Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Weekend Trader (Sunday Edition)

I indeed spent most of Saturday playing cash no-limit hold 'em for about 7 hours at Foxwoods before playing in a friend's home game last night until 2am. My goal of fully immersing myself in a non-market endeavor after this past roller-coaster week was "partially" achieved (more on that in a bit), and I actually played pretty well throughout the combined twelve-hour session, making decent decisions and netting about $525 at Foxwoods in their $1/$2 game. In the process, I had four hours of drive time and countless opportunities at the table to reflect on this past week, and here are some thoughts.

Timing, Patience, & Betting Size - My timing and patience in the market were less than stellar much of this week (I'm being extremely generous with that comment) which I wanted to work on yesterday, and I seemed to have done something right on Saturday. The day's net profit was essentially the result of betting two key hands strong over the seven hour session ... quad Kings when there were Kings full of Queens on the board, and trip Jacks that held up after I got three callers to think I had nothing. The rest of the time, I felt I effectively managed the game to allow for modest occasional gains to offset the necessary cost of blinds and feeler bets.

Rewind to last week where the week's $70K net gain was essentially result of a single morning session over the entire course of the week -- and looking under the mircoscope more deeply -- two single trade sequences within that session where I was as close to all-in as I can be with a few hundred contracts on. The rest of the week, occasional gains offset the cost of liquidity-providing transaction costs (blinds) and speculative probe entries (feeler bets). Needless to say, the similarity between Saturday's session at the table and last week's efforts is a strong as Bill Belichick's wardrobe is to a home yard sale inventory. My biggest error was the sizing of some of my feeler bets, which I plan to remedy this week until volatility dies down a bit more.

Information is King - I can pin Friday's draw down to a single item -- losing track of the CME's current overnight price limit. It had been so long since this circuit breaker had been activated, it wasn't even a remote thought in my mind and thus completely caught me off guard. Shame on me.

Critical Period - I firmly view my performance over the next two weeks as being THE most critical stretch of this year's journey, as I need to finish the 3rd leg of this year's relay race strong over the coming days and get off to a strong start to the fourth and final leg when October begins. And as I enter this stretch, I'm extremely concerned about complacency setting in.

If I have a motto for the rest of the year, it's "Don't Coast". Coasting only results in losses or untapped potential ... just ask the number of swimmers in this year's Olympics who coasted to the finish line and lost to a Phelps machine that never quit until the board was touched ... even in the final milliseconds.

Remaining Mission - I've made no bones about my $1 Million goal for this year. And I'm not after bronze or silver ... I'm after gold and an unprecedented achievement. In doing so, I want to give back to an industry -- both during and after this journey -- in some way that cuts through all of the smoke and mirrors that have been hyped by the Jim Cramers, broker boiler rooms, chatroom gurus who don't trade or won't share their trades, and "buy my advisory service" chameleons that have done so much harm over the last decade to put money in their own pockets and not promote self-reliance.

As we enter the final stretch of 2008, this personal diary will remain open to all those who care to follow along with me -- without advertising, cost, or any motive other than to push myself and hopefully motivate others to accomplish even greater goals, whether it be in trading or perhaps more importantly, in life.

The journey will continue to have bumps and bruises, and there will be misplayed hands and suck-outs at the river. But this game doesn't end until December 31.

And life's game never ends.


RexVulgaris said...

Don, how do you think writing the blog effects your trading decisions? ie you have kind of set yourself up to achieve a goal publicly.... is that unneeded pressure.. or does it help focus?

I have a personal visualisation whereby i have a glass door stopping me progressing.. and I hack away at the glass with a rubber headed Axe rather than use the Knowing Key [body of work and experiance]to that door.

I got the impression you were hacking away with the axe last week rather than using the stuff you know wrks.... and i guess that was a function of mkt volotility and blog pressure?

nb.. did some axe trading myself last week.. and it undermines me


Don Miller said...

Great ?s Rex -

One of the intents of the blog was to see what impact it had on my trading ... which I'll evaluate on 12/31 by comparing pre and post blog results to see if it helped or hindered. And if I find it hindered, then I'll likely the kabash on it as trading is #1. So far, the jury is very much out.

With respect to pressure, yes, I've purposely put some "public" pressure on me to keep me motivated. Again, whether that helps or hinders remains to be seen as this year's experiement continues. Yet I actually felt a more difficult performance pressure when I was teaching and doing the daily column years ago.

Yea, I think I've been swinging the axe a bit lately, especially in the Globex session which I've always traded ... although my guess is it was more the volatility since I've been doing the blog for almost 3 mos now.

But time will answer all of your ?s and I'm very interested in seeing the answers :-).