Playing the Odds – Review

Playing the Odds – Review

Today I watched the special webinar held by Tom Dante and Hugh Hawkins on statistics in trading, with a focus on certain statistics.

This webinar was called Playing the Odds.

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What you get is a 90-minute video which covers the following

How often does the Open Drive fail? What is the highest probability trade when you see it?

What is the probability of a gap filling in the EUR/USD using various stop sizes?

Gaps in FX: How large are these gaps and how often do they close on the same day? How often do they close within 6-12 hours?

Inside Days: How often do we break the high side? The low side? Either side? Both sides the same day?

What is the probability of the market hitting the inside day high/low on the day following the inside day failure pattern?

How well do Bullish and Bearish Engulfing candlestick patterns work?

How well do Hammers and Shooting star candlestick patterns work?

Do certain days of the week have a directional bias?

What day of the week is the high or low more likely to occur?

If we break yesterday’s high or low overnight how often do we retest it during the day?

For European products, if we break yesterday’s high/low during the morning session, how often do we retest it during the afternoon session?

How often do we test the daily settlement price, the next day?

What time of day is the high and low set for the day?

If price closes out of value, how often does it break the high or low the next day?

Also provided is a pdf covering all the stats in the webinar.

Excel spreadsheet of the EURUSD stats

And 15 templates that can be used in RT Investor or Market Delta, so that we can these stats ourselves and play around with the criteria to suit our needs.

What I thought

Video quality is good but not HD, but with the PDF of the presentation then it is easy to check any details of the various stats close up.

Sound quality is okay, Hugh was not as clear as Tom, but I was listening at 1.5x speed and I had no trouble understanding it.

They cover a good amount of different statistics across the main futures markets and the 4 of the main currencies. These include Bund, EuroStoxx, Dax, ES and the EURUSD, GBPUSD, AUDUSD, USDJPY.

There is plenty of edges that traders can use in their markets within this webinar and associated documents.

They do not go into detail in how to exactly trade these edges, but even so it would not take much work to fold these edges into a strategy.

My benchmark for any review is will this resource pay for itself by improving my trading. After all this is a business, and we should be only investing in anything that will give us a return on our investment.

At £14.99, I found it excellent value for money. It is a great introduction to what sort of stats we should be looking at in trading, there are definitely tradable edges within the stats provided and if you use RT Investor or Market Delta, there is a bunch of templates.

So if you are a user of either of these programmes and are interested in using stats in your trading, then you get a bunch of templates at .99 pence, and that is a massive time saver and to be honest a deal in my books.

Even if someone has no interest in replicating these stats themselves but are interested in using stats within their trading then this is a worthwhile webinar to watch for this price.

A couple of points to anyone thinking about using stats in their trading

A statistical edge may not always give you an entry but could give you an exit. For example, we may have a stat that a certain price point has a high probability of being tested during a certain time frame. I will be looking for trades using my current system to trade in that direction, and the target will be set by the statistics. So I will be looking to hold that trade till the stats is fulfilled or my system stops me out.

Also one of the questions asked was that a few of the stats had a probability of around 50%, which is basically a coin toss, and what was the point in trading that stat. Tom answered that the expectancy is not just the win rate but also the reward.

In more detail, if the reward is 2 for every 1 risked (2R) then we need a win rate of 33% to breakeven on this type of trade (not including costs or commissions). Whilst a probability of 50% is only a coin toss, if it deliveries more than a 1R in return then this trade has an edge, the bigger the return then the bigger the edge.

If you want to work this out for yourselves. The formula is as follows 1 / (1 + R size) e.g for a 2R return then 1 / (1 + 2) = 0.33 which is 33%.

Whilst a stat might only be a coin toss, it depends on what the return is to whether it has an edge.

You can see my review policy here

Link

Playing the Odds

Keywords

trader dante odds

Price Ladder Training Course Review

Price Ladder Training Course Review

Recently I have completed the Price Ladder Training Course By Futex. This is what I think of the course.

Please see my review policy here.

What is the Price Ladder Training Course?

The PLT is an online course that teaches the reading of order flow using the price ladder / DOM.

It is delivered online using a mixture of text, videos, drills and replays of the market.

The subjects include

INTRODUCTION TO THE PRICE LADDER PART 1

INTRODUCTION TO THE PRICE LADDER PART 2

PRICE LADDER ABSORPTION, RELOADING AND ICEBERGING

LARGE ORDERS ON THE PRICE LADDER

MANEUVERING AROUND ALGORITHMS ON THE PRICE LADDER

CONTRARIAN AND FADING SETUPS

BREAKOUT AND MOMENTUM SETUPS

DATA POINT TRADING

MONTH END TRADING

CENTRAL BANK TRADING

Each subject is followed by a chance to practise the new skill on the price ladder. At set times (twice a day) each day during the week, Futex will replay the order flow of a market, which has been specially selected to demonstrate the particular flow relevant to the skill just learnt. Giving the student a chance to put into practice what they have just learnt.

Interspersed throughout the course are structured drills, which give the student specific purposes and goals to practice during the session. These tend to take a full day.

It is an intensive 4 week course, with many of the drills requiring the student to set aside a complete day to complete.

Whilst Futex gives the student 8 weeks to complete the course, the drills and replays will require the student to be available at certain times. I would not recommend the course if you cannot commit the time over 8 weeks, to do the drills or replays, as the most benefit comes from the deliberate practice of these new skills.

What I think of Price Ladder Training

You can read my previous progress reports, as I completed the course at Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

The mixed approach of theory, replays and drills is very good with a logical progression in reading order flow, setups and applying it to the market.

The huge number of trades taken on the simulator over the course, has made me a lot more proficient in placing trades and managing trades in the real market. I estimated I took a years’ worth of trades over the 4 weeks, when compared to my normal number of trades per day.

Though one downside for me was when I went back to the Live market, it made me slightly too aggressive and this took a few days to get out of my system.

I already had a basic understanding of order flow and how to trade it before the course started, and at the end of the course my confidence and ability to read the flow has massively increased.

The drills also put the spotlight on some of my strength and weakness in my own trading, which has allowed me to factor these into my current trading style.

The course has also open up more possibilities in the markets I trade, thus adding to my current edge.

The important question for me is always the same. Will the cost of the course be paid for and more, by increasing my profitability over the long term. Answer to this is a simple yes.

I had to work out how I was going to implement order flow in with my current edge so that the two styles complemented each other. It has improved my trading, it has improved the profitability of individual trades (better RR), and it has proven me with more opportunities.

Would I recommend the course?

If you want to scalp or include order flow into your trading then the answer is yes. I certainly wish that resources like this was available earlier when I was starting out.

But you have to ready to commit time and energy, and I think that what you get out of this course will depend on how much time and focus you are willing to put in.

If you have any specific questions about my experiences with the PLT, then please ask them in the comments below and I will answer them.

Go to Price Ladder Training

Keywords

price ladder training futex

My Week and a Progress Report on Price Ladder Training – Part 3

As I mentioned a few times over the past month, I have been focusing on 2 areas to improve my trading.

You can catch up with Part One and Part Two.

1) Participating in the Futex Price Ladder Training Course, to improve my Dom reading skills and to work on my no fills on the Bund.

2) Working on my confidence and self-belief with visualisation.

Price Ladder Training – Week 4 Progress Report

This week consisted of 3 days of Modules and 3 days of all days’ drills. So a busy week with the Bank Holiday on Monday.

Been very interesting and I have found this week has emphasised some weak areas of mine and definitely showed to me how far my order flow reading skills have come.

What I learnt about myself as a trader this week.

Read the Instructions

One of the drills the week was trading a thinner market. I completely misread the instructions and assumed that I had to be in the market constantly and only cut and reverse, which was the previous 2 drills. This was not the case and the results were pretty disastrous in the DAX. Only myself to blame.

For the PM session I changed markets and had a better session.

Volume, Volatility and Correlation.

One of the drills was to trade 2 correlated markets, Bund and the Stoxx. What I learnt that in theory whilst these markets are correlated, on the shorter time frame on a low volume (-50% on the average) and low volatility (-40% on the average) day, the correlation can rotate between and -0.7 to 0.7 and spend a lot of time around 0.

On these days, they tend to be only correlated when moving on an impulse move, if either market goes into balance then the correlation will come to pieces.

I went into the correlation day, with the assumption to trade correlated markets was to trade the mean reversion. This was the wrong assumption (surprise, surprise) that some of the best trades where to take breakout and impulse rots.

Plans

Whilst I always known that I work better with a plan. But at various points this week, this was very clearly demonstrated the differences in my performance when working with a plan compared to without a plan.

I went in to the correlations drill without a plan apart from the assumption and struggled with the drill.

I did my NFP plan, following the Futex process for data points, and felt more in control with my trading then all the previous NFP attempts.

On the Central Bank drills, I did not receive the prep sheet (no fault of Futex) so I could not make a plan for the replay. I decided to do the replay anyway and just go with the flow. But found that after the initial move that I struggled with what my plan of attack was and ended up taking random trades. This of course did not work out.

This also pointed out that I am not the great at coming up with a plan on the spot, I am not sure how many people are. So for me if there is no plan then the best action is to make a plan even that means I miss out on trades in the meantime.

Reading Order flow

In my previous NFP attempts at reading order flow, I have struggled to understand the ebb and flow of order flow compared to normal market conditions. But this was the first time, that I could see what was happening even if some of it was too fast for me to action at the moment.

Also I have found my overall reading of order flow in the general market has improved immensely.

Replays

As I mentioned in this post, that I have found limited value in trading replays in the past.

But trading the Futex replays, has reinforced what value they can have.

It is not the fact that we know the trade is a winner that spoils the value, it is that we know how it plays out. Thus we know where entry is, how far it goes, etc.

When doing the Futex replays, we knew what setup we were trading, we knew they were winners. What we did not know was where they would turn, how long it would take to play out, how they would play out and how far they would go.

So even knowing the result beforehand, I still got immense value from these replays.

For me, to get the most out of trading a replay of the market, then the following criteria has to be met

1) Be practising a certain set up or skill. i.e. deliberate practise.

2) Cannot know the how it plays out before the starting the replay.

To make this work, as to meet criteria 1 often means that we know how it plays out and so fails criteria 2.

What I have done is set up a google sheet, that I will share with a few likeminded traders, who are interested in deliberate practise.

Each trader will have their own tab, and by the end of the week each trader will aim to input 3-5 setups with the market, the date, the start time, the type of setup and any relevant support / resistance points for the setup.

We then can browse each other tabs and choose a type of setup without knowing the how it plays out.

Of course this is reliant on traders having software which can be traded on whilst in replay mode.

Ninjatrader, Stage 5 Trader and Bookmap all have this capability.

Next week I will do a Review of the whole Price Ladder Training Course.

Visualisation

I am continuing my visualisation before the markets open, and feel it helps ground me and focus me before the market opens. A bit along the lines of FT71 recommendation of 3mins of silence and focus before the market opens.

In fact, that the only day, I did not visualise, was the day I overslept slightly rushed my prep for the drill, and had a poor plan which all result in an unsatisfactory session.

What I learnt from… Golf Is Not A Game of Perfect

What I learnt from… Golf Is Not A Game of Perfect

One of the areas I am working on is my self-belief / confidence. Dion Trader recommended that I should read the following book; Golf is Not A Game of Perfect by Dr Bob Rotella

Golf Is Not A Game of Perfect

As Dion says himself this book has many crossovers to trading as it more about confidence, mental routines and performance.

The following are just some of the great takeaways from the book

But he understands that while striving for perfection is essential, demanding perfection of himself on the golf course is deadly.

This is very relevant to trading, as text book setups, entries and exits, happen rarely. Whilst we should be working to perfect our process and routines, an acceptance that on the right hand edge of the chart things cannot be picture perfect and we must be accepting of that fact and not let it throw our focus.

Lance Beggs has an interesting article on how he deals with Order Entry Errors which is worth a read.

To improve, you must practice. But the quality of your practice is more important than the quantity.

I have been doing practice sessions for a while, and to be honest I have got limited value out of them.

Problem with practice sessions, is that I do not want to replay a random point in the market and if I choose a particular area or setup, that I have chosen this setup, means that I already know the outcome. So it feels I am going through the motions.

But after completing the Price Ladder Training Course by Futex, and the benefits I have got from there replays has given me some ideas on how to improve by own practise sessions. I will cover this more in my Weekly Review.

You must spend at least 60 percent of your practice in the trusting mentality.

This is in reference to the act of practising the mechanics of the golf swing and comparing it to practising the golf swing as a whole entity (trusting mentality).

This has led me to think about that all my past practices sessions, which have been focusing on the entry mechanics and very little focus has been spent on practising the trade management / exit.

Hmm…could this be one of the problems with my micro management of trades and inability to hold the Intraday swings. Call me Sherlock.

If anyone is interested in working on their mental routines and performance then this is a good book. There is a lot of golf to wade through but overall it took me 4 hours to read and I got value and good ideas from it to improve my own trading.

My Week and a Progress Report on Price Ladder Training – Part 2

My Week and a Progress Report on Price Ladder Training – Part 2

20-24 March

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago review that I am focusing on 2 areas to improve my trading.

1) Participating in the Futex Price Ladder Training Course, to improve my Dom reading skills and to work on my no fills on the Bund.

2) Working on my confidence and self-belief with visualisation.

Price Ladder Training – Week 3 Progress Report

This week consisted of 2 days of Modules, learning about Fading and Breakout plays, and a couple of full days drills.

The week has been very interesting and the modules coupled with the drills means that once again I am spending a lot of time just watching order flow, and my understanding and more importantly how I would handle the order flow is constantly improving.

What have I learnt about myself as trader this week

Focus

I am still implementing the Pomodoro Technique, and I have it invaluable in managing my mental energy during the day.

To the extent that some times during the week, I have found that I have a setup at the time I am required a break. I took the trade but then went straight back into focus mode after the I exited the trade. I found this counterproductive over the day as I started to lose focus earlier. Thus I have to careful of managing my mental energy when the markets are busy, if I cannot stick to the 25/5 mins routine then I must take a short 5-15 mins break when the opportunities allow.

Spoilt for choice – what market.

One of the problems I ha, during the first 30 minutes of live trading this week, was that I had not decided what market was my main market and if I had an opportunity on the 2 markets, which one would I take. I actually missed out on 2 trades due to this indecision about and took one loss due to trading one market whilst focusing on the order flow on other market. I know, that a fucking stupid thing to do.

Afternoons

I still find afternoons hard to read and harder to maintain focus and I am still more likely to do stupid shit. Partly this focus management but a large part of this is struggling to read the market. I have come to this conclusion, as I had a breakout in thinking in the later part of one afternoon and then traded the rest of the session better. I will cover this more in the ebb and flow section.

VPOC

Still find the choppiness around the VPOC and the algos that operating here hard to deal with profitably. I am starting to develop strategies for how to deal with that, which I will implement on the following drills to come.

Ebb and Flow

One of the points of the all-day Position Drills, is to learn to read the ebb and flow of the market without a chart. If the market is trending, this is reasonable easy to read as we have an overall direction to work with until we reach an opposing area of interest.

The more difficult situation is where the market has no overall direction with lots of decent rotations in various directions but no overall direction. This seems to be a lot more common in the afternoons at the moment. As I mentioned earlier, I had a break though in thinking, it along the lines of the following.

Not every absorption is a point of reversal, that gives a decent RR. The markets are generally fractal in nature, so on direction less periods in the market that each rot is a micro trend in order flow. The market will go in one direction with minor areas in absorption with a few tick pull back to a previous failed absorption point and then make a new extreme, and continue this way until this counter rotation breaks the previous failed absorption and makes a new opposing extreme and this is an indication that a possible micro trend change could be in the offering.

I already knew this to a point, but following it on a Dom, I found pretty hard without an over bias or context provided by a LTF chart. The key for me to following this on the Dom, is careful note taking of the size of the micro rots (to get an idea of strength) and points of absorption that fail / hold.

I do not intend to be holding positions all day in my real trading, as we do in these drills, but the cross over benefit will be on the trade management on the scalp trades as to when to hold or fold the runner part of the position.

Bund and Market orders

The Bund market, when it decides it wants to go, still can be a complete fecking fecker trying to get a fill. The strategies for me seem to be two fold, anticipation which is fine if I have a strong area of interest and have a bias of a level, I can position myself one way and work the best entry I can before it goes.

But some areas of interest are not so strong, or can be front run. After the fun and games, when it wants to go, it can just take off on a micro scale and joining the bid or offer just leaves me Billy no mates and no fill.

This course and drills has taught me that at these moments in time, I have to be better prepared. I need to decide if I am joining the bid/offer or going to market before the absorption is complete, and then do my hoovering over the appropriate bid/offer to join or be ready to go to market. As any hesitation is a killer in a scalp.

Price Action Journal

One of the suggestions from the course is starting a Price Action Journal, I already keep one of these but have changed its focus to deal with the Dom order flow. I have written about this here, and I am already finding this immensely beneficial, just from the few examples that I have.

I would highly recommend that anyone interested in improving their understanding of order flow, is not to focus on screenshots only but a mixture of screenshots and video.

There is a good reason Futex examples are all recordings of order flow and not screenshots, because the ability to watch and re watch at various difference speeds is a real benefit to understand how these set ups work in real life.

This is an example of one of the recordings, where price did not trade my level and was absorbed in front of the level. I did not take the trade as I am still working on how I am going to incorporate the order flow in my current system.

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Implementing this into my real trading

On the couple of days of live trading I have done I have started to incorporate order flow into my trading. The first AM session was not great, too gung ho and trying to take every setup without consideration of my system or context.

But I then calmed down for the subsequent sessions and now have a better idea of how to fold this knowledge into my current system. When I have finished my course with Futex, I will update my trading system process to know when and where I take the Futex setups that I have learnt, when do I stick to my current edge only and where I use this knowledge to improve my current edge (basically the no fills or Adeys).

Visualisation

I am continuing my visualisation before the markets open, and the cumulative effects of this are improving my confidence.

For example, when I was trading like a knob on the first session, in previous times it would have taken me probably a full session for this to sink in that I was trading without an edge. Then I would have been fucked off, then anger, and then would have felt less confident for the next couple of days.

This time, I recognised that I was being a complete knob head reasonably early, all trades were graded and were D and E quality trades, I then traded well and then took a couple of losses at the end of the day which did not help my bottom line. But all these trades, graded well A and B’s. And during the whole period I did not lose confidence in my trading nor in my self-belief that by trading well it would turn around.

This is a marked improvement for me.

My Week and a Progress Report on Price Ladder Training

My Week and a Progress Report on Price Ladder Training

14-18 March

As I mentioned in last week’s review that I am focusing on 2 areas to improve my trading.

1) Participating in the Futex Price Ladder Training Course, to improve my Dom reading skills and to work on my no fills on the Bund.

2) Working on my confidence and self-belief with visualisation.

Price Ladder Training – Halfway Progress Report

I am enjoying the course, learning loads, cementing other knowledge and improving my confidence.

No real trading this week as I was on Part 2 of the course and this consists of 5 days of Micro Scalping Drills on Sim that take place over a whole trading day. No time left for live account trading, missed out on some great set ups but I am playing the long game here.

I am not going to too much details about what I have learnt content wise on the course so far, as you can read all about the course syllabus here.

What have I learnt about myself as trader so far

Dom Reading

I knew more than I thought about reading the DOM, but this course has helped formalise this in a more structured form.

This in turn has helped me organise my own Jigsaw Dom to provide me the information in a cleaner format and get rid of some information which I did not need.

Planning

Futex provide a drill sheet with a plan for the day. I found that I worked a lot better if I read the Futex plan and then wrote out my own plan beforehand basically covering the Market I am trading, size, the set ups I am looking for and targets and stops. The fact of writing my own plan helped me focus on what I was trying to achieve with that days drill.

Focus

As these drills took all day and was micro scalping, there was lot of trades during the each sessions, between 60-100 trades over the whole trading day. So staying focused was important and it is hard to stay this focused for whole sessions at a time. I used the Pomodoro Technique, which is 25 mins work followed by 5 minutes break. I would get up from the desk and stretch, make a tea and then get back to it. This helped maintain my focus.

I have used this technique during my real trading but only when I felt my focus was slipping, but I intend to incorporate this every day, as it was very helpful in maintain my edge during the day. The biggest drawback is sometimes getting a set up as when I was meant to be taking a break. I would take the setup but on exit then take a break for slightly longer.

VPOC

In my current trading system, I don’t tend to trade around the VPOC, only certain setups call for a trade at the VPOC. Trying to micro scalp the micro balance that formed this week around the VPOC, was hard work, a losing proposition for me and was too much of a drain on the emotion energy and focus. Though this is not a time to completely lose focus as the eventual move away is something to be in.

Afternoons

Basically I was a lot better in the AM session. Found the PM session a lot harder to read, a lot harder to maintain focus and I was more likely to do stupid shit in the afternoon.

To improve my afternoon focus, I am looking to implement this suggestion from @PastaTrader_Fab in the this article from Breaking Out Bad

Though I suspect that Fabio’s climate is slightly better than a damp, cold English south coast.

Open

I tend not to trade the cash open, but as most of the drills required me to take a micro scalp on the open, I was forced to trade it. It was a lot more readable than I had previous thought and some of my best scalps of the week was off the opening order flow.

Anticipation

Getting in too early was sometimes a problem, I sometimes got in too early before the order flow showed itself properly on the Dom. I got better at waiting for this as the practice started to cement what I was looking for in the order flow as the week progressed.

Second chances

In my real trading I would sometimes get a no fill or miss an entry , I would then sometimes see some order flow that would enable me to second chance, but I many times I could not take these trades as I would be using my original stop and targets for the Risk and Reward calculation and the RR would not add up.

This week has shown me that I can micro scalp this order flow in the direction of my target with smaller stops and get a decent RR, of 2-3R.

Where am I wrong and is there an opposing trade

In my real life trading, I would be looking at an area for a trade, and whilst I was looking at this area I would be looking at where I would be wrong, where I think the first trouble area if I am right and possible entry points. Very rarely would I be looking at trades in opposing directions. This week has taught me that in certain areas, that I should be considering that if I am wrong, there could micro trade set up on the opposing direction, that will become based on the order flow of all the other traders that where wrong as well and this opportunity should be considered.

Lose as much as I can Drill.

Very interesting drill. Very simple, lose as much money as you can across the AM and PM session using 4 lots. I went in to the session with the plan to trade opposite of my trading system. And it lost money, so that was something of a confidence boost to me. Also this was the last day of the week, which followed 2 days of being in the market constantly (was not allowed to be flat) but micro scalping, no position trading. To be frank, I was on my chin straps, and struggled with focus during that day. This just reinforced that focus and energy during the week, needs to managed carefully.

Shit load of Trades

A great thing about this course, is the number of trades taken, and the immediate feedback from the market on the results. I have probably taken in the last 5 days about 6 months’ worth of trades. This has given me a certain confidence in the ability to manage the trades on a short term basis and a more fluid way of handling orders on the Dom.

Bund and No fills

The fecking Bund, is still a fecking fecker when it comes to fills even in micro scalping. To prove it, I recorded me trading the Bund in one of the PM sessions here.

Hard Stop

Whilst having the confidence of managing a trade without a stop order in the market and to get out where the trade is wrong, sometime the market will take off and trying to get out can be a pain, and can result in getting out with a lot bigger loss than planned. For any of these techniques I use in real life, as of now, I have a plan on how to get out, one chance to get out on a minor pull back and then a market order on any further adverse movement and I would have an emergency stop in the market to limit any loss.

Flatten button

Unlike my other Dom, the Flatten button does not pull all the other limits orders in the book. Lucky I learnt this on Sim and on the day of lose as much as I can.

Visulation

Had some great tips from Diontrader this week on visualisation. I am continuing this practice before the open and once before bed. This has proved to beneficial and I feel a lot calmer and focussed during the sessions. The real test will be once I go back to the real market.

Edgewonk Trade Journal – What I think along with tips and improvements

Edgewonk Trade Journal – What I think along with tips and improvements

I think that we can all agree that journalling our trades and the analysing of these trades are a very important part of the trading journey. In my opinion without this, it very hard to succeed in this business.

Therefore, a good trading journal must have the ability to not only record and analyse the effectiveness of our system, but also identify when we deviate from the system and also provide statistics on what we can do to improve our trading.

For years I have used my own excel spreadsheet to record and analyse my trading, but since Edgewonk has come on the scene, I have used Edgewonk alongside my own sheet. I would move solely to Edgewonk, except it does not quite track a certain metric as well as my own sheet but I will come to that later.

Before we start please read my review policy here.

There is no point in covering every single feature of the journal, you can find a breakdown of their analytical tools on the website and their excellent Youtube channel.

Performance Tables

One of the features that I really like about this journal is the ability to breakdown the performance of a setup by many different variables. From what market to the day of week, grade, return, and how well we actually managed the trade.

Trade Management

The other feature I like about this Journal is the Trade Management table, which allows us to drill down into whether our trade management is hindering or helping our strategy.

Though please note that there is an error in the labels, the green line is the Actual Performance and the red line is the Performance without Trade Management. But apart from that, this is an excellent table to drill down into each setup / instrument to see whether our current management is a valid strategy and give us some ideas on what to do to improve this.

If you are new to journalling then I would also recommend the Edgewonk 12 week Course, which is very good and I will do a separate review of that down the line.

Screenshots

Another great feature is the ability to add screen shots, for each trade. As they say a picture says a 1000 words, and it helps to see a screen shot.

An improvement would be the ability to add a second screenshot so that we can compare before and after shots of the trade.

Personally I have taken the screen shot feature a step further. Instead of taking a screenshot, I record a video, where I go through the reasons why I am taking a trade, the context, the stops, target and management of the trade.

Whilst this sounds a bit of a chore and complicated, but Jing the free screenshot software, allows us to record 5 mins of video and save it to the screenshot folder. All we need is a micro phone. Job done.

I prefer videoing the trades, as this allows me to summarise the trade plan quickly and also when reviewing the trades at a later date, I am always surprised by how much information I get about my emotional state at the time, just from the words I use and the tone of my voice.

Downsides

Time

One of the problems with Edgewonk and any journal that tracks a lot of metrics, these need to be entered into the spreadsheet. This can take time, so if one takes a lot of trades during the day then this can take quite a bit of time.

What can we do about it

First there is an excellent page about organising our data to save time.

Secondly and this idea comes from another trader, I cannot remember exactly who, but I think it may be my friend Mobs from Trading for Singles. If it was not Mobs then whoever it was, thanks it is very helpful.

Most execution platforms allow us to export our entries and exits into CSV / Excel, I then use an Excel sheet to re purpose the data into a format that allows me to easy cut and paste directly into Edgewonk.

Improving Exits

The main reason I am still using my old journal alongside Edgewonk, is that I track my trades after exit to provide statistics on how far these trades actually go, and then use excel to draw up a distribution curves to help me formulate alternative target and exits, to then test to see if these have a better expectancy than my current system.

My table also has the ability to filter for markets, long, short, winners, setups etc. I find this invaluable to monitor what the potential for each setup over a large enough sample size and whether my stops and targets are making the most of each setup and market.

Whilst Edgewonk has the ability to track alternative strategies, I find this table gives me the stats to come up with alternative strategies to test.

Summary

Overall, this is an excellent journal and for its price point, I would say that if you are serious about trading then this should be a tool which will pay for itself many times over.

I have used quite a few of the commercial journals, and they never really hit the spot for me, which was the reason why I developed my own. Whilst it was a good learning curve to make my own, to be honest if Edgewonk had been available at that time I would have definitely chosen Edgewonk.

Links

Edgewonk

Keywords

Edgewonk

edgewonk 12 week course

edgewonk shortcuts

Multiplicity – Review

My current set up for trading is to use a desktop, which is solely used for charting and execution, and a laptop, for news, research, journalling, email and twitter. It can be a pain switching between the two, with the associated juggling of keyboards and mouse’s, and all this take up valuable desk real estate.

A few years ago, I came across the Multiplicity software, which allows one mouse and keyboard to control up to nine other computers.

My review policy is here.

Here is their own video explaining what the software can do:

The benefits for me are:

I can set the laptop off to one side, where it easily seen but not crowding my workspace and is not too much of a distraction.

I can use twitter and chatrooms without having to switch keyboards or mouse.

I can take screenshots of my charts on the desktop and then paste the link into the chatroom / twitter / etc on the laptop with ease.

I can download data from the charts and then copy it to the laptop for analysis very quickly. Which allows me to do on the spot stats, on I something I have noticed without minimising charts or execution.

I can keep my journal, spreadsheets, models up to date without effect my focus on the charts.

And the basic software for 2 computers is 19.99 USD. Which for the amount of time it has saved me, makes it great value in my book.

If you are using more than one computer to trade then I would definitely say this is a product that you need to check out.

Links

Multiplicity

Keywords

multiplicity edgerunner

Stage 5 Trading – Review

Stage 5 Trading – Review

s5_header

The brokerage firm that I use is Stage 5 Trading. They are currently the top rated futures’ broker on Investimonials.

My review policy is here.

Firstly let see what their offering is in their own words and then I will examine each part and give my own experience of these services.

Stage 5 Trading is a high-end, boutique brokerage firm whose primary objective: to enhance the experience of traders by implementing systems that encourage traders to grow. We feel that Stage 5 provides a more structured trading environment, better trader support services, and a larger variety of independent solutions to better assist traders in reaching their brokerage goals.

At Stage 5 Trading, our traders always come first. Our team consists of a tenacious group of individuals that combines experience, technical knowledge and resolute values. We base our relationships with our employees, partners, and affiliates on a long-term perspective and value-assessment.

Stage 5 Trading Corp (S5T) is a high-end online futures broker. Specialties are:

  • S5 Trader Proprietary and free direct-access trading platform
  • No Monthly Platform Fees or minimum transaction fees!
  • Flexible intraday margins (note, with increased leverage, comes increased risk)
  • S5 Mobile
  • One on One S5 Trader platform walkthroughs available with your own client service representative!
  • Access to the most popular software vendors like S5 Trader, XTrader, NinjaTrader, and many more!
  • Professional Trader (FT71) monitored client only structured learning environment. (Homework, Chat Room, Etc.)

    Continuous interaction and communication through Client-Only Webinars that cover everything from Coping with Fear to Live Trader Interventions and recommendations

  • S5 Trade Analyzer – FREE

Customer Service

My experience of customer service with Stage 5 Trading as a firm and with the individuals at the firm has been great. The speed and attention to detail in answering questions is second to none in my experience. Normally I have found customer service with other brokers to be very good up to the moment the account is opened and then tails off very rapidly.

This has not been my experience with Stage 5. After 2 years, I cannot fault their customer service. It is still as good as it was at the beginning. I have never been with any brokerage that has held interventions with their own customers, to stop them from self-destructing their own accounts. Not that I have been on the receiving end of these interventions, but some of them have been broadcast live (with the traders’ permission) as a learning experience for all the traders at the firm.

They seem to genuinely care about the success of their clients. I found this culture very supportive and at times, when I have thought that I could not take my trading to the next step, this culture and their advice has helped me though these periods.

S5 Trader Platform

I used this when I first started with Stage 5 and now use it as a backup platform. It was / is based on a version of the OEC trading platform. I do not know what the differences are between the 2 platforms. I have found the platform to be pretty basic on the charting side but overall, a solid and reliable platform with a good DOM.

No Monthly Platform Fees or minimum transaction fees!

If you use their platform, then there are no charges. Of course, if you use a third party charting or execution platform, then there could be extra fees. I use the DOM from Jigsaw Trading and charting from RT Investor. These are extra costs.

Flexible intraday margins (note, with increased leverage, comes increased risk)

My margin for trading the Bund is the same margin as advertised by OEC. I have not had reason to negotiate or discuss margins with them.

S5 Mobile

Good mobile platform. I have only used it twice, when I had to leave the house with a trade on and from my very limited experience, it is better and more user friendly than other mobile apps I have used. Overall, my experience with mobile trading with any firm is the square root of fuck all.

One on One S5 Trader platform walkthroughs available with your own client service representative!

This was great. Not only did they walk me though the Stage 5 platform, but they arranged a walk though of RT Investor when I first started. This was invaluable as RT can be a bit daunting compared to MT4 and Tradestation.

Access to the most popular software vendors like S5 Trader, XTrader, NinjaTrader, and many more!

They offer a lot of different packages and they listened to my requirements and then made appropriate suggestions. This was great as when I first moved to Futures, I did not know my arse from my elbow. I had looked at other brokerages and ended up making a spreadsheet to work out what I need in charting, platform, data, etc and to compare the costs to ensure that I got what I needed. This is hard to do when one does not know what is essential and what is not.

Max Timmins, my representative, made suggestions and I am still basically on the same setup.

Professional Trader (FT71) monitored client only structured learning environment.

This is another point which sets Stage 5 apart from other brokers. I will break it down into two areas. The chatrooms and the educational webinars.

I am not in the main chat room which specialises in the American indices and currencies futures, but I am in the European products’ room.

The European room is very supportive and lots of information is shared from statistics to trading styles. If someone has any problem relating to trading then there is always plenty of helpful advice. It is one of the best chatrooms I have been in.

Of course a chatroom is not going to make a trader profitable but the culture it breeds I have found very helpful in maintaining a good focus though out the day.

Educational Webinars

Morad (FT71) runs these and let me be clear straight away. He is not giving out individual trades, individual setups or a complete trading system. I found his content to be more focused on volume profiling, statistics, context / bias, consistency, the mental side of trading and answering questions from traders from the firm. Once a month they open these sessions to the public. An example is here but I found that these tend to be at a lower level than the normal webinars.

Whilst after 2 years there is a small level of repetition in the subjects covered, that is to be expected. Overall, these webinars have changed my trading for the better on virtually every single level.

I had a system of trading before I joined Stage 5 and at its core, it has not changed that much. However, Morad (FT71) has had the biggest cumulative effect on my trading. I still listen to the webinars every week. I find it is like an end of week meeting where the performance manager discusses various issues faced by the team.

S5 Trade Analyzer – FREE

A good starting journal, covers all the basic statistics and what a trader needs to start analysing their trades. A new one is in the works and I am looking forward to it.

Is this all too good to be true?

All this does come at a cost. There are no fees, but I can get better commission rates at other brokers. Therefore, through their commission structure you pay for these services.

To give an idea of costs, I compared what I would be paying in commissions at various other discount brokers against what I am paying at Stage 5. On average it cost me 5.20 dollars per week in extra commissions at my size, to trade at Stage 5.

As I have increased in size and frequency, Stage 5 have always been willing to reduce my commissions.

At the end of the day, this type of model for brokerage needs to be profitable and I have no problem in paying extra, if the services they provide make me more profitable in the long run. For me they do.

Summary

Stage 5 might not be the place for a trader slinging big size who is looking purely for good execution and cheap commissions. I am not one of those traders so cannot speak for that side.

I can only speak as a retail forex trader that wanted to change to the futures market and up his game.

Overall a fantastic service and a great place to be for a trader. One of the services I would recommend without hesitation.

Links

Stage 5 Trading

Keywords

Stage 5 Trading