Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday Notes - No Place Like Home?

3:30pm First, thanks to all commenting on yesterday's post, the content of which I believe continues to reflect very favorably on the professionalism of those following this ongoing journey.

Second, yes, I did trade lightly today on the morning-after-trend oscillation setup ... after all, when they're handing out free doughnuts, you might as well grab some, and any overnight or early morning approach toward 895 was shortable given Monday afternoon's brick wall resistance.

Last year, I would have been up at 3am to go after that first approach on the Europe open (for sometimes that first approach is the only approach). Yet as has been my choice this year -- and especially during this week of semi-rest -- I settled for a good night's sleep and instead took the latter opportunities, although that 10:00am - 10:05am whipsaw made it tough to both establish and hold a heavy position to catch more than a scalp.

Yet back to yesterday's comments, I thought one of the more interesting suggestions was from Kareem, who said, "Sometimes the best and biggest thing to do is nothing!" ... which got me thinking and prompted today's diary entry title and photo. I also like the one about resetting the clock ... which btw I've done at times in previous years when my trading has lagged both expectations and capabilities.

Could it be that I should be comfortable in Kansas and that I'm searching for a non-existent Oz?

As an aside, I find it incredibly interesting that both my poker and trading games have been in almost perfect lockstep with each other in terms of (1) both rocking and rolling in 2008 and (2) both similarly affected by the "OK, what now?" syndrome recently that has invited the beasts of complacency and that oh-so-damaging drop in mental focus. The result in both games has been pursuing several marginal "cutesy" forced plays at inopportune times on marginal market hands which has kept me in "make some, lose some" mode, as well as wiping out a great deal of solid play with a single stupid decision. So whatever I do, from a trading perspective I've got to get back to waiting for Jacks or better, and then playing them hard ... every time.

Case in point: During last week's tourney and last gasp at retaking 1st place, I was on my A game and had a great shot to close the gap until I made a huge mistake when I was the big blind with pocket Q's by not raising pre-flop. My thought was that there were five limpers already in ahead of me, and I figured the chances that at least one would call with something like A-K were strong (shouldn't have mattered holding Qs though ... that's why we push), and if I raised, it would have to have been all-in for my tourney life to stop some from simply calling because they were getting pot odds. Frankly, I had no kahunas and there was zero reason not to push. Yet I hesitated.

The flop then came 10-6-4 at which point I tried to immediately correct my first error by taking that time to push all-in, when I got called by someone who was playing his "lucky" 10-6 hand. I'm still pi$$ed at that ... especially my decision not to raise pre-flop.

Come to find out, Mr. 10-6 said later he would have called my all-in (yup ... there are several donkeys in our local tourney games), yet if he did, at least I'd be cursing him and not me.

It's very similar to my trading where my lack of aggression has resulted in taking the second -- and lower probability -- entry that has often gotten "out-flopped" or simply poorly played.

When I'm on my game, I'd bet the Queens ... hard.

When I'm on my game, I'd be up at 3am on the morning after a trend expecting to see Queens.

What's it going to be Don ... how bad do you want to play??


Anonymous said...

Don - After reading your last two posts the question I keep asking myself is...do you really like to trade? Is it something you love to do win, lose, or draw? Or are you doing it to challenge yourself and when the edge is gone from the pursuit you drop it?
I can understand your feelings regarding "challenged, motivated, and focused". I have felt the same way since I've been a kid but I realized that the merry go round doesn't stop unless you can find the passion for something. unlike most people I have been fortunate to have found it twice in my life and I can say I have never felt myself losing the edge. A vacation ever now and again - Yes. But never have I lost the edge.
It was once said about golf (my first profession and passion)that 'Golf is not a game of perfect" - The same can be said about trading!
Anyway, Something to think about. Thanks again for sharing your life with us - it helps all of us. Thanks

Charles said...

If you don't accomplish the extraordinary feat of back-to-back million$ years now, when will you do it Don?


Severino said...

Even though I come from the “it’s never different this time” camp,
I do not care if you are part Babe Ruth part Ted Williams and your dad was Tony Robbins, if Steve Dalkowski is the pitcher, your hitting is going to suffer. This is not last year and recent history has not really catered to anyone’s style.

Eventually the ball always finds the plate.

Play ball
Or not

I know, I know it shouldn’t matter. Let good old Steve whip a few balls at your head.
That would have to have an affect on anyone.

Severino said...

Just as a follow up.

This will not win me any seats in the front row, but it is too easy to blame yourself.
This market has been tough.

I know that you trade for yourself, but it will be too easy for your doubters to say that last year was an outlier, and the market conditions were as much to play.

Do it again for them, for us and for your legacy.

E said...

Please forgive me, because Iam sure I am preaching to the choir.

My wife's dad and my dad joined us for breakfast Sunday.

Nothing fancy; just coffee and fresh strawberry shortcake.

We thanked them for all they taught us, especially about their values.

When we were finished, we put their pictures back on our nightstands.

Joe has been gone 12 years, my "pop" just over 2 years now.

Breaking ranks with the troops, I am going to say the heretical; that you can always find something worthwhile to do.

The time I spent with my dad his last few years I will always remember.

My only regret is I never took him around the golf course for one last ride...

Now, have you arranged for the rain to stop, or will we need to bring our umbrellas?

Best to all.

Don Miller said...

Good comments all -

Some thoughts in response:

TPC - The long-term passion is still there ... I just don't care for going through the motions right now.

Sev - Thanks, yet I'll never care what others think ... aside from the humor and fun motivational bulletin board material it provides. Also keep in mind the name of the game in trading IS "Outlier" ... that one trade during the day, that one week during the month, that one month during the year, that one year during the career, etc. etc. where you hit that Bamboo sweet spot and push it for all its worth.

If some will say last year was an outlier, it will be one of the nicest compliments ever paid to a trader. And I guess I'll have to "accept" all the other strong years where elm trees consistently grew vs. the Bamboo :-).

And in terms of a "legacy", I'll take "he gave more than he took" as a true goal.

E - Amen. And I have the ark all set, although it's supposed to clear tomorrow though and they're calling for warm weekend weather with a possible thunder shower on Saturday. We'll be prepared.

Good stuff as always all.


Unknown said...

Oh Don,

Can't believe u let all those limpers in preflop...very unlike u to do.

I'm not a beliver that if u raised 3x BB or went all in pre flop-the guy with 10-6 would of called,,,NO MATTER WHAT HE TOLD u AFTER the fact!

Our minds can be a very dangerous tool:(


Don Miller said...

pk -

What can I say ... I knew the moment I checked that it was the wrong thing to do. 'twas a brain cramp.


Trader Kevin said...

Severino: "If Steve Dalkowski is the pitcher, your hitting is going to suffer."

The baseball historian in me gives you huge props for the Steve Dalkowski reference.

They're saying Stephen Strasburg, who was just drafted #1 by Washington out of San Diego State, may be the highest-rated pitching prospect ever drafted.

Trader Kevin said...

"I was the big blind with pocket Q's and didn't raise pre-flop. My thought was that there were five limpers already in ahead of me, and I figured the chances that at least one would call with something like A-K were strong...if I raised, it would have to have been all-in for my tourney life to stop some from simply calling because they were getting pot odds."

One of the most valuable pieces of advice I ever got when I started playing tournament poker was you're going to put all of your chips at risk at some point (and perhaps multiple times over the course of a tournament), so get 'em all-in with the best of it and don't worry about outcomes.

Regarding AK, you're a slight favorite. But...people love to limp with any kind of ace, so even if someone is holding AK, there's a decent chance than with five limpers someone is holding Ax, making your QQ stronger.

Big pairs play best heads-up. So next time you're in that spot shove with Queens (and maybe even Jacks) to shut out T6. (As an aside, poker players lie. I don't for a moment believe he would have called, he's trying to encourage you to continue to make negative EV plays.)

If you get beat by AK or Ax or get cold-decked against AA or KK, so be it. At some point you have to risk all of your chips. (Thank goodness for this key difference between tournament poker and trading!)

KN said...

"be rigid in our rules and flexible in our expectations"

The last thing I read before I got to bed last night

Benjamin said...

Hi Don, I think we are all just a reflection of the market and the market seems to be feeling the same way you do at the moment. To stick with the sports analogies you are an agressive grasscourt serve and volley player who is currently being forced to play on a claycourt with a market looking for slow long winded rallies. However last year we also saw every perceivable market "surface" and you still managed to take out the grand slam. Whether you can do it two years in a row is irrelevant as your name is already no the honour board.

Kareem said...

Hi Don,
Thank you for the mention on your post. I have quick question, please. A trader friend, who has purchased one of your courses in the past, explained that you use the BB, moving averages and stochastic to day trade. Are you still using that same set up; do you still find it to work in today’s markets?

Don Miller said...

Kevin -

Agree on all fronts ... and yes, it's a good thing trading is NOT like tourney poker.

Kareem -

Very little has changed, although I tend to use TICK a bit more now for scalping.