If nothing else I hope it can provide some idea for new traders of what they could be in for (and how not to do it... ).
I'm around the 7,500 markets mark now [6k live, 1k+ practice] -- still significantly down £ overall.
It might seem obvious that this game is about eliminating mistakes but due to the lonely nature of trading, if you're not accountable to anyone but yourself then you can begin to develop bad habits, keep reinforcing them and get yourself in a right mess.
Here's a quick rundown of my journey:
- First 1k markets I picked things up quickly (ended up with 63% strike rate), had some really good streaks in places during this time but 2 or 3 significant moments here meant overall loss of money
Rough estimate on how possible I thought it was for me to eventually trade full time: Possible [--x-------------------] Impossible
- 1k - 4k Went downhill from here, I discovered all the psychological barriers + became aware of all the problems that I had. Lots of time in the markets (and analysis outside market hours) translated into a good amount of knowledge. Never really managed to change my behavioural patterns despite this though so tended to have good streaks followed by busting the bank (this would happen over and over)
Rough estimate on how possible I thought it was for me to eventually trade full time: Possible [-------------x--------] Impossible
- 4k - 6.5k Refining my strategies/trading plan etc., expectancy per trade on the rise but main psychological problems persist, I held the incorrect belief that more time in the markets meant I must be getting closer to righting my wrongs, generally good money management during trading until the right brain took over when facing significant losses (amygdala hijack), created various documentation and began to put together a trading plan and define working processes
Rough estimate on how possible I thought it was for me to eventually trade full time: Possible [-----------x----------] Impossible
- 6.5k - 7k Begun implementing new behaviours to eliminate bad habits, perfected trading plan (accounts for all possible scenarios) and finally starting to follow it without any major mistakes, realisation that overstaking on any one trade is very inefficient and puts an entire set of results at risk:
e.g. going past 2x the kelly criterion guarantees failure over the long term
Rough estimate on how possible I thought it was for me to eventually trade full time: Possible [--------x-------------] Impossible
- 7k - present New found confidence in my trading ability due to at last seeing a difference in my results, really focusing on following the process correctly at this stage and eliminating all mistakes. My current goal is for a streak of 500 markets with zero mistakes (around a month's worth of markets). Profit/loss is irrelevant to this goal but it does look likely that I'll end up profitable after 500 mistake-free markets, at which point I look forward to slowly scaling up.
If not... then, well, I'll be surprised. In that case I'll look to be more selective with my trades until I'm profitable before scaling
Rough estimate on how possible I thought it is for me to eventually trade full time: Possible [------x---------------] Impossible
It's still relatively early days to see if I can keep my mistakes at bay, but when actively trading it feels much calmer now, I've been using a visualisation technique after every single market which ends in a loss and I no longer have big urges to chase my losses (particularly noticeable during strings). Between that and measuring my tiredness before each market, pretty much all mistakes have disappeared. Getting organised away from the markets has helped too. There's probably a lot more to it behind the scenes than that but those are the recent prevalent factors. Much to nobody's surprise coming from a gambling background has most definitely been to my detriment as after a quick taste of initial success I quickly fell into bad habits and thought it was OK to recover trading losses by taking on more and more risk through overstaking or just straight gambling at times.
I've come to believe that the traits of a successful trader and the traits of a useful human being are not too dissimilar... Combine that with the deep fascination I've developed for these markets it's hard to see me walking away from trading at any point in the near future. I had some pretty terrible experiences where I lost everything I had at times and those were some of my darkest moments, but they are in the past now and have become tangible reminders of why sticking to the process is so absolutely vital. Thankfully my mistakes these days aren't anywhere near as dramatic... I do feel like I've turned a corner in some sense and if I'm honest it's just been naive stubbornness and a growing disinterest in pursuing a traditional working life which has kept me going.
Typing this is beginning to feel like I'm writing a success story or something, but I'm under no illusion that I've still got some ways to go and I find typing things up is a great way to reflect. That being said, it is beginning to feel like the most challenging aspects are behind me which has filled me with promise.
If newer traders only take one thing away from this let it be that there's no amount of knowledge that can fix your behavioural problems. I cannot tell you the sheer number of times I would bust a bank and go on to watch hours upon hours of trading psychology webinars trying to understand why. Thinking back I became aware of all my issues long ago but if you don't change how you act during that moment when you are in a live trade, you will always repeat your mistakes.
I would love to hear how many markets you guys have traded, and any key turning points in your journey, such as how you went from loser to break-even, break-even to profit, or just some realisation you had that really made a difference to your results.