Phantom of the Pits - 16. Your Comeback After a Big Drawdown

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ALS - Is it true that you have saved the best until last in your insights?

POP - You will see as clearly as anyone can see that what I am going to tell you is the most exact and best information you will ever get in your entire trading career. You can call it the best. If it isn't the best part of any book you ever read I will send back every thought to the cleaners.

There are great authors, great advisors, and great traders in the world of trading. There are great editors, great reporters, and great teachers of trading. They all have a reputation. They carry that reputation well. I could never carry a reputation for it would be such a burden I could never survive. Great people have been able to deal with it like my friend John Denver, Don Gibson, Oprah and my Brother. They have learned how to carry such heavy baggage in their lives.

Who I am is always going to be more important to myself than anyone else in the field of trading. It must be that way in order not to interfere with my duties of success. It isn't a selfish thing, it is just that we must be in control first. You see trading must be the most important thing in your life in order for it to be possible for you to become the trader you know you are capable of being. You will take the blame and try to take the claim. But listen to me! You must never be so lost in your trading to think that your success is because of you.

Art, you have dropped some hints along the way and with the events that have taken place. I can tell you that my faith in the small trader is no whim. As I read your brother's memorial to John, I realize Harold said it as perfectly as anyone could say the true reason of what this is about. "Was I somehow meant to be here? Was this moment just coincidentally mine for my imagination to make it as I will or was I supposed to be a part of all this?"

I can figure theorems pretty well from the facts I am given and I can assure you that you and I have learned a great deal from this project. We have learned more than we started out to give. We have learned more than we could imagine in a lifetime. Do you know the mail and understanding I have received over just the past two weeks? I know you have seen the response too. I have it calculated that we could put no less than a 1024 page book together of those we can thank, for not our, but their insights. It is overwhelming to think that we are alone. But being alone is what trading is about. It is very lonely in the world of trading.

I can tell you that our experience has opened our eyes and unlocked our hearts because of what has happened to us, by being a part of the Futures forum. What a step forward it has been to see the speed of thought in our lives today. I believe because of the faster speed of communications that the markets are quicker today and my rules are even more appropriate.

I don't know why I say my rules anymore for I feel that they are suppose to be the small traders rules now. I don't mind or regret the route it took to give what I have to give. I am not capable of carrying a burden. I have just lately learned what tears are about. I have been told, scolded and directed to a different light in my life. It has all been for a good reason and I thank my new teachers for all of the effort to let me be in their class.

You must accept my thanks and appreciation for your understanding of my weakness and loneliness of trading. Only a trader can understand that darkness. I thought I was alone but find out that there are many lights along the path. Those lights are our new-found friends who have walked the path strategically placing their brilliance in order that we continue our walk.

What a JOY to received the oldest book of Shakespeare from New England. What a lesson to received guidance form more countries than I have visited. It's important to learn again the zip code of every state in the U.S. It's an important lesson to learn what I would never have imagined thirty years ago of how thought and feelings could transit the world so quickly. This is my shock to new learned knowledge.

Winston Churchill once stated that "This is not the end or the beginning of the end, but could very well be the end of the beginning." We'll accept that. We have started! It gets better. There are more of us now. I no longer shall have to walk around in a majority of one.

It is going to be difficult because there are those who would pull my mask off. But all I can ask is for understanding. Understanding of why I do not want or mostly why I can not accept credit for my insights. To answer your Brother, Harold, yes, I was meant to be here! As long as I know why I was chosen to be here. Only others can me why I am here. I shall listen to them! They will give me joy from their hearts and allow me to bow at their feet in appreciation, for they know more than I of what need brings in my life.

Traders are a macho bunch but look at me, Art! Am I macho and the true image of what a trader looks or acts to be in the world of finance? No, I am just a teddy bear in my own world of big complications. I am a very simple man and a small image of God.

I no longer shall ask Harold's question. I accept the idea that I truly am supposed to be here and I have the responsibility to respond and give what I can give in order to satisfy my inner needs or my boss. You and I know that it is the readers and the givers on the forums and all walks of life who are the guides in our lives. We have learned behavior modification well and acknowledge that criteria in our lives from here forward.

Just ask and you shall have the answer. But it is in your own thinking that the appropriate ration be dealt. Consider your reasons and you shall change your destiny. It is Phantom's duty to follow and see that you don't stumble for I have already walked the path. I do not lead and I do not follow. I only walk your path in appreciation of knowing you shall grow and be the leader that is expected of you.

I need to show the starving how to take a bushel of rice and instead of eating, sowing instead and learning the magnification of effort in prosperity. The starving are my traders who are my little Phantoms in an overwhelming world of giants. My Phantoms shall become the leaders in the world of traders. Not by my hand but by their own. You see they are the chosen ones to lead the New World of finance. There are cycles and a new one shall surface. The little Phantom's shall learn the smile of trading in their lives. What more can you could you ever wish for them!

Art, I hope your wife isn't getting tired of my stepping on her cats and it has been good to share some of the sad times with you both and the traders who have helped us get beyond a period of sadness in our lives. I know that someday your hill behind your house will be famous. I expect your brother Harold has already re-named it. Take it to heart. It is not your hill. It's only your walk, which is yours. It is the same in trading. It is not our success it is theirs. Not by forfeiture but by design that the student of a good teacher shall surpass the teacher.

I asked Alfredo if we could use his ideas on a post to convey more of what my intentions are. It surprises me that others seem to pick up on what I am supposed to do than I do. Look at his post and see what you think.

Can you forgive me for not sticking to the subject on this chapter?

ALS - I and the readers and traders understand where you are coming from and the importance of what it is to walk alone. I know that you are pouring your heart out to us in an effort to show your genuine appreciation of what has been given to you. I know that you are humbled again by what others have presented to you. You have always prepared yourself for the possibilities as well as the expected probabilities in your trading. When it comes to being an expert on everything, it just can't happen.

I know what a genius you are and how it sometimes robs you of simple happiness which most people take for granted. To continuously move swiftly into the next step of life is true, as you have stated thus far. Opposition to the unknown is high. You are no different than any other person or trader. It is just that you have been given a different view on life, events and reactions of events, which puts you where you are. You have been given a gift and you are the first one to accept that you do not have a right to accept any credit for what you have been given. It is your time to give back!

So it takes us a little longer to get to our chapter theme? We have only shown what an ordinary person the Phantom really is. You are no different from the inside out than any other trader. You may see the line a little clearer as you said that you are the observer and you do see the line in the sand. You have been patient enough to wait for others to see the line in the sand. And they will see the line in the sand. It only needs to be pointed out to them that there really is such a line.

Phantom, I am not saying this because you are my long time friend but because it has been proven to me. You are the light in the lighthouse for the future, current, expert, and novice traders, not just in the U.S. but in the entire world. You are their hero because you dared to be great. And you are great. Anyone who could teach Christine to sing surely must be worth something (said with a grin) in somebody's life! The fact of you Phantom is that you are a very simple man! That is what you have always wanted to be! So Be IT!

POP - Do I have your wife sew my buttons back on? You have exposed me more than I could ever have shown. I have to put it in the category of committing a random act of kindness! I do appreciate what you are trying to do. Let's just turn the tables a bit here so the readers know more about you now.

You see I know of your love for music and your first trip to Nashville in the 60's and your collusion with Floyd Cramer on your song. I know you didn't make much on your first song and that trading has been better to you. Maybe you should go back to your first love, no offense to your only wife ever! After all what is important in life?

ALS - My brother is the singer and the musical part of our brain sides. It is funny how dare to be great can change our lives. It is the same with traders. You hear! Go ahead and dare to be great! Phantom knows it can be done and he is giving you the gift. Somewhere you will know how the thank you will be directed.

I am impressed with the faith you have in the small trader. Just today on CNN I heard an expert say just that same thing about the small trader leading the way. It is true you know that the word has been written already. A small trader can and, Phantom if you are correct the small trader will make a big difference in life. I use faith and not hope in your view.

You know Phantom if we keep this up we are going to have to pay the readers and the other traders to pay attention to us!

POP - We know where we are going so what difference does it make if we can be real people like everyone else. I think that for the first time in my life I have an outlook on life, which is a total shock. I can't get enough. I don't care what my positions do tomorrow.

ALS - You never did! I guess that is why you are who you are. If the other traders who read your insights can understand how simple it can be to not care because of your rules and just do it, - DO IT! I mean as you say, it only matters what you do with your losers which determine your success.

I don't mean to change the subject but the CD we are listening to now is Floyd's "Losers - Weepers." Do you think that has any significance in this interview?

POP - Yes, Keep emotion out of it. If you do the right thing in trading, never be a weeper. Hey, that is pretty good don't you think?

POP - The same as always. I will sell more corn on the rally and cover when I am wrong. That will be at 9:30 a.m. but first I will run the stocks. Lucky I covered on the close today. It has been down and then up. I like it. More opportunity for us tomorrow, don't you think?

ALS - Why don't you just take tomorrow off?

POP - Ok, I will get out at the open or perhaps we can do it before tomorrow's open with the night trading.

ALS - How far do you think the corn will move if you get out tonight?

POP - You don't even want to know! At least I am on the right side. We could see by going at the market heavy. I can't for I know better. Ok we'll just have to look for a Saturday and Sunday walk back to the top of the hill.

I notice that song you wrote in the 60's is now playing on your CD. Are you ever sad you sold it for such a miser of a penny?

ALS - You may not know how much I got for that song. It is the best price anyone could ever get for a song. I have the greatest memories. I don't make many of them anymore. Nor do you I bet!

POP - I'm pretty simple! My memories are no different that our traders or our little Phantoms I mean. I hope Phantoms can grow up faster than children. I don't want to watch from the sidelines. I want to pass the ball once in a while.

ALS - Phantom, we are losing out here. I think this is all going to be cut from the book. Maybe we had better call it a night until we get back on the subject.

POP - Ok, we can cut our losses. We will start over again. I just want you to do one thing for me tonight before I head back. Put this on the Futures forum and let the other traders know I am one of them. I'm no different. I'm just a bigger size!

ALS - Ok you win again. I will be up until you get home. See you for the true part of our trading after the big DD.

POP - I'm going to take that bushel of rice to starving you now! First I would like to go to Lake Tahoe for the best Chateau Brian. See you beyond!

ALS - We will get to the point soon!

Note: Alfredo posted the following in reference to his parallel of Phantom's rules with his loved game of Chess as it relates from his view.

[top] [post reply] Date: 30.Oct.1997 (Thu) - 06:03 Author: Alfredo A. email: mailto:

I consider myself a weak amateur of the game of chess. But an amateur (in the sense of lover) nevertheless. There are some fundamentals that even beginning players know that they must execute properly in order to stand a chance of at least forcing a draw against a better player, or checkmating a weaker one.

1. The opening is critical. You have to be both aggressive as well defensive and work your pawns looking ten or twelve moves down the road. Some games are won during the first five or six moves. (Phantom's Rule 1 ??? )

2. Next comes the consolidation. You develop your horses, bishops and towers and protect your king. You are preparing your pieces in such manner as to later on permit you to launch a successful attack. You explore the weaknesses demonstrated by your opponent. You try to tire him as much as possible. (Phantom 2 -- press your winners ???)

3. If possible, the final attacks, and checkmate. Against a stronger player, a draw will do. (Phantom 3 -- this one he owes us -- when to liquidate and take your profits ???)

Battles are battles, be they on the air, sea, land, chessboard, or the PITS. Is this a very futile analogy???

Any chess players out there to correct/improve my reasoning?

Good trading

ALS - Phantom, I think Alfredo has you pegged pretty good! Did you ever play chess?

POP - In my younger days I would pride myself in chess but as I grew older, I never felt I had much time for the game. I should play more chess to relax but there are so many things to do now.

ALS - We'll cover your chess matches someday but for now let's go to "trading after the big drawdown." Why do want to put this part in?

POP - First it was a question that one of the forum followers posted and I want to answer their questions. It is a good question. Second, most traders wouldn't be reading this if they had never been faced in a similar situation as a big drawdown. It can happen in so many ways.

I am not going to judge why a trader would have a big drawdown because it has searched each of us out at one time or another. A big drawdown is what will stop you from trading. I am going to approach the reason for the big drawdown as if a trader had fifteen losers in a row! I am not going to judge any other reason of character as to why the big drawdown. I want you to also forget the reason for you misfortune from here forward.

ALS - We both know that holding a loser too long is the biggest cause of the big drawdown! Why are you so kind?

POP - Really, this is the best part and to go forward is what we are after here. We don't look back except to learn from what has happened in this case. Another reason I want to approach the drawdown as you having a series of fifteen losses in a row is because that is an event every once in a while.

To start we are going to make sure we have enough funds to continue to trade. If you don't really have enough funds then you should postpone until a later date. Notice I did not say you had to quit trading! We all quit trading for some reason. It is just that your reason is different at this time. Ok we proceed now that you are satisfied you have enough money to continue to recover from your past misfortune.

I want you to go into the next stage of your trading by accepting an assumption. I want you to accept an assumption that you have made fifteen trades in a row, which have all made money.

ALS - I thought you said we were going to assume the big drawdown was caused by fifteen losing trades in a row. What do you mean now that you say assume you have fifteen trades in a row, which have made money?

POP - Frame of mind is what I am changing for you by asking you to make an assumption that you have fifteen winners in a row. The reason I am asking you to do this is because you will be more careful if you have had fifteen winners in a row. If you assume you had fifteen losers in a row, you will be sort of careless in your thinking by expecting that surely you won't have many more losers in a row.

Your frame of mind with fifteen winners in a row will put you on the edge of caution. I want you to be on the edge of caution. Or we could call it being alert to quick market changes. You can no longer afford to make a bad trade and now that puts you at a disadvantage. We will turn that table from here forward by doing the following suggestions.

First you must know what your risk to the dollar is going to be on each trade from here forward until you get to a point of recovering from your big drawdown. How many ways can you know your true risk to the dollar on your trades? Actually with options you can but only if you are a buyer. There are other ways to do this too by using butterflies in future positions by using three contract months but this is too advanced for you at this time so we will stick to options.

I don't like to give trading advise but it is imperative at this time that you understand at this point, we are talking about an exception. You do need some advise as to where you can find the correct road. You know what you want and I am only giving you directions on which road has what you want along the way. I am not going to give you specific advise but a method of turns and directions to you in order that you get on the road and headed in the correct direction.

Second I am going to tell you that you can and will recover after the drawdown if you do not take a side road along the way. You can get to where you are going but you only have enough gas (money) to get you to that point. Don't take any detours. Sometimes it is not as much fun to head straight down the road with one purpose in mind. That is your only handicap. You have a good choice to make. Knowing you can do it by following correct the road is a good choice. Should you decide differently, you are putting the recovery in your own hands differently.

Take out your chart book and study it. Tell yourself the nature of the market you are studying! Pick your best eight markets only. Try to diversify to a point that they don't all tend to trend together or that they are all related in their behavior. Pick out the existing trends of the eight markets. Write them down and notice how many are in up trends and how many are in down trends. You'll most likely see that most are not in trends at all. At this point it makes no difference. You are not in a hurry except to make the right trades at the right time.

What you are going to do in your recovery is to put as many aspects of trading in your favor as you can in order to change the law of probabilities of recovery in your favor. By knowing the trends of your chosen markets you are to classify them as bullish, bearish or non-trending. Seems simple enough doesn't it?

Place the bearish and non-trending market charts aside for this day and pick them up again tomorrow to see if any changes have been noticed in behavior. You are going to concentrate on the bullish established trends at this time.

The main reason we need eight of your favorite markets is because we are only making the highest probable trades and we need to diversify. You are also going to put advantages on our side. You have a better chance to predict a bull trend than a bear or tired trend. Or do You? Sometimes a tired or bear trend is easier to see. Bear markets tend to move down quicker than Bull markets move up. Or do they? You don't really know do you?

Ok do your research and look at the market behavior from today backwards a few years at least. Learn from this research. It won't do you any good for me to tell you since each market can react a little differently. Any rate I want you to know not me.

You are going to use options for your recovery because we can limit your exact known loss. Futures tend to not be an exact known loss when you enter due to the variable factors you have no control over. You can also get other benefits from options, which we can't get from futures.

The best advantage we are looking for in options is the fact that in bull markets, options pick up and increase in volatility most of the time. In a bear market options tend to lose volatility. Because of our limited required risk, we can use the bull markets to our advantage due to the increased volatility tendency. Since you don't want to sell options and have open-ended risk, we rule out the bear markets for your recover. Also bull markets tend to spend more time going up than bear markets do going down. Markets, which go up, give us more time to increase volatility while open interest builds and interest increases. Bear markets tend to lose trader's interest. Or do they? Do your research!

I am not going to give you a lesson in options as there are experts in software, programs and about any other aspect you could want to learn. If you are interested during your recover to learn more by all means do it. You are however, going to use the best part of options for your recovery. You are going to put increased volatility on your side as a part of your plan.

Now that you have your vehicle for recovery we now need to get a friendly trend working for us with some information standing in your corner which also helps from the charts and from research. Isn't it a good assumption that in bull markets that volume and open interest tend to increase? Isn't it a good assumption that increased volume and open interest increase volatility? Isn't it a good assumption that markets tend to have three major waves of buying in a bull wave? Again, please do your research in order that you have the confidence that those statements are true and good assumptions.

After looking at all of the charts to determine if any bull market is established, you are ready to make a trade when the parameters are correct. Just what are the correct parameters? First you must find a bull trend in one of your markets. Next you must learn which phase it is in. Is it in the first wave up, the second or the third? How do you tell? The answer can be several possibilities. You are going to research our own possibilities! You will have to make your own assumptions. When you are convinced a bull trend has started, look now for a four-day reversal. At that point you shall call that wave one of buying. Look further and see if you have any other four-day counter trends. If you can point out another, let us call that wave two. And then look for a third. You may have to look backwards in your research to find some examples.

On your current charts, look for a market that is established as a bull market. What you want to find is a possible four-day counter trend starting to develop. We want it to be in the first wave of buying in the established bull market. You could look at the second four-day counter trend development but we want the most powerful opportunity.

You will want to take a position on the first four-day counter trend in the direction of the bull trend. You can make it one of two ways. You can do it on the break out of the forth day's highs when it breaks above the previous four days or you can position when the move is above the high of the established bull move. The best way in your case is the first. You want to establish your position prior to the increase in volatility. This will be your entry of the fourth day when the market breaks above the prior four-day's highs.

You have a pretty good idea of what you want to do and how you want to enter your trade. You are looking for limited risk trade when you have an established bull trend. You are expecting to be wrong but with limited risk by buying calls, you can make the trade. You want to either place a call bull spread or purchase the next higher strike call, depending on your capital available for trading.

You must decide what amount of risk you can afford to take based on your account size at this time. It is your decision. A rule of thumb is ten percent of your capital on the trade. If the bull spread costs you 5 and you have 5,000 in your account, we can go along with it. After you put the trade on you will be looking to get out when it is half value or your position has met the criteria to press, get out, or reverse.

You want to trade the option with at least 40-60 days of time remaining. An option with less than 40 days remaining will leave you too little time to participate in a good trend without losing too much time value. You can position an option with time upwards of 120-180 days with little problem but in a good bull move, the closest contract will be the faster volatility mover. You are after the fast volatility move in this position.

Your trade can benefit from any increase volatility in the established bull market and the fact you have entered at the first phase of a bull market. Your entry point is a critical point in that you are going to see either a continuing of the trend or a failure of the continuation. You have used rule one by limiting your exposure and risk. You have set your limit on your risk and you are expecting to only lose half of your risk by placing an order to get out of the position once you have lost half of the value of the option. It the option reduces in value by one half, you surely are not in the trend anymore at that time or you have moved too close to expiration. You move to the next trade!

The other criteria of removal of the position is failure of the four-day counter trend to re-establish the continuation of the existing trend. A failure is confirmed when you have moved below the prior four-day lows during the next trading day. You could have a very fast trade if wrong and a long rides if correct. Be prepared to recognize the failure or the continuation. With your option position, you are protected in the amount of drawdown but be swift in preserving your funds when not proven to be correct.

You can take the second four day counter trend to establish an added position by using rule two but only if you were able to properly establish the first four day counter trend position. Be under the assumption that you may be too late on the third to establish positions. The third four day counter trend can lead to some pretty wild swings if it fails to continue the trend but still be in a trend. This is the part of the bull trend you will want to think about taking profits. Since you are in a recovery stage, you must decide to take your money on this move rather than trying to force another trade. You make the next trade with the same criteria.

The importance of this type of positioning in your recovery is that you will make a much better return than what you risk when you catch both a bull trend and the increased volatility of the move. You want to make the most amount of money with the least amount of risk. You want as many factors working for you as you can possible have. You will be tempted to take the four-day counter trends in a bear market but you have an additional drawback. That drawback is that volatility most likely will fall and your expectations are reduced rather quickly on what is possible in the move. Therefore, it is recommended that you stay with only bull trending markets and the first four-day counter trend.

You'll find many advantages in this style of trading but patience is rewarded in the long run by good gains only from waiting with the correct trend. On the other had running away from failures of continuation of a trend still leave you with small losses. This is less fun than most trading done by you over the past when you had the drawdown.

There will be times you won't have positions on, in fact many times but don't let that be your downfall as you are not trading to trade but to recover from the big drawdown. The best benefit from this type trading is that you will learn a lot about markets and options this way too.

ALS - Let me review a little here. You are suggesting that after a big drawdown that traders take at least eight markets, study and determine which are in established bull trends. Next you are saying that you must see a four-day counter trend to use for entering an option position. You establish either a bull spread or bull call position in the direction of original trend when the market takes out the prior four days high.

For protection you suggested that a continuing trend failure is reason to get out on the next day if it goes below the prior four days low. Also if the option loses one half value that it is time to get out. You want at least 40-60 days of time left minimum on the options. Have I left anything out.

ALS - Will this work everytime?

POP - Of course not but there are good merits presented here. As I have said before, I really have a lot of faith in the small trader. The large trader has all of the data to establish the good trades and has the funds to back up big drawdowns. I am not giving advise but presenting a situation which can lead to recovery from adverse market affects on drawdowns. I want the small trader to become the leaders I know they can be. It has to start somewhere and I think it is going to start from a big drawdown for many of them. No one is immune from market exposure. To control that exposure first, we must trade with extra advantages on our side. We are doing that with this type trading. We are trading with an established trend and we are adding but only correctly. We also are protecting in two ways our position. Both rules one and two come through again.

ALS - I have been meaning to say something about that. Your two rules as Alfredo mentioned in his chess parallel, he says you owe the readers a third rule of when to liquidate and take profits. What about rule three.

POP - I have said on the forum what I feel about taking profits and when to liquidate. I did include it in the recovery. I am a believer in taking profits in the third phase or wave and within three or four days of high volume days. Most markets I like to take profits within three days in most cases. I hope that gives some answers and makes a few traders alert to functions of profit taking. I am not going into the detail at this time. I really have given more than I intended to give in this book on profit taking.

I see as the most important aspect of Phantom trading at this time the understanding of rules one and two. As far as giving a rule three, not yet!

ALS - There are a lot of questions about rule two yet. Most traders are still uncomfortable with it. They have taken to rule one pretty good. We surely can explain rule two a little better.

POP - Maybe we should do a follow up on rule two. Let's ask what questions are foremost in trader's minds on the forum. If we don't get it into this part of the book we will do it in a later writing.

ALS - Ok that sounds good to me. It also sounds like you might have another rule yet.

POP - Time will tell on whether there is to be a rule three.

ALS - Are you giving a hint here?

POP - Have you notice how sometimes things don't get written correctly or interpreted correctly? I don't care about errors about me or my career as I am in the background by my own asking but I don't like to see data wrong. I shall challenge when the data is wrong which affects a trader's interpretation or their ability to correctly trade. How can I know unless I get feedback. I must get that feedback before I can move on to other points. I don't mean to take so long in rules one and two, but there is no other way.

ALS - Should we cover some detail into recovery after the big drawdown a little more?

POP - NO, let us wait and see the reflections coming back first.

" You want to establish your position prior to the increase in volatility. This will be your entry of the fourth day when the market breaks above the prior four-day's highs " ---POP

Phantom of the Pits,

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