Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Weekend Trader (Foxwoods Edition)

Some random musings as I nurse my Foxwoods poker wounds this evening at the Ground Round in Mystic, CT.

Achilles Heels - I have glaring weaknesses in both trading and poker. In trading, it's often establishing wholesale fade positions too soon, especially if I've been active providing liquidity and lose perspective for the moment.

In poker, it's having too much confidence in two pair after the flop. Take my last hand today for example, where I limped in with 4-5 and the flop came 2-4-5. There was a decent-sized pot which I wanted to take down right then, and felt I had to push strong to get other players off possible straight, flush, and trip draws. So I go all in for a few hundred, and everyone folds except for Mr. Ace-three to my right who hit his straight on the flop, and that was the end to a frustrating day as I hit my stop loss of -$500 and called it a day.

That was the second time today that I gave too much credit to an early two-pair and suffice it to say my poker game needs a lot of improvement.

I do find it a bit ironic that I get often get more frustrated losing $500 playing cards than I do losing thousands on a trade. I mean here I am coming off a $300K+ month and I'm pissed at losing $500. Perhaps it's some kind of useful circuit breaker though that keeps me from losing large sums in an endeavor where luck plays a much larger role ... at least on a short-term basis.

Perhaps even more ironic, is that my modest poker losses seem to fuel my positive trading even more ... perhaps making the "fictitious draw" feel real in a weird sort of way. As I've said before, poker makes trading feel "easy" by comparison. And we all know trading ain't easy! Yet the more I think about it, the more I feel it keeps me humble going into the trading week ... which is only way one can expect to succeed in trading.

The "Final Table" Post - For some reason, Thursday night's Final Table post now ranks as the mostly widely read post of the blog. It also ranks as one of my personal favorites.

Former Students - It seems like more and more former students and readers of my old work have found their way to the blog. And for those who have asked what's changed over the last few years, I'd say it's largely simply having a few more years of experience and hard knocks under my belt. That and the graying at the temples and in the moustache.

Blog Plans for 2009 - Frankly, I have no clue. I've poured my heart and soul into trading this year -- including documenting the journey real-time in this blog -- and I may need to take a break from trading, the blog, or both. I admit I'm running a bit on adrenalin and momentum right now, which isn't sustainable over the long run.

So long as it remains helpful, I'll consider continuing it ... yet that will depend on my overall plans and goals for the coming year. At some point, I suppose I should start enjoying the rewards the last year has brought -- as many of you keep reminding me. Then again, part of me wants to keep the momentum going until the well is dry, and it's hard to argue that the blog hasn't been helpful to my trading as it's keeping me accountable in a very public way.


By the way, my other Achilles Heel is chocolate. And if you're ever at the Ground Round, get their "Chocolate Lovin' Spoon Cake". That and a cold Smirnoff Ice have taken the sting off today.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.


Anonymous said...


I have been following your journey since July (c/o Dr. Brett), and it has been great to watch your success in these difficult markets.

I am a broker (and trader), but my passion for poker has carried over from my days as a cash-game pro. I have always followed a maxim that has some significance in the markets as well, "Don't Go Broke With Two Pair".

Congrats on another great month in the trenches, but please find a suitable upgrade for Smirnoff Ice.

Don Miller said...

Thanks ... good insights.

Clearly I need more time under my poker "belt" (the way I'm wired, I have to learn everything the hard way and simply accept and pay the tuition).

Not sure about the Smirnoff Ice though ... it's morphed into one of my favorite cold drinks :-).


Anonymous said...


I guess I have to take it easy on you and the Smirnoff Ice (to each his own).

As a follow up to your Mohegan Sun post, I have to disagree with both you and the person who posted his opinion.

While technically it was a bad play to call off all your chips with top set on the 3 diamond board flop, the mistake was in your raise to $150. I liked the fact that you checked the flop, but you should've smooth called the $25 bet. Here's why:

In a normal 9 or 10 handed cash game, if your $12 raise still attracted 6 callers, you have to figure that someone hit that flop hard (in this case the nut flush). The person who made the $25 bet probably had some kind of straight or flush draw, but with top set I would play defense until the turn to see if the board paired. Especially if by playing defense you are brining along more callers. Even when the Jack came on the turn you probably could've gotten the nut flush to put all his chips in. If your hand doesn't improve by the river or if another diamond comes, you simply lay the hand down.

Just my thoughts...

PS-Can I have your e-mail address so we can swap trading and poker ideas in the future?

Don Miller said...


The logic makes great sense, and I suppose it will continue to take time for me to play all of that through my head as I'm making the decision.

With respect to emails, I prefer to use the blog to cut down on emails and allow all to see the dialogue, but I can provide separately for those with a registered blog identity.