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Almost Skilled (YM)

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Almost Skilled (YM)

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  #21 (permalink)
Posts: 41 since Mar 2011
Thanks: 11 given, 31 received

1 trade +25t
On Friday, test to upside was pushed down strongly. ON move up to retest, was again pushed down, opening at bottom edge of Fri range. So my scenario is that market wants to continue down. It moves swiftly down to SR level and pulls back. Narrowing range, and sudden break down, below trendline and SR, in continuation of previous move. Now, truth be told, there was a hesitation in opening trade. I was supposed to enter by stop order, but hesitate too long, market moved far away. Entered limit order, luckily market moved back and picked it up. Also, my target was picked on touch. So I can say I had a ton of luck in this trade. That is bad, luck does not always swing your way.

1 trade +5t

A bad trade in many aspects. Opening in value area of previous day. Makes a swing down, but pulls back. Reaches just to opening price level above SR 15908. Narrowing range, and breaks out down. Break of trendline, also below SR. This should have been first good entry. Second good possibility to enter was at level of last swing L, around 15890. I hesitate, and fail to open the trade. Last decent entry is at L of previous day, but at this point price is far away from EMA, so some pullback is a possibility. Again failed to place stop order. Price moves away. I place limit order, but realizing this is probably not going to be picked up. Price makes sudden reversal, and picks the order. I panic and close the position. Very bad trading, mistake after mistake.

1 trade -8t

Opening with GAP up. Breaking above SR level, and above ON H. Runs far away without pullback. Trying to find entry. Looking for pullback to trendline. I have mixed opinion about this trade. I can argue some warning signs (far away from EMA), also entry could have been better, but it was not out of my rules significantly. I was aiming for continuation to next SR, so bouncing from trendline, entering on increased momentum. Did not work out.


2 trades: -8t and +25t

Open with GAP up, very little. Previous day P volume profile, so strong pull of value area below opening. Slow grind up after open, but nothing strong. Breaks from it, breaks trendline, breaks SR level. Little hesitation and I was entering decent distance from actual breakout. Market picks my SL very quickly, I had almost no reaction time to adjust SL. Second entry, only few ticks higher. Took some heat, widened the SL by 2t, but eventually it did drop down. Target usual 25t.


1 trade -6t

Jobs report caused big ON move. Opening at the edge of Thursday range. Possible responsive buying, or continuation. After open it seemed as first move is going to be down. Swift move, breaking ON L. I was looking at continuation of the move. By my rules I should not have taken SR breakout signal after such decent move. Waiting for pullback to EMA is in line with my rules.

Summary: weak performance. I do not have a feeling that I have it under control, that my execution is right in the places where I want it to be. I do get tunnel vision. 2 trades can be considered chasing entry. 2 were entry with great hesitation. Also I'm picking up trades very early in the day, few minutes in, when market have not yet shown what it wants to do for the day.

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  #22 (permalink)
Posts: 41 since Mar 2011
Thanks: 11 given, 31 received

6 months of live trading. Taking around 20 trades a month. Anytime I'm in downswing, I hunker down and follow rule of one trade a day. In addition to that, my trading system was changing and evolving in past 6months. Therefor I was lacking anchor, so my confidence in trading system was affected, and I did not want to take too many trades.

I reviewed my benchmark trades, made during March 2015. I did find out that my style changed. Firstly, many trades in benchmark study seem random to me, or without some set of rules. Secondly, I added some new signal and some new rules, and I'm trying to incorporate "story arc" (what is market trying to do?) form higher timeframes. Despite the fact that benchmark study showed good results, I do not consider it a good trading. Many trades lacked some set of rules, they were random. Luck played some role in the results.

Watching my SIM trading results makes me worried. I do recognize that many trades taken in SIM are out of my playbook, but my SIM results for week 28-Sep to 2-Oct were, 34 trades, 26.47% win. That is miserable. Because my system changed in past 6 months, I would say I lack proper benchmark to which I can compare my trading. Something I can look at when I'm in downswing. Statistical study, that yes, my system is profitable. This affects my confidence.

I would say that my system evolved to better in past 6 months. I finished my playbook, my rules are more rigorous, more clear. At least on paper. Unless I'm proven otherwise by benchmark backtest I do consider current style good and profitable.

Currently, I have to do a backtest. Make a new benchmark which I can use as anchor for comparison to my live trades. Train my though process during trading to follow my rules. Build confidence.
Main current issue is low winning %. This might be because I do not always follow my rules, I hesitate in opening trades (and I get worse entry), or I hesitate to take 10-12t SL instead of 8t SL.
Secondly number of trades in a day. I would expect 4-5 trades a day on average with my style. In order to make this a serious business I have to increase amount of trades in a day.
Third task, is to let winners run. This is getting better lately, but still has to be watched.

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  #23 (permalink)
Posts: 41 since Mar 2011
Thanks: 11 given, 31 received

Only one trade on Monday. This is the type of the trade we all refer to as "What was I thinking?!". There is really nothing that can explain my action

This trade was a catalyst. For good month or two, I had great concern about my performance. SIM results were horrible, and I was lacking focus, and confidence in my trades. I decided to pull back from live trading, and do some backtesting. Well results are bad.

My initial idea of my trading style has to layers. First one is story arc or "What is market trying to do?". Let's talk about Friday. Market moved in one week from bottom of short term balancing zone to top side. In YM market it is breaking outside. Move was very swift, and in last few days market is slowing down. The moves are less confident. There was not yet a pullback, that would confirm the strength of move. Thursday end was close to H of the day and during overnight this H was overtaken. One of the possibilities that can play out during the Friday is test to ON H, failure to break above, and fast move to opposite side, testing ON L. So my plan is to look for trade after failing the break, in swift move down.

Second layer is actual signal. Entry on SR level breakout, or entry in trending channel at the edge, etc. This is supposed to allow me entry with good RRR, so I do not have to have big SL.

Somewhere along the way I got confused. I'm looking for trades outside of story arc. Problem is overtrading. I do have good trades, where all pieces of puzzle come together. But then there are 5 other trades that are just in chop. I was in such situation once before. From my experience I have to go back to basics. Strip down all unnecessary.

So my task list currently consist of backtesting, until I can prove I have trading edge again. Currently I have nothing worth of posting.

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  #24 (permalink)
Posts: 41 since Mar 2011
Thanks: 11 given, 31 received

SadPraetor View Post

I can't see pictures from my Sep recap, and can't edit the post


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  #25 (permalink)
Experience: Beginner
Platform: E signal
Broker: AMP, Stage 5
Trading: AP -SFE; FESX; ES; 6A, 6N,6E,6B,6C,6J
Posts: 42 since Jul 2010
Thanks: 20 given, 30 received

Hi buddy,
I like your journal.....

Just wondered, why do you back test your method?

To me, that's just trying to re-invent the wheel....plenty of educators make it much easier for took me years to decide and try it, by I picked one or two guys and just follow their complete methods of how to really take money from the markets each day. You seem to be working so hard - when perhaps all you need to do is learn how 'price action' traders trade. Did you buy at the top of a tight trading range? That's called a bull trap. Learn what market type is in play at any given time...if you try break out techniques in the wrong market conditions like a trade range day or a trending bear day, you'll do the strategy that empties your account.

E-mail me for a list of books to help if interested:


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  #26 (permalink)
Posts: 41 since Mar 2011
Thanks: 11 given, 31 received

Zentrader2010 View Post
Hi buddy,
I like your journal.....

Just wondered, why do you back test your method?


Hi, thank you for comment.

I suffer from something called habit creep. Basically during the past months I took too many trades outside of my rules in SIM trading (watching markets real time, not taking live trades). This got into my thinking loop, so I ended up overtrading in choppy zones, out of story arc. SIM success rates were around 20%, and also my first backtested days showed this level of win rate. This affected my confidence.
I'm not trying to reinvent anything. I'm trying to get back to my rules, to trade within them. Not changing market, time frame, tools, not changing anything. Only thing I'm trying to achieve is to stop taking trades based on question: "I wonder what the market is going to do, and what would happened if I took trade right here?". Trying to train myself to sit on my hands, and only trade in picked zones of interest.

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  #27 (permalink)
Posts: 41 since Mar 2011
Thanks: 11 given, 31 received

As I mentioned in last posts, I'm not doing live trades for now. Gained some bad habits, so I have to get rid of them and get back to trading by my rules.
I would like to share one trading day with you. Everything from preparation, what were my assumptions, trades, etc. It should show in better light how I'm trading.
I picked Wednesday 14-Oct. All trades are SIM trades. It is not by far perfect trading, but this day resembles what I have in mind when I imagine how my trading style should look like.

Wednesday 14-Oct

Usually done hour and half before NY open. I take a look at Asia and European markets. Reported economic statistics and what is going to be reported during trading hours (and mark times on chart).
On Wednesday, several WS banks reporter their quarterly results. China CPI reported lower than expected, same for US retail sales and PPI. Looking at ON session market have not reacted to the news.

Market moved from very bottom of balancing range around 15900 to the top of the range at 16800 and even broke above it. It is testing breakout zone from 20-Aug. There was no significant pullback, or slowdown. First sign of slowing down can be found in Thursday 8-Oct. Most of the volume is in bottom part of profile. Only closing move pushed it to new H of this swing. Relationship between Friday 9-Oct and Monday and Tuesday shows market hitting SR, losing momentum. Overlapping ranges, value areas, decrease in volume, balanced profiles. Monday was Columbus day in US, so need to take it with grain of salt. Still, market is unable to push much higher. On Tuesday, it opened below Monday range, was able to push pass it, to new H, but lost ground and returned almost to opening level. Move back down was weak, big swings, 2 slowdowns creating trading ranges. We can argue that both other timeframe buyers and sellers were present in this move. All of this marks uncertainty.

Main factor I consider in this day: Market on Tuesday opened below Monday range, moved through it, but lost momentum and pulled significantly back. It seems to me like last attempt on pushing higher, but failing. Not enough aggressive buyers.
Taking into account that ON showed no development, and we are at what seems top of the move, bias for Wednesday is move down.

Next I draw by hand on paper possible scenarios. I found out that it is easier to follow a picture rather than written text. I made several scenarios.

a) Opening below Tuesday value area, in the tail created by initial opening. Test to upside, into Tuesday's value area. Probably test to Tuesday's VPOC 170215. Reversal there, move down, to the open and below. First possible slowdown at 16919 SR - coming from 9-Oct and 13-Oct. Next 16857 - H of 7-Oct, and some resistance and rotation in 8-Oct. Day target for move down is 16800, corresponds with VPOC 8-Oct and very close to 7-Oct VPOC.
- Looking for entry on reversal from 17015, break below 16919, and 16857 break
b) Open drive from opening down. SR levels and targets same as case a)
- Looking for entry at 16919 break.
c) Test down to 16919 SR, no strength to break, return up, breaking open level, moving into Tuesday's value area, test top of value area, possible test H of previous day. Choppy overlapping range expected, possible one more test down.
- Possible entry after breaking opening level, at SR level 16995 which corresponds with Tuesday's value area bottom edge. Target 17030. Possible top side of value area.

So idea of my trading is to take signals in predetermined areas, where I think market is going to have tendency to gain momentum. As I mentioned my problem with habit creep occurred when I started to take trades just wondering what is market going to do in other areas. Most of the time market just chops around, so mostly you lose money and you build a trigger happy habit.
I do rework this scenarios during the day, adding new ideas and adjusting based on what is happening.


The actual trading is waiting for some of the scenarios to show up, and pick good entry with decent RRR, and not needing big SL. On Wednesday scenario that played out was a).

First area I wanted to trade was on reversal from VPOC at 17015, looking for a short trade. Below is the screen. Took 2 bad trades. First one I was trigger happy, bad trade breaking many rules. Second I did not adjust SL size. Third one was correct. Decent reward.

Next area of interest was break below 16919. I did not take into account that market already made decent move, so this breakout down might be retested pretty fast. First trade was targeted down to 16860. Market was not able to follow, still there were decent amount of warning signs that market is not ready to go so far. I could have leave earlier. One long trade, well I was thinking that it will move back to mid of range, to retest this move. This was outside of story arc. Third trade was good, entry could have been few ticks better. Target was place too far. So missed money. Too greedy

Summary: This is an example of a day where I traded in line with prepared homework. I made trades in picked zones of interest. Execution itself was bad. Still some trigger happy habits. In second set I'm greedy, and wasting a lot of potential.

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  #28 (permalink)
Posts: 41 since Mar 2011
Thanks: 11 given, 31 received

Second week without live trades. I was taking trades on Simulation and in Backtest. Total of 12 days. Results in picture.

1) Difference between SIM and Backtest. In backtest you can pause, take a break, or speed up. I have to work on my patience and discipline during boring "chop "periods
2) I see that on days where I trade outside of story arc, my % win is drastically lower. I'm overtrading. Yes, there are pretty moves, even in size of my usual target 25t, but taking into account math and statistics, I do better if I pick 2-3 trades a day in good zones, than if I try to catch every move. I have to let those situation go, as more often my SL is picked up than my target. That requires discipline.
3) It is astounding how psychology affects your results. I barely get positive on 100 trades in my real trades, but I do make 1.2k with SIM
4) There was increase in performance, but I still have some relapses

I'm going to trade again live this week, together with backtesting.

So my to do list
1) Live trades
2) Backtest

a) Patience and discipline, wait for right situation. Trade in story arc
b) Let the winners run

Question for readers

If you are using volume profile composite (adding volume over several days/weeks), do you combine volumes on several price levels? (like volumes of 4 ticks levels combined into one bar). Thx

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  #29 (permalink)
Posts: 41 since Mar 2011
Thanks: 11 given, 31 received

Return to live trading after two weeks. Little bit more confidence, and calm. I managed to get the hesitation about this whole trading out of my head for now.

Pulling the trigger. The whole first trade was just about opening a position. How much damage can I do if I follow SL rules? Not much. Idea was to break hesitation after 2 weeks out of the market. I did not minimize the window. So naturally fears kicked in and I exited fast.

So on Monday we had very narrow range, balanced profile. Opened below this range. And close to Friday low, which from short term view means below value. There was nothing that would suggest move down. Retest back up to Monday's range is reasonable. I missed the up move opportunity. It reached SR level at bottom edge of Monday value area, and formed double top. My play was pullback to mid of range. Usually I take 18t on small trades. Was not sure it will break below Mid point and SR, so I adjusted to 16t. Good trade

FOMC day. I did not anticipate the rise in price before the report. 2 trades were possible there, but I had not prepared anything in their anticipation. I wanted to make a trade. I expected bigger moves after FOMC report. I chased the trade, saw that market is moving down, and I wanted to enter. Nothing prepared, what I think is error in process. Not minimizing window, so naturally without game plan, and under pressure watching volatile market I exited swiftly. Bad trade

Opened in tail part of Wednesday's range. After open, trend channel upwards. Break out of it, break below SR. The whole auction up on Wednesday was not finished. I expected some pullback, retest down, and possible continuation. On Break I assumed buyers gave up and market will break lower, retest VPOC of previous day. Market gathered itself at opening level, and reversed. Picked my SL. Good trade.

Dead day. Was looking for something 3h. Gave up. Nice move came in closing session.

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  #30 (permalink)
Posts: 41 since Mar 2011
Thanks: 11 given, 31 received

8 trades only
50% win rate

So, I took a break, backtested a little. There was this nudging feeling that something is wrong, as my SIM trade and backtest had miserable results. I looked into it, and turns out it was bad trading. System still should be valid. I do have better performance in live trades, as under pressure you think twice whether to take a trade and whether all rules are filled. That is good. Still a ton of space to get better.
I was avoiding to increase amount of trades for a long time. First downswings in account, then uncertainty whether system is good. Currently I'm in good place. Account is slightly in positive, and I have confidence. I will follow rule two trades a day. Valid signals. If I do not see good signal in morning session, I will trade closing one. Still have to be patient and trade within the story.
Secondly, I have to admit I do not give trading maximum. There is still a lot of time wasted. I should backtest and train more. Currently, I have to nail the execution to perfection. Being consistent. That can be done only by actual trading. It is difficult. Boring days have probably the worst impact on me. If there is no move in market, it feels demoralizing. Let's see how much can I push myself

2 trades a day
Add closing session if you do not fill 2 trades.
More time training execution.

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November 22, 2015

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