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Lost & losing hope
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Lost & losing hope

  #11 (permalink)
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xevanchan View Post
Yeah you're right. Must be the psych. I have just under 400 live trades with varying contract size. 61% win rate overall with a ton of different strategies.

As you can see from the many replies, people have gone through the same rollercoaster. 400 live trades and 6-12 months experience is just enough, IMO, to get you to realize whether you want to forge ahead or to give up.

This illustrates my point

https://futures.io/traders-hideout/1454-38-steps-trading.html


Good luck.

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  #12 (permalink)
Market Wizard
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xevanchan View Post
Well, i'm back. You may remember me "catastrophic loss days". I really hate to come on this forum just to beg for help, but I am truly at a loss and am contemplating giving up trading the /ES, something that has consumed my life for nearly a year now. I'm not usually so pessimistic or dramatic, but I am truly lost and have no faith. I'm doubting everything I know, and this may very well be my last post so i'm pouring it all out.

I just cant get it. I have weeks, like last week (1/7/18), where I am immensely profitable, followed by this week, where I have lost almost every trade for 3 consecutive days and been margin called. This cycle has repeated itself many, many times. I sim trade until I am profitable for weeks, and then I switch and can't replicate the results.

I took advice on my last post (https://futures.io/emini-index-futures-trading/45814-catastrophic-loss-days.html); I now trade on a 7500 volume heiken-ashi chart instead of 30s, and aim for 3-X point targets with a minimum 2-1 risk reward ratio. I've studied al brooks price action and his H1/H2 method, and have read Anekdoten's ET thread in which he details price action. Despite the pictures, I no longer really use indicators and trade solely off price action. I don't I suffer as much from overtrading anymore; I believe that almost every entry I take has good signals. These methods have helped me become a better trader... on some days.

It seems every week I go negative, I identify problems and solve them, yet each recurring week new problems spring up; my portfolio is akin to a boat that is being continuously shot and sinking as I try to patch holes.

My strategy in a bull trend is as follows; I identify trend, using price action. Next, I wait for a retrace of at least a few points depending on market conditions. Once I see the first bar with HH/HL I will set a stop by 1-2 ticks above the high of that bar. Assuming the market moves in my direction, I let my profits run as far as possible while moving my stop to BE or higher. I exit when I begin to see trend exhaustion. I'll also use basic patterns, like triangles, as well as trend lines and S/R lines. This strategy is fantastic on some days, but I've become convinced some days are just untradeable. I try to completely avoid trading in chop.

One of my biggest (current) problems is not being able to find viable entries. I really still don't whether to use limit or stop buys; I've tried both and they have their pros and cons. I use a HH/HL method, similar to a 123 reversal pattern; this means on a 7500 vol chart often I am too slow to catch moves, and whole retracements can begin and end before I get an entry signal. I refuse to chase for obvious reasons; as a result, in strong trends I often miss out the the entire movement because there are no retraces for me to enter on. I end up just trading in chop, every time. My stop buy is often triggered by a fake out that immediately backs off and triggers my stop, though this may just be due to a small stop.

I never seem to know when trends end, and never seem to know when the market will stop ranging. I attribute my down days to to lower trading ranges and markets more susceptible to chop and unpredictability, which is inevitable. I don't know what to do. I'm attaching images of my last three days. Many of the trades are clearly bad trades, as a result of my impatience, something i need to work on. Maybe I do still over trade. The 3 point gain today was a sim trade; I seem to do much better in sim, on a consistent basis. Last week I averaged 3 points a day sim trading.

In summary; I'm lost at sea in a boat with more holes than I can patch, and have lost hope that the boat will ever sail again. I genuinely appreciate everything this forum has given me and apologize for the long rambling and whining. All advice is greatly appreciated, as I may just give the /ES one last shot. I will take any help I can get, so feel free to PM me.

Firstly, there is no easy path and no shortcuts. It takes many, many hours to become consistent. I mean thousands of hours. There are arguably 2,000 “workable” hours in a year and it takes years to become consistent and additional years more to become profitable.

You could perform a Root Cause Analysis on your trading. This is not an easy process to complete and it can get pretty deep, but the idea is to find the root cause problem to your trading.

What is the predominant identifier or cause of your losing trades?

Whatever your answer is, ask yourself what caused you to write that answer. Now give an answer to the answer you just gave. Eventually, you won’t have an answer to your answer and the theory is that this could be your root cause.

For example…

Q. What is the predominant identifier or cause of my losing trades?
A. I trade in choppy periods

Q. Why do I trade in choppy periods?
A. Because I refuse to chase entries

Q. Why do I refuse to chase entries
A. Because I am waiting for a retracement

Q. Why am I waiting for a retracement?
A. Because…..

And so on. Eventually you will get to a point where the path leading up to the losing trades is discovered. It could end up being your HH/HL setup, or it could be a psychological issue. Either way, avoidance of triggering the root cause is required to be successful.

I can only speculate as to the nature of what is happening to you, but you are certainly not the first.

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  #13 (permalink)
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@JonnyBoy I find your recursive root cause finding approach excellent.

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  #14 (permalink)
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xplorer View Post
As you can see from the many replies, people have gone through the same rollercoaster. 400 live trades and 6-12 months experience is just enough, IMO, to get you to realize whether you want to forge ahead or to give up.

This illustrates my point

https://futures.io/traders-hideout/1454-38-steps-trading.html


Good luck.

Pretty cool thread. I think i'm somewhere in the high 20s. I want to forge ahead but man its rough.

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  #15 (permalink)
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xevanchan View Post
Pretty cool thread. I think i'm somewhere in the high 20s. I want to forge ahead but man its rough.

Rough and a potential long road. I've been trading for 8 years and its taken 7 of those 8 years before I was able to be somewhat profitable. If trading is truly what you want to do, be ready for lots of highs and lows and some of the most mind twisting and emotionally draining times of your life. Not trying to detract you from continuing learning how to trade, but, do know that it takes a lot of time and typically 1 year is just scratching the surface. How bad do you want it?

If you haven't already start a journal here. Document your trades. Win, lose or draw, post your trades. Put your though process down and ask for help. More than likely you will get feedback from different perspectives of the trade you took. Plus you can always go back and revisit particular hurdles you had to overcome and see how you handled it.

Keep with it and keep learning

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  #16 (permalink)
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Brandenton View Post
Rough and a potential long road. I've been trading for 8 years and its taken 7 of those 8 years before I was able to be somewhat profitable. If trading is truly what you want to do, be ready for lots of highs and lows and some of the most mind twisting and emotionally draining times of your life. Not trying to detract you from continuing learning how to trade, but, do know that it takes a lot of time and typically 1 year is just scratching the surface. How bad do you want it?

If you haven't already start a journal here. Document your trades. Win, lose or draw, post your trades. Put your though process down and ask for help. More than likely you will get feedback from different perspectives of the trade you took. Plus you can always go back and revisit particular hurdles you had to overcome and see how you handled it.

Keep with it and keep learning

I do know it takes time. I want it more than honestly anything else; it's consumed me for the better part of a year. I hope I can expedite the process as I've been trading full time 9-4. I keep a personal journal, but may take up your advice and start one on here. I haven't looked at the journals of others, and will definitely take advantage. Thanks for the input.

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  #17 (permalink)
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xevanchan View Post
I do know it takes time. I want it more than honestly anything else; it's consumed me for the better part of a year. I hope I can expedite the process as I've been trading full time 9-4. I keep a personal journal, but may take up your advice and start one on here. I haven't looked at the journals of others, and will definitely take advantage. Thanks for the input.

9-4 is an extremely long time to be able to keep your focus at 100% there should be more then a handful of opportunities in front of you from 930-12 my suggestion would be to shorten your day. A few hours at 100% is a lot better then a lot of hours at 50% . It will happen when it happens you are not in control the market is going to do what it wants the only thing you can do is ride on the coat tails when given the opportunity. That is extremely hard to deal with because with everything else in life if we put in 100% and tons of hours usually it works out. Trading is different no matter how many hours we put into and force it we can't make the market do what we want. We all suffer from this but it gets a lot better when you start to think of things differently. It sounds like you are trying really hard and maybe you are putting to much into this. Each day when you sit in front of the desk you need to be at 100% if you aren't focused then call it quits there will be more days,you won't be warren buffet over night.

-P

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  #18 (permalink)
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my 2 cent


xevanchan View Post

My strategy in a bull trend is as follows; I identify trend, using price action. Next, I wait for a retrace of at least a few points depending on market conditions. Once I see the first bar with HH/HL I will set a stop by 1-2 ticks above the high of that bar. Assuming the market moves in my direction, I let my profits run as far as possible while moving my stop to BE or higher. I exit when I begin to see trend exhaustion. I'll also use basic patterns, like triangles, as well as trend lines and S/R lines. This strategy is fantastic on some days, but I've become convinced some days are just untradeable. I try to completely avoid trading in chop.

One of my biggest (current) problems is not being able to find viable entries. I really still don't whether to use limit or stop buys; I've tried both and they have their pros and cons. I use a HH/HL method, similar to a 123 reversal pattern; this means on a 7500 vol chart often I am too slow to catch moves, and whole retracements can begin and end before I get an entry signal. I refuse to chase for obvious reasons; as a result, in strong trends I often miss out the the entire movement because there are no retraces for me to enter on. I end up just trading in chop, every time. My stop buy is often triggered by a fake out that immediately backs off and triggers my stop, though this may just be due to a small stop.

I never seem to know when trends end, and never seem to know when the market will stop ranging. I attribute my down days to to lower trading ranges and markets more susceptible to chop and unpredictability, which is inevitable. I don't know what to do. I'm attaching images of my last three days. Many of the trades are clearly bad trades, as a result of my impatience, something i need to work on. Maybe I do still over trade. The 3 point gain today was a sim trade; I seem to do much better in sim, on a consistent basis. Last week I averaged 3 points a day sim trading.

:

Hi and thank you for sharing your thoughts.

It seems you have a solid strategy. Can you automate it and do back testing? It does not have to be a perfectly match for your system but as long as you can go back and study trade by trade, it would be beneficial.

Like @MiniP pointed out, ES was in different state of condition than normal starting November of 2018. Not only you need to filter out non trending day, You need to differentiate trending market with high, mid and low volatility. Choosing mid to low level would be easier than trading high volatility market.

Lastly, if you do decide to go back test your strategy(manual or auto) using minute chart can be helpful since they keep those data going pretty far back.

Best luck to you,
Kanepa

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  #19 (permalink)
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I would try to better define these two parts
"I identify trend, using price action"

"I exit when I begin to see trend exhaustion."

I imagine the difference between people who make money who say things like this is they do the same thing nearly every time while people who lose money are essentially doing things at random.

Don't forget too there is no rule that says you have to trade ES on the shortest possible time frame you can or you are not a real trader or something like that.

So many different instruments, so many different strategies on so many different time frames. There is no reason to sort them by most difficult and then pick those to prove a point.

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  #20 (permalink)
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My guess is that your biggest problem is that your trade size is too large, especially if you are getting margin calls. For each trade you take, how much (percentage) of your account are you risking on each trade? If you are struggling please don't risk more than 1% of your account on a single trade. I know that with futures that is difficult unless you have a large account and can use a reasonably large but logical stop that doesn't risk more than 1% of your account. Futures traders with small accounts, like a $5k account, use unreasonably small/tight stops to limit their risk to 1% ($50 = 1 /ES point!) but they can never get ahead with stops that tight. But reducing your risk will slow the bleeding and get the margin department off your back. Then, if you get more consistent, think of increasing it to 2+% of your account.

You probably don't want to heed this advice because you want to make a lot of money or have a consistent income like $500 or $1000 a day, like a job, but that's not how it works. I didn't want to hear things like that either before I lost several 10s of thousands of dollars in a handful of too-big-to-fail trades of my own. So please heed my advice, lower your expectations and focus on not losing money and increasing your skills at reading and navigating through markets.

If you can't reduce your risk to 1% or less on your futures trades then you need to trade something smaller, like mini contracts, or stocks, options, micro forex, etc. But until you get consistent you really shouldn't be risking more than 1% of your account on each trade.

If you insist on being a futures trader and are underfunded I would consider trading a combine, like TopStep, and learn with them risk free. Yes, it costs money, but it's cheaper than losing thousands of dollars in your trading account to mistakes that can be avoided. If you pass the combine steps, you can even get funded, trading their money, risking none of your own capital.

If you are just trading 1 market then you aren't really getting a lot of good tradable opportunities and the temptation to overtrade is too high. You should look at different markets and only trade the ones that are easiest to trade at the time. Very few consistently profitable day traders trade only one market, and if they do then they are very experienced and well-practiced trading that market but that takes years of practice.

Also, I would consider trading higher time frames. Nothing less than 15minutes. The costs of slippage and commission are hard to overcome so trading higher time frames, heaven-forbid, even swing trading, greatly reduce that obstacle by taking fewer trades over time and giving them more time to work themselves out.

You don't need better entries. One way I make money is with a simple strategy, almost as dumb as random entries. Here are the rules to this Holy Grail day trading system. Ready? You can send me a $10k check later...

 
Code
if price > theOpeningPrice
   buy();
else if price < theOpeningPrice
   sellShort()

if itIsTheEndOfTheDay
   closeAllPositions();
That's it, entries and exits. No stops.

Try it on different timeframes. Try using other key levels instead of the opening price (someone earlier mentioned highs/lows of yesterday, etc). Try defining ranges to go long above and short below, instead of a singular price level. The key is to get out and reverse quickly when you are wrong, and only trade the most volatile instruments. If the instrument doesn't make big moves then you will lose money. Beware of switching sides too frequently because it will cost you a lot of slippage and commission, but check your position frequently enough to get out when you are on the wrong side of the trade before it goes too far against you.

I have automated this, and others, so I can concentrate on other things throughout the day. I just have to crunch my numbers after the close and forecast which stocks and ETFs will be the most volatile ones to trade tomorrow. Here's a peek at which ones I will trade tomorrow. What I trade the day after tomorrow will be different. I just trade the markets that are moving now, not the ones that everybody else is (trying) to trade.

Stocks
  • MBOT
  • PCG
  • TLRY
  • LGND
  • CGC
  • NBEV
  • AMRN
  • ACB
  • GT
  • BBBY
  • MDB
  • ATHM

ETFs
  • UGAZ/DGAZ*
  • TVIX
  • LABD/LABU*
  • UWT/DWT*

* these ETF pairs trade only the ETF of the pair that is moving up, we avoid shorting either one due to the increased costs and risks of shorting stocks & ETFs.

These instruments have been exhibiting very volatile open-close moves over the last few days. For example, MBOT closed down 12.94% below its opening price today. PCG closed up 8.99% above its opening price today. These stocks are moving a lot intraday. They may not move like that tomorrow, but stocks like these often stay volatile for a while. I have lots of losers, but the big winners pay for the many losers. I do anywhere from 20-100 trades like these each day, depending on how trendy the market is that day. This works well on 15, 30 and even 60min bars, but not any smaller than 15mins.

But remember:
  • REDUCE YOUR POSITION SIZE
  • REDUCE YOUR RISK TO 1%
  • THE MARKET DOESN'T OWE YOU A DAILY WAGE
  • TRADE WHAT WORKS FOR YOU

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