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Vlad Karpel, Tradespoon founder, is also an investor of AOS, Inc. Vlad and his team may have a financial interest in its picks as they trade many of the same equities and options they pick. It should not be assumed that the methods, techniques, or indicators developed at tradespoon will be profitable or that they will not result in losses. RISK DISCLOSURE: Options involve substantial risk and are not suitable for all investors. Please read “Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options” prior to investing in options. Evaluate any strategy prior to use to understand risk and suitability.
Futures and forex trading contains substantial risk and is not for every investor. An investor could potentially lose all or more than the initial investment. Risk capital is money that can be lost without jeopardizing ones’ financial security or life style. Only risk capital should be used for trading and only those with sufficient risk capital should consider trading. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.
For example, being right a lot at your 9 to 5 job will probably get you a promotion in time, whereas being wrong most of the time probably will not. I get a lot of emails from traders asking about win rates and what the overall winning percentage is of my price action strategies. The main takeaway from the spreadsheet above is that a high winning percentage combined with even one or two draw-downs that are much larger than your winners, will kill your trading account, not to mention your trading mindset and overall confidence. Now that you’ve seen how you can actually lose money by winning most of your trades, let’s look at how you can make money by losing most of your trades, to further hammer-home the point that winning percentages are irrelevant.
The main takeaway from the spreadsheet above is that a low winning percentage can still make you a significant amount of money if you are managing your losers consistently and manage to make 2 times your risk or more on your winners. Real-world examples of why winning percentage is irrelevant In order to see how this concept of winning percentages being irrelevant plays out in real-world trading scenarios, let’s look at some examples of trades that occurred over the last few months: In the example below, a pin bar signal formed showing rejection of support within the recent GBPJPY uptrend. In the example below, we see a counter-trend pin bar setup on the GBPUSD that would have resulted in a 1R loss. It’s important to keep all losses contained below a certain dollar amount. In the example below, we see a pin bar buy signal that formed recently in the EURJPY. This pin bar setup was in-line with the underlying uptrend and showing rejection of an important near-term support level, but the setup still failed. In the example below, we see a fakey pin bar combo trade setup that resulted in a 1R loss.
In the example below, we see the recent long-tailed pin bar reversal setup from key support that formed on the daily AUDUSD chart. For those of you who missed it, we’ve been discussing this setup in our recent AUDUSD commentaries and the market has now provided at least a 2 to 1 winner from that setup. In the example below, we see a 4 hour USDJPY pin bar trade that may have resulted in a 1R loss. Most traders probably would have exited around breakeven before the trade hit their stop loss on this one, but just for the sake of example we will count it as a loss. In the example below, we see a recent 4 hour EURUSD pin bar buy signal that resulted in another 1R loss.
From the results above, we can see that even though we only had a 28. Whilst 1R is not a huge profit. 7 trades, and over a larger series of trades the profit would obviously be more. Also, these were conservative hypothetical examples, in reality, some of the above trades may have been less than a 1R loser, like the 4 hour USDJPY setup, and the 4R winner in the GBPJPY could have easily been a 5 or 6R winner. The mechanics behind profiting while losing the majority of your trades You saw above that it is possible to make money while losing the majority of your trades, and you should now understand why winning percentages are irrelevant in trading. However, it’s important to discuss a little bit about HOW this is all possible.
Risk reward is the most important money management concept to understand. I’ve written quite a bit about the power of risk reward, but for those of you who are unfamiliar with it, you should know that understanding it is paramount to proper risk and money management in the markets. One of the biggest mistakes traders make early-on in their careers is to vary their dollar risk amount on each trade depending on the previous trade’s outcome. The reason this is a mistake, is because the next trade’s outcome is completely independent of the previous trade’s, that is if you are sticking to your trading plan and trading off logic and not emotion. Position sizing is how you actually keep your dollar risk constant per trade. I get emails almost every day from traders who say they are worried about trading higher time frames because they think wider stop loss distances mean they are risking more money per trade, but this is just not the case.