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Papa's Trading Journal

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  #41 (permalink)
 papa15 
Wake Forest, NC
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Charts, Investor RT, Ninja Trader
Broker: VanKar
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Have you ever had a day or week where no matter what trade you took, you lost. No matter the setup, no matter the circumstances, it seemed Mr Market knew exactly where you set your targets and stops, and he took immense pleasure in just taking your money.......well this is one of those weeks for me.

I had a great July, but so far August has been awful. I have lost more in 3 days of trading (took Tuesday off) than I made in the last month. I am trying to get my head around it and I think I am on to something. My success in July was off of inside bars. I was in CA visiting my daughter and I would get up about 6 am PST, open up the computer and just wait for an inside bar. Nothing else mattered. I returned to NC and almost immediately started looking at the market around 8 am EST, and of course the mind starts seeing things. I started doing opening gap trades, with some success. My grandson is visiting so I would quit after the initial success (and thus not look for/wait for inside bars). This past Monday's huge loss was on such a trade. I just could not bring myself to take the quick stopout. That has been one of my major faults as a trader; if anyone has a solution, please point me in the direction. My self-discipline is not as strong as it needs to be, so help in that area would be welcome as well.

The IB setup works; the simple rules just need to be followed.

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  #42 (permalink)
 PandaWarrior 
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papa15 View Post
. That has been one of my major faults as a trader; if anyone has a solution, please point me in the direction. My self-discipline is not as strong as it needs to be, so help in that area would be welcome as well.

The IB setup works; the simple rules just need to be followed.

The key: "The IB setup works; the simple rules just need to be followed". This answers your question. You must follow the rules no matter what. Part of following the rules is ALWAYS placing the stop where @Jeff says you place the stop. No other option is valid. If you don't place the stop where he says, then don't trade his set up. Otherwise you are asking for it. There is a built in edge to the system, if you violate the rules, you invalidate the edge. Bad move. Its like always standing on 20 in blackjack, there is an edge, if you hit, you are busted......

You answered your own question.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, Leonardo da Vinci


Most people chose unhappiness over uncertainty, Tim Ferris
 
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  #43 (permalink)
 papa15 
Wake Forest, NC
 
Experience: Intermediate
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Posts: 527 since Sep 2009
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Az
I know I answered my question. It is amazing the insight you gain when you force yourself to sit and write about your day; Mike is on to something with having folks use a journal that others can read. It is a real value to all of us.

Exposing all sides of my trading is really good; no matter how good a setup is, there is a certain probability the trade will fail. We all accept that. But when it fails, it is necessary to take the loss and move on. Writing about my failure to adhere to my stops is confessing my error. Now I just need to learn from it.It is a real value to all of us.

My real problem is getting to the computer too early; the mind wants to trade and I convince myself the setup I am looking at is really ok, take it before you miss the trade. I am looking for a way to alter that mindset. Reading and devotions, exercise, watching news are all ideas I am exploring. I want to master one setup before working on others. I need to take what the market gives from that setup. The idea of having a set amount to make on a daily basis is not such a good idea. Today for instance there has been only one good setup and that was coming out of the lunch hour. Not sure if I would have taken it. There are other days with multiple opportunities. For a host of reasons (truly valid ones) I have been limiting myself to one win a day. Starting next week, I should be able to spend all morning trading and hope to avail myself of any multiple opportunities available.

Thanks for your feedback.

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  #44 (permalink)
 PandaWarrior 
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Az
I know I answered my question. It is amazing the insight you gain when you force yourself to sit and write about your day; Mike is on to something with having folks use a journal that others can read. It is a real value to all of us.

Exposing all sides of my trading is really good; no matter how good a setup is, there is a certain probability the trade will fail. We all accept that. But when it fails, it is necessary to take the loss and move on. Writing about my failure to adhere to my stops is confessing my error. Now I just need to learn from it.It is a real value to all of us.

My real problem is getting to the computer too early; the mind wants to trade and I convince myself the setup I am looking at is really ok, take it before you miss the trade. I am looking for a way to alter that mindset. Reading and devotions, exercise, watching news are all ideas I am exploring. I want to master one setup before working on others. I need to take what the market gives from that setup. The idea of having a set amount to make on a daily basis is not such a good idea. Today for instance there has been only one good setup and that was coming out of the lunch hour. Not sure if I would have taken it. There are other days with multiple opportunities. For a host of reasons (truly valid ones) I have been limiting myself to one win a day. Starting next week, I should be able to spend all morning trading and hope to avail myself of any multiple opportunities available.

Thanks for your feedback.

Glad you recognized the issue. As to how much to trade, I don't really know the answer to that question. For me, it was 30 minutes a day then 2 hours, then 3 and now its back to 90 minutes. So from 6:30AM to 8AM PST is my trading hours. For one reason only. I get tired and my decision making goes sour. So 90 minutes it is. I get from 4-8 set ups during that time, I need to capture two of them without any losses or 5 with a loss or two. If 8AM rolls around and I have not made my profit goal, I don't keep trading. I switch to sim. That way I can practice but tiredness will not cost me money.

I would say that most professionals will tell you to trade what the market gives you, don't try to force the market to give you a certain number of setups or dollars each day. It does not care about what you want so therefore you must trade what you get, not what you want.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, Leonardo da Vinci


Most people chose unhappiness over uncertainty, Tim Ferris
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  #45 (permalink)
 Big Mike 
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Papa,

Don't have blind faith. Don't take a signal just because you convinced yourself you should. You need to know your method inside and out. And it needs to be your method, not Jeff's. It may come from Jeff, it may be a combination of Jeff+Mike+bob+john+marley+me, but in the end, you must own the method 1000000000%. There is no 'jeff said' or 'mike said' or etc. It's you, and only you.

To own the method, you must know it back and forth, inside and out. These means you've traded it and tracked it for a long enough period to know the drawdowns, to know the odds of a winning vs losing trade, etc. It means a large sample size and large window. Until these are known, you really don't know anything

The journal is a powerful tool in getting you to realize past mistakes for what they truly are, and not just shrugging them off. Don't fall for "the market is out to get me". If you are in a drawdown or losing streak, first thing is cut your position size. Once you have several winners (days/weeks, up to you) then increase it again.

There is no system that can tell you when to enter and when to exit with exact stops and targets and be long term profitable. You may find a system that meets those requirements by curve fitting to historical data, but the future is another story. You must be adaptive in trading. More grey than black or white. Flexible. Cunning. Quick. Nimble. All those things, but certainly not rigid and robot-like.

It's true, many traders hit a brick wall in the psychology department. They may have a year of stats that tell them to hold a trade until 20 ticks, yet they constantly find themselves exiting at 10-12 ticks. In this way, you have to examine why that is happening and conquer it. It's no simple matter. It may seem like you want to be a robot and just hold to 20 ticks, but it is more than that.

Still, our minds are not wired to be good traders. You have to constantly remind yourself of that. We are raised and bred to avoid risks. Risk is how you make money in the market, but you need sensible risk, know when the odds are in your favor. You can't do this without a large amount of data gathered on live trades (not backtested).

Long story short, just cut your position size, keep asking important questions each day, be completely honest with yourself each day in your journal -- adding why you entered and why you exited on each position -- and then review that info daily with an open mind, knowing that isn't as simple as you think it should be.

Mike

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  #46 (permalink)
 papa15 
Wake Forest, NC
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Charts, Investor RT, Ninja Trader
Broker: VanKar
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Thanks Mike. All good advice.

The issue on the IB is found in a few posts back. When reviewing my July results, there was only one loss on IB, and that occurred because I rushed the entry before the bar completed. Had I waited, I would not have entered. Otherwise, all my IB trades were successful. I approached 95% success rate, something Jeff had mentioned in his first one or 2 posts on the The Three Setups thread. Only when I deviated and applied a different criteria did I start losing. The three losses this week were not off of IB bars either. The one winner was not an IB setup. Basically, I am confessing my failure to stick to my plan. I hope confession is good for the soul and to change my mindset.

I do not intend to trade tomorrow. A few too many distractions, so best to leave it alone. My goal for next week is simple. I want to sit in front of my computer and take every IB bar on the 15 min chart of CL that occurs between the hours of 9am to 1145 am EST (with a disclaimer that Tuesday I need to leave at 1115 for a luncheon). No dollar amount, no number of trade goals. Next week is to be a pure IB setup week.

I will use the journal to hold myself accountable to that.

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  #47 (permalink)
 papa15 
Wake Forest, NC
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Charts, Investor RT, Ninja Trader
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Posts: 527 since Sep 2009
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Was focused on trading only Inside Bar setup on CL using a 15 min chart. With this being Monday, following a down day, did expect some bullishness. Being that tomorrow is FOMC day, kind of expected low volume, narrow range trading.

Woke up to find CL was up about 50-60 ticks from Friday close. The bar that formed between 8:45 and 9:00 EDT was an inside bar. With a gap up, my bias was for the market to retrace to at least the half gap point. I placed a sell stop at the low end of the bar, stepped back and looked and saw the market blast off. Following the IB setup exactly, I should have had a buy-stop entry at 81.49 but I didn't. Market spiked higher, then fell like a rock. It hit my sell stop and then my profit target just seconds later. Market did go on to hit the half way gap mark.

No more inside bars set up by 11:45, so I quit for the day.

I feel good about the trade even though I did not take the upper breakout of the original inside bar. I used all the info available to make the choice I did.

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  #48 (permalink)
 Jeff Castille 
Northern California
 
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Hey Papa,

You got the "outside" bar.......nice work!

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  #49 (permalink)
 papa15 
Wake Forest, NC
 
Experience: Intermediate
Platform: Sierra Charts, Investor RT, Ninja Trader
Broker: VanKar
Trading: NQ
 
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Posts: 527 since Sep 2009
Thanks: 583 given, 1,246 received

Jeff, I could have had a V8....it never even occurred to me that it was an outside bar.

Thank you again for the Three Setups thread.....it has really helped me. I am focused on making this my style of trading.....it is so much easier than what I did before.

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  #50 (permalink)
 Jeff Castille 
Northern California
 
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papa15 View Post
Jeff, I could have had a V8....it never even occurred to me that it was an outside bar.

Thank you again for the Three Setups thread.....it has really helped me. I am focused on making this my style of trading.....it is so much easier than what I did before.

You are welcome.

I have also profited by putting the Reversals 6.1 indicator on 30 and 60 minute charts. This is something you may want to look into.

I was curious if you had the Reversals 6.1 indicator programmed for Think or Swim?

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