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I have been papertrading using the THink or Swim papertrading for 7 months---EVERY DAY! I was just able this week to come up with the money needed to fund my account to day trade. Since January on my papertrading account I have earned over $900,000. I was told that if you can papertrade and make a profit it is the same as real trading. I was very shocked today when I lost $4,000 because I could not get my order filled. It took 5 minutes before my order was filled. Now I am concerned and to be honest a little scared to place a trade because of the time it takes to fill an order. 5 minutes seems really high. Is this normal? If so, how can a person be a successful day trader? The idea is to sell when there is a profit, but if it takes so long to fill the order the profit can get lost. Any ideas? Or do you know any companies that are faster than this?
Originally posted by jackofsumtrades

To be fair to the guys i know on the floor at the cmegroups s&p 500 pit, and given the proper access to a talented broker & backoffice staff:

A trader can call the floor, get a bid/offer, place an order, get a fill, place another order, and get off the phone in less than 20 seconds. (The actual trade might take another 5 to 30 minutes to get punched down in your account, but as long as the ticket has been endorsed, you own it)

I have a tremendous amount of respect for locals. The action in the pit will always be central to why I became interested in trading in the first place. I'm from Chicago. Nearly all of us are haunted by and share the same nostalgic aria concerning the pit; but it's not geared for scalpers unless you're a local. In a precise, fast moving scalp, in cash you often do lose more handles than you gain. Which is why locals with a heart would rather see institutions lose money on the same scalp over the little guy, or gal, in this case.

Even when I can afford to go cash, I'll trade eminis. I'm in control. That's the bottom line of why we trade at all: to control our money.