.
I plan on updating this with posts about the Combine and going live.
Hope this was helpful.
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. ~ Seneca
Last edited by omni72; April 22nd, 2012 at 02:08 PM.
Reason: adding some context
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I wonder if doing the Combine would help traders who want to trade for themselves and not for others. The discipline and risk management sounds good. Do they only want people who's goals include trading for others?
Excellent program. Learn how to trade by doing in a 'skin in the game' simulation environment, (time and combine fee), and the reward is a fat trading account of which you manage for a very nice cut, 60-80%. It's the best way to learn for remote traders, hands down. Everyone learns from each other, pros and trainees alike, there is a ton of experiential knowledge sharing and a team environment where everybody is working toward the same goal. Every new trader should try to pass their live trader test (combine) before ever risking a single cent of real money. Trading takes time to learn, a lot of time, it should not be underestimated. New traders especially should heed this message for they won't find it amid all of the stuff being sold out there to aspiring traders. Everybody starts off green and loses, everybody, don't do it with real money. It takes time to learn, a long long long time. Get into a regimented program like tst and show that you can pass the live simulation test before becoming one of the 100% of traders who blew up their first few live trading accounts because they didn't take the time to establish and prove themselves first. You've got to do this, and it's all about experience, and tst is a great place to get lots of it. good luck
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I think it can, BT. I don't think it matters too much if you plan to trade your own account or OPM. If it turns out you can make the grade as a Live trader, I'm sure TST would like to have you trading for them. But anyone can sign up (and pay) for the Combine, so it seems you could tailor your Combine experience to your personal goals.
Also, real quickly, I've seen a few people complain about having to pay for the combine. On the surface that is true, you do have to pay to SIM trade. Unlike most SIM trading scenarios, at TST has a team dedicated to helping you develop better trading habits and practices. You also have very realistic opportunities to get the Combine fees refunded if you meet the performance requirements (Example of a trade report that meets all performance requirements). I've talked to several people who have traded well enough to get multiple Combines comped and seem to be on the cusp of making the cut to go Live. Two more traders went Live today and if I heard correctly, each only went through the Combines once. Kudos to them!
Hope that helps.
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. ~ Seneca
Wow the T4 platform looks really old-fashioned compared to Ninja for example. Looks pretty limited on what you can do, especially if you like multiple targets with multiple trailing and stop strategies. That would take a while to get used to.