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Zach's Log
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Zach's Log

  #21 (permalink)
Elite Member
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Favorite Futures: MES, MNQ
 
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8:18am: Initial impression is [most likely developing] bull trend!
"It would be best to enter A.S.A.P, but my rules forbid it. What am I going to do if price takes off bullishly at the open without me?.. Going to have to wait, in the mean time, I'll set up a bulish plan outside the zone."

Plan 1: Buy after 10am if price is in the green zone (newer highs territory). Play price action:
- If price goes down and hits resistance at the 2753.25 area, play price and go long = buy 3-4 points up off of 2753.25 bounce.
- If price goes all the way down to 2745.50, go long on a big bounce/start of a reversal.

8:40am: ~183,600 volume. 10 point bear move..
8:42am: The 10 point bear move changed my outlook on the daily [chart]. Possible bearish continuation.

What do I do if price is "all bearish?"
- Once it gets past the 2740 area, the daily chart would be considered bearish; play price action.
9:00am: ~234,000 volume.
9:30am: Price droped over 20 points unexpectedly (in total). Could reverse right now, or continue.
9:45am: ~444,000 volume.
10:13am: ~634,000 volume: Been chopping upwards.

That is what I wrote down pre-open and while trading. I didn't come up with many scenarios- I was totally thrown off guard by the immediate move to the downside. I almost jumped in before 10am to go short, but I'm glad I didn't because price reversed to the upside and was too choppy for me to trade. I thought this bullish behavior would come to an end, so I came up with this:

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I was watching price action, just waiting for signs of a reversal. Price climbed up to the 2748 area, and started to dip, and that's when I thought it would be a great time to go short. Just as I thought that, price absolutely took off to the downside, the craziest movement in price I've ever seen. It went down multiple points in a couple seconds, so I jumped in short out of impulse. This was my plan after all- but after I was in, I realized last time I got in behind a move like this, I got stopped out almost immediately. So price went $200 in my favor, then hit my breakeven stop. Great- I only lost $4. I thought this action would prompt more sellers to enter as it was at a pullback, so I jumped in short again. Bad idea. Price went in my favor for like a point and a half, then reversed, stopping me out for a $200 loss.

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Very disappointing and frustrating week. 3 $200 losses back to back. I know why I was wrong in this trade: I shouldn't have got in after a move like that, despite my plan. Price was too erratic. Had the movement been more "normal", I'd feel better about the loss.

Lesson: Don't get in after crazy moves, despite the plan. Re-update trading checklist to see if all criteria are still applicable in current market conditions. Things change; price action can go from smooth and consistent to radically choppy.

Review of my Trading Checklist regarding the beginning of todays trading and the trade that I ended up taking:
1. Is it not a friday? Check mark
2. Have you contemplated and written down multiple likely scenarios of price action and what you would do in those situations? Check mark (in retrospect, could've updated)
3. Do you have a strong initial impression on where the market is going to move? Check mark, it was bullish, conditions changed, then was bearish
4. Are you going with the trend? Check mark
5. Is it between 10am and 12pm? Check mark
6. Is volatility "moderate" to "slightly high"? It was before 10am, it was too crazy during my entry
7. Is price moving in a consistent manner without much hesitation? It was.
8. Do you feel confident in this trade? I did but an explosion of price threw me off and I got impulsive.

Rules I didn't follow:
6. Volatility was too high and price was too erratic when I entered. I entered impulsively.
8. I felt confident in the set-up, then lost presence of mind as my set-up was taking off without me, out of nowhere.

So next time the market does something totally unexpected, I'll go back to #3 and make sure I have enough general plans to cover my bases. I'll have to continually re-update #6, #7, and #8. Sorry if this log is underwhelming, I need a break.

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  #22 (permalink)
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I did not take any trades today because volatility was too low (it's presidents day) so instead, I watched some of FuturesTrader71's webinars from the Trading Webinars archive here. His content is some of the best I've ever seen on trading: I watched "Statistical Analysis for a Broader Edge", "How do I know I'm on the right track as a trader?", etc. After watching all of that, I decided to go through my logs dating back to 10-30-2018, to the very beginning of this year to see how differently I was trading. I had the right idea, as I was trading one particular set-up- and I remember the reason why I stopped using it exclusively is because it was somewhat rare to see on a week to week basis. I don't know if this set-up truly has edge or not because the sample size is so low, but within a month I was net positive (not by much, because I couldn't hold trades- I can now), then I started acting on different set-ups and forget about it all-together.

I deviated from that particular set-up and adopted an approach that would allow me more flexibility in my entries so I could be more involved in the market and potentially make more profits. I'm glad I did this, as I experimented with another set-up that seems promising as well (once again, the sample size is too small to jump to any conclusions). So, I'm only going to act on these set-ups from now on, rather than having a totally open-ended entry approach to the market.

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  #23 (permalink)
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Another loser! Like I mentioned in my post here in my journal/log yesterday, I decided to stick to only a handful of set-ups from now on, rather than approach the ES in an open-ended manner, which caused a huge variance in my entries and was imbuing my strategy with too much randomness. I'm not nearly experienced enough to take on the market in that manner, so I've decided to narrow-in substantially on set-ups I'll act on, from here on out. My win percentage is atrocious right now, and looking back on my most recent trades, and after watching some amazing webinars, I look back with contempt at my entries/trading locations of a certain set of trades. Even with that being the case, maybe todays entry was just as poor as the other ones. Here was today's plan:

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Very basic. So I had anticipated that the ES was finally going to break this 2763 level. I consider this pattern to be a "quad-top" (lol) and have had some success with acting on it in the past (to the downside). Given that yesterday was Presidents Day, there wasn't much market activity at all then, making me figure that there would be plenty of activity today in compensation. This also led me to think that there would be a great amount of volume at the open, and thus causing horny break-out traders eagerly waiting to get involved, short or long, at the open. This pattern in the 10,000 tick chart was signaling a bearish breakout to me. I made a couple logical assumptions that drove my decision to enter short, right before the open.

First, I analyzed the longer-term time frame charts. The daily was absolutely bearish. The hourly chart was looking bearish as well, and was similar in appearance to the 10,000 tick chart. It all checked out in that respect. I did contemplate the opposite scenario- the thing that actually happened, but what overrode this possibility in my mind was this compensation of volume/activity, and within that, I have the belief that most traders are breakout traders, thus the higher probability that price would pass that 2763 level- anyways, that was it- that's what drove my trading decision.

I broke an old rule and entered around 9:20am, since I felt so confident in the trade and really thought price was going to go in my favor. This was a perfect opportunity. So after I entered the trade, I minimized my screen and only checked back at the charts in 10 minute intervals. The first time I checked it, I was only 3 ticks in the red. That's fine. 10 minutes later, I looked back and saw that my stop was hit, leaving me with a $204.24 loss. I think that's the 4th consecutive loss (all around ~$200 losses), so maybe it's safe to assume I'm doing something totally wrong, and/or I'm going through some classic bad luck.

As some of you might know, I have this rule to only trade within 10:00am - 12:00pm. After seeing this opportunity this morning, and after thinking about all of the opportunities I missed in the past because of this rule, I thought it was stupid that I created and implemented it in the first place. An opportunity is an opportunity, regardless of the time of day- and don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that any time of the day is appropriate to trade- I don't think that's the case (depends on many factors). It's just that if there's a promising opportunity at or right before the open, or maybe 10-20 minutes right after the open, as long as there's sufficient volume and volatility, it would be acceptable to trade as long as your set-up is present. I think trading only within 10:00am-12:00pm is an arbitrary constraint. Realistically, as long as everything checks out, it would be acceptable to trade at the open or 10 minutes after- whenever is appropriate, as long as there's opportunity. For this reason, I don't regret taking my trade today. I accepted the risk and did exactly what I thought was the best thing to do.

I started trading back in SIM at 10-30-2018. During this time to now, I've changed my strategy continuously. I've changed many rules to try to fit how I want to trade from even a day to day basis. I've gone from only entering certain set-ups, to entering the market as long as there's alignment between charts, to then implementing both. I've gone from using 5-6 tick stop losses, to now using a 16 tick stop losses with every trade. I've gone from scalping and holding trades for less than a minute, to now wanting to hold trades as long as possible, almost like swing trading, but intraday. My point is, I've been so inconsistent with what trading rules I follow over the past 3 months, that there's no telling what I've been doing right or what I've been doing wrong. Given that I'm down $1500 with an initial $5000 account, I'm going to attribute this failure to lack of discipline; ineffective intrapersonal malleability that loses money.

I won't be too hard on myself, because I feel this is just simply part of the process of learning how to trade. So what I'm going to do, is genuinely try to stick to the rules that I consider the best for me, with a new initial balance of $5000. Here are the rules:

1. Only trade 3 set-ups (I analyzed all of my winning trades since 10-30-2018 to 2-14-2019 and noticed a pattern) in context of optimal price action behavior: I have a procedural understanding of when it's acceptable to trade/I account for volume, volatility, liquidity. Also, these set-ups must be in conjunction with alignment of charts (daily, hourly, 15 min, 10,000 tick charts must signal the same sentiment). - This will drastically reduce the trades that I enter. We'll see if these patterns have edge, over time.

2. Stop losses are 4 points wide, still. The difference being, I can exit at my discretion when price is past 2 points against me. Closing trades manually will be based on logical assumptions prior to entry having to do with the probability of whether or not it's more likely for price to continue to go against me in a particular situation or not. As for profits, I'm using a breakeven stop, and a trailing stop.

That's it. I've simplified my rules. I just have to observe price and identify these set-ups, and act on them when it's appropriate, and see if they pan out. I'll commit to this strategy until it fails or, hopefully, until it succeeds.

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  #24 (permalink)
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Going AWOL for at least a couple of weeks. I'm just going to analyze the ES to see the frequency of my set-ups, and if it turns out they're no longer frequent, I'll keep an eye out for others. Peace.

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  #25 (permalink)
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Posts: 127 since Sep 2018
Thanks: 152 given, 218 received

Alright, I can't stay away. I thought to myself today that it would be much better for my sake and possibly other traders if I kept updating this journal. Like I mentioned, I won't be taking any trades for at least a couple of weeks, basically not until I see, over a short span of time, that my set-up is frequent and would be successful. I started this hands-off analytical process yesterday, and not having the pressure of having to take a trade works wonders for my thought process. I'm not stressed out. I notice I don't feel the need to jump to conclusions as quickly, because I'm not going to be involved. I write down what I see and write down logical assumptions of what I think is most likely to happen next, based around testing of support and resistance lines and perceived momentum.

This mornings Analysis & Logical Assumptions:
~8:30am: "Price is in a range right now. In the 10,000 tick chart, price is doji-ing, but seems to be approaching the 2773.25 area [I anticipated bearish continuation; price was bearish since 1am last night]. This is a logical assumption because price has bounced off of this line (2773.25) once on Feb. 17, and twice on Feb. 20, and price tried to take off to the upside last night but failed, and is now in a ~15 point bear trend. - I thought it was reasonable to think that there would be further bearish continuation until price hit the closest support and resistance line. I thought it was less probable for price to reverse from where it was at that point given price was already relatively close to support and resistance and it was close to the open. There was less incentive to go long because the only criterion there was in support of going long was that on Feb. 20 price reversed to the upside at 2775.75 at 1pm. To try to clear things up if misunderstood, I drew on a screenshot to simplify what I mean.

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So I'm going to make this way of looking at the market as a habit- not just base my plan around subjective opinion on what I believe the market is going to do next. I need to think in probabilities; I need to think about what price is more likely to do in any given situation that can be read through technical analysis.

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  #26 (permalink)
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Thanks: 152 given, 218 received

I bought the NinjaTrader 8 lifetime license today. I will be experimenting and incorporating the use of volumetric bars into my trading, to refine my entries and to reduce risk. In case you don't know what volumetric bars are: "Volumetric bars calculate the delta, or difference, between buying and selling volume. Traders use this insight to help determine whether buyers or sellers are more aggressive at each price level. In essence, this footprint style visualization can help interpret who won or lost the auction within a particular period of time."

So I'm going to spend a lot of time with this tool and use it side by side with my candlestick charts. I've read some users sentiments on this forum against using OrderFlow, but in the end, OrderFlow presents you with more information of market sentiment that could be used to your advantage, as long as you can manage it. It doesn't guarantee your success.

I actually bought the license very early this morning and was waiting for a reply from NinjaTrader. Before they contacted me, obviously I was using my older set-up, using exclusively candlestick charts. I was particularly motivated this morning to discern price action possibilities though. I took this screenshot:

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I know, I know, the arrows might be too much. The three ranges bounded in by the blue lines, in my eyes, were the most likely areas of price play- in fact, price would be forced to move in at least one of those ranges (if not roughly)- and that might seem like an obvious or elementary statement, but I could use that simple information to my advantage in considering a position AFTER price meets a conditional clause. For example, this morning I wrote "If price reaches 2787.75, it's not likely to breakthrough." - (I heard this statistic that 80% of breakouts fail. From my experience, this seems correct for the ES.) With that information, I could plan to go short once price reaches 2787.75 and get out in the middle or bottom of the middle range. Just an example of where my head is at, now.

I got the e-mail regarding the lifetime license right at the open, so I ended up researching and delving into OrderFlow, volumetric bars, volume profile, etc. instead of watching the ES. I did look back a couple hours ago, and price was totally "trade-able" today. What ended up happening during the open is that price played in that middle range showed in screenshot above, then transcended that range into the top one, to then breaking out massively around 10:50am to make higher highs.

Anyways, I'll be doing a lot more research this weekend on these tools and their possible applications. I'll update this log if or when I come up with some decent ideas.

Attached Thumbnails
Zach's Log-complexposs.png   Zach's Log-bop.png   Zach's Log-2019-02-22-13-.png  
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  #27 (permalink)
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Congrats on a great purchase.....

A little tip: take care of your workspace(s) by making charts and changes to charts in a throw away workspace adding only a new chart template to your main workspace(s).

This little piece of advice has taken me about 8 years to learn.....lol

I only hope I am making myself clear. If not please let me know.

Ron


Zachary Standley View Post
I bought the NinjaTrader 8 lifetime license today. I will be experimenting and incorporating the use of volumetric bars into my trading, to refine my entries and to reduce risk. In case you don't know what volumetric bars are: "Volumetric bars calculate the delta, or difference, between buying and selling volume. Traders use this insight to help determine whether buyers or sellers are more aggressive at each price level. In essence, this footprint style visualization can help interpret who won or lost the auction within a particular period of time."



So I'm going to spend a lot of time with this tool and use it side by side with my candlestick charts. I've read some users sentiments on this forum against using OrderFlow, but in the end, OrderFlow presents you with more information of market sentiment that could be used to your advantage, as long as you can manage it. It doesn't guarantee your success.



I actually bought the license very early this morning and was waiting for a reply from NinjaTrader. Before they contacted me, obviously I was using my older set-up, using exclusively candlestick charts. I was particularly motivated this morning to discern price action possibilities though. I took this screenshot:



Attachment 263172



I know, I know, the arrows might be too much. The three ranges bounded in by the blue lines, in my eyes, were the most likely areas of price play- in fact, price would be forced to move in at least one of those ranges (if not roughly)- and that might seem like an obvious or elementary statement, but I could use that simple information to my advantage in considering a position AFTER price meets a conditional clause. For example, this morning I wrote "If price reaches 2787.75, it's not likely to breakthrough." - (I heard this statistic that 80% of breakouts fail. From my experience, this seems correct for the ES.) With that information, I could plan to go short once price reaches 2787.75 and get out in the middle or bottom of the middle range. Just an example of where my head is at, now.



I got the e-mail regarding the lifetime license right at the open, so I ended up researching and delving into OrderFlow, volumetric bars, volume profile, etc. instead of watching the ES. I did look back a couple hours ago, and price was totally "trade-able" today. What ended up happening during the open is that price played in that middle range showed in screenshot above, then transcended that range into the top one, to then breaking out massively around 10:50am to make higher highs.



Anyways, I'll be doing a lot more research this weekend on these tools and their possible applications. I'll update this log if or when I come up with some decent ideas.






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It is an axiomatic fact that while you meditate you are speaking with your own spirit. In that state of mind you put certain questions to your spirit and the spirit answers: the light breaks forth and the reality is revealed.
The steed of this Valley is pain; and if there be no pain this journey will never end.
Buy Low And Sell High (read left to right or right to left....lol)
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  #28 (permalink)
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I decided to delve into biases and heuristics this morning to investigate how these innate human ways of processing and reacting to information interfere with trading ability. More often than not, the reason why so many traders fail is because of not addressing and not compensating or managing these counterproductive behaviors. Like I've heard many times from trading performance coaches; humans are hardwired to fail at trading.

I searched the different types of heuristics that could negatively impact decision making, and the first thing I did was visit Wikipedia to realize the variety of heuristics. I remember thinking while going down the list, that most of the heuristics, if not all of them have the potential to wreck havoc on a traders account (..and psyche). The first one I read: Availability bias.

Availability bias: "In psychology, availability is the ease with which a particular idea can be brought to the mind. When people estimate how likely or how frequent an event is on the basis of its availability, they are using the availability heuristic." - I connected the dots almost immediately in regards to my own trading upon reading this definition. I used to create these general plans that would account for price just simply going up or down upon immediate inspection of price. There was hardly any insight as to the multitude of possibilities that should've been at least roughly accounted for. An idea would pop into my head, that would be my initial impression, therefore in my human mind, the imagined scenario seemed much more likely. This is evident when going back and reading my previous logs.

It's like when you look at the daily or hourly charts, and price is overall bullish, so you think duh, it would be best or make sense to go long in this situation. It may be acceptable to think that "trade the trend" is a take on mass exploitation of availability bias- I'm not saying trading the trend is a negative thing, it's just that the availability heuristic exists at the very core of many traders decisions- which in turn, creates trends, and may lose people money.

Representativeness: "Is seen when people use categories.. An individual thing has a high representativeness for a category if it is very similar to a prototype of that category." - This is why you may see a triple top like pattern form or be completed as if it were a clear cut, obvious triple top pattern. I know when I see a pattern that resembles another, that I do consider it as such, and this may be at to my disadvantage because I'm not aware if that pattern has edge or not (that's why I plan on acting on only a few set-ups from now on)- but historically, a triple top pattern has statistical edge. I guess where we draw the line as to what is similar or not is up to us as individuals- which leaves us in the dark as to a set-ups probability of success.

Affect heuristic: "It is shorter duration than a mood, occurring rapidly and involuntarily in response to a stimulus." - As an amateur trader, have you ever seen price breakout, and had your stomach react in excitement/nervousness (it's an opportunity after all! maybe an unlikely one, though)? All the things that happen in the market with price effect us and influence us in some way. We get hardwired to respond to certain behaviors of price in the long run. I know whenever I see a breakout, I get the strong urge or desire to jump in- but that's just from my trading behavior in the past. Whenever I see strong momentum, whenever I see a nice, consistent move/developing trend, everything is telling me to enter the trade. But in most cases, entering at that point in time was not part of my plan. That's why having strong emotional discipline neutralizes the affect heuristic to some degree.

Simulation heuristic: "Is a psychological heuristic, or simplified mental strategy, according to which people determine the likelihood of an event based on how easy it is to picture mentally." .. I'm so guilty of this. This heuristic and the availability heuristic work together in opposition to critical thinking (as do all heuristics). I remember acting solely based on these two heuristics subconsciously, and the product of those two biases was essentially my half baked trading "plan". Just because you can easily visualize something, doesn't mean it's more likely to happen. Facepalm. Personally value critical thinking, focus on making the right decisions based on probabilities, and this simulation non-sense shouldn't happen.. as frequently.

Effort heuristic: "Mental rule of thumb in which the quality or worth of an object is determined from the perceived amount of effort that went into producing the object." Just because you put your heart and soul into something doesn't definitely mean it's of great quality. That's a really sad, but true realization. I think the antidote to this heuristic is to be modest, and to readily accept when the market doesn't cooperate with your plan. That's easier said than done and may even be hard to identify, depending on the plan. I've found myself clinging to my plans more than once in the past- but I haven't had too many issues with this heuristic. Trading is a humble mans game, and if you aren't humble, it'll humble you.

The big takeaway for me after going through all of these heuristics and biases is that in order to trade effectively, you need to utilize that big ol' brain of yours. You've gotta be very self aware and understand your own motivations, understand your own reasons for doing particular things. That self consciousness and deliberation of self intent (meditation) could very well help enormously. Critical thinking is also paramount, not just in trading, but in life.


Last edited by Zachary Standley; February 23rd, 2019 at 02:29 PM.
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  #29 (permalink)
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Zachary Standley View Post
I decided to delve into biases and heuristics this morning...

..and while you're setting up the new NT8 tools. You've fixed a full plate for yourself, friend.

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..and while you're setting up the new NT8 tools. You've fixed a full plate for yourself, friend.

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I love trading.

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The Trading Log/Journal yuri Traders Hideout 4 June 21st, 2009 11:47 PM


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