Monday, 7 February 2011

How NOT to trade

If anyone would like an example of the wrong way to approach trading, please read on! I woke up this morning in a fine mood; I'd had a brilliant day of trading yesterday and could only see it getting better through the week. 5 tournaments with matches spread out right through the day - this is a week that tennis traders dream of. I had a lovely breakfast of fresh blueberries with those new Crispy Weetabix Bites - full of anti-oxidants and fibre to set me up for a long day on the ladders. I started with some WTA in Pattaya. I had a good old laugh at the fact that a local girl named Wannasuk was playing - mightily ironic considering Pattaya is famed for being Thailand's biggest party hotspot! That's where the laughs ended.

I decided that none of the 8am starts were suitable to trade, so instead, decided to use the Craybas game to test out a new strategy. But I did so using full stakes - wrong attitude. I realise now that I had woken up feeling over-confident due to my success last week. The key to good trading is never to expect to do well. Every game should be treated the same and that means approaching it with a neutral expectation - 'I could lose on this trade aswell as win, therefore, I have to be careful'. I didn't care about losing some red on that game because I EXPECTED to win it all back and much more through the day. I did lose from that experimental trade and just brushed it off.

I took a nice green from Kirilenko v Brianti straight after and all was well with the world. But I continued my blaze attitude into the Peng v Chan match, where I took a price that I knew was wrong. It came back to bite me and I ended up redding out. That was when my trading mentality went to pot. All of sudden the Craybas loss DID mean something - I was pissed off. So I wrecklessly re-entered the Kirilenko game to make more profit to 'make up for' the loss. It was just a couple of minutes before my large green became a large red. I was fuming by now - £100 down and the profit from yesterday being whipped from under me. I was very fortunate to make back my Kiri green but not without a nasty few games sweating on whether I'd lose my full stake.

At that point, I should've switched off and sorted my head out but the games were coming thick and fast so I ploughed on to some ATP. What I did with the Davydenko v Llodra clash was utterly unforgiveable. I totally abandoned my strategy and did something I would never normally do. I backed the mercurial Russian to the set after watching just TWO points! I knew by then that I had totally lost it and was about to go into a deep tailspin if I didn't sort myself out. I took a hefty red when it became apparent Llodra was in top form and Davy was on a lazy day. What made me even more livid with myself was that if I'd just stuck to my strategy, I would've easily made a nice green.

But the capitulation didn't stop there! I then entered the Barrois v Benesova game, even though I'd watched it for 2 sets and decided it was not suitable to trade. I was duly burnt. You'd think that would've been a final message to shut-down the bloody laptop but alas, I then switched in a furious rage to Golubev v Tursunov, where I placed a bet at ridiculous odds right at the closing stages of a match I had not been following at all! I quickly realised my stupidity and closed out for a small red before things could get worse, logged off and went away for a cuppa tea, chocolate fudge brownie and some cooling off time.

When I returned later in the day, I had given myself a good talking to, rationalised and analysed all my mistakes and re-entered the markets with the correct mindset. As such, my trading returned almost to normal, though still not to its best. I should've taken a good green from the Volandri match and should not have entered the Smyczek game as I was too busy preparing dinner! Nonetheless, to end this most abject of days, (where my performance was worse than a Black Eyed Peas half-time medley extravaganza and a Christina Aguilera vocal-aerobic farce put together) with just a miniscule red, was remarkable.

It just goes to show you how just the smallest of mistakes can spiral out of control when trading. The fragility of the human mind when working with the markets knows no bounds! What today shows is that you have to be fully concentrated and in the right frmae of mind at ALL times. Let your guard slip just a fraction and you can get burnt. But whilst today showed that mentally, I'm still not there as a trader, I can take many positives from the day. Firstly - no significant losses! I can guarantee you that if this had happened last year, I would be sitting on a humongous red and it would probably be about to get even worse over the coming days as I chased back. The fact that I have a few small to medium sized reds shows good progress because it means that I saw things were going wrong, admitted I'd made mistakes and came out before they got worse.

Secondly, I physically moved myself away from the work-area, took time out, relaxed and forgot about trading. I find that listening to music, watching some comedy or going for a walk really helps clear the mind and get things in perspective. I then analysed my bets, rather than just try to sweep them under the carpet. I discovered that if I'd traded each game using my correct strategy, I would have been massively in profit. Annoying but at least reassures me that my strategy is good - it's just ME who needs to change!

So there you have it. Third day over and you couldn't have had 3 more eventful trading days to begin the blog! But this is why I started it, so I can look back at days like today and learn from them. It's easy to say you will learn from your mistakes but the truth is, when you have no reminder of them they tend to magically erase themselves from your memory. Now, I have something tangible to remind me forever exactly how not to trade.


  1. just had a bit of a nightmare day myself , lost focus then took chances and lost :( , onwards and upwards , looking forward to your staking and strategy , thanks

  2. Hi, mind exchanging links?


  3. I know you are pissed off, but if it is any consolation you helped me out. One day dows not make a year, but it does start one. Details on this post

    Thanks again, and head up, only a short term blip for you/

  4. Gus - thanks!

    Roger - I've added notes to the bottom of the page about strategy. Probably not what you were after but when you see my profits for last 2 days, you'll be glad ;)

    TNtrader - done!

    Average Guy - It is some consolation, glad I could be of help. It's always a short term blip with me but hopefully these blips will disappear one day.


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