Up until the time a college advisor asked if he wanted to intern on the trading floor at the NYMEX, Tony Hicks had never even heard of the futures markets. The moment he stepped foot on the floor, he looked around and asked, “what is going on?” The fast pace and fast money appealed to his entrepreneurial spirit. He was hooked immediately.
“It felt like I was part of some secret society. Everyone knows everyone, and everyone got down there through a friend or relative.”
While running the gambit of entry-level jobs, which every floor trader goes through, Tony took the time to talk to people and build relationships with everyone he could. His networking skills paid off, and after a stint on the Comex floor, he found himself in the Crude Oil & Natural Gas Options pits, where he really started to hone his trading skills.
“Being on the trading floor changed my whole perspective on life. For good and for bad. The floor opened up a whole new world for me.”
With his background, Tony is no stranger to the ups and downs of the trading cycle. He took some losses, but stuck with it and continued to grow. There isn’t a trader out there that can say they never had an issue with discipline, and Tony is no exception.
“Discipline was my biggest problem. It’s really hard to get that key discipline, and Mick (Ieronimo) was a big help in that area for me. It took a while, and some of those losses really hurt, but I believe that good risk management is the biggest hurdle for a successful trader to overcome. No matter how many times you get hurt, you have to stay optimistic that you can be successful.”
We were able to get Tony on the phone earlier this week to share his story and talk a little bit about his trading style. We were also able to touch on how he feels he's grown as a trader since his journey with Topstep began.
Here’s what he had to say...
Q: How did you come up with your daily loss limit parameters?
It was trial and error. The scaling size in the program was more than I needed to trade. It was too much, it didn’t give me enough room to take a little heat, but I started with max positions anyway.
I trade crude oil and natural gas, so I started off trading 3 lots with a 30 tick stop loss. That's $900 of risk per trade. After taking some losses I decided to scale back on size back and only trade 1 lots. Trading smaller gave me the extra room I needed to let the market come back. And even if I put on a loser, I still had enough left to keep trading.
So, the $600 loss limit really forced me to start off the day trading smaller size. The best way to learn the markets is to be in the markets. Having skin in the game is the greatest education a trader can get. The smaller size allowed me to stay in the game.
Another key I learned is that having a proper stop loss just isn’t enough, you need to take profits when the market gives them to you. Don’t forget that.
Q: Are you going to maintain that loss limit moving forward?
I won’t change my strategy, but I want the account to grow more before I start trading bigger. Having a bigger cushion will allow me to continue trading if I happen to hit a bad streak.
Ideally, I’d like to get the account up to around 15 or 20k, then I will start to increase size, without having to adjust my strategy.
Q: Have you taken a withdrawal yet?
Not yet. I may take some out this week, but I really want the account to grow. I just want to continue trading.
Q: What will you do with the money you withdraw?
I’m an entrepreneur with multiple businesses. If I do take some money out, it will be to invest in one of those. You need to have multiple streams of income today, so I will put some money into one of my other companies and also look for new investment opportunities.
Q: What do you look for to execute a trade?
I dumb down the market. Basically, I just look for patterns, and eventually I found one that works in the markets I like to trade. I know how markets work and what affects them. So, I’m really just trying to capture a small window of profit.
I actually ended up purchasing historical data from the CME to backtest my strategy, and my goal is to start implementing bigger size soon.
All you have to do is be disciplined and consistent. Never assume you’re smarter than the market. Some people are so smart that they're really stupid. They don't know how to take what the market gives them. The Topstep system helps traders learn discipline.
Q: How did you find TopstepTrader?
Word of mouth. I was working a job as a business lender, and a co-worker that knew my history and interest in the markets started to tell me about the Topstep Trading Combine. I had never heard of you guys before, so I checked it out.
I went to the website, and when I saw it I thought, man, “I’ve been looking for this for years!”
Q: How’s the experience been so far?
It’s going great now! It didn’t start out so great though. Every problem that I've had as a trader has been from my own doing, and I’ve discovered the rewards of learning from my mistakes.
Anyone really interested in day trading should know about Topstep. People have been looking for an opportunity like this for a long time. I tell everyone I know about you!
A new standard is being set for Topstep funded traders, and Tony has helped raise the bar. After previously burning through EIGHT funded accounts, he really kept his ear to the grindstone this time around. Last week alone he raked in a whopping $10,000 profit trading Crude Oil. I don’t care who you are, that’s a good week!
Also, Tony recently got engaged, and has just started house hunting with his future bride and 2 year old daughter. We wish him the best of luck in both life and trading, and look forward to checking back in on him soon!