Last year, actually it was in December I was tempted to join a different broker, who was offering me 500$ margin on the ES. I test drove his platform, making huge demo profits in the ES by taking extraordinary risks of course.
Trading 10 or 20 or even 40 cars, when you come from 2 to maximum 4 cars makes a huge difference. I did decide not to go that route knowing in real trading I would most likely blow my account in a matter of days by being just once stubborn. I have been stubborn at times and will be stubborn again. I know myself.
None the less, I know I need to increase my trading size if I want to make a living from trading. And that means I need to get used to the swings involved.
That's when I found the Swedish OMXS30 market futures. They move very similar to the ES, they trade in 0.25 increments and the range is comparable. But the tickvalue is different: Each tick in the OMXS30 is worth 25 SEK, the exchange rate being around 0.11 USD, which means the tickvalue of the OMXS30 futures is 2.75 US$. That's quite a difference to 12.50 US$ for the ES and that makes it an ideal vehicle to trade size without losing your shirt.
The contract has good volume and I currently trade it in increments of 4 cars, with a maximum size of 20 cars. Profits and Losses are shown on my platform in the currency the contract trades which means I see the profits jumping in the 100ths, but in US$, that's approximately just 1/10ths. Real cool to get used to bigger numbers.
Marketdata subscription for the Stockholm Derivatives Exchange on IB is 1 Euro, margin is 950/760 USD. The market trades from 9:00 CET to 17:30 CET which is 2am EST to 11:30am EST.