Yearly Archives: 2017

Why You SHOULDN’T Get Anyone to Review Your Trade

 

I receive a LOT of requests to review people's trades. Rarely winning trades. Almost always a trade which either lost or was scratched at or near breakeven.

  • "Was this a good trade?"
  • "Was I right to take this trade?"
  • "Should I have (entered earlier / entered later)?"
  • Or any other variation of these type of questions.

 

I get why. We're all trying to improve and so it makes sense to seek guidance from another trader.

And I don't mind people sending them.It's really cool. I like looking over them.

But I'm very hesitant to offer any real guidance, unless I can see something that is either ridiculously lacking in edge or completely reckless and irresponsible from a money management perspective.

Why?

Not because I don't want to help.

But because I recognise the danger of focusing on one individual trade – the fact that any advice I offer has just as much potential to damage their edge as it does to improve it.

The thing is, I am COMPLETELY LACKING in some very important information.

As discretionary traders, we are ALL unique in so many ways.

Even those who trade based upon my approach and the ideas I share through my site. No-one can become a perfect clone of me. And no-one should expect to. Those who I've seen have the most success are those who intentionally aim to blend some of my ideas and methods with their own. But even those who try to trade "exactly" like I do, I'm always blown away by the variation in how we read the markets and how we exploit edge within that "read".

Everyone is unique.

We all have our own preference for different types of trades. And different environments. The conditions that I find most favourable, might be the conditions in which you struggle the most. The conditions in which I underperform, and which I seek to avoid at all cost, might be the exact conditions that you excel in.

If I try to force you into my view of the markets, based upon review of only ONE SINGLE TRADE, I might completely mess up your trading.

Let's try a really simple example, so that this will hopefully make sense to you.

Let's say for example that I excel in with-trend setups. I feel the price flow really well. I'm in sync with the market. It feels fun. And kind of easy. But at the same time, I tend to grossly underperform whenever I find myself trying to enter counter-trend. I don't read them well. I'm rarely in sync with price movement. It's not fun. And results show it's never easy.

And then let's say you send through a trade. You guessed it – counter-trend. And of course, it lost. And you asked, "Lance, can you share your thoughts on this trade? Can you see where it went wrong and what I should do to improve?"

Have a guess what my immediate thoughts will be.

"Well there's the obvious problem. You're fading the trend. Hey, don't feel bad. Everyone seems to want to fade the market. But the odds are always better in the with-trend direction. Why don't you try to restrict yourself to the with-trend direction instead."

Ok, maybe this would help them. But maybe not.

I don't know this person. I have no insight into their unique blend of knowledge, skill and attitude. I have no insight into their preferred style of trading. Or which market environment or conditions best suit them and their style of trading.

It might be that this trader naturally struggles to trade with-trend. But they have some exceptional and natural skill at recognising exhaustion at the end of a price swing and timing a counter-trend entry for a fade back to the mean (and sometimes a complete reversal).

Yes, this one trade lost. But what if any sample of 20 counter-trend trades from this trader's journal includes not only a number of losses just like this one, but also sufficient winners to not only cover the losses but also provide a nice positive expectancy outcome.

Or (far more likely) if they're still developing and not quite profitable yet, sufficient potential to achieve those winners with only a small amount of further growth and development.

If I convince this trader to abandon their approach, or in fact vary it in any way that seems "obvious" to me from one single trade example, I could be setting them back months as I lead them blindly in the wrong direction.

It doesn't matter if it's me you're asking for the review. Or any other trader.

ONE TRADE is insufficient information for me, or any other trader, to provide you with any real value.

I'm sure this opinion is unpopular. Clearly I expect many will disagree with me.

But that's fine.

Because you shouldn't need to send any single trades through to me. Or to any other educator or trading mentor.

Let me share with you a better plan.

Let me share the response I sent out to a trader this week, who sent me a trade with a few questions about (a) the quality of the trade idea and (b) whether or not he'd be better skipping first entries and waiting instead for second-chance entries.

I'm not picking on this guy. I actually quite like his trade. The entry at least. It didn't reach the target but his timing was good enough that the market offered enough movement and time to scratch the trade or take small profits. (He got out at breakeven so no harm done).

I share this (with his permission) simply because I thought my response was important. I wanted to share it with all of you.

This trader says he's coming along quite well. In his words, he's "finally starting to see how this might work". He's found a method that seems to fit his personality, but is still requiring improvement in some areas.

The following chart shows the trade sometime well after the entry. It was eventually scratched for breakeven. The notes have been added by me.

It's not actually important you see his trade. It's my response that's important. But hey… no-one likes trading articles that don't have a chart in them. So here it is:

<image: Breakout Failure Entry>

Here's an excerpt from my email response (with a little editing to improve it):

– – –

These are difficult questions to answer. Let me explain why.

What if I tell you not to take these trades because I don't like factors a, b & c. But what if also I don't see factors x, y & z, that you do see. It might be that you're good at picking these trades in which 6 out of 10 may fail, but 4 out of 10 may go on to give 5R winners. If I tell you not to take them, I could be destroying an edge that you have but which I just cannot see.

(An example here would be… what if I told you not to take counter-trend trades because they're far more difficult… stick to with-trend trades. But I'm basing this off one single trade example. Where it could be the fact that you're quite skilled in picking the turn points and do have an edge over a longer series of trades. If I tell you not to take them, I could be destroying an edge that you have but which I just cannot see from one single trade example.)

Analysis of one trade is largely irrelevant. Look to stats for groups of trades.

When you have group stats then you can look for what is working and what needs to be changed. Without that foundation I'm just poking around in the dark. I'm lacking context with regards to the desired outcome.

So, my question to you is, based upon your 20 trade stats analysis, what part of your trading are you trying to improve? And why? Only then will analysis of this one trade make any sense.

I'm not blowing off your question. You're seeking answers in the wrong place. (I really need to do further training on how to grow and develop. Almost everyone gets this wrong.)

For a good starting point, until I get time to prepare this training, see these articles for a simple example of how to guide your growth and development:

http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/its-time-to-fight-to-get-to-the-next-level/

http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/its-time-to-fight-to-get-to-the-next-level-examples/

Perhaps here as well:

http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-business/consistency-its-a-necessary-part-of-the-process/

So here's a better plan:

  • Get absolutely clear with how you want to trade the next group of trades. 20 minimum, but feel free to adjust that number higher if you prefer. I'll use 20 in the example. As much detail as you can – what type of trades are you taking? What are you trying to achieve in taking these trades?
  • Now take 20 trades. Your individual post-trade review is not important, beyond just confirming CONSISTENCY in sticking to your plan. By all means look deeper into each trade if you wish, but the priority is just to ensure that you're achieving some degree of consistency in your trade sample.
  • Don't concern yourself with profit or loss (providing of course you're not breaking any risk or money management drawdown limits).
  • On completing the full sample, analyse the statistics related to the full group of 20. There are no shortage of stats, but the absolute minimum should be the Win% and the Win/Loss Size Ratio (WLSR) (or it's component parts being the Average Win and Average Loss).
  • Find where you are underperforming. Which statistic is most in need of improvement. If you're underperforming in multiple areas, pick one for now.
  • Dig into the individual trades and charts comprising your 20 trade sample to understand WHY they gave that statistical outcome. And WHAT you can do to improve that outcome in the next 20 trade sample.
  • If you wish (and I highly recommend this) the same can be done for any area which really outperformed this time. Find out why and see if there is anything you can do which increases the likelihood of similar outperformance in future.
  • Now repeat.

 

This is the path.

Most people just trade, review that trade, and then move on to the next trade and repeat the process. Progress is very difficult this way, as you get bogged down in individual trade problems, when they might not be an issue that impacts edge at all when considering a larger sample.

Trade larger samples. Look to the stats. And use them to drive your trade review process and define the path forward.

You don't need to ask my opinion. Anything I offer. based upon one single trade, risks being irrelevant or wrong when considering a larger sample of trades.

Plus, you have all the necessary information. The group stats will identify the area that needs examining. And the charts and journal data will provide the information necessary to understand what happened, why and what needs to be done to improve.

If stuck… sure… seek advice. But it's got to be based upon larger group stats analysis and not just ONE SINGLE individual trade.

So take 20 trades and examine the stats.

Find the underperforming statistic (Win%, Average Win or Average Loss). Look to the trade data to find out why it produced this outcome. And what can be done to improve.

Trade larger samples. Look to the stats. And use them to drive your trade review process and define the path forward.

I hope that helps.

Now, having said this, let me just finish up with a few thoughts that do somewhat answer your questions.

I do actually quite like your trade location and entry. I'd like to think I might have taken an entry there as well.

And yes, second chance entries are often a much better trade. The problem with waiting for a second chance entry is that you miss a lot of good trades though, when the first entry might have worked. Hence my preference for scratching a first trade when I suspect it's not working, but watching closely for re-entry opportunity if there is another one set up. Maybe you could consider something similar. This does has it's own downside, in that sometimes I scratch and can't get back in. Ha ha. Nothing's ever easy in this game.

Summary: Again, I actually do quite like the trade idea and entry (original and second chance). But this is all irrelevant. Take 20 or more of these trades and look at the stats. Does it provide edge? If not, where do the stats suggest underperformance? Why? And then what can you do to improve the performance over the next 20 trades.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Improving and Maintaining FOCUS for Day Traders

 

This is not for those who trade longer timeframes. If you trade the 15 minute chart or higher then you should NOT be aiming for constant screen watching all day. Set alarms to monitor price on completion of each trading timeframe candle. And price alerts to bring your attention back to the charts at key levels.

If you trade the 5 minute chart, perhaps you'll want a blend of the two. Alerts when price is well clear of potential setup areas. Screen watching only when there is potential for trade opportunity.

But below 5 minutes, you'll likely want to spend considerable time watching the price movement.

And for you, it's important that you develop a plan to achieve peak-performance levels of focus.

<image: FOCUS>

Photo by Stefan Cosma on Unsplash

Here are my thoughts:

Let's start by reviewing one of the key ideas in the article on discipline.

Read it here if you missed it: http://yourtradingcoach.com/trader/how-can-i-get-more-discipline/

In that article, I suggested that you can't "get more discipline". Discipline is actually an outcome. And it comes about through effective HABITS and STATE MANAGEMENT.

The same applies when we think about focus.

Focus is not something you can just get more of. Again, it's an outcome. And it comes about through HABITS and STATE MANAGEMENT.

We aim for habitual use of processes in our pre-session, during session and post-session routines, in order to establish a focused state. And to return quickly to the focused state if our mind should start to wander.

And we aim to place our body, mind and soul in as much of a peak-performance state as we can, in order to best maintain effective levels of presence, awareness and FOCUS.

So let's split this article into two parts, turning the idea of "focus" into a daily habit, and then ensuring effective state management.

Here's my plan:

Habits

1. The Power of Intention

There is nothing I've found more powerful in kick-starting my daily habit and ensuring disciplined focus than the power of intention.

This is a documented part of my pre-session routine.

It is simply a verbal statement of intent that "Today I WILL focus on the charts. I will not allow myself to open my browser for any non-trading purpose".

That is obviously set up for my most common distracter. "I'll just have a quick look at email and social media."

Adjust the statement to suit your own needs. But be sure to give it a try.

I can confirm through having monitored this as part of my review process, that days which begin with a verbal statement of intent are typically more focused than days when I did not make the statement of intent.

2. My Focus Statement

This is used during the session, whenever I have caught my attention wandering.

Here it is via a recent share on social media:

<image: FOCUS>

3. Regular Checks

Every 30 minutes I check my personal state. This includes an assessment on how effective I was in maintaining focus.

If particularly good or bad, I'll jot down some notes.

These then feed into the post-session review.

And if poorly focused, it's back to the statement of intent and the focus statement (above). 

4. The Focus Alarm

I don't always use a focus alarm. I find if used continuously that it tends to just disappear into the "background" after a while.

But from time to time, in particular if slightly fatigued, it has helped.

It's simply an alarm that goes off on the close of EVERY trading timeframe candle. It sounds a bit extreme. But it works. You can of course set it for longer if you prefer. Or shorter.

But it acts as a "wake up" to not only shock me back into focus if I've slipped away again, but also allowing me to "update" my market analysis with this new candle information.

I use SnapTimer, but there are dozens online if you don't like it.

5. Post-Session Review

The 30 minute notes on your ability to maintain focus are pointless if you don't review them.

So post-session… review them.

And then, if you were not particularly effective, aim to identify why and find a way to improve tomorrow.

State Management

1. Eliminate Distraction

Your mind cannot be focused if it's surrounded by multiple temptations or distractions.

The mind is NOT a multi-tasker.

Remove all distractions – social media, internet, phones, pets, kids, and whatever else acts to take your attention away from the charts.

For web browsers, you can find apps which block access to them during preset times each day. Keep one browser available though (not the one you usually use for surfing). If your platform goes down or you get other tech issues, you're going to want some way of getting online quickly.

2. Adequate Rest

Set a minimum standard for rest. And stick to it.

See here for mine – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trader/trader-fatigue-management/

3. Adequate Hydration

There's a water bottle just off to my right. Always accessible.

Essential.

Get one for your trading room if you don't have one.

4. Physical Health

This kind of goes without saying. If you struggle with focus, exercise better and eat better. Simple!

You will notice improvement in all areas of your life.

5. Relaxation processes

I have regular breathing routines from back in my Tai Chi & Chi Gung days.

If you don't, Google search it.

Find some exercises to relax the mind, body and soul.

6. Stimulants

Coffee pre-session. To be honest I'm not sure on the science of this one. It is effective for me, given the night hours I trade. But not too much. One a half-hour before trading seems to help me. Give it a try.

I have a glucose lolly pre-session. And then a second during the session if I feel a bit flat. See here – http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/magazine/do-you-suffer-from-decision-fatigue.html?pagewanted=all

I've heard chocolate helps. But maybe I'm making that one up because, you know, chocolate!   🙂

I've heard blueberries are good for a sharp mind. Give that a try if you're not a fan of chocolate. (Send me your chocolate!)

Chewing gum, while not exactly a stimulant, seems to work well in dissipating any nervous energy that can act as a distraction.

7. Regular Breaks

Always aim to spend a few minutes every half hour AWAY FROM THE DESK.

Get up. Stretch. Go for a walk. Whatever you need.

Just get away from the charts to reset your mind.

8. Regular Exercise

Consider incorporating this into your breaks.

Nothing gives you a "wake up" quite as effectively as a short, sharp burst of exercise.

9. Background Music

Nothing with lyrics. EVER.

But experiment with background ambient music, binaural beats or isochronous tones. Or whatever works the best for you.

It's a process of trial and error. Add this to your post-session review until you find a number of preferred solutions.

10. Standing Desks

I don't have one right now due to the current layout of my trading room. But I've used this in the past to great effect.

Seriously, it works incredibly well.

Raise your desk. And stand back a bit, out of arms reach of the keyboard and mouse.

Step forward ONLY when it's trade time.

It's just you and the charts. Absolutely NO WAY to click on that web browser, even if you wanted to.

If Nothing Else Works

I've yet to see a trader try this but it looks like it has potential.

– – –

Well that just about wraps it up.

What have I missed?

If you have any tips or techniques which you've found effective for improving or maintaining focus, let us know in the blog post comments.

Best of luck,

Lance Beggs

 


 

TTF Narrow Range Bar Entry

 

Let's say we have a market with a clear bearish bias.

Price then pulls back higher and reaches an area in which I'd be happy to enter a SHORT position.

Two of the key things I'm looking for are:

  1. Signs that the bulls have exhausted everything they've got.
  2. Signs that the late bulls, entering late in the pullback rally, will be under maximum stress and likely to give up on their trade.

 

<image: TTF Narrow Range Bar Entry>

One of the ways I love to see this play out is through a Trading Timeframe (TTF) Narrow Range Bar.

Let's see one in play…

<image: TTF Narrow Range Bar Entry>

Let's zoom in a little to see how the pullback develops…

<image: TTF Narrow Range Bar Entry>

<image: TTF Narrow Range Bar Entry>

<image: TTF Narrow Range Bar Entry>

<image: TTF Narrow Range Bar Entry>

<image: TTF Narrow Range Bar Entry>

<image: TTF Narrow Range Bar Entry>

Please note that I am NOT advocating buying or selling the break of every TTF Narrow Range bar.

The trade must be in a proper setup location, where follow through in your trade direction makes sense with regards to the structure of the market.

The trade must offer good reward:risk parameters. The Narrow Range bar entry will ensure low risk. The market structure though, MUST provide multiple-R opportunity.

While trading and waiting for lower timeframe price confirmation… make sure to also keep an eye on the TTF. It may just be proving an inability to move further into your setup area, offering you a nice low risk entry into your trade.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 

PS. For more examples of this TTF Narrow Range Bar entry concept:

 


 

Seeking Entry on the Wholesale Side of the Market Structure

 

I absolutely LOVE IT when people send me charts and emails full of excitement at new discoveries or new ways of "seeing" the price movement.

I received one last week that I just had to share.

It's such a great example of seeking entry on the wholesale side of the market structure. I love it.

An email came from G.N. with the following chart. Of interest was the upthrust pattern allowing entry short, in line with the ideas discussed in prior articles – Professionals Traded Here and Confirmation is Risk.

(Note: The image here is compressed to fit the page. If you click on the image it will open an original-size image in your browser. Or refer to GBP/USD on the 2nd November, 1 min chart, if you wish to look at your own charting platform.)

<image: Seeking Entry on the Wholesale Side of the Market Structure>

Actually, let's zoom in a little to identify the upthrust area.

<image: Seeking Entry on the Wholesale Side of the Market Structure>

So here is what I ABSOLUTELY LOVED about receiving this image and email from GN:

<image: Seeking Entry on the Wholesale Side of the Market Structure>

<image: Seeking Entry on the Wholesale Side of the Market Structure>

<image: Seeking Entry on the Wholesale Side of the Market Structure>

This chart provides an awesome example of entry on the wholesale side of the market structure. Here's what I love about this particular trade idea:

<image: Seeking Entry on the Wholesale Side of the Market Structure>

<image: Seeking Entry on the Wholesale Side of the Market Structure>

<image: Seeking Entry on the Wholesale Side of the Market Structure>

<image: Seeking Entry on the Wholesale Side of the Market Structure>

<image: Seeking Entry on the Wholesale Side of the Market Structure>

<image: Seeking Entry on the Wholesale Side of the Market Structure>

Just beautiful!

It's been one of my favourite concepts for years.

The idea of watching breakouts against market bias for failure. And using that to trigger entry back in the direction of the original market bias.

Keep an eye out for it in your markets and your timeframes.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Caught on the Wrong Side of the HTF Trap

 

Last week we profited from recognising and exploiting a Higher Timeframe (HTF) trap. Check it out here if you missed it – http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-process-and-strategy/higher-timeframe-trap-everyone-long-above-this-level-is-wrong/

This week, let's look at the other side of traps.

The fact that sometimes… the trapper becomes trapped.

<image: Caught on the Wrong Side of the HTF Trap>

<image: Caught on the Wrong Side of the HTF Trap>

<image: Caught on the Wrong Side of the HTF Trap>

<image: Caught on the Wrong Side of the HTF Trap>

<image: Caught on the Wrong Side of the HTF Trap>

<image: Caught on the Wrong Side of the HTF Trap>

<image: Caught on the Wrong Side of the HTF Trap>

<image: Caught on the Wrong Side of the HTF Trap>

<image: Caught on the Wrong Side of the HTF Trap>

Repeating for effect:

  • You don't always get it right.
  • Sometimes you're "the other trader" that's caught in the trap.
  • The key to surviving and minimising damage is in quickly recognising when price movement is NOT behaving as it should if the premise is correct.
  • Recognise and adapt.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Higher Timeframe Trap – Everyone Long Above This Level is WRONG!

 

Most of the traps I trade come from the Trading Timeframe or Lower Timeframe charts.

I don't watch the higher timeframe for traps.

However, I do see them from time to time. And they can provide some nice trading opportunity.

<image: Higher Timeframe Trap>

Ok, "wrong" is probably a poor choice of word. The reality is that we don't know their strategy and their timeframe.

But let's just say that they're in a drawdown.

And if they're operating on similar timeframes to us, their position is NOT looking good.

They'll likely be under a significant amount of stress. And probably hoping, wishing and praying for some way to get out of the position closer to breakeven.

Let's drop down to the Trading Timeframe chart to see where we currently stand.

<image: Higher Timeframe Trap>

<image: Higher Timeframe Trap>

<image: Higher Timeframe Trap>

<image: Higher Timeframe Trap>

From a Trading Timeframe perspective, this was simply a BPB of a sideways range boundary.

But from a wider context perspective, it was also triggering a trap on the higher timeframe chart. Those betting on a gap-open continuation higher suddenly found their trade premise threatened.

And this makes our range breakout SHORT just a whole lot sweeter.

It pays to always be asking, "Is anyone trapped?"

And while our focus should primarily be on the Trading Timeframe chart, we should ensure our scan also extends to the Higher Timeframe chart. At least once per new higher timeframe candle.

Maintain a feel for context. Where is the current price action occurring within the higher timeframe structure? Sometimes this wider situational awareness will keep you out of a bad trade. Other times, as here, it can add additional fuel to our trade idea.

Always be asking, "Is anyone trapped?"

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Stop – Pause to Reassess – Reverse

 

I get asked from time to time whether I ever "stop and reverse" a trade.

That is, enter SHORT when stopped out of a LONG position. Or enter LONG when stopped out of a SHORT position.

The reality is that I don't do that often.

The failure of one trade is usually NOT an indication of potential in the opposite direction.

The only time there may be potential is when the CONTEXT suggests the new trade is a valid trade in its own right. So the trade validity has little (or nothing) to do with the failed trade preceding it.

For example, if I'm fading a strongly directional market and recognise that I'm wrong, then I might use the stop to reverse to a with-trend trade. In this case, the with-trend trade is a completely valid trade in its own right. It's a with-trend trade I'd be happy to take, even had I not taken the earlier counter-trend trade.

But as I said, I don't tend to do this often. It's not always easy to shift bias so quickly.

There is however a closely related trade, which is a little more common.

It's more of a "Stop – Pause to Reassess – Reverse".

A common place for these is a key level of some kind, such as an S/R level or range boundary, where we might be assessing two potential opposite biases through either a breakout failure or breakout pullback.

Let's look at one example:

<image: Stop - Pause to Reassess - Reverse>

<image: Stop - Pause to Reassess - Reverse>

<image: Stop - Pause to Reassess - Reverse>

<image: Stop - Pause to Reassess - Reverse>

<image: Stop - Pause to Reassess - Reverse>

<image: Stop - Pause to Reassess - Reverse>

<image: Stop - Pause to Reassess - Reverse>

 

Key points:

1. Failure of one trade does not imply potential in the opposite direction, unless the context suggests the new trade is a valid trade in its own right.

2. A stop and reverse does not need to happen at the same time. Often a better option is "Stop – Pause to Reassess – Reverse". Give yourself an opportunity to reassess the situation with a clear mind, as a result of having no exposure to the market.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

3 Methods to Manage a Negative Expectancy Setup

 

Let's start by assuming that you are tracking your trade results and compiling stats to drive further growth and development. (See here if you're not!)

What do you do when you discover one part of your trading plan consistently underperforming?

It might be one particular setup.

It might be one particular type of market environment.

Or it might be any other subset of your trading plan which you're tracking through your spreadsheet.

Either way, that subset of data is providing a negative expectancy and damaging your overall edge.

You need to take action.

Common advice is to just drop that part of your trading. But it's not the only option.

In general risk management theory there are five methods for dealing with negative risk.

<image: 3 Methods to Manage a Negative Expectancy Setup>

Let's scrap the last two as they're not really appropriate to our situation.

Option 5, accepting the risk, is not a solution. It's negatively impacting your edge. Even if this is more than adequately overcome by the remainder of your trading, this is not something we're willing to accept.

And option 4, transferring the risk, would be something like trading other people's money. Again, not applicable in this case, as it doesn't really solve our problem.

So that leaves us with three options.

<image: 3 Methods to Manage a Negative Expectancy Setup>

 

Option 1, avoid the risk, is the common advice.

Just stop doing it.

<image: 3 Methods to Manage a Negative Expectancy Setup>

Simple. And effective.

Avoid the risk entirely by just avoiding these sequences.

But it's not the only option.And often we just "know" there is potential within that negative expectancy performance. Somewhere. We just have to find it.

So let's look for additional options.

Option 2 allows us to continue trading these sequences, but not all of them. 

<image: 3 Methods to Manage a Negative Expectancy Setup>

We still want to trade. But we don't want to trade them all. So let's see if we can filter out the marginal trades, leaving only those A+ trade opportunities.

Dig deep within the stats and data for this setup. There may well be certain conditions which provide a positive expectancy.

This will allow you to continue trading live, but with a smaller frequency. Only trading this setup when these specific conditions are met.

Or if you are absolutely sure that you can develop skill over time, to take your negative expectancy performance into positive expectancy territory, then option 3 might best suit your needs.

Option 3 allows you to continue to trade as before, but in a way that is much safer and has less negative impact upon your edge.

<image: 3 Methods to Manage a Negative Expectancy Setup>

The extreme case here would be to trade these sequences in sim mode, rather than with live funds. Track your sim results separate to your live results.

But you might also prefer to simply cut position sizes. Markets such as spot forex offer significant flexibility here, with the ability to trade right down to the micro-lot level.

Positive edge sequences can continue to be traded at normal size. Those sequences which are currently showing a negative edge should be traded at reduced size.

An example:

Through tracking your stats you find that you "mostly" have a positive edge in your trading.

Except in one particular market environment, in which you find yourself repeatedly trying to fade the market.

It's one of those situations where you get it right often enough to sense you have potential in this environment. But get it wrong often as well and end up taking a positive session to your daily drawdown limit.

The end result with these sequences is a negative expectancy over time.

NOT COOL.

Here's an example of what we're dealing with. In this case, a strong and persistent trend with low volatility (small, shallow pullbacks).

<image: 3 Methods to Manage a Negative Expectancy Setup>

Let's examine the three options:

<image: 3 Methods to Manage a Negative Expectancy Setup>

 

Option 1: Avoid the risk

Simple.

Determine clear and objective rules to confirm this type of trending environment.

And when that triggers, either:

(a) Limit trading to the with-trend direction only.  (Duh! Seems like the obvious solution, right!)

or

(b) If there is some reason why you prefer not to trade with-trend, then stand aside.

 

Option 2: Reduce the Frequency of Occurrence

Dig into your stats. Examine all occurrences of counter-trend trading within a strong, persistent, low-volatility trend.

Is there a subset of trades within this data which DOES offer a positive edge?

Second chance entries perhaps?

Trap entries?

Entries which involve size traded at the extreme high?

There may be nothing there. But if there is, FIND IT.

Determine clear and objective rules to confirm this type of trending environment.

And then only trade the positive expectancy subset. Of course, continuing to track results to confirm this positive expectancy continues into the future.

 

Option 3: Reduce the Severity of Occurrence

You believe there is potential with these trades. You don't want to trade them on sim, because you feel you need some "skin in the game".

Fine.

Keep trading.

Determine clear and objective rules to confirm this type of trending environment.

And cut the position size to a fraction of your normal size.

Continue to track results and work to improve over time.

Option 1 is of course the simplest. And it provides a very quick solution. But it's not the only option. In discussion with traders who are fighting against a negative expectancy setup or environment, I find they're often unwilling to give it up. That's fine. There are other options. Dig deeper to find a more highly selective setup, which does offer a positive edge. Or cut size and continue to "more safely" build skill and expertise.

Best of luck,

Lance Beggs

 


 

EDIT: From a discussion with another trader on twitter it appears I did not make the following point clear enough. The intent of reducing size (option 3) is to allow you to continue trading more safely WHILE determining why it’s a negative expectancy and turning that around to positive. There is no point just reducing size if you do no further work on attempting to correct the issue. Simply reducing size on a negative expectancy setup will still provide a negative expectancy, albeit smaller. You MUST continue to study the problem. Identify the cause. And correct it. Then work to slowly and incrementally increase size again, as success is proven at each level. The problem may be contextual. It may be an execution issue. Whatever it is, reduce size so that any negative edge can be easily absorbed within your other results, and then work to fix the problem.