Thursday, 27 September 2007

Blow out

In trading terms, blowing out is when you go bust and blow your bank out. Not a pleasant thought, but something that happens more often than you'd like to think and often spells the end to a trader. If you blow out, you don't want to play anymore and your confidence can drop to rock bottom. It takes a lot to pick yourself up, know it is just a set back and start again.

Marcel Link, the author of "High Probability Trading", the book I'm currently getting into, says this about blowing out: "I know people don't want to hear this, but most of the best traders have blown out more than once before becoming the best. I always thought, 'yeah, but not me'. Well, it happened to me more times that I care to remember."

That kind of made me sit up and take notice. When I had made losses, some bigger than I had expected, due to thinking I knew best, I had, in the back of my mind, the thought that if I blew it and lost my bank (as small as it is) then I was not cut out for trading. I've had comments on the blog, when I've mentioned taking a loss or making a mistake, telling me to quit and give up (although not usually expressed so politely!). Well, in the book "Market Wizards" (on my recommended reading list at the bottom right hand side), you find that blowing out is a common early trait among almost all the best traders. As Link says, "It comes with the territory and is part of the training process". He also says, "Blowing out can be a valuable learning experience for a committed trader. It is time to regroup and find out why you lost. The answer will almost always be overtrading or being undercapitalised, but traders need to learn it for themselves"

The bit that really struck me most was when he said, "A word of warning: Most of the time it comes after a good winning streak". This resonated with me, as the biggest losses I've had have always been after a winning run.


dip said...

Good point.From my personal exp. I can say blow out happens when:
1.Backing short odds
3.Alcohol and trading mixed
4.Sitting on a position
5.Weather effect on result like 1st test which ended as draw in Lords recently between India/England

But in all you can find that 'Backing short odds' is the main reason.
Dip K

Richard said...

Hi Dip,

The 3rd one you mention always seems a good idea at the time and then next morning...