Thursday, 25 September 2014

Live Skype Trading Sessions

The trading documentaries I've recently been watching have really got me thinking about the possibilities of doing some live, one to one or group trading. When I began the Academy, I decided against this kind of training as I was worried about the impact it would have on my own personal trading. The added pressure to perform, negative affect on concentration plus the added work required to set it up and run it smoothly, meant that it wasn't really worth the risk as far as I was concerned. But as 2014 has been such a great year for me, I'm now in a position where I can take a bit more time off when I want to, rather than seriously trade every match that I can. I think it could be a fascinating new challenge and something to really get my teeth into for my final year of trading. So for the first time, I'm going to be offering the chance to see me trade live via Skype.

I'm going to be testing during the ATP World Tour Finals in London which run from November 9th - 16th. If all goes well during this week, I will then decide to go live in 2015 (wow, is it mid-decade already?!), most likely with one session per week. I've decided that as it is only a test period and I can't guarantee everything will run 100% perfectly, I am offering traders a FREE place in one of these sessions if you buy the Sultan Tennis Trading Guide. I will only be able to accept a small number of traders into these sessions and anyone who is currently an Academy member or who has already bought the guide, is also able to take up this offer. This is probably the same way I will operate in 2015 - by offering spaces to those who have my Trading Guide first. It will make it much easier for everyone in the session, if all traders have knowledge of  my own style of trading beforehand.

Sloane Stephens

I have not yet decided which matches during the Tour Finals I am going to be setting up for live trading. I won't know until the order of play is decided and last year, they often were not confirmed until the day before (I bought a ticket last year but didn't know who I was watching till the day before I attended). So if you are interested, let me know and I will put your name into a random draw for places (I figure that's the fairest way). I will contact anyone whose name is drawn and if they are not available for that session, I will then go to the next person drawn, till all spaces are filled. The draw will take place on November 8th and I will contact traders as soon as I know the order of play for each day. I will probably have to limit each person to one free session, depending on how much interest I get.

I hope to set it up so you can hear me talking through my thought processes as I trade (same as in the videos in my Trading Guide, which I've received great feedback about and really were the catalyst for me to set this up) and also so you can ask me questions via Skype. If all goes well, my plan is to do 6 months of Live Trading from January next year, with at least one session per week, before I bow out from trading altogether. As this is all completely new to me (plus, I'm not well versed on Skype) I'm not sure whether this is something I will take to and I only get into new ventures if I enjoy them. So nothing is 100% set in stone yet but certainly, I will be doing some sessions during the ATP Tour Finals. Just message me via the Contact Form if interested.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Million Dollar Traders

The second episode of "Traders: Millions by the Minute" aired last night on BBC 2. Another interesting show allowing us to look at a few ordinary, every-day financial traders from a variety of backgrounds, who trade from home with varying degrees of success - from a millionaire through to a guy who was trading with zero profit for SEVEN years! Do not watch this show expecting to get any valuable hints and tips about trading, it really isn't about that (though some important messages do shine through). I personally found it interesting because, as a professional trader working alone from home, I rarely get the opportunity to see other people in my position doing our job. For those of you who aspire to be traders, I think you'll find it quite motivational, seeing how other ordinary people go about their business.

As I've said before on this blog, there are two types of trader; the negative ones who will tell you all day long that it can't be done and you shouldn't bother (the failed traders) and the positive ones, who understand the odds are stacked against them but know that with hard work, anything is possible. Two quotes from the show stuck out for me. The first was from the self-made trading millionaire who said "Most traders who do give up, probably don't give it as much (hard work) as those that don't (give up)" - which is what I've maintained for a long time. The biggest difference between the successes and the failures, is that one wants it more than the other and will not give up until he gets it.

Another great quote was from the sister of the trader who had been trading for seven years with no profit to show for it (throwing away a decent career elsewhere to continue, although he was much happier as a trader). She said "Either you're absolutely crazy or it's admirable". And I think that can be applied to most traders. The millionaire trader had lost many thousands before he turned it around to earn six figures. If you've followed this blog from the early days, you'll know I nearly sent myself round the twist before I got anywhere. This tends to be how it works! It's admirable that successful traders have pushed on through tough times to earn their rewards but at the same time, for many of us, there have been moments where we've done crazy things or continued when the sane option would  have been to give up. It's a fine line.

Iveta Melzer

 I also came across another show I missed on the BBC from 2012 "Million Dollar Traders". I'm surprised I missed this first time around (or maybe I didn't and just can't remember because I was going through my cocaine and strippers phase?) but I certainly enjoyed watching this 3 part series on YouTube over the weekend. This programme is purely about training complete novices on how to trade the financial markets. It's an insight into what professional trading day to day is like and how it can affect people psychologically. It's interesting to see how different personalities react to the ups and downs and also shows that it doesn't matter what their background is, you never how someone will react to the pressure.

Someone recently wrote to me and said he had previously been trading financial markets and wanted to learn about sports trading. He said that he felt the sports markets would be more difficult because financial markets are moved by people and sports markets aren't.  I assume he meant that sports market prices are moved by the players (what happens in the match). This of course, is completely wrong. Both financials and sports markets are all about information and how people react emotionally to that information. In the financials, the latest news indirectly affects the markets but it is traders who directly move the prices. In sport, the players indirectly affect the market but it is traders who directly move the prices. In my time running the Trading Academy, I've come to realise more and more that many traders don't actually understand this and that makes it impossible for them to succeed. These programmes might help give a greater understanding of this.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Millions by the Minute

I recently spoke with a professional gambler regarding my Tennis Trading Academy. He claimed to be very successful, earning hundreds of thousands a year from a simple football strategy he devised but wanted to diversify more and learn how to trade. What he couldn't understand, was the mentoring aspect that I was offering as part of my Academy. As a straight gambler, he didn't see what else needed to be learnt other than how to use the strategies. Of course, trading is not as simple and straightforward as straight betting. I've often said to myself that I wish I had a betting strategy instead of  a trading one because it would make life so much easier!

The difference between making money straight betting and trading (particularly in-play trading) is like night and day. I'm sure every trader who has read this blog at some point has wished the same. Imagine how great it would be if all you had to do was  a bit of research before placing a bet and then just walking away to go and do whatever you like for the rest of the day - job done. That's basically what this successful gambler says he does and what  a life that must be! When I was struggling and learning to trade, every single time I went through a bad period, I would start to devise some sort of straight betting strategy (which always failed miserably). Why? Because I knew it would make my life far less stressful than what I had to go through when attempting to trade in-play.

The hardest part of trading to conquer is the psychological element. Having to make split second decisions, react to fluctuating market prices and stay disciplined when your losing position deteriorates or when your winning position reverses before your very eyes, is what makes or breaks a trader. None of that comes into the equation with straight betting. You just bet and leave. I don't think there is a single trader out there who doesn't wish they could make the same money straight betting as they do trading.

The skills that need to be acquired to successfully trade in-play, do not come naturally to us humans, and that is the main issue. A member of my Academy sent me the following link to a great programme aired on the BBC this week "Traders: Millions by the Minute", which is an insight into people who trade financial markets in London, New York, Chicago and Amsterdam. Within the show, there is also a section showing complete novices being taught how to trade, something I can relate very well to! But for those who don't understand why trading requires a lot more in terms of skill-sets and  is far harder to learn that straight gambling, this programme will show exactly why.

 Caroline Wozniacki & Serena Williams

Putting all the many extra technical aspects that you need to learn aside (such as learning about market price movements) it all boils down to one thing - human emotions. That is what makes it so difficult to be successful at trading and that is why my mentor service is such an important part of my Academy. Following a set of entry and exit points might seem simple and therefore does not warrant a great deal of learning but when those entry and exit points involve  fear, greed, impatience, anxiety, over-confidence, stress and a variety of other emotions in a fast-paced, decision-making environment, plus the vital ingredient of money and it becomes obvious why so many fail to do what on paper might appear relatively simple.

Whilst it would be great to have a simple straight betting strategy to make big bucks, I will always maintain that trading is the way to go. Particularly with the tennis markets, in-play is where the liquidity is and in-play is where you'll find the ability to make thousands with just one relatively quick trade. The options for strategies are almost limitless, whereas with straight betting, things become far more restricted. On the one hand, that is part of the problem with trading; there are so many options available, that traders end up veering away from the planned route and end up like a deer in the headlights. But those extra options are also what enable a greater variety of techniques for making money - you just have to learn how to take the correct route and stay on it. Plus, I really wouldn't fancy stressing over the result of a match for 2+ hours, when I can be in and out of a trade in a few minutes and able to reduce my liabilities to far less scary amounts. So in theory, although it sounds as though betting would be better (and certainly easier to learn) I would take trading any day of the week.

The second episode of "Traders: Millions by the Minute" is aired on 22nd September, 9pm BBC 2.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

US Open 2014

The US Open comes to a close with the women's final today and the men's on Monday. It's been a tournament full of upsets on both sides, with perhaps the biggest being Novak Djokovic's loss to Kei Nishikori. It wasn't a huge upset in terms of ranking or gap in class. Nishikori was ranked 11 going into Flushing Meadows and will be a top ten player as of next week. He's also been more than a match for Nadal on clay this year (probably would have beaten him had he not been injured) and has beaten Federer and Wawrinka. But in trading terms, yesterday was a massive gubbing. He was 1.13 pre-match, a joke price if ever I saw one, though I won't pretend this wasn't still a huge surprise. That's because he'd come through two consecutive 5 set matches previously and in the intense heat and humidity of New York this week, not many gave him a chance against the iron-man of tennis who had played significantly less time on court. But Kei (not Kai!) gave me one of my biggest ever wins and best of the US Open, as I tweeted after the match:

In today's final between Wozniacki and Serena Williams, I really think we'll see a close match and do not see it as being as one-sided as the market seems to think. I really hope so anyway because a Wozniacki win is going to leave a lot of people rather embarrassed at the way they've been writing the Dane off (rather nastily in many cases) for years. She's been criticised heavily  for not having a big enough game or being aggressive enough, even when she was world number one. Very harsh in my opinion, as that's just not her style and it's very difficult to change your natural mentality and personality. She should be appreciated more for what she is - one of the finest athletes on the WTA, one of the most competitive players and mentally toughest on the women's OR the men's tour, probably THE best defensive female and with perhaps the most solid double-handed backhand in the women's game. Tennis isn't just about big serves and massive shot-making. That said, I never saw her winning a Grand Slam, so I will be proved wrong if she defeats the world number one today - and I hope I am!

As for the men's final, I don't think anyone saw that coming! Cilic v Nishikori won't whet the appetite of most casual viewers - it's the first time in almost 10 years that a Grand Slam final has none of the big 4 (Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray) competing. The last time was the 2005 Australian Open between Hewitt and Safin. But this time, it's much more of  surprise because neither of these two finalists are ranked inside the top 10 - Hewitt and Safin had both already won Slams. However, I'm loving the fact we get to see something different for a change and I also think it will be great for trading. Cilic was outstanding in his semi final - he completely outplayed Federer, who must be feeling he could have lost his last great chance to win another Slam. He has not won one since Wimbledon 2012 and with Nadal injured, Murray knocked out by Djokovic and Djokovic upset by Nishikori, he surely won't get a better opportunity. Nishikori might just find that this is one match too many, as all that court time catches up with him but he is the better player at his very best and I'm hoping he does the job. No other player on tour seems to be as universally liked as Kei (not Kai!) and it will be a much celebrated victory (plus let's face it, Cilic is boring!).

Quick update on my Academy. All places have now been taken for the final year, so that's it I'm afraid - Sultan Tennis Trading Academy is officially closing its doors! Any Academy members who have yet to receive the newly updated guide, please email me via the contact form on the blog for further info.