My youtube page:
Jigsaw Trading order flow software – highly recommended
Jigsaw youtube page:
Platforms, brokers and data feeds which support Jigsaw:
Jigsaw Trading’s platform is called daytradr. There is much more information on the Jigsaw site which explains all of the features. There are different ways to get it set up and the connection configuration depends on what broker you use. Using it is not a requisite. You do not have to trade with it in order to use the methodology I teach. However, I have been using it for years because I think it’s the best platform available for day trading (the DOM is by far one of the best available). It also makes teaching much easier. If you’re serious, it’s worth researching.
http://www.tradovate.com – Tradovate has a unique pricing structure. They offer low rates for traders who do not trade much but they also have a membership plan which substantially reduces the commission rate per contract traded and is excellent for high volume traders. Rates as low as 9 cents a side (plus a monthly membership fee). They support daytradr and the connection is solid. Higher volume traders should research the company and its pricing model because they currently offer some of the lowest rates in the industry.
http://www.optimusfutures.com – Optimus has very competitive pricing. 50 cents a side to start (for 1 lot traders) and a tier structure offering lower rates as you trade more contracts. They offer multiple technologies to execute Jigsaw with CQG, Rithmic and Gain API. They also offer a host of other platforms. There is a community support section of their site which helps customers configure their platforms properly and answers frequently asked questions about the basics of trading. They will assist with a CME seat lease for high volume traders.
http://www.ampfutures.com – AMP supports daytradr and has good customer support. They offer low rates but you have to ask for them.
http://www.ninjatrader.com – Ninja supports daytradr and has good rates but the best rates only come if you have a Ninja lifetime license. I’m not a fan of the upfront cost for their platform. If you already have a license, they are a solid brokerage and you will have no problems there but if you do not, I’d recommend first looking at one of the other brokers listed here.
Additional order flow software/add-ons/educational material:
http://www.pricesquawk.com – This site is run by Graham Glover. He is a former student of mine who has developed several helpful order flow tools. He recently published a free manual on his site which describes prop shop trading exercises. It can be found on this page of his site: http://www.pricesquawk.com/prop-shop-trading-exercises/
http://masterclasstrader.com – This is Guy Bower’s site. Guy has worked for several Australian prop firms and he knows the industry very well. I know Guy personally and he definitely gets the big picture. If you’re looking for a position at a prop firm and more information on what really happens in prop firms, I recommend contacting him.
Proprietary trading firms:
http://www.positive.ie/ – I know Jason Berry who is the head of trading in Croatia and I’d recommend the firm to anyone in Europe looking for a prop position. One of my students landed a job with them and has been doing very well. They have offices in Ireland and Croatia. If you look at the photos on their site, you will notice a substantial amount of ladders on the traders’ screens.
Jason has an extensive background in the industry. The firm pays a salary (this is huge when learning). They have a thorough training program and they have realistic expectations. Looking at the program they offer and the fact they pay a salary as part of a multi-year contract, I would classify them as completely legitimate and one of the better choices out there right now.
https://www.topsteptrader.com – I met Conor Meegan (VP of TopStep business development) at a NinjaTrader conference in Denver, Colorado. Conor was able to talk to me for a few minutes about their program and what they were planning for the future. After speaking with him, I can say that I recommend the company to anyone who is looking to get funded. Both he and Michael Patak have spent time in the real world of trading and I believe he said Michael once traded in the Dow pit. It was obvious that they “get it”.
What sold me is that he told me they realized some of their initial combine parameters were actually counter-productive and encouraging bad habits. So they changed the parameters. That is a sign that they are willing to adapt and change perspectives in order to help their traders succeed. It’s not just about selling combines. They seem to be genuinely interested in finding and funding traders who have real potential and they are offering a deal which is very conducive to long-term trading success.
Now…most of my customers know how I feel about sim trading. I have a blog post which covers my ideas on the topic. I typically do not recommend that people sim trade for very long and I do believe that even the guys who pass the TopStep combine will come to find that live trading is much different. However, the combine process is their way of sorting through hundreds if not thousands of applicants and the parameters they now have set do encourage good habits. They are also offering real funding to people they’ve never met in person. They have to have some way to minimize risk and weed out the field.
If a traditional proprietary trading firm goes through an extensive interview process, hires six traders who are supposed to be the best of the applicants and then puts those traders on a desk in their office, the firm should absolutely not have those six traders on a sim for months on end. That is a different scenario. The new hires are losing opportunities to make money at real jobs and also paying expenses from what is usually a very small salary or draw or no pay at all. The traders are also usually required to trade every day even if the action is not conducive to making good reads. It is a different dynamic. If the managers of those firms are keeping their traders on a simulator for months, the managers are sabotaging themselves, imho.
TopStep is different because a person can trade from home, still work a normal job if needs be, trade only when he feels the action is conducive to making good reads and then basically have a free shot at making money. TopStep is obviously making money from the combines but they are also funding a substantial amount of people (way more than I would have guessed) and there is a support network in place. I would suggest you do not subscribe to a combine unless you have come close to hitting their objectives on a free simulator but if you are confident in your abilities, looking for funding and have the discipline and skill set to achieve the goals they’ve set, it is a very legitimate opportunity.
There are other firms such as Apex, Earn2Trade, etc. which will back remote traders if the traders pass the tests. I would just caution that there shouldn’t be a time limit on hitting the profit target. Time limits put unnecessary pressure on the trader and do not reflect real-life conditions. Sometimes the markets are great and sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. If the action isn’t great and the volatility is low, you shouldn’t have to force bad trades in bad action just because you are on a time limit and trading against the clock. It’s not tournament chess.
Good trading videos/documentaries:
The first three are dated but still provide excellent insight into how the game is played at the core level.
Floored: Into the Pit
Bulls and Bears
Charlie DiFrancesca – Treasury pit trader giving a good seminar
The Wall Street Code – HFT and algos
Money & Speed: Inside the Black Box
97% Owned – Not trading specific but I think every adult in the world should watch this video. It explains exactly how the monetary system works and why banks own the planet. There is some good insight into currency trading as well.
The Pit – It was recently streaming on Netflix. A documentary about floor traders in the coffee pit before it went electronic. It’s still a good documentary because it gives great insight into the realities of trying to trade for a living. It also has some laugh out loud moments.
Pit trader gets wired
I think books about trading make a lot more sense once you understand how the game is played and get a feel for the big picture. The reason people do not make any money after reading most trading books is because most trading books do not break things down to the basics. The basics being…buy low…sell high…get in front of large orders that move the market…find large orders to lean on in case you need to exit quickly…etc. I’ve literally read over a hundred books on trading, investing, economics, and the like and these are the ones I always come back to when people ask for recommendations. Once you realize what all these traders were trying to explain, you can begin to focus on figuring out how that information now translates to screen based trading. Books can provide good information but these days video tutorials are a requisite in order to explain how these ideas come to life in real-time.
Market Wizards and Market Wizards 2
West of Wall Street
Reminiscences of a Stock Operator
Electronic Day Traders’ Secrets – No secrets here but all the traders interviewed were the real deal. A friend of mine with connections was able to sit next to Jim Shaw for two days. Very few people knew of him and yet he was one of the largest individual traders in the world at that time.
Trade Your Way to Financial Freedom – It will not show you how to do that but this book provided me with my first real insight into understanding risk to reward strategies and position sizing.
Anything recent which offers insight into high frequency trading and algorithms.