I've struggled with this and still am not sure how to deal with it, but I think scaling out is definitely the more "comfortable" approach. I think we need to take profits as the market gives them to us. We never really know where the market may stop going in our direction. I guess if the probabilities of ones system shows that expected targets get hit more often than not, then one could hold for bigger moves.
As far as scaling in goes I'm not sure about that. I'm certainly not a fan of adding contracts as a trade moves away from my original entry. That may be a method in and of itself that requires certain skill. I'd be more inclined to add as the trade moves my way or on a retrace. Ultimately I don't care if I make all the ticks on all the contracts. If my trade works out well where catch a decent move on the last third or quarter then that's a great trade and may be all I need for the day. Looking back in hind sight and saying I wished I held them all for the move is useless. Isn't it?
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Depends how you are trading. If you have a system that is back tested and you have an optimal target, there is no reason to scale out if you are trading the system. Now if you are mixing "discretionary" in on the exits, that is another matter, but I would still argue it is likely psychological relief because you can not trade the system.
Now, you can have a system that has multiple targets, but that is really trading multiple systems, as each target has different stats. I would called that planned scaling out.
There are a number of different things in play here. One is risk management, and cutting risk is important, and scaling out achieves that. Trading in size, also requires scaling depending on the market and the size.
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All of my large trades were enter one click at a time with 1 car If you look at the bars I am aiming for less than 10% of the bar.
Yes, currently this is a pip(e) dream. But can easily be done in ES. I have done two live trades in YM with 10 and 20 contracts. Only 2 in several months. One with 2,3,5 entry and 2 5 car stops. But once I prove to myself in August that I am consistently profitable with 2 cars, will think about going to 5 in September and 10 in October. Again these will be done 1 click/1,2,or 3 cars. Ninja handled this well on the 2 occasions I mentioned above.
This was live $$$
R.I.P. Andy Zektzer (ZTR), 1960-2010.
Please visit this thread for more information.
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When I started trading live, I used to do all-in and all-out at a near clear target (recent swing h/l, S&R, channels, ...).
Then I started to notice the big moves I was missing and begun to follow every moves until the end.
Soon I realized that only one big move occurred every 6 or more trades, and those trades without the big move closed almost b/e, even if some profit was possible.
So now I close 2/3 at the first target, and let the remaining 1/3 run until I can.
This way I can profit from both small and big moves, maximizing profits while being more confortable.
It is only logically true that scaling out reduces your exposure to profits; the reality is that most of the times the market is willing to give you only a small profit, so I believe that letting run only a small part of the position produces more profits in the end, and smooths the equity curve... at least this is what happened to me.
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But dont you also show bias this way? IF you take off half your position will you actually 'admit' that you were wrong by re-entering: and how do you feel about re-entering at a higher price?
Do understand I am saying as devil's advocate because I am trying to sort out this whole (and very interesting) discussion! I dont think there is a real 'right' or 'wrong': Monte Carlo the results or not !! Will previous resistance be broken or stronger than ever? Will you get slippage, will your stop be hit even if the bar never gets to that price, will your loved one fall and hit their head and you forget to hit the flatten button ... sorry, crazy mode now off ..
So here is my scenario to throw out there, untested, top of the head wiseguy eyeball memory, never before really thought about, inspired by this thread and misc other inputs during the last week .... 5 contracts, units, multiples, whatevers .. enter 2 contracts as runners with highest possible targets based on the trading range for the instrument over the last XX days/hours/weeks whatever, and trail with wide stop ... if the trend shoots off just hold the suckers until they rebound off a resistance line and Super Trend tells you to close out and go to lunch .. if there is a retracement shortly after entry, have 3 more contracts (staggered targets) and enter just above breakeven on limit order, with smaller targets, but dont cover until you have a show that you have some weakness ... leave a 'deadman' stop at BE + 2 ticks after you are 20% towards your largest target .. go to lunch and let the trailing stop (different for each target here!) disappoint you as it always does ...
I trade TF, 2 contracts, sell 1 contract at 5 ticks, sell 2nd contract at 10 tick profit. I find this to be a relatively "easy" and "stress free" way to make 15 ticks. I know I leave alot of money on the table, I would rather be consistant. After all there is always another trade waiting to happen.
Keep things as simple as possible, but no simplier. Albert Einstein
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