pass the combine - my tactics
Having finished the14 day trial - I think I am familiar enough with their T S Trader platform
and its functionality. I will be doing all my chart analysis using Sierra charts as I am very familiar with it and have all my templates in order. The T S Trader will be used primarily for entering orders into their DOM. I haven't even looked at their charts. I compared the responsiveness of their DOM compared to the CQG data feed within Sierra - I saw no lag-time at all. Not that it will really impact my trading on 5-15 minute charts.
As my performance was best using the Australian Dollar with a consistent rate of return of $120 per day on average ( with 2 contracts) this will be my ASIAN instrument of choice to trade. I also trade the Japanese Yen but my results are not as good yet. I can't trade the Nikkei mini contract with top-step yet - though this will be something I will inquire about if I get funded.
I have chosen the 100K combine and trade it this way up to 6 months :
1. I calculated that it should take me no more than 3 months to get into the step 2 of the combine stage
( pass set 1 combine).
How did I work that out? Well, assuming a 2 contract trading basis and an average rate of return of $120 per day, then the target is $6000 which will take 50 trading days - this is about 2.5 months. Of course anything can happen and I think once I start trading 3 or more contracts the account will increase much faster. However, things can also go wrong and it may take longer than I expect - all in all I am happy to take 6 months.
2. It will take longer because I am trading stage 1 with stage 2 rules.
Why? Because if I can get to the stage 2 combine I will be confident I can pass. This is because when I do the stage 1 combine I will follow the extra rules of the stage 2 combine exactly so their won't be any difference for me. I think it is artificial to pass the stage 1 combine with the easier rules - because it creates a false sense of confidence and is not showing yourself you can do it with the tighter rule requirements. I don't mind taking another 1-3 months providing I pass with stage 2 rules all the way through.
3. I will use much tighter personal risk management rules such as daily loss limit. For instance, instead of using $2000 limit I will probably have a $650 limit. Even then, I will scale down the contracts used as I lose. If I start with 2 contracts then if I bust $325 loss I will drop down to 1 contract. My goal for the day will change to reducing the loss by half only and not getting back to breakeven. I calculate that as long as my loss days are at most half my winning days that even with a 50% win rate ( in terms of days) I will pass the combine in a reasonable amount of time. So my losing days initially will be on average -$163 roughly.
Of course if I fail to get back on 1 contract the most I will ever lose is - $650. As the weekly limit of loss is -2000, then if I have 2 big losing days like this I must stop trading for that week period. I will do this even in the stage 1 combine. That way, my only penalty applying this money management system is time, and more payment of the monthly combine fee.
4. I will scale up contracts sensibly - this means I won't increase to 3 contracts until I am in open profit of +$325 per day and my account is up at least $1000 or 101K.
Why? On winning days I can really get ahead on my win to loss ratio after I have a good buffer of profit. If I fail on a few trades back to -163 then I might cut trading for that day. I stand to make much bigger profit than 325 on winning days hopefully. Also, I won't trade 3 contracts until my whole account is up +1000 because I don't want to risk hitting the trailing maximum drawn-down of -3000 too easily. If I am trading 3 contracts from the start I am much more likely to have a series of losing days that could amount to -3000 quickly enough.
Then, once I'm up I will just subtract 1 contract from their scaling plan. So this means once I am up 2000, I will move up to 4 contracts maximum but only if I'm up 325 for that day on less contracts. I may start with 2 contracts over 1000 overall profit on any given day. Once I'm over +163 I will move up to 3 contracts. Once over 325 I will move up to 4 contracts etc.
If on any day I am up 325 or more and move up to 4 contracts but then lose a trade. my account will quickly move down to -100, for instance. Then I will drop down to 2 contracts because the rule is that I need to get back above 163 to trade 3 contracts again, etc.
My only difference from their scaling plan is I use 1 less contract than allowed, and when over 103K, I won't jump up to 10 contracts. I will probably stay at 4 contracts until over 104K, then 5 contracts over 105K. Why? Because the trailing stop will cease moving up above 100K once over 3K in profit. So it makes sense not to get too aggressive until then with multiplying contracts up. Then only time I will increase up is 1 extra contract per +$1000 extra profit.
5. IF I can't find many opportunities in Australian dollar for that day in the Asian session,
then I will look at Japanese yen secondly. It is more volatile so I will only trade it if I am up for the week more than $325. If no other opportunities in either - I will wait until EUR session, and look at EUR to trade. I will not trade the POUND yet as very volatile.
If nothing happens in any of those, I will look to the US session, wait for any major news items to pass - and follow the combine step 2 rules regarding not trading due to hot news items on their calendar. Then if I'm still awake SYD time will be past midnight, I will look at those 3 pairs again for a trade. But I will always favor AUD if not up at least 325 for that week. It is likely I will only trade the JPY and EUR with less number of contracts anyway such as at least 1 less contract than allowed with AUD.
6. I will keep a journal here, and monitor everything pertinent to trading well such as my psychological state, emotional state, and always do a thorough fundamental analysis of the markets. I will monitor the trend using my usual techniques and restrict my trading to that which is appropriate for the current trend. For instance, if it is a weak downtrend, I will try to sell large scalp or buy small scalp. I will attempt to read the order flow and use market profile, volume profile for levels, and footprint charts for shorter term buy and sell balance per bar. I will use a faster 1-2 minute chart to monitor indicator divergences etc.
7. I will only trade 1 pair at any one time. I will not trade if busy at work or distracted by other things in life. I will attempt to have 100% focus on the markets during any trade.
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