5 Ways to Know When You're Ready to Trade Live Capital

Posted by TopstepTrader on May 17, 2018

We recently discussed how sim trading is the secret to trading success. But you can’t stay in the virtual world forever — not if you hope to make money as a trader. So how can you know it’s time to start trading for real?

The key is consistency. In simulated trading, you get the practice you need to turn your actions into routine. The more your actions become routine, the better chance you have of responding to pressure in a positive way.
It’s a lot like what an elite athlete does. Take, for example, LeBron James hitting a last-second shot to win a playoff game. He makes the basket as easily as if he’s in his backyard.

You’re not working on your three pointer when you’re sim trading, but you are practicing the habits of a successful trader. Here are the five key habits you have to develop before you trade live capital.

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Topics: TopstepTrader Funded Traders, Trading Basics, Forex, Futures

Why Traders Set Unrealistic Expectations... and How to Improve

Posted by TopstepTrader on May 16, 2018

"Trading is the hardest way to make easy money." — Michael Patak

Have you set a goal to make $1,000 trading? Because of leverage in futures, many traders have made four-figures in a single trading day. But averaging four figures — the equivalent of $250,000 annual salary — is another story. 

When TopstepTrader's Founder and CVO Michael Patak started trading, his goal was to make $1 million a year. That year, he lost $30,000. It was only after he reset his expectations, found out how much he had to make to sustain a living as a trader ($100 per day), and focused on small gains that he became successful.

As he says in this episode of Trader Behavior, "I decided that if I can't make $65,000 trading, then I have no business doing this every day." 

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Topics: Trader Behavior, Performance Coaching, Trading Basics, Forex, Futures

The Making of a Risk-Minded Trader

Posted by TopstepTrader on May 15, 2018

Being hyper focused on risk is not something that comes easy to a trader — even an experienced one. It's a skill that every trader, if they hope to be successful over the long term, has to develop. That's why this conversation with trader and risk manager Mick Ieronimo is so interesting. 

Mick got his start trading as a clerk in the grains pits on the floor before trading with a proprietary trading group and then handling execution for "Market Wizard" Linda Bradford Raschke's hedge fund.  

In this interview, Mick gives insight into how he first became interested in trading, what it was like working for Raschke and how he developed into a risk-minded trader. 

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Topics: Trading Basics, Limit Up!, Forex, Futures, Mick Ieronimo

How to Make Profits Scalping Volatile Nasdaq Futures

Posted by TopstepTrader on May 14, 2018

Nasdaq futures ($NQ) are one of the more volatile trading instruments. In fact, many traders might think that keeping a sub-10 point stop in them would be a challenge not worth taking. Yet, as we know, more risk does not equal more reward. And Z.S., one of TopstepTrader’s more than 170 active funded traders, proves it. Looking to make just 10 points as his target, he has to keep his stop lower, set at just six points. 

That doesn't leave him much room for error, which means that he has to be very choosy with his entries. And he has been, averaging more than $100 in profits on every trading day — winning and losing days included. 

While Z.S. points out that he still has a lot to learn, he also has seen success. A look at his approach may help new traders fine tune their own.

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Topics: TopstepTrader Funded Traders, Trading Basics, Futures, Nasdaq

Your Weekend Curriculum: Profits are About Process

Posted by TopstepTrader on May 12, 2018

What are you doing in the next 48 hours to trade better next week? 

This week, we compiled three resources that you have to check out. If you do, we promise you'll be in a better place when markets reopen. 

Don't just take our word for it; listen to hedge fund manager and billionaire Paul Tudor Jones, who said"The secret to being successful from a trading perspective is to have an indefatigable and an undying and unquenchable thirst for information and knowledge."

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Topics: Trading Basics, Jesse Livermore, Futures, Trading Setups, Weekend Curriculum, Mike Bellafiore, Michael Marcus

How can the Trading Combine Help You Become Consistently Profitable

Posted by TopstepTrader on May 04, 2018

Why is the Trading Combine® important? And how can it help your trading?

You may know that the Trading Combine started when Michael Patak lost $90,000 in three separate trading accounts. It was only after he put rules around his trading and learned to execute a strategy in a simulated trading environment that he became successful. 

Those rules became the basics of the Trading Combine. In this week's Coach's Playbook, the coaches talk about why the Trading Combine is important to develop consistently profitable traders and how it can help your trading

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Topics: Performance Coaching, Trading Combine, Coach's Playbook, Forex, Futures

How to Dig Yourself Out of a Trading Hole: Jon F. in Arkansas

Posted by TopstepTrader on May 01, 2018

Imagine this: you earn a Funded Account™, and in your first five trading days, you lose $3,127.66. You have a losing percentage of 80% and you are now just $1,372.34 to your Trailing Maximum Drawdown.

What do you do? Do you stick to your strategy or start taking long shots to dig yourself out of the hole?

That's the situation that Jon F. in Hot Springs, Arkansas found himself in. In fact, at his lowest point, Jon got just $620.88 away from his maximum loss before turning his account around.

He was able to stay in the game, and dig himself out of that hole.

On April 4, more than 25 days into his Funded Account, he gained $5,236.80, taking his equity balance to a new high. Two weeks later, he made $4,391.56 on April 24. Now, his account is sitting pretty. Here's how he did it.

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Topics: TopstepTrader Funded Traders, Trading Basics, Futures

The Secret to Trading Success

Posted by TopstepTrader on May 01, 2018

Do you want to know the secret to being a successful trader? Learn how to lose.

Humans, even the ones who take on risky ventures like trading, don’t like to lose. We're wired against it, and we avoid it whenever they can. Unfortunately, that tendency causes most traders to stay in bad trades in hopes of still coming out on top. The opposite is true, too. Everybody wants to take the win when they can, so a lot of traders get out when they should let their profits run.

A big part of successful trading, then, is to override human nature. Doing that takes a lot of practice — and a lot of losing. For the people who prefer not to lose $10k+ just learning to trade, the answer is simulated trading.

Let’s take a look at how a good sim trading program helps you develop as a trader.

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Topics: TopstepTrader Funded Traders, Trading Basics, Forex, Futures

Shorting a Market at New Contract Highs

Posted by TopstepTrader on April 30, 2018

Paul Tudor Jones has made his living picking trend reversals. He considers them low-risk opportunities. You may get cut five or 10 times, but with diligence, you can also catch huge moves. 

One of our funded traders, Trisha B., did just that — shorting Crude Oil when it hit contract highs near $70 per barrel. In this week's episode of The Trade, Coach Dan Hodgman takes a look at that trade and goes over some of the mental fortitude that Tricia had to exhibit to ride the trade for more than $1,000 in profits.

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Topics: TopstepTrader Funded Traders, Performance Coaching, Trading Basics, Futures, Trading Setups, The Trade

One Way Futures Traders Can Get Killed

Posted by TopstepTrader on April 27, 2018

Futures traders have a lot of information to process in order to make good trades. How are correlated markets performing? What is the long-term trend? What is the trend for the day? But one thing that they may overlook, even as equity futures traders, is earnings reports.

Yesterday offered a prime example (pun intended) of why futures traders have to be aware — and get out of the way of — of major earnings reports.

At 3 PM CT, Amazon reported earnings. Three minutes later, the Nasdaq moved 80 points... $1,600 on one contract. 


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Topics: Trading Basics, Futures, Nasdaq

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