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What size account should I trade?

Signing up to an evaluation test will get you login details for a simulated trading account. You’ll see a starting balance in the trading account equal to the “account size”, e.g. $50k.


You do not have $50k sitting in a simulated account that you could lose.


The actual usable size of your account is the available drawdown, no different to if you had deposited, say, $2,500 with a futures brokerage.

Evaluators will justify these marketing claims as “buying power”. They are implying that the number of contracts available for you to trade, if calculated using full exchange margin, would represent that you had $50k in an account.

Given that most day traders are using discount brokers that offer day trading margins at around $500 per ES E-mini contract, describing an account that has $2,500 drawdown and access to 5 contracts as a $50k account is simply marketing nonsense. Strike one!

Next we’re going to get into some additional rules around when you can or can’t trade in your evaluation.

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