Thursday, 26 July 2012

Iverson v Cassini: The Sultan Sticks His Oar In!

A very interesting debate has been sparked between two heavyweight traders (in terms of fame as opposed to obesity) Mark Iverson and Cassini. I'm sure you've already read the post on Green All Over, so I won't regurgitate it here. All I wanted to add was a few points of my own and my comments ended up too long to add to Cassini's blog!

Firstly, in an ideal world, where every trader had the same personality and the same set of circumstances, clearly Cassini is correct. We should never let an arbitrary date on the calender affect our trading in any way. I've mentioned ever since I began this blog that I don't set monetary goals and believe short-term monetary targets in particular, can be very damaging. However...........we are not all trading under those 'ideal' circumstances and we all think and act very distinctly as individuals.

Pressure is a major factor in how we act as traders and as someone who has traded full-time with my entire livelihood dependant on the amount I make each month, I fully understand what Mark is doing. I don't necessarily agree with it but I do empathise. Let's not forget, Cassini trades part-time and has never as far as I'm aware, experienced the pressure of trading for a living. That's fantastic; it's the ideal way to trade and I only wish I had gone down the same route but that's irrelevant right now. I don't think anyone can knock someone's methods unless they have either a) been in the exact same position or b) can get inside the mind of that trader and know exactly what they are doing.

The pressures involved in part-time trading are not even close to full-time trading. When you have to pay the rent, mortgage, bills etc, every month, then the end of each month is not just an arbitrary date - it becomes one where if you don't have enough money, you are in a lot of trouble. As a part-time trader, Cassini can trade what he wants, when he wants. He doesn't have to trade anything at all for the entire YEAR if he doesn't want to. I doubt Mark has that luxury! With full-time trading, it all comes down to pressure and how that affects your mindset. You can argue that if Mark is feeling that pressure to the point where he treats trades differently depending on the day of the month, then he is doing something very wrong. But we don't know his personal circumstances. We don't know what his P&L is at the end of each month. If what he does works for him, then that is all that matters.

A big part of trading is knowing yourself; how your mind reacts in certain situations. If Mark has decided that towards the end of the month, he would rather play it safe, knowing his family is taken care of and knowing that this will enable him to trade better because it calms him or keeps his decision making stable or prevents him from panicking, then that is the best way for HIM to trade. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks or what the ideal way to trade is. I know that some traders (myself included) during a bad spell, will slightly adjust the way they trade by cutting winning trades shorter than they normally would to take a couple of smaller greens and stabilize things. I'm pretty sure Cassini has done something similar following large losses because I seem to remember reading about it on his own blog (I'm setting myself up for a fall here but I remember it because it surprised me so much!). Is this really that different to what Mark does? We should always let our winning trades run as long as we feel the value remains but as far as I'm concerned, if I have wracked up lots of consecutive reds or am starting to feel agitated or frustrated at missing opportunities, I know myself well enough to understand that I might need to take action before I lose control. If that means playing it safer for a short period, then so be it.

You can argue all day long that I shouldn't feel that way if I trust my strategy but sometimes, we just have to go with what works best for us as individuals. The frustration thing is something I'm constantly working on and until the day comes when I am able, like Cassini perhaps, to just sit back and relax with a huge bank behind me and a quarter of a million profit on Betfair (I think he's almost there!) and no worries paying bills month to month, I'm going to stick to whatever helps to keep my little bank in tact. I admit that I no longer have the same monthly pressure of needing to make a certain amount to live off (and this helps massively when keeping calm at the end of each month) but I have been there and understand the pressures and I don't even have a family to look after, like Mark. For the record, I don't ease up at the end of each month but I have done in the past.

A huge thing I've learnt over the past year that's really helped me become a better trader, is that sometimes it's better not to fight against your emotions. Often, it's better to accept them and deal with them in the easiest way possible. It's possible that Mark is actually playing it too cautiously and doesn't really have any of the emotional issues that I have or any serious financial issues either. In that case, he has maybe just got into a mindset which is a bad habit and could even be holding him back from doing better. But then, if he is content with what he's making, what does it matter? Sometimes traders worry far too much about what others are doing and should concentrate on themselves. There's more than one way to skin a cat with sports trading!

Camila Giorgi:


  1. Great post Sultan and is exactly the situation I'm in.

    Being aggressive and not so aggressive at certain points of the month just works for me.

    All the best,


    1. Just ignore the doubters mate. A couple of very unpleasant comments on Cassini's blog that there was no need for. I'm sure it's jealousy. There are some people out there just waiting for any little window of opportunity to slam those who are successful and they have used Cassini's post as 'back-up' to slate you.

  2. I'm pretty sure I've disagreed with Mark on his blog in the past over the way he uses targets, but the theory and reality of trading full time are two different things. It's very easy for Cassini et al to advise us how to trade 'correctly' without actually ever being in that situation themselves. I'm sure Mark is aware, or should be, that his methods are , in thoery, costing him profits but if those methods allow him to maintain that overall profitable mindset it's a price worth paying for now. It'd be good to break away from that hourly/weekly/monthly rate mentality but whilst most of our bills/mortgages/etc come in regular chunks it's never going to be that easy despite what Cassini would have us believe :)


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