🏆🏆🏆 Petra Ilona Zacek just became the 2018 World Trading Champion with a fantastic +257.9%!!
She remained firmly in command throughout the competition (she outperformed the second place by almost 200%) … and this speaks volumes about the extent of her performance.
Also Petra, like Stefano Serafini (the 2017 World Champion), is a “Trading Systems Supremacy” student.
Petra is both a systematic and discretionary trader and this excerpt of her interview is very interesting in my opinion:
“I actually have part of my portfolio which is algorithmic, and it was quite useful for me to get deeper in that… I sometimes use the algo for testing beforehand, when I’m testing some ideas it actually speeds up my analysis and it gives me a little bit more of an additional layer to tell me that I am on the right path… I am not using algo like other pure algorithmic traders but it definitely gave me an additional edge and this is all you need, really you need an additional edge for your trading.”
I’m also very pleased when she says:
“I would definitely recommend Andrea’s programs, any of them. Even though I might not have taken all of them. The main reason why I would do that is because Andrea’s a real trader…He has a proven track record, he has won the championships several times, repeatedly…Andrea is the real deal, he has shown that he knows how to use those markets and he actually can be very successful with it.”
Who are you, what do you do for a living and how long have you been trading?
I’m half Czech, half Slovak, currently, I live in the United States.
At the moment and historically I have spent about 15 years of my career, basically my entire working life, I spent on the trading floor taking care of institutional clients and because of the potential conflict of interests, I wasn’t allowed to trade any of my money whatsoever.
So that was managed for me that after I retired about three and a half years ago, I moved with my pro athlete husband to desert in Arizona in States and at that time I had to retire therefore and I was able to start trading the family trust money, so this is approximately 3 and a half/4 years when I started trading my own life.
Which markets do you trade and why?
So we have a quite extensive wide family trust, so the family trust has diversified portfolio: real estate, it has collectibles, it has equities meaning stocks and small part of that trust I dedicate actually to commodity futures market and in theory within that I do trade anything that is liquid enough to accommodate my size so it doesn’t really matter the most 45 liquid futures I would trade.
How are you structured? Which platform, broker and data feed do you use?
I use 2 main execution platforms, I use CQG which is, you know, institutional platform actually, a lot of investment banks use it for execution, they are a platform of choice for people of CME and other exchanges and at the same time I use also Interactive Brokers because some platforms you can do some things, some platforms you can do other things.
On the broker side, I use my main broker Straits and obviously Interactive Brokers as such.
Straits is hooked up to CQG and subsequently to Genesis which is Trade Navigator where all my algo systems actually reside.
I know you are a discretionary trader, yet you attended a course at Unger Academy and you came to the Trading Masterclass in New York too, what benefits did you get from this material for your trading?
It’s funny to say that I actually attended the Trading Master Class in 2017, but I actually considered going already in 2016 because two of my trading buddies who I was collaborating with at that time and we are collaborating actually until today, they did go and unfortunately I didn’t have enough time to actually go and make it, so once I actually came to the Trading Master Class in 2017 it really had a major impact on me and I think it’s for many people like that.
For me personally, it was the most important thing or a few important things, but one of the most important things I discovered was that Tim, Kevin, Andrea, Michael and Kurt they are actually human, they are not necessarily Superman or, you know, aliens so I found out that they are normal guys and that made it more real to me that I could actually trade, not the same as they do, but I could be successful as they potentially are, so it helped me, and secondly I was actually able to fix my setup, meaning when I went to the trading class to do the master class my setup didn’t allow to actually take two positions in algo which were opposing each other.
So, let’s say, taking short and long position in S&P, it was impossible to do from the perspective from my broker and because I came into the class, I was able to sort it out and I am capable of doing that and this was, you know, this is a big issue for a lot of people and this helped me actually solve a lot of things from setup perspective.
What program did you attend at Unger Academy?
So Andrea’s programs I did attend Unger Academy before I went to the New York Trading Master Class.
Was it “Trading System Supremacy”?
Yes that’s the name, so I actually have part of my portfolio which is algorithmic and it was quite useful for me to get deeper in that, even though I am not an IT coding person, like a specialist, and on top of that I actually use in my discretionary trading, I sometimes use the algo for testing beforehand, when I’m testing some ideas it actually speeds up my analysis and it gives me a little bit more of an additional layer to tell me that I am on the right path what I’m trying to say potentially with those trades.
Did the program help you in figuring out markets even though you trade them discretionary?
Yes absolutely yeah this is exactly.
I am not using algo like other pure algorithmic traders but it definitely gave me an additional edge and this is all you need, really you need an additional edge for your trading.
What solution did you find through the program?
I think I learned new ways to construct and analyze and looking at algo, because everyone is different in terms of systematic trading everyone uses the analysis differently like, I know Kevin in his book he uses the algorithmic setup and how he constructs systems, how he goes step by step.
He does it differently than Andrea, Andrea does it differently.
So everyone has its own style so it’s very useful when you learn that because you can actually come up with additional ideas about what you can do or learn to do it differently more efficiently sometimes.
Why did you choose one of my programs and not one of other trainers?
I actually did an extensive homework before I went to the trading master class, this is just why I prefer to know what people are about because when you are in client business this is Alpha and Omega to know basically what the people are about.
So I did homework on Andrea, I did homework on Kevin, and I spoke to my buddies who attended the program the year before and one of my buddies actually recommended that I do specifically this particular program from Andrea because I will be fully up to speed with his approach and it was really helpful so this is what’s the main reason why I did it.
Do you define yourself as a fully discretionary trader or do you use a mechanical approach mixed with personal intervention on final decisions?
About 10 to 15% roughly of my trading is algorithmic.
Just pays for the monthly bills, you know it’s just trading away, I don’t really need to attend to it and on top of it as I mentioned before, I really use to view the algorithmic systems for an additional layer for analysis.
Would you recommend Unger Academy to other traders or do you think if somebody decides to trade discretionary, he would not find any value?
I would definitely recommend Andrea’s programs, any of them. Even though I might not have taken all of them.
The main reason why I would do that is that Andrea’s a real trader.
He’s not someone who is from academia or he’s just a guy who goes to expose and tries to sell something.
He has a proven track record, he has won the championships several times, repeatedly, so there are so many charlatans in finance where they try to sell you something and they pretend knowing, you know, everything.
They have the answer to everything, but this is not how Andrea is.
Andrea is the real deal, he has shown that he knows how to use those markets and he actually can be very successful with it.
So I think that’s the main reason why people should do this program because he’s a trader.
What results did you get in the championship?
In the 2018 World Cup championship I won the championship with 258% returned, I also did compete in the 2017 Q4, the shorter one, the equity’s championship where I ended up sixth.
So I did that one first and then I went to the annual one.
With how much capital did you start, with how many strategies and what kind?
I did start with $10,000, this is the minimum of what you can start in trading futures, I think Forex is, I think 7,5 if I’m not mistaken and I ended up with $35.800 at the end of the year so it was mainly discretionary approach, partially I use one algorithm system in the competition.
What can you tell us about the psychological aspect?
Obviously I was, well I don’t know, maybe other people are not, but I was concerned that it’s gonna bother me and I will not be able to sleep, you know, and I will be nervous and the main thing what I was concerned about it, it doesn’t really change how I trade and what I do in the main portfolio, in the trust, and this is the main reason why the Q4 2017, the shorter one, I wanted to test how I’m gonna react, what this is gonna do to me and what it is gonna do to my portfolio overall.
I found it, I’m very fortunate, I don’t really have these issues that I can’t sleep if I have too much risk on, or other stuff which on one side this is good because you don’t have nerves and you don’t get upset, on the other side, I have to have certain red flags in my systems, in my portfolio set up to tell me I have too much risk on.
So I’m quite diligent on monitoring my risk profile just because I know that I could be too exposed.
So, because I didn’t feel any changes related to my trading and to my portfolio as such with the Q4 2017, I felt comfortable doing 2018 one.
What are the main differences between trading on your main trading account and trading on a championship account?
Because the account is so small the Commission’s don’t really make any difference in the big picture at least in my case.
The bottom line for me, there are no differences.
The reason being, because I treated the competition account as an integral part of my overall portfolio, meaning I simply push trades into the competition account which I would normally do in my main trust, in my main account and just I subtracted that position from my main account portfolio so I didn’t do that particular, let’s say, if I was supposed to do, I don’t know 20 contracts, I would put part of the contracts, like 3,4 maybe 5 depending, into competition account, everything else would be in my main account.
So there was no difference the only difference was that I had to then, you know, execute in two accounts, it was just like a small slice of the overall cake literally.
After your year in the championship, is there anything going back in time you would not do again or you would do differently?
Well not really in sense of the championship, I think.
It was an amazing experience in terms of you learn to deal with things you would never encounter in your normal trading life and I found it very useful because it made me grow a lot.
The only thing what I would probably do differently is attending the Trading Master Class a year earlier because it would save me, you know, one year of my life this is the only thing.
Why the championship? Did you think about it for some time or was the meeting with Andrea that triggered the final leap?
So before I went to New York, before I went to Trading Master Class, I never ever considered participation in the championship.
I just simply didn’t think this is even possible for me to do that, to master that or being able to be successful and I have to admit, unless I think that I have a chance to be really, you know, in the top, it didn’t make sense to me to even contemplate attending.
It was just additional work which I didn’t want to do.
The participation was actually one of the conditions of Michael Cook collaboration.
So he said if he’s gonna collaborate with me, the condition, one of the conditions was that I have to participate in the championship the next year.
So it’s all his fault, all his fault that I actually participated and then I won.
What advice do you want to give to people still looking for their own way in trading?
I think, at least this was very important to me because I had to get through that journey and it took a while for me.
People need to spend time figuring out what they are about.
Meaning are they intraday trader, are they medium-term trader or a long-term trader?
Is it easier for them to trade based on technical indicators, is it easier for them to be fully algorithmic traders because this is what they are about, this is what they are talented to do or are they more prone to make a decision on day trading based on, you know, economy or whatever they are about?
Once people figure that out then you need to go out and find the best person in that particular trading style and then learn from them what the trading is about, because if you are an algo trader and you go and learn to trade from someone who is a long term trader, who trades economy and these several things you are not gonna enjoy it, you’re not gonna like it, you’re gonna be feeling pushed into it, it’s not gonna be you.
So just figure out who you are and find someone who is really really good at that and then learn from this person.
Is there anything else you want to add?
Maybe people should be basic, meaning not trying to overdo it, as you know, some people think the more screens they buy the better they get in trading.
It’s not true, I have a very basic set up and I don’t need ten screens to make it happen to trade.
It actually means if you have too many brokers, too many systems, it actually means that maybe you are doing something wrong because maybe your set up is not correct.
Your set up should be very easy and very fast, it should be very convenient.
And probably the second thing I would I recommend to people is, don’t do it yourself by yourself, go out, find people to talk to, to collaborate with.
I know a lot of people are like I don’t like to show them my ideas, you know, I can’t share… well I don’t believe that there are people who invent something that hasn’t been already considered or invented, so literally if you don’t collaborate you are limiting yourself because when you collaborate with more people you can do more work at the same time.
You can divide the analysis between each other and you actually can see a different angle.
So for example, I was collaborating from 2014, I was collaborating for over two years with 103 people based on teachings of one of the very successful traders and we were analyzing the same ideas, the same approach for almost 3 years and at the end of the day when we were then taking trades, it was shocking to all of us that we basically were taking trades in different commodities and in different timing.
So the fact that you work with someone, doesn’t really mean that you are going to be doing the same trade at the end, but it’s gonna speed up your life it’s gonna speed up the analysis and you’re gonna be faster in that.
This is really important because you don’t want to come up with something ten years later, you want to do it now, you want to make money now. So, I think, this is probably what I would give people as a piece of advice because a lot of people think they shouldn’t be talking about their ideas to other people.