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The 22 Days: A Price Action Trader shares his Journey
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The 22 Days: A Price Action Trader shares his Journey

  #41 (permalink)
Trading for Fun
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iqgod View Post
I can never forget this chart as long as I live:


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It contains all the elements I have been plagued with in my trading life.

You have the privilege to observe, with commentary:

1. How I broke my rules by not waiting patiently for setups

2. How I became cocky with consecutive wins and increased position size.

3. How I could not devote my full time to trading, and missed opportunities to exit at a favorable price. Since I had blown my account with my first broker and I was trading with a shrunk account, I was using another broker who had a weird product which I was not fully familiar with and which allowed more exposure by placing a market order alongwith a stop loss order but no way to put a corresponding target price i.e. you could execute a target order only as a market order - there was no concept of OCO orders :-(

4. How I froze after missing the place to exit at a profit, and didn't take a partial loss - instead I let the trade sink for a full stop loss hit.

I just received my trasaction statements. I am down more than Rs.15,000 after taking everything into consideration.


AND I do not know WHY I executed any long trades to start with. I had decided that today was a down day based on the opening price action and the daily chart as marked below. Once price forms a double bottom either today or tomorrow, its only THEN that I expect it to go up to test the top spike of this spike and channel range (a three push wedge too) I have marked.

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well, Im glad Im not the only one that does this sort of thing...allows me not to be too hard on myself.

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  #42 (permalink)
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iqgod View Post
Answers to the Tenacity Test: (all these combined must be the Answer Key aka THE HOLY GRAIL, but if only all these knotty problems are cut through by a sharp Excalibur)

Firstly, I have gathered all the data you stated. I did not reply immediately because I did not have all this data off hand. I labored hard over the weekend. However while giving answers I will also have to add my personal story and my personal problems. I hope that by posting this on a public forum I might serve as a red flag hoisted over a shipwreck, if only to warn other sailors of the treacherous rocks lying just beneath a seemingly calm surface. So here are the facts and the story behind the curtain which even my spouse has not heard till date – I am laying bare EVERYTHING. My premise is that I have nothing to lose (no more damage than all that has been done) and everything to gain (insight, guidance, advice). That will be in the next post.

Since the Story is Long here is the Answer in Short:

<Answer in short begins>

What is my account size?

For this you would really need to read the story to get an idea of what the ride has been like.

However since this is the short answer section, it is Rs.40,000 RIGHT NOW. It was Rs.50,000 in the morning before the market opened.

Which markets?

All securities which have futures contracts on the NSE and BSE – these are the two Indian stock exchanges.
All futures on NSE.

(The Corn chart you saw was not traded by me, it was an example posted by Peter Brandt who trades on the CME).

Is my account size large enough to trade these markets?

NO NO and NO. (But at one point – yes, it was) For example the security I have traded and posted charts of is NSE:ABB. A futures contract of ABB is for 250 shares of the underlying hence if the share price is Rs.400 then the contract is worth Rs.1,00,000. The margin needed to buy / sell one contract is around Rs.35,000. Thus one contract barely fits my account size (a good point: the leverage is okay i.e. 2:1)

How much risk should I be taking?

Ideally I should be taking no more than 1 % risk on each trade.
This means I must not lose more than Rs.500 on each trade.

How much risk do I ACTUALLY take?

Well, I lost more than Rs.15,000 today. That was 30% of my existing pile. HOLY SHIT. I FEEL LIKE A WRECK AFTER SAYING THAT.

I have not stopped trading INSPITE of reaching my monthly loss limits. Post mid-March it seems limits do not
matter.

In the heart of my hearts I am a perfectionist. I would not dream of trading like this. People who know me know how logical, disciplined and fastidious I am in my daily work. But they also know how reckless, gambling-prone I am – for example give me a ‘deal’ in a shopping mall and I am hooked. Doorbuster sales are my weakness. Ditto in trading. If I feel that there is a high risk opportunity which will be worth 10x the reward, then I simply execute the trade. If I miss that opportunity for whatever reasons (not at my desk, sleeping etc.) then I take even more risk (the stop is far far away) and I still enter that trade.

I will show how I approached this exact need to be in a trade in my next post which shows how I traded today.

Which timeframes?

5-min charts.
No, let’s be honest – 2-min charts.

None of which are what I SHOULD be trading.

I have a day job.

And the Indian markets are open at the exact same moments as my day job.

I wish to be honest here – I trade off 2-min charts during work hours. And then I sit late and work like a dog to finish my day's assignments.

But it doesn’t always work this way in a job, does it? The following may sound like one big crib, but it simply is the real picture. It might sound sympathy inducing but it should not. It is fashioned out of my need to do a day job and bring steady income to support a growing family, and at the same time pursue a dream of being an entrepreneur someday when trading full-time will be the only business I am into. But right now it is a cocktail where none of the two paths are being walked on properly. Instead I am tumbling down a “middle” path where progress is noticeably absent in my work life and neither are the profits falling into place due to the reasons stated in the next paragraph.

The environment is locked down. I cannot install any trading software of course. I have to rely on google charts and free quotes on the internet. My trendlines are “drawn” by placing a stiff ruler against an LCD monitor and they are all I have… I cannot really draw the trendline and expect it to stay or stick. It is in the air.

The colleagues may ridicule me when they see me with a chart. So I take one quick look at it after every second minute (since its a 2 minute timeframe) when a bar closes. And then get back to thinking what I need to do when price gets to so an so point.

Sometimes I have to place orders before running off to meetings. Needless to say those are not really places where I should be trading anyway – the risk:reward is not right. But I am worried that once I get into a meeting
I will have no chance to place an order. So I go ahead and place the order anyways.

I use a mobile to trade, but it takes time to login, locate securities, enter trading password etc. The session times out if I just leave the connection on and do not trade. Hence I sometimes have to call my broker via telephone to execute orders. Sometimes their lines are busy. And I helplessly watch price slipping away from green to red. And all the while my trades are “right” (except that this may be a hindsight bias because I haven’t told my broker a target price and stop just yet) – i.e. price hits my target price but often then goes the other way. Sometimes the brokers lines are busy even though I am free to close the position. Then as losses deepen and the account starts to bleed, I freeze.

Where are my stops?

Read the above. And below.

Why do I behave this way?

At some points I feel my understanding of the markets is so complete that THERE ARE NO STOPS. Of course there are mental stops, but then they are constantly moving like a hazy mirage in a heated desert – a mound of sand (price) shifts due to the market wind and the stop dune shifts as the market changes structure, and I am too blinded by the heat haze to notice how really far price has come. Till I get a call from the broker politely informing me that she is closing my position if I don't transfer funds.

Deep inside I KNOW I should be trading the daily chart, but the quick reaction I get from the 2-min and 5-min i.e. a feedback loop is “absent” on the dead daily chart. But I also know that it is just an excuse and I want the lower frames for a kick I get.

In simulated trading environments too I behave EXACTLY the same. In fact losing money in the blender of the markets has shredded my heart so many times that real money and sim seem exactly the same right now. The numbers are all enticing even on sim. On both I go full tilt. Period. (Sigh! Which is why I fail, which is why I fail)

Goals?

I want to double or triple my small account in one – two months.

After that, I solemnly promise myself, I will risk only 1 % of my account. (The devil inside me chuckles, satisfied.). Then I want to make Rs.5000 per day. (Which is a wrong notion in itself - setting expectations from the market on a day to day basis - I need to define it on a more longer term basis such as Rs.1,00,000 per month where I have just multiplied the figure by 30)

It is as stupid as that. I know it is gambling but then somewhere inside my monkey says that maybe I will hit it
lucky and then you can go on being a saint with a larger account size.

I have not yet learnt. I have not yet learnt in the true sense and spirit of learning.

</Answer in short ends>

Try this...

Reset for 2 weeks..completely stop trading..dont even look at it...bury yourself into your day job like u never did before...that 2 weeks will fly.

Then take 1 week off of work..say u need some time off if u can...then...bury yourself 100% or 1000% into trading...relax, breath easy..see the market in a calm enviroment & state of mind.

Allow yourself a chance to succeed.

Good luck my goodman...

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  #43 (permalink)
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Wow. My answer is not one you are going to like.


You are not ready to trade live. You are fueled by a demon that wants money and wants it now, and until you exorcise that part of yourself, you will not find lasting success in trading. Your goal of “I want to double or triple my small account in one - two months” is the biggest problem I see. You do not want to be a trader, you want to be rich, and you are demanding that the markets make it so. You see trading as your lottery ticket.


There is no Holy Grail. There is no perfect system. Solving the mystery of trading has less to do with charts and indicators than it does with patience, experience, and self-control. From what I am reading, you currently lack all three.


You say you have the belief that your “understanding of the markets is complete”. Where is the proof? It is only a mirage if there is no water.


You are answering yourself over and over. You are describing an addiction, not a skill.


Trading is is a craft that takes a lot of hard work. If someone makes their sole source of income through trading, they are earning every penny of it. Adrenaline, addiction, thrill-seeking. That is not trading.


You mentioned your account size is not large enough, but that it once was. I would suggest that, no, it wasn't. Your account cannot be large enough if you trade the way you do. There is a saying, “How do you get a $1 million trading account? Start with $2 million.” Account size and margin requirements only come into the true trading equation when you know how to trade. Until then, any leverage is too much leverage. Regardless of your account size today, it can go to zero in a very short time.


You trade ALL futures? Which one have you mastered? Which do you know inside and out? You would be better off trading a high-volume stock, or an ETF, and picking only one and sticking to it. But even then, your trading methods of using the telephone support you being a position trader, and maybe if you were in the top percentage of the world, a swing trader.


But you are trying to be a day trader, or a scalper, by remote access. That is just silly. Futures trading requires the best equipment, connections and information. You are trying to ski the Olympic downhill course with 2x4s tied to your feet and a kitchen pot on your head for a helmet.


Do you really want to be a trader? Then start by taking responsibility for your actions.


My advice; Stop the live trading. Get the trading program off your computer for 12 months. Get your head together. Get rid of the goal of doubling or tripling in a month. Set your goal to finish up 20% for the year.


Practice visualization and relaxation techniques. Study chart patterns. Research better software and connections. Then come back next year, and trade simulated until you can be profitable every week for 3 months. No more real money until you can do that.


If you can't find the discipline required to become a trader, you will fail. Hope to hear from you next year. Good luck.

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  #44 (permalink)
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I've been following this thread from the start and honestly couldn't figure out what was going on. The last few posts turned on the flood lights. I wholly agree with @GaryD ('s) well written assertion. I know this is a "hard pill to swallow" @iqgod ,,but this is an excellent suggestion if you wish to retain any hope for future success as a trader. This is a business where every action I take (or don't take) influences my success or failure immediately, this is compounded by very few (if any) second chances.


GaryD View Post
Do you really want to be a trader? Then start by taking responsibility for your actions.

In some weird way, you can start by stopping.


GaryD View Post
But you are trying to be a day trader, or a scalper, by remote access. That is just silly. Futures trading requires the best equipment, connections and information. You are trying to ski the Olympic downhill course with 2x4s tied to your feet and a kitchen pot on your head for a helmet.

My wife said, "what are you laughing about," when I read these lines. Although I find the mental vision of this skier extremely funny, I find it not that uncommon to find struggling traders with sub-par equipment, connections and information. Each day I compete with serious people, with serious attitudes trying to make serious money. IMO, This takes serious tools. Good luck

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  #45 (permalink)
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You will most likely get softer answers than what I posted. You probably think I am a jerk, it's none of my business anyway, and you may be right.

But don't think I am judging you, meanwhile believeing I am a superior trader.

What could I possibly know about you and your situation?

I was once you. Here are some of my credentials;



https://futures.io/psychology-money-management/12643-you-sure-youre-trader.html#post141649


https://futures.io/psychology-money-management/18446-confessions-stories-defeat-lessons-learned.html#post199619


https://futures.io/trading-journals/12409-catching-big-waves-traders-journal-surfing-markets-170.html#post202479


Study, have patience, take it slow, turn that tenacity into the fuel that it takes to become disciplined.

Becoming a trader is not about money, it is about understanding yourself.

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  #46 (permalink)
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IQGod's Demon meets Market Wizard GaryD - Transcript

GaryD THANK YOU.

Since his reply is as incisive as it is as honest, and as it gets to the roots of the problem I am taking the liberty of prodding GaryD a bit further, with an aim to discover a bit more of myself.

I am putting this post in the form of a conversation because role-play brings out emotions that might be otherwise lost in a wad of prose.

If ever My demon and GaryD have a one-to-one it would go something like this: (GaryD, I have PRESUMED your replies, but please reply to this thread and correct them if needed - till then they are to be taken with a pinch of salt)

IQGod's Demon (IqGodD): I thank you for the Occam's Razor analysis, and confirm that you are dot accurate about everything you have stated about me. But I wanted to draw out some points so as to be extremely clear about my path ahead and what I am up against.

GaryD (Market Wizard): No problem. Shoot.



IQGodD: I was analyzing my goals. I had started with the goal of 'Trade with discipline and proper sizing - follow your plan; the money will come automatically once you follow your plan.' However the plan was followed only PARTIALLY and I feel that was the trouble.

GaryD: Not just that, it was also executed lamely with scalping futures over a phone and with live money it was just plain irresponsibility.



IQGodD: I doubt if I had a solid methodology defined all along. A bit of Al Brooks, a bit of James16 pinbars, and a bit of risk management and trade mangement. Maybe all of it works but I probably have selected too short a timeframe to allow me to execute the plan properly. Do you feel so too?

GaryD: (Let's leave this one for GaryD to actually answer, he may probably say that I need to first experiment with the setups on sim and be consistently profitable for every week for the next three months, which is what he said earlier)



IQGodD: I have won a Forex contest on Sim. That was when I took my account to almost double in one month. But perhaps I just picked up bad trading habits from the contests. It may serve as proof that I have a good level of understanding of the markets, but under the current circumstances let's just say that I don't.

GaryD: Trading profitably where you are up for each week for three months will prove it to yourself.



IQGodD: (still plagued with thought like - "But what about Larry R. Williams who made a gain of $1100000 (11376%) in a 12 month competition with real money in the 1987 World Cup Championship of Futures Trading from the Robbins Trading Company?" But not having the guts to say it out loud right now for the fear of a rebuttal.)

GaryD: (seems to realize what is going on in IQGodD's mind, looks sternly) Set your goal to being up 20% at the end of the next year. THAT is a sane goal for a beginning trader.



IQGodD: Well, this method does seem to deliver exceptional results. I had backtested it a lot. I had tested it on many stocks and many futures on DAILY charts and it works say 60% - 70% of the time. I agree that the phone line way of scalping was dumb ass, but the same issues also cropped up when I was sitting at my terminal and execution was flawed for reasons such as slippage, bad discipline items such as not being fully prepared for the day, and on days where I was prepared and had a plan even then looking at too short a picture and glitches in following the plan because of the over-analysis (and also greed and boredom and feeling of being left behind at times).

GaryD: Be honest with yourself. Stop treating it like a game or a past-time. Get the necessary elements of discipline in place FIRST. Until you have proof that you are good do NOT commit real money.



IQGodD: I had earlier done the exact same thing that your advice recommends. I had taken a break from trading after I had lost 100% of my trading capital one day, had gone back to the study room and worked hard on studying setups, got evidence that 'this thing actually works' - however was so maimed and mauled (due to putting in real money and losing) that mental blocks stop me from taking those trades which have been proven by backtesting to be good places to initiate trades. Also exits are based on gut feel rather than any other parameters. Also, fine tuning some of the setups seems to make it work better - but then here I go deviating from my plan again.

GaryD: Hard silence.



IQGodD: Do you feel that I should be on sim or should I reduce the account size to a 'Don't care' size to ensure that I smoothen out the execution part as well? (fumbling with orders, slippage) etc.?

GaryD: (he would be the best person to answer, I can't simulate the mind of an experienced trader)




IQGodD: (promises himself to refine his plan with details, will follow his plan for the next three months.)

GaryD: Smiles.



There. GaryD will make it in the next 'Market Wizards' book. I, for one, am happy to have him visit me at this moment inspite of the heady advice (since its all the truth nevertheless, and the bitter truth is always hard to accept and swallow) and am grateful that he has chosen to respond and spend time with me.

Let not the above conversational format make you think it is written in light or jest - it is not; it is as earnest as the posts that have preceded this one, except that the next three days of the journal will be paper traded and an Epilogue will follow in the footsteps of these discoveries, harsh or otherwise which will set me on the right path of being a TRADER, following on the footsteps of many great ones who have walked before me and marked it with their Milestones.

Wish me luck!


Last edited by iqgod; March 27th, 2012 at 09:32 AM. Reason: Formattting
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  #47 (permalink)
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IQGod's Demon Advisory admonished again

Ulp err, here is what I found about Larry R. Williams:

CFTC / NFA Levies Fines Against ...

NFA fines Larry Williams for not reporting to potential clients that, while his personal account in a promotional 1987 contest was very profitable ( a gain of + $902,599 ), his managed accounts for clients lost substantial funds ( - $6,122,281 ). This constituted deceptive and unbalanced promotional material and disclosure statements. Details in William Gallacher's book Winner Take All.

Footnote -- In July 1988, the Larry Williams Financial Strategy Fund was launched, followed in March 1989 by the World Cup Championship Fund, managed by Larry Williams, Jake Bernstein and two others. The 1988 fund lost more than 50% of its clients’ equity in barely one year, as reported in the October 1989 issue of Futures magazine. The 1989 fund also lost more than half of its original equity by May 1990.


_____



So GaryD, 20% annual returns it is, for me, as a realistic goal.

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  #48 (permalink)
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IQGod,

Thanks for such honest posts...

I would like to write but am lost for words. More and more "clever" advice come to my mind, none of them feels appropriate and anyway, lots of above is just that.

Still, your thoughts make me think of seemingly unrelated stuff. So what I am about to write may or may not apply to you, I cannot tell since I do not know you, but let me write it anyway.

Before I begin, I would like you to know that I admire your persistence.
And now, the problem. Your external motivation (not inner motivation that comes from within a man and is based on a want to be a better man, to know more, to help others, to develop). Your external motivation is money. You should know that external motivation (in this case money as a reward) devalues anything that a person does (and that applies to every activity not only trading). You seem to be addicted to reward (money in trading, good marks at school, little treats at kindergarten). I might sound weird, my apology, but if one can go even deeper into human psyche, you seem to have ingrained in you a desire for being right, being correct because then and only then you will be rewarded and, probably, loved.

I can see that you have studied about trading and markets a lot. You must have come across many books about trading psychology as well. Have you studied them? Have you studied psychology books unrelated to trading? Have you studied your own psyche? Have you tried to find out who you really are? Maybe you could try to find something that will help you in defining your own personality. Before I found out my "tool", I was vaguely aware of what my weaknesses are but after having read them on paper, I cried with disappointment. I thought I could not be such a faulty human being! But after I stopped crying, I realized that I am a faulty human being. I have realized who I am. And that helps me work around my weaknesses. It helps me define what I need to define in order to do what I want to do with success (am not speaking about profitable trading, just writing a plan and starting a journal are successes for me).

So my recommendation would be to study yourself, not the markets or trading, find out all your weaknesses (I am sure you know them but that is not enough: ) and try to find a way and learn how to work around and with them. Some of the advice in previous posts apply.


Wish you a successful journey.

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  #49 (permalink)
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As promised, took all the money or the bits left of it out of my trading accounts and put it into short term CDs.

Trading Sim, I realized how LITTLE I knew of the markets. I read the market correctly around 50% of the times - I think this painfully obvious figure COULD have been obtained with a coin-toss too. Which means I have no edge in the market YET. I need to stay a humble student till this win rate goes up.

Here is today's stock chart of ADANIENT (NSE). The trades I was itching to take (my mouse finger actually twitched and hit the sell button on that first red arrow I have drawn but since I had taken a payout the order got rejected due to insufficient funds - the unfilled body of the arrows indicate that I did not actually take those trades)

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I would have also made other mistakes had I been really placing those orders. Thankfully, I took the advice of the many friendly posts to stop live trading (even took to heart the not so friendly posts, but even those were super honest ones worth their weight in gold).

Thus ends a trading day where I have not made either a profit or a loss, but I suddenly feel calm and composed instead of sapped and drained. I also am able to comprehend the many beautiful things around me which I would have been unable to had I been in live trades.

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iqgod View Post
Ulp err, here is what I found about Larry R. Williams:

CFTC / NFA Levies Fines Against ...

NFA fines Larry Williams for not reporting to potential clients that, while his personal account in a promotional 1987 contest was very profitable ( a gain of + $902,599 ), his managed accounts for clients lost substantial funds ( - $6,122,281 ). This constituted deceptive and unbalanced promotional material and disclosure statements. Details in William Gallacher's book Winner Take All.

Footnote -- In July 1988, the Larry Williams Financial Strategy Fund was launched, followed in March 1989 by the World Cup Championship Fund, managed by Larry Williams, Jake Bernstein and two others. The 1988 fund lost more than 50% of its clients’ equity in barely one year, as reported in the October 1989 issue of Futures magazine. The 1989 fund also lost more than half of its original equity by May 1990.


_____


So GaryD, 20% annual returns it is, for me, as a realistic goal.


I was going to mention something about Larry Williams, not that exact article, but I had read that his performace was not so good in all accounts. Of course, what I know is only heresay.

I have attached a file I have had for awhile that lists the Worl Cup winners and their percentages. Larry Williams is way outside the norm. I guess I could add it up, but just by eye the average seems closer to around 250%.

But that is a competition of traders who claim to be the best in the world. And, you don't see the ones who entered and and went the other direction on that list. You don't see each individual trader's performance year after year on that list. You don't see their drawdowns, their setups, what the market conditions overall were like for the year.

You could have won the competition by just buying one market, take silver for example, and adding in as it moved up. But is that going to win again next year? Is it going to even make money next year? Was is "good trading"?

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