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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.

 


 

Two Attempts – Then Reassess (2)

 

The quicker you can recognise that you're wrong… the quicker you can become right.

Here is a useful rule:

  • Two Attempts – Then Reassess!

After two attempts at a trade idea, if it hasn’t worked, it’s clear that something is not right. You’re not in sync with the market.

Either:

  • You have misread the situation and you're wrong, or
  • Your timing is out (which still means you're wrong).

 

Break the pattern!

Two Attempts – Then Reassess!

Confirm your position is flat.

Step away from the charts.

Clear your mind.

Then reassess from first principles.

Try to see the picture from the perspective of someone who might have the opposite bias to you. What are they seeing? Could they be right?

You may choose to get back in for a further trade (assuming session drawdown limits are not hit).

But you may also have prevented a meltdown; stopping a good trade idea which didn’t work from turning into an absolute mess of a session.

<Image: Two Attempts - Then Reassess>

<Image: Two Attempts - Then Reassess>

<Image: Two Attempts - Then Reassess>

<Image: Two Attempts - Then Reassess>

<Image: Two Attempts - Then Reassess>

<Image: Two Attempts - Then Reassess>

<Image: Two Attempts - Then Reassess>

<Image: Two Attempts - Then Reassess>

 

The quicker you can recognise that you're wrong… the quicker you can become right.

Here is your rule:

  • Two Attempts – Then Reassess!

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 

Previous Article: http://yourtradingcoach.com/trading-process-and-strategy/two-attempts-then-reassess/

 


 

Is This a Trade You Would Take if You Were in Drawdown?

 

Some of my better trades lately seem to occur after a string of marginal trades which either stop out or seriously underperform.

Mostly because of my rule which says that after two poor trades I need to step aside, clear my mind and reassess the situation.

Time out!

Reassess!

It prevents a downward spiral of emotional revenge trading.

And allows me to return to the market with a new plan. Usually, a plan which waits for a change of structure and takes the first pullback opportunity within that new market regime.

<image: Two trades placing me in drawdown.>

<image: Time out. Reassess.>

<image: Consider the options when price breaks current structure.>

<image: Entry>

<image: Exit>

So this brings me to an idea that may help me cut out some of the more marginal trades.

And perhaps may help you with improving your trade quality as well.

Rather than waiting for two marginal trades to place me in drawdown, maybe I could trade "AS IF" I were already in that situation.

Prior to entry, ask:

  • "Is this a trade I would take if I were in drawdown?"

 

If so, go for it.

But if not, maybe pause and reassess.

Sometimes it will keep you out of a winner. That's how this game of probabilities works.

But if it's keeping you out of a number of marginal trades then there could well be a positive change to your edge.

If the idea appeals to you, give it a try. But track the impact it has on your edge over a series of "avoided trades".

Prior to entry, ask:

  • "Is this a trade I would take if I were in drawdown?"

 

<image: This IS a trade I'd take in drawdown.>

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

The Other Trader (5)

 

Let's continue with a series we started last year – the metagame – trading AGAINST other traders who find themselves on the wrong side of the market.

Because…

If I can't feel someone on the other side of the market getting it really wrong, there is no trade.

You can see the prior articles here if you missed them – OneTwoThreeFour.

Let's set up the scenario…

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 5>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 5>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 5>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 5>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 5>

(Source: YTC Price Action Trader Vol 2 Ch 3 P99-102)

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 5>

(Source: YTC Price Action Trader Vol 2 Ch 3 P145-153)

From a metagame perspective, this is the scenario we're looking at. We aim to place ourselves in the mindset of any trader who bought late in the move, at or soon after the breakout. Feel their stress build as price stalls. And stalls. And stalls. Feel their pain as their "sure thing" collapses back below the stall region. And find a way to profit from their pain.

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 5> 

Let's zoom in a bit. And take on the mindset of the novice retail trader who entered late in the move (let's say right on the break).

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 5>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 5>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 5>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 5>

<image - metagame trading - the other trader 5>

Trading the metagame…

If I can't feel someone on the other side of the market getting it really wrong, there is no trade.

Fast, sudden price moves don't always continue.

Quite often, someone is getting trapped.

And that… is opportunity.

Go get 'em,

Lance Beggs

 


 

LTF Entry Patterns can also trigger Exit

 

Lower timeframe (LTF) entry patterns can also trigger exit.

Perhaps that's obvious? Perhaps not?

In any case, as I used an LTF trigger pattern for exit during the week the following thought crossed my mind – "I don't recall discussing this via the newsletter"

So here we are…

There are MANY entry trigger patterns. For those with the YTC Price Action Trader, refer to Chapter 4, pages 87-90 for a diagram summary of all the patterns I watch out for.

By far the majority of discussion with lower timeframe patterns is always with respect to entry.

So let's start with an entry example.

<image: LTF Entry Patterns can also trigger Exit>

<image: LTF Entry Patterns can also trigger Exit>

<image: LTF Entry Patterns can also trigger Exit>

<image: LTF Entry Patterns can also trigger Exit>

<image: LTF Entry Patterns can also trigger Exit>

<image: LTF Entry Patterns can also trigger Exit>

<image: LTF Entry Patterns can also trigger Exit>

<image: LTF Entry Patterns can also trigger Exit> 

 

BUT…

The exact same trigger pattern can also be used to trigger EXIT from an earlier (opposite direction) trade.

Let's assume now that we were SHORT much earlier, trading down into the lows.

<image: LTF Entry Patterns can also trigger Exit>

<image: LTF Entry Patterns can also trigger Exit> 

 

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Trading Alongside the Uncertainty and Fear

 

I shared the following post via social media on Wednesday:

<image: What if it's ok to feel uncertain?> 

Without doubt, this is one of the key lessons we must learn on the way to becoming a professional trader.

And so I was incredibly pleased to get the following reply:

<image: What if instead we learn to operate alongside the uncertainty and fear?>

Brilliant!

Thanks A.H.

This is exactly the right approach to the presence of the fear and doubt.

1. Recognise the emotion.

Just briefly, bring your focus back from the external (charts) to the internal (your body and mind). Notice what you're feeling.

2. Acknowledge the emotion.

Accept it. You can't fight it. You may as well welcome it.

If it helps… verbalise it.

3. Understand the emotion.

What is it trying to tell you? There is information there. Find it!

4. Review the trade premise.

Often you will find that steps one to three will significantly reduce the severity of emotion.

So the final step – review the trade premise from an objective chart-based perspective.

With the emotion acknowledged and diminished, does the trade premise actually contain edge?

If so, go for it.

<image: What if instead we learn to operate alongside the uncertainty and fear?>

<image: What if instead we learn to operate alongside the uncertainty and fear?>

<image: What if instead we learn to operate alongside the uncertainty and fear?>

<image: What if instead we learn to operate alongside the uncertainty and fear?>

If it helps, consider creating a "pre-entry mantra" to shift your focus inside and recognise, acknowledge and understand any emotion that may impact upon your trading decisions and actions.

With experience (and of course proper risk control) fear and emotion will reduce. But it never completely goes away.

You can't fight it.

Accept it. And learn to work alongside it.

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs

 


 

Let It Fail First – Then Get In

 

Although we trade very differently, I am quite a fan of Al Brooks first book, "Reading Price Charts Bar by Bar".

One of his quotes which has stuck with me over the years is the following:

  • Countertrend setups in strong trends almost always fail and become great With Trend setups.

 

This quote came to mind earlier in the week, as I took a counter-trend entry against a strong trend, despite my predominant thought prior to entry being "This is too obvious. It has to be a trap!".

<Let it fail first - then get in>

The drop from point 2 was just over 30pts (120 ticks) in 15 minutes. Ok, it's maybe not the strongest trend. But there was very little opportunity in the way of pullback entries SHORT. And bears still felt in control.

<Let it fail first - then get in>

<Let it fail first - then get in>

<Let it fail first - then get in> 

And that's when the Al Brooks quote came to mind.

  • Countertrend setups in strong trends almost always fail and become great With Trend setups.

 

<Let it fail first - then get in>

The outcome:

<Let it fail first - then get in>

<Let it fail first - then get in>

<Let it fail first - then get in> 

Happy trading, 

Lance Beggs

 


 

Reverse Trendline Breakout Failure

 

The market opened and settled quickly into an uptrend.

It was an environment I found difficult to trade for some reason. Decision making was poor. And I just couldn't get in sync with the price movement.

This was a fact that became clearly obvious after two suboptimal trades (small profit so it's all good).

So here's the plan on recognising the fact that I'm out of sync with the market:

  • Stand aside until price breaks from the current structure.

 

Here's what I mean:

The current structure was an uptrend. But not a nice one. Small swings, getting smaller.

I don't use trendlines, but they will help show what I was seeing within the structure, as the trendlines above and below price both converge on each other.

(Reverse Trendline Breakout Failure)

This is what I wait for:

(Reverse Trendline Breakout Failure)

(Reverse Trendline Breakout Failure)

This time we got a break of the reverse trendline.

(Reverse Trendline Breakout Failure)

From a strength/weakness perspective, an acceleration of price like this gives an appearance of strength, but it's not usually the case. Such a steepening of price is unsustainable and will exhaust itself. Any strength is actually short-lived and will often (but not always) provide opportunity back to the last area of congestion prior to breakout.

(Reverse Trendline Breakout Failure)

Here is the outcome:

(Reverse Trendline Breakout Failure)

Lessons:

1. Two suboptimal trades are an indication that you're potentially out of sync. Pause. Step back from the charts. And reassess.

2. When you recognise yourself being out of sync with the market, consider standing aside until price breaks from the current structure.

3. A reverse trendline breakout is usually played initially for reversion to the mean, with the remainder held for potential reversal (until proven otherwise).

Happy trading,

Lance Beggs