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Catching Big Waves - a trader's journal of surfing the the markets


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Catching Big Waves - a trader's journal of surfing the the markets

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  #2051 (permalink)
 GaryD 
Orlando, Florida
 
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  #2052 (permalink)
 GaryD 
Orlando, Florida
 
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This is roughly the last week of the month, Monday technically being the end, but close enough to take a look at where I am. I netted roughly $6k last month trading 1-2 contracts, but am currently down roughly $2,800.00 so far this month trading 2-6 contracts. Some of my account decrease is related to commission, so the -$2,800.00 is really not that bad, but it is still negatve, and that is not why I want to trade. Treading water for a month is a poor reward for the hours spent.

On a percentage basis, had all trades been the same size, not a big deal. But it bothers me regardless. It is not the dollar amount, that would be $1,200.00 +/- by just hand grenade accounting based on my knowledge of various trade sizes and outcomes, had I traded 1-2, and that I could make up before Friday if I were trading good. What bothers me is that I see, feel, a distinct difference in my trading when I increase size.

If I traded more mechanically it would be an easier move to step up, but I trade so much based on feeling and risk aversion. On 1 contract I might drop it at -8, because something does not "look" right. Not the best technical decision sometimes, but I could take 3,4,5 hits that size and not be in any danger. It felt insignificant. But at 3-4 contract, dropping 8 ticks is -$320.00, which was previously near my max stop loss placement. For some reason, I cannot get that to register as being "ok", and so I drop back to one contract, build it back up to positive, then size up again. I have done that nearly all month now.

The idea of sizing up when my confidence factor was higher has not worked for me yet, but I agree with the concept. I took a couple 25 - 30 tick losses at 3-5 contracts this month by getting taken out on extreme ticks, slight S/R penetrations, or just getting tired of taking the heat, only to have 100 tick moves in what would have been in my favor afterwards. That may just be a result of CL's increased volatility recently, and possibly over a year's trading it would correct itself, but on losses like that I walk away until the next day, and leave the computer feeling defeated, or gullible.

I have somewhat tracked the difference by adding some new stop loss titles, and my 1-2 contract trading is at roughly 65% wins, but my 3-6 contract win % is 46%. The 1-2 % is in line with what I have been expecting for about a year and a half now, so something is up with the way I process size in my mind.

I have kept my max win vs max loss right where I wanted it. max losing trade so far this month is $970.00, and max winning trade was $1,780.00. last month the average of that ratio was about 1.7 to 1, so I am actually ahead on that number. despite the current drawdown, I find some satisfaction in that number.

@researcher247 talked about only trading in the mornings, and I have been watching that in my own trading to see if there is a difference for me during certain times, and I have seen that I typically have small losses first thing, then move to positive before noon. Today I am up $850.00 trading one contract (short) and yesterday was up $550.00 on one contract around this same time. It is like I feel I need to warm up, so I take a single contract to get my feet wet. But a later 4 contract trade yesterday had me finishing down $700.00 (long around 103.25. That move went all the way up to 104.50 after stopping me out... My support zone was about 20 cents higer than actual). Had all trades been the same size, that would have been a positive day regardless of my misplaced support zone.

I have seen a shift in my view of trades through the increases, I am far more relaxed on a 1 contract trade this month than last, it feels like a welcome relief. lol1 I wonder if that is how it happens; similiar to lifting weights, what was once heavy is now light, and so you push yourself harder and then the new heavy becomes light, and so forth?

I am not considering changing indicator, changing S/R analysis, changing markets, nothing so far had changed my belief that I have the right screen setup for myself. The answer is in my head, in my belief system. I am going to need to spend some serious time on digging deeper into that understanding of myself if I am going to move up. I may start by buying a windsurfer...

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  #2053 (permalink)
 researcher247 
Chicago, IL
 
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Good update.

I wonder if any other traders can point you to some good reading stories/profiles/sources of other traders who use an intuitive/discretionary w/technical analysis like you do?

Specifically, how they worked their way from small-lot traders and how they broke through to consistenly larger and large enough size over time to reach their goals. Perhaps the Market Wizards books interviewed several of these traders.

How bored would you be if you just worked in some stupid office and had no autonomy or had to try and figure out how some corporation can 'size' up, eh?

Reward to Risk just ain't the same.

I'll just add this one tidbit from my experience. The avg. risk% of the money I had in my margin account when I began from 1 and 2 lots to 4 & up averaged over the 1st quarter @0.85% per trade.

Always knew if I just put the trades on (positive expectancy) and managed them according to my rules that I didn't have to overcomplicate my situation with the actual $$'s and cents on each trade.

Professional traders (size) never think in $$$--but in 'ticks/cents' whatever. ALL floor traders did and still do as well. The money amount as in $742.50 risk has been rooted out of their subconscious because when one thinks in $$$ this has a tendency to release adrenline and slow down the thinking process in your brain.

You are experiencing this in lower win% when more contracts are on the line because you are FOCUSED on the money. Doesn't work that way--sorry. I am not being judgemental or opinionated; just this is what I know to be a core concept at this particular juncture in a successful trader's evolution.

Keep your cool and keep working on this issue. This is the difference between making 50K per year or 500K+. Factor of 10 (being conservative).

When some dweeb asks you what you do to 'earn' and/or make a living--simply respond with 'I trade size, I trading f*cking size!' Say that to the next 21 people you have a conversation with. Actually, don't even wait for them to ask you what is up--just say, 'listen, I have to tell you something; I trade size, I trading f*cking size.'

: )

peace

Hedvig

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  #2054 (permalink)
 GaryD 
Orlando, Florida
 
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Posts: 6,462 since May 2011


researcher247 View Post
Good update.

I wonder if any other traders can point you to some good reading stories/profiles/sources of other traders who use an intuitive/discretionary w/technical analysis like you do?

Specifically, how they worked their way from small-lot traders and how they broke through to consistenly larger and large enough size over time to reach their goals. Perhaps the Market Wizards books interviewed several of these traders.

How bored would you be if you just worked in some stupid office and had no autonomy or had to try and figure out how some corporation can 'size' up, eh?

Reward to Risk just ain't the same.

I'll just add this one tidbit from my experience. The avg. risk% of the money I had in my margin account when I began from 1 and 2 lots to 4 & up averaged over the 1st quarter @0.85% per trade.

Always knew if I just put the trades on (positive expectancy) and managed them according to my rules that I didn't have to overcomplicate my situation with the actual $$'s and cents on each trade.

Professional traders (size) never think in $$$--but in 'ticks/cents' whatever. ALL floor traders did and still do as well. The money amount as in $742.50 risk has been rooted out of their subconscious because when one thinks in $$$ this has a tendency to release adrenline and slow down the thinking process in your brain.

You are experiencing this in lower win% when more contracts are on the line because you are FOCUSED on the money. Doesn't work that way--sorry. I am not being judgemental or opinionated; just this is what I know to be a core concept at this particular juncture in a successful trader's evolution.

Keep your cool and keep working on this issue. This is the difference between making 50K per year or 500K+. Factor of 10 (being conservative).

When some dweeb asks you what you do to 'earn' and/or make a living--simply respond with 'I trade size, I trading f*cking size!' Say that to the next 21 people you have a conversation with. Actually, don't even wait for them to ask you what is up--just say, 'listen, I have to tell you something; I trade size, I trading f*cking size.'

: )

peace

Hedvig


Oh man, you made me laugh hard on that one. I am not giving up, and I KNOW the difference is that I start thinking in dollars. I know, I know, I know...

My best trades have been 1-2 contracts, my worst 3-4 contracts. Bad luck? I think it's not, I think there is zero coincidence there. I am the problem, caught in a continuous loop. It has been like this all month. If I traded the same size, every single trade, I would be up for the month.

By the way, did I mention I trade f*cking size?

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  #2055 (permalink)
 GaryD 
Orlando, Florida
 
Experience: None
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Posts: 6,462 since May 2011


researcher247 View Post
Good update.

I wonder if any other traders can point you to some good reading stories/profiles/sources of other traders who use an intuitive/discretionary w/technical analysis like you do?

Specifically, how they worked their way from small-lot traders and how they broke through to consistenly larger and large enough size over time to reach their goals. Perhaps the Market Wizards books interviewed several of these traders.

I did just that this weekend. I have both Market Wizards books and have been flipping back through the interviews to find one. Weird you brought that up, as I had the exact same thought.

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  #2056 (permalink)
 indextrader7 
Birmingham, AL
 
 
Posts: 1,065 since Apr 2012

I can totally relate to your experience.

Here's what helped me:

We must always truly accept the risk when we put on a trade.

If you have predefined your risk, and that risk is acceptable by your standards, and you completely accept that risk, and have belief that you have an edge... then there should be no internal conflicts.

Just thought I would share because you do such a good job sharing yourself.

 
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  #2057 (permalink)
 GaryD 
Orlando, Florida
 
Experience: None
Platform: shoes
Trading: happy
 
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Posts: 6,462 since May 2011

Watched the market until around 2pm, but never took another trade after pre-EIA. yes, took one, but closed with $10 profit, just because I said I was done for the day. My wife was home and we had plans to drive to the beach, so trying to snag a final trade was not the right mindset. Caught the first wave down of the short at the open, only tipoffs were overbought (on whatever), EIA long traders would probably want to lock their profits, and then I got a great volume bar just before the major burst down.

I entered at the retest, had an initial 20 tick PT, sat in it for about 5 minutes, and my first target hit in about a second's worth of motion. Jumped back in 31 x 2, and then quit for the day. Sometime's if it seems too easy, I am better off stopping.

Makes no sense, but I believe it. It takes a lot of work to nail a trade just right, and another sin, "lust", starts to set in when the profits start flowing. It's one of my favorite sins, but not an emotion to trade with. Made for a great energy to spend the day in the sun with my wife though.

Naturally, trading came up in my conversation, which she really does not want to talk about, so I keep it short, or try. I had gone fishing yesterday afternoon with a friend, one who had similar issues with how the world changed in Orlando, and I told him a realization I had from working on my trading psychology; we experienced such great losses in so many ways through the past 6+ years now, that we spend so much time thinking about how to just, "get back to where we were", and as a consequence, we are not able to fully appreciate where we are. Be here now, basically.

The windsurfer is something I have never been on, but have always liked watching them. That and the kite surfing. But just messing around on craigslist I saw a windsurfer for $200 or best offer, and will probably buy it sometime this week. Atr 43, it sounds like mid life issue maybe, but I think of it as healthy, new, adventurous, alive. In the moment and having fun. We are back on a chain of lakes, at least temporarily. Why not enjoy it?

Need to download and install the iespellchecker. It's not that I can't spell, but I can't type.

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 josh 
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GaryD View Post
Need to download and install the iespellchecker. It's not that I can't spell, but I can't type.

Or get a speed demon, spell checking, standards compliant browser like Chrome ;-)

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 Big Mike 
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josh View Post
Or get a speed demon, spell checking, standards compliant browser like Chrome ;-)

IE is not a browser. IE is an Internet Emulator. It emulates best it can (very bad). For real internet, use Firefox or Chrome.



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