Don't worry about offending me or hurting my feelings. I have very thick skin. In fact, I welcome comments from more experienced traders.
The reason I think I'm not making money is fear. I haven't yet been able to let go. I know this because I am making money in sim. If you separate out my real trades from my sim trades, I'm doing OK. When I'm sim trading, I'll take marginal trades (with the Al Brooks - close is close enough - advice), but with real money, I'm more fearful.
Today I reloaded NT and sim traded. I made 6 trades: 4 winners and 2 losers for 52 ticks. My two biggest winners came from trades I'm too afraid to take in real life: Breakouts from swing highs. It seems that when I take one of those trades with real money, price fills me, then retraces and stops me out. I know I'm supposed to take ALL the trades the plan calls for, but I still find myself cherry picking setups. Part of my brain calls it 'discretionary trading', but the other half calls it fear.
The most probable reason you can't understand my interpretation of price action is I'm not doing it right.
As for my statistics, I'm not focusing on that right now. My simplified, 3 step process to trading is
Identify the setup
Take the trade
Manage the trade
The programming I'm doing is going to help me with the first item, which I'm doing in concert with the second item.
I'll post my journal a little later today.
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My best advise is to identify your setups as "A" "B" "C" with "A" having the highest winning % to "C" having the lowest winning % and start out only taking your "A" setup trades and build equity and more importantly confidence. As your equity and confidence grows, then start trading your other setups. If you find yourself in a slump go back to the "A" setup trades and keep going at it until you find yourself building on this method. You will need to have patience to let some signals pass that you have identified as not an "A" setup. More importantly, money management is vital and if you're not trading well then stop for the day.
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this is more of men problem i think. if a man can do a string of small wins then he thinks he can go for the moon. But if you can build enough equity and use that equity as the 'house' money then it could reduce your performance anxiety. I suffer the same problem so this is more from somebody else's experience.
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I'm sorry, but I don't look at it this way. To me fear = lack of confidence either in oneself or in his system. So, if he has a setup which produces a high winning % then if he can build his confidence on taking these trades. They don't have to be small wins and they of course will not always win. If fear is the psychological issue here then he needs to build confidence with a setup that he is most comfortable taking and not having fear to bail out of a trade because he takes some heat from it. I had noticed that he takes a lot of +1 tick trades. So maybe his target is way out of reach, but an 8 to 10 tick target is not hard to take in the CL market.
Tiger, would you elaborate on your strategies and why to take so many +1 tick trade results?
I totally agree that it's a confidence issue. That's why I've been programming the strategies. I found a setup that had a ~40% win rate, and I wanted study each trade to get the context of the setup. My recent computer whoa's have stalled that for a day or two.
My biggest strength is money management. Fear does that to you! I've been trading full time for about a year, and my account is pretty much where it started - including commissions. I have daily stop limits, weekly limits, and consecutive loss limits. I ALWAYS have a stop in when I put on a trade.
6 CL trades today and net positive (sim), but if you lift up the hood, there's room for improvement.
This was just plain stupid and I'm going to let it go at that. I saw the congestion and took the trade anyway. I rationalized it with LL, LH, spinner doji nonsense, but the truth is I shorted in the middle of a range. -6 ticks.
Price closed below the EMA after making a LL. The previous bar also tested the upper end of the range. Another dumb trade, because I traded in the middle of a range. -11 ticks.
The only reason I took this trade was because it was sim. I placed a buy stop 1 tick above the range after the prior strong bar. Had a hard stop in. +25 ticks.
After moving higher, price returned and tested the prior range. Figuring prior resistance now became support, I went long 1 tick above the prior bar. I didn't do the math on this, because I should have had my stop below the low of the prior bar, but instead kept it at 11 ticks. It was good that I got out BE +1 because I would have been stopped out at the very bottom of the next bar. HOWEVER, price didn't go below the prior bar, which was the logical stop.
This is another trade I wouldn't have taken in real life because it was so close to the oil report. The 07:10 bearish engulfing bar and the next two bars indicated a failure to go higher. As the 07:25 bar fell, I placed a limit order at 85.64. I took 10 ticks of heat, then the oil report came out. Got 3 ticks of slip in my favor. How real is that? +28 ticks.
The market had been ranging all morning, and the big 08:45 bar pushed right up to the upper limit. I had been looking for a 15 tick scalp trade and had the DOM set on 15 ticks and forgot to change it back to 25 ticks. Place another buy stop above the big green bar that initially set the range at 06:10. Got filled and hit the target for +15 ticks.
The second chart is a clean version of the first chart, uploaded by request.
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You are creating conflicting habits here. If you wouldn't take the trade with a live cash acct then don't take it with sim. You must treat your sim trading like you would your live acct otherwise your bad habits will follow your live trading and you don't want to do that.
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This comes from my aversion to loss. If I get ~8 ticks to the good, I move my stop to BE +1. More often than not, the trade comes back and takes me out. My theory is that if I time it right, price will continue in my favor. My minimum target is 15 ticks for a scalp, and I usually shoot for 25 ticks. My post game analysis often shows me that if I just practice basic trade management, like trailing my stop under/over the preceding bar, I would come out better. Again, I'm not worried about trade management at this point. My goal at this stage is to perfect the entry. Which leads to ...
There is something to be said for this, but on the flip side, if I discover that most of my marginal/fearful trades are actually profitable (I keep notes on these in a paper journal), this may embolden me to try them for real. When I'm trading in sim, I'm as focused and serious as I am with real money. This difference is in those marginal (untested) trades.
Really what all this comes down to for me is confidence in a setup - and experience.
My guess is that you are trading with only (1) contract and if that is the case then I would suggest that you look for setups that would give you the better opportunity to hit your minimum target and that should be based on PA = Price Action. My stop is set at 25 ticks and I hardly ever move it. I trade with a (2) targets set at +10 +25, but at times again based on the setup I may move the targets to +8 +15. If price comes back at me I just close the trade and I go by feeling by watching how price moves on the Dom if it is not going to continue and hit my 2nd target I simply just close the trade. But there has been times that I am confident that price will continue and let the price come back against me a few ticks and let the trade move back in my direction.
I know myself, and if I'm going to create a habit trading with sim, then I know I will carry this habit "good or bad" over to my live cash acct trading and I just don't personally like it.
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Speaking from experience - when I used to move my stop to BE +1 I thought it sounded like a good idea. I was wrong. The market doesn't give a damn about what you are doing as an individual trader. Why is your long or short trade suddenly invalid and a mistake or wrong just because price comes back to your BE +1 level?
If you are scalping, then scalp. That means take everything off before you get to the 8 ticks. If you are trading for bigger profits, then you will have to accept that you must set stops where the market dictates, and where they align with your risk management. This very often means a trade may go in your favor the first few seconds, then retrace some, and then go again in your favor for a big move. Such is the nature of markets. You could wait for the second entry but then you will find reason to mull over all the first entries that blasted off without you.
Psychology has a huge role here. All those BE +1 stop outs are affecting you mentally. If you are picking the direction correctly, then why not focus less on the entry, and more on the exit. The exit is what dictates profit.
Due to time constraints, please do not PM me if your question can be resolved or answered on the forum.
Need help? 1) Stop changing things. No new indicators, charts, or methods. Be consistent with what is in front of you first. 2) Start a journal and post to it daily with the trades you made to show your strengths and weaknesses. 3) Set goals for yourself to reach daily. Make them about how you trade, not how much money you make. 4) Accept responsibility for your actions. Stop looking elsewhere to explain away poor performance. 5) Where to start as a trader? Watch this webinar and read this thread for hundreds of questions and answers. 6) Help using the forum? Watch this video to learn general tips on using the site.
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