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Zen & the Art of The Small Account
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Zen & the Art of The Small Account

  #591 (permalink)
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lemons View Post
Good luck aztrader with COMBINE. I hope that you will get hired.

I am on third try. I have try different instruments, chat types and time frames.
I found what works for me and made little progress :

12/01 : + 450
13/01 : + 488
14/01 : + 763

I also know what to do :
- follow the plan
- trade what you see

I know where is the problem. I am the problem. At my 9-5 job there is no problems I am disciplined and do what boss tells.

But how to find boss within my ?

Ok....Gentleman Start Your Engines!

Your 3rd Combine...Know why they call it the "COMBINE!"

Because it is meant to Cut you down and Run you over, and Bind you in a Bale!

The numbers on the combine are stacked against you as well as the "eventual" payout !

If you make it, it's one thing and its hard especially given the daily risk parameters of 1%; but the reward offered is 60%...a little better than half!, for all your effort!

And the commissions charged are no bargain, so they're really your broker.

Ultimately, all they are willing to risk on you is 2K, and they ask you to prove yourself by making 8K/month data sample, just to get in door.

This amounts to a 16% return/month on equity; Top hedge funds can't do that...not many of them, THAT'S 192% a Year! Sound Realistic?

Trading is a numbers game, if you're disciplined and manage your risk parameters and monitor your trade stats, the reward is 100% all yours. So know your #'s, Run the #'s.

AND It's more than just the daily P & L per se, its the performance behind it, i.e. The BOSS.

I'm seeing a lot of smoke and spinning wheels in here,
Get some real traction and win the race!

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  #592 (permalink)
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peterg View Post
Ok....Gentleman Start Your Engines!

Your 3rd Combine...Know why they call it the "COMBINE!"

Because it is meant to Cut you down and Run you over, and Bind you in a Bale!

The numbers on the combine are stacked against you as well as the "eventual" payout !

If you make it, it's one thing and its hard especially given the daily risk parameters of 1%; but the reward offered is 60%...a little better than half!, for all your effort!

And the commissions charged are no bargain, so they're really your broker.

Ultimately, all they are willing to risk on you is 2K, and they ask you to prove yourself by making 8K/month data sample, just to get in door.

This amounts to a 16% return/month on equity; Top hedge funds can't do that...not many of them, THAT'S 192% a Year! Sound Realistic?

Trading is a numbers game, if you're disciplined and manage your risk parameters and monitor your trade stats, the reward is 100% all yours. So know your #'s, Run the #'s.

AND It's more than just the daily P & L per se, its the performance behind it, i.e. The BOSS.

I'm seeing a lot of smoke and spinning wheels in here,
Get some real traction and win the race!

You have some valid points here.....but they really apply to traders with better funded accounts than most of us have. It sounds like you have a well funded account and your performance expectations do not need to be 192% per year to make a nice living. Congratulations to you for that.

The fact is this, with a small account, risk rules, ie...never risk more than 1-2% on any one trade is really difficult to do. Why? The stop is to close for most real trades.

Secondly, a small account trade must by default have some winners really early or it faces blowout. We accept that. Larger accounts can have a winning method go through a losing streak right off the bat and still have positive equity growth over time simply by following the 1-2% rule and sticking with the method, the large account can ride out the draw down and live to fight another day.

Here is the reason for the combine.

It allows traders with limited funds (or none) in their accounts to trade someone else's money. Yes the entry rules are stiff and the risk control is tight. So what. Its their money and they can do what they want to with it. It is an opportunity to trade a larger account without a single dime of risk to yourself.

As to the commissions, they are no worse than any other broker. Again, so what. If they are making money on them which I suspect they are, then all it does is offset the losses the losing traders incur.

If the commission rate is 60% of book, whats wrong with that? For taking ZERO risk, the trader gets to keep 60% of what they produce over a threshold. Most sales jobs in which the earnings are advertised as "unlimited" have smaller commission scales. If a trader is good but has no money or has a problem actually putting the money they do have at risk, then a 60% cut is great. If the trader is really good, the commission scale slides up to a max 80% payout above $250K. Granted the likelihood of a trader making it that far are slim but again, so what. The opportunity is there.

I worked in straight commission sales most of my adult life. Our base rate was 50% with a sliding scale up to 75% with special circumstances warranting 80%. I was responsible for sourcing 100% of the business, paying for 100% of the marketing and I was 100% on the hook if those efforts did not pay off. Now I managed to make that work. I did get into the top commission scale but I spent lots of money to get there and in the beginning, it was VERY difficult due to my limited funds and lack of knowledge of the industry. Sounds like trading right?

So if someone had offered me a chance to earn 60% with NO marketing risk, 100% company provided leads and no repercussions if it did not work out and an opportunity to graduate to a larger commission rate if I did well....I'd have been jumping on that. Now that brings up an issue. In the sales business I was in, that would have provoked a question. Why would a company offer that? After all, they are taking the risk and offering an above average split. Well, the answer would be this. A tough selection process. Lets weed out the potential losers right away. Whats wrong with that? Ever tried to get hired at Microsoft? Its grueling. Google....forget about it. Goldman....nice try....These people only hire the best of the best....(well personal opinions about the quality of products coming from Microsoft aside) and they make no apologies for it.

At the company I worked for and managed a branch for, there was the obligatory background check, assuming you passed that, there was the burden of proof of production. Just because you said you could produce, the question is, can you prove it? If not, no hire. We even asked for tax returns! Then once you were hired, you were on 90 probation. No production, no employment. Sound harsh. It was. But we also had some of the highest production numbers per capita in the business. And we offered one of the most lucrative commission splits in the business....mine topped out at 80% of net revenue. Top performers were paid very well.

So while your points are valid, they are given from a position that seems to be irrelevant to many traders. The requirement to get hired in terms of a profit number goes away once you are hired. Its just a selection tool meant to find the best traders for their trading style and risk parameters.

And finally, if a trader can operate within the parameters they have offered and be successful, who's to say they can't just take the money they earn and properly fund their own trading account and continue to trade the way they have for the combine and keep 100% like you have mentioned above?

If you would like to continue to read the thread and offer helpful suggestions about how to trade, psychology or other pertinent information (your profile says you are a master trader so you should have some of this wisdom to impart) that would be wonderful. If on the other hand you would like to continue to poke fun at or criticize someone like you did with @lemons, please don't do it my thread. The thread is after all, about me. If you want to poke fun or criticize someone in my thread, let it be me. I would feel different about it if someone like @sharky or @Big Mike had offered this post due to their demonstrated motive to offer real value to forum members but you have exactly 11 posts so far and 8 of them are in my thread. To be honest, some of the posts were helpful but I have found this one to be borderline offensive to people just trying to make it in this crazy business.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, Leonardo da Vinci


Most people chose unhappiness over uncertainty, Tim Ferris

Last edited by PandaWarrior; January 15th, 2011 at 06:29 PM.
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  #593 (permalink)
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A book maybe of interest....
Amazon.com: One Good Trade: Inside the Highly Competitive World of Proprietary Trading (Wiley Trading) (9780470529409): Mike Bellafiore: Books

 
  #594 (permalink)
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aztrader9 View Post
You have some valid points here.....but they really apply to traders with better funded accounts than most of us have. It sounds like you have a well funded account and your performance expectations do not need to be 192% per year to make a nice living. Congratulations to you for that.

The fact is this, with a small account, risk rules, ie...never risk more than 1-2% on any one trade is really difficult to do. Why? The stop is to close for most real trades.

Secondly, a small account trade must by default have some winners really early or it faces blowout. We accept that. Larger accounts can have a winning method go through a losing streak right off the bat and still have positive equity growth over time simply by following the 1-2% rule and sticking with the method, the large account can ride out the draw down and live to fight another day.

Here is the reason for the combine.

It allows traders with limited funds (or none) in their accounts to trade someone else's money. Yes the entry rules are stiff and the risk control is tight. So what. Its their money and they can do what they want to with it. It is an opportunity to trade a larger account without a single dime of risk to yourself.

As to the commissions, they are no worse than any other broker. Again, so what. If they are making money on them which I suspect they are, then all it does is offset the losses the losing traders incur.

If the commission rate is 60% of book, whats wrong with that? For taking ZERO risk, the trader gets to keep 60% of what they produce over a threshold. Most sales jobs in which the earnings are advertised as "unlimited" have smaller commission scales. If a trader is good but has no money or has a problem actually putting the money they do have at risk, then a 60% cut is great. If the trader is really good, the commission scale slides up to a max 80% payout above $250K. Granted the likelihood of a trader making it that far are slim but again, so what. The opportunity is there.

I worked in straight commission sales most of my adult life. Our base rate was 50% with a sliding scale up to 75% with special circumstances warranting 80%. I was responsible for sourcing 100% of the business, paying for 100% of the marketing and I was 100% on the hook if those efforts did not pay off. Now I managed to make that work. I did get into the top commission scale but I spent lots of money to get there and in the beginning, it was VERY difficult due to my limited funds and lack of knowledge of the industry. Sounds like trading right?

So if someone had offered me a chance to earn 60% with NO marketing risk, 100% company provided leads and no repercussions if it did not work out and an opportunity to graduate to a larger commission rate if I did well....I'd have been jumping on that. Now that brings up an issue. In the sales business I was in, that would have provoked a question. Why would a company offer that? After all, they are taking the risk and offering an above average split. Well, the answer would be this. A tough selection process. Lets weed out the potential losers right away. Whats wrong with that? Ever tried to get hired at Microsoft? Its grueling. Google....forget about it. Goldman....nice try....These people only hire the best of the best....(well personal opinions about the quality of products coming from Microsoft aside) and they make no apologies for it.

At the company I worked for and managed a branch for, there was the obligatory background check, assuming you passed that, there was the burden of proof of production. Just because you said you could produce, the question is, can you prove it? If not, no hire. We even asked for tax returns! Then once you were hired, you were on 90 probation. No production, no employment. Sound harsh. It was. But we also had some of the highest production numbers per capita in the business. And we offered one of the most lucrative commission splits in the business....mine topped out at 80% of net revenue. Top performers were paid very well.

So while your points are valid, they are given from a position that seems to be irrelevant to many traders. The requirement to get hired in terms of a profit number goes away once you are hired. Its just a selection tool meant to find the best traders for their trading style and risk parameters.

And finally, if a trader can operate within the parameters they have offered and be successful, who's to say they can't just take the money they earn and properly fund their own trading account and continue to trade the way they have for the combine and keep 100% like you have mentioned above?

If you would like to continue to read the thread and offer helpful suggestions about how to trade, psychology or other pertinent information (your profile says you are a master trader so you should have some of this wisdom to impart) that would be wonderful. If on the other hand you would like to continue to poke fun at or criticize someone like you did with @lemons, please don't do it my thread. The thread is after all, about me. If you want to poke fun or criticize someone in my thread, let it be me. I would feel different about it if someone like @sharky or @Big Mike had offered this post due to their demonstrated motive to offer real value to forum members but you have exactly 11 posts so far and 8 of them are in my thread. To be honest, some of the posts were helpful but I have found this one to be borderline offensive to people just trying to make it in this crazy business.

Excellent points made with an interesting intermarket comparative analysis.

I am not poking fun at anyone with reference to the "combine" harvest process and anyone's attempt to prevail in it or in the business of trading; and I'm also not sure about the details of the "milling" process if one survives the combine. since I've never reviewed any genuine hard copy contract as to the account structure . If the funds are pooled, or not and if the tax burden is only on payout. If there is a one year lock on whatever is deemed a contribution. I'm sure there's a mountain of fine print, it is a business after all. Its crucial one know their true "position" in it.

It's a tough proposition, So please don't be offended, not by me.

Its important to review what one's up against in this combine; and to decide ultimately what are best strategies statistically to survive it. Because, if you know your performance #'s and the products you trade and when you trade them. it makes it a lot easier to quantify the solutions. A lot of traders in here use Ninja, one of the few platforms that does on the fly trade performance analysis...but all I see is concern about the trading result, the direct P&L, since ultimately that's all that counts...right?

Ultimately, it depends on how seriously you take your trading and whether you want to exploit edges you have...but don't know where, and how and when to employ them.

I post in your thread because it is the most earnestly interesting and sometimes painful attempt to challenge and prevail against the odds; its a universal struggle and trandscends trading per se, and exposes our human nature in its glory and faults.

We're all underdogs no matter the account size and/or experience. We can either struggle or strive in striking a balance between discipline's restraint and flexibility's survival.


Last edited by peterg; January 16th, 2011 at 05:56 PM.
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  #595 (permalink)
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Well that was stupid

Fantastic day today....for text book signals that is. A huge F in execution though.

For the first time in a while, I saw entries with precision. Well after the first 20 minutes or so. The first bit of the day was a fog for me and I don't know why. But after that, I saw great entries both on the five min chart and the 6R.

Trouble was, I second guessed every one and ended up chasing trades and in general working a lot harder than I needed to. My day oscillated between +30 ticks and -30 all day and ended up -18 ticks.

In hindsight, there were 4 outstanding entries on the 5 min chart. All good for at least 20 ticks but most were 50.

I wasted the entire day due to second guessing. The one trade I took at the end of the day without hesitation was a loser. Oh well.

I'm a bit pissed at myself today. I finally have a method for establishing good targets, a good method to enter a pull back and even a way to filter the trade if I want to exclude a trade without at least a 20 tick profit potential and I blew it.

At least one of the trades today had a fairly large stop. I passed on it even though I knew in my gut it was the right trade. Later as the trade did what I thought it should do, I chased it. Trouble is, now the stop is even bigger. I could not handle that so went with a fixed stop which got hit. This was the first trade after I was up 30 ticks. After that, it went downhill. I was so upset with myself for screwing that trade up, I had a hard time thinking clearly. Not the kind of mad that says "you are such a loser". Not that kind of self talk. But the kind that says; "dang, missed opportunity".

There is a place in trading where the gut feel is really important. Like most performance sports, feel is a big reason people succeed. Just watch a talented basketball player do things in live action that are not really possible. Yet they get done. Why, feel that comes from practice and more practice.

The best spin I can put on today is that is a practice day. No other way to spin it.

What I did right:

1. I waited most of the time for good signals. Patience is getting better. A long way to go though.
2. On the trades I took, most of the time, I used good stop placement. Some got hit but thats trading.
3. I recognized what was happening in terms of poor trading.

What I did wrong:

1. In the trades I took with good signals, most of the time I bailed out way to early
2. I moved stops to early on a couple of trades.
3. Even though item 3 of what I did right is true, I failed to make appropriate corrections.
4. I chased at least one trade twice with predictably poor results.

Ok, enough. The journal is solely for me to document what I am doing in my trading and I am done discussing today. It was painful and disappointing as my targeting and entry method gave signals for 150 ticks and I was using 2 contracts today. $3000 if I had executed properly.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, Leonardo da Vinci


Most people chose unhappiness over uncertainty, Tim Ferris
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  #596 (permalink)
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Wash rinse repeat

Read yesterdays' post and just repeat it here.

One exception. I had some trouble with PA reading today. Other than that, good signals early, poor execution with some trade chasing going on.

Daily stop hit.

Walked of the room in disgust.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, Leonardo da Vinci


Most people chose unhappiness over uncertainty, Tim Ferris
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  #597 (permalink)
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aztrader9 View Post
Read yesterdays' post and just repeat it here.

One exception. I had some trouble with PA reading today. Other than that, good signals early, poor execution with some trade chasing going on.

Daily stop hit.

Walked of the room in disgust.



The stars were not aligned for us yesterday, my friend...


AJ
Nashville, Tennessee


"Life On The Edge of SR"
 
  #598 (permalink)
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Stopped the bleeding

Today was a great day on CL. I got part of the sell off which on a larger range chart looked like capitulation to me by the longs after several days of back and forth. Not really sure about that one though. Doesn't really matter though as I am not a swing trader.

So while I gave back part of my morning gains, I made enough to stop the bleeding from the last two days and began a new win streak.

What I did wrong today:

1. I did not press my advantage hard enough in the opening move downward.
2. I pressed some trades after the breakdown and trend that followed AKA the chop....
3. I let a small distraction this AM get in the way of some focus.

What I did right today:

1. I jumped in without hesitation when the signals came. I did pass on some trades due to risk sizing but other than that, I did real well with getting in quick.
2. I also stretched my normal profit targets by 50%, this was important today during the sell off.
3. I was somewhat more patient in waiting for good set ups.
4. I was somewhat more patient in waiting a trade out. I did bail early on a trade late in the day though as I had to run an errand and while the stop was in place, I could not just walk away without watching it. Sure enough, the profit target was hit.

Tomorrow, I will be watching a larger time frame in the sense that a larger range bar is a larger time frame in addition to my normal six range bar. I really like the structure of the five minute chart but the exact placement of the trade is escaping me, BUT a larger range bar like maybe a 12 or 20 range bar accomplishes the same goal of reducing the number of entries with larger targets and a known stop loss. It also provides an exact tick location for a trade entry. Another nice benefit is it provides a very similar view of market structure of the entire day on one screen. A 6range bar can fill several screens if it is a busy day. And I use a 30 inch dell screen.

I expect to see the exact same set ups on the larger range bar as I do on the 6 range bar just fewer of them and with larger targets and larger stops. I realize this could be somewhat difficult to pull of considering I've not been able to have a 20+ tick stop before, but on CL I can honestly expect at least a 50 tick move at least once a day and if done properly, a 20-22 tick stop is enough most of the time which produces about a 2.5:1 RR

I've also noticed on the larger range bar that CL moves in waves. The first one or two waves are usually at least 50 ticks but often are 100-150 ticks. Each subsequent wave is smaller in size most of the time at least in terms of achievable profit targets after a given signal. So it seems to make some sense to reduce the target by a factor of "x" on each succeeding signal. What that factor is remains to be seen but I think if the first target is 50-100 ticks, then the next should be 30-50 and the third 20-30 and any subsequent trades after that be 10-15 ticks. The size of the target is determined by the daily range and how easily it moves between waves. The reduction in target size is just a measure of safety in ensuring you have a reasonable chance of getting the target filled instead of holding for every last cent which seems to lead to dissatisfaction with the overall result.

So some random thoughts about my observations of late.

Cheers.

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, Leonardo da Vinci


Most people chose unhappiness over uncertainty, Tim Ferris
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  #599 (permalink)
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The morning after a trend day usually produces a range bound day. Such was the case today. I even thought in the shower before I came to work to shorten up my targets a bit.

Had I done that, today would have been fine. My entries were pretty good but the old adage of spending 3X the effort on exits as you do on entries would have paid dividends today.

Instead, I reached a place where I realized that even if I traded perfectly, the market was not going to give me enough time and entries to totally recover my loss for the day. So instead of risking more, I shut it down before I reached my daily stop.

I am glad I did as I spent the remainder of the day downloading and replaying the previous 15 trading days worth of data and replaying the first 60 minutes of trading in each day at 4-10x normal speed and taking entries where the rules I am working on with regard to the fractal charts say to take them and NOT how I have been trading. Darndest thing, 15 trading days in a row with no losses. All I was doing was trying to prove a point to myself.

So what I did was this: I set up an 18 range chart with my normal fib lines and a 50SMA. Then I set up a 6 range chart with a 50SMA and a 15WMA which I used to trade with.

So the rule was this: Trade only in the direction of the 18R chart as defined by the 50SMA. If prices are under the SMA, only shorts allowed. If above, then longs. Further, only take trades when prices have touched the SMA on an retrace AND price is under the 50SMA and 15WMA on the 6R chart.

So for shorts, red bar on the 18R, under the 50SMA and hopefully at a major fib retracement area. In my examples I traded today, almost all of these trades were at a 50% retracement. No real science here though, I think it was just coincidence that the 50% played in most of the trades. Next, need red candles on the 6R with some proven price action. A lower low and a lower high is best. And enter with the WMA in confirmation.

I also decided to go with a target that was twice the size of the lower range chart. In this case a 6R bar turned into a 12 tick target with a 10 tick stop. The stop was not hit even once. It got within 1 tick on one trade but that was because I entered before the lower low came and it pulled back a bit before making the real move. In that case, after I got the lower low, I added to the position in the correct entry location which was about 2 ticks better price than my original entry.

None of this is new to experienced traders. The idea of higher time frame charts ruling the lower time frames is well known and documented here and elsewhere. What is new is that for the first time since I began this journey, the light bulb came on about how this actually plays out in real time. Granted, I am a slow learner and the bulb came on at an intensity less than 100% but it came on nonetheless.

What this seemed to produce was a very low risk trade. Even today, after losing money, had I just followed those simple rules, today would have been profitable.

So while today was a monetary loss, it became what I think will be an exponential leap forward in my continuing education and journey toward being a professional trader.

On a side note, watched the new wall street movie tonight on DVD. Have to say, not as good as the first one, didn't really believe in the characters that much and while Micheal Douglas was great, the movie was more of a political or economic position statement by the producers than it was just good entertainment.

I especially liked Susan Sarandon's part. That of a nurse turned high rolling real estate agent turned nurse again. Boy have I seen many of those in my 15 years in the business.

Starting Monday, I will begin posting marked up charts again. I am hoping someone with a lot of fractal experience will chime in and give me some pointers about how to be real efficient with this concept and some of the tricks of the trade so to speak. The goal is to identify low risk trades and trade in the context of the direction price is already moving.

Til Monday.....

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication, Leonardo da Vinci


Most people chose unhappiness over uncertainty, Tim Ferris
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  #600 (permalink)
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aztrader9 View Post
The morning after a trend day usually produces a range bound day. Such was the case today. I even thought in the shower before I came to work to shorten up my targets a bit.

.....


Range Bound days are the days that typically chew me up. Thanks for the insight.


AJ
Nashville, Tennessee


"Life On The Edge of SR"

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