Oct 16 – Update (#2)

Nice pop there. Pretty much bringing account back to normal now. Through the event I did have some vol related draw downs, nothing that stressed me out or anything but I didn’t love how I entered the event re trades/hedges and sizing which is prompting me to create a much more concise trading plan which I am really excited about. I feel really good about how things went and where they will go from here. I am basically shaking off some pests and revising some of the plan to be even more robust. Right now, I am developing a concise and mandatory trade plan that’ll be printed and bound and at my desk. As I mentioned before, I am taking my optimistic honey badger mentality and focusing it on entirely on risk management instead of out-sized returns and I am super relieved and kinda super excited about it. I am going at it hard. It’ll be epic to create any sort of trade plan that can handle large money that does 30-40% returns but doesn’t flinch in events. Ideally, it’s going to be a lotto as well. That’s an amazing feat. Thanks to the PMTT Group. Once developed, I’ll probably be looking forward to the next crash event 🙂

This plan, it’ll have all sorts of idiosyncratic rules and requirements that I am going to force myself to follow. It’ll also contain journals of my thoughts related to how I felt during crashes, what I did, tools etc. I’m accepting the returns that I calculated (more modest) and I am putting risk at the first priority. Take care of risk and the returns will come (compounded or otherwise). That’s the key I think.

Update on account and management:

ES:

By EOD, I have removed most of my PCS that I had on for the HS3s and am sitting at about even on an account level for the EDF/ES account from start of crash till now, all said. Not bad. I closed off all the Dec including the ATM PCS today (maybe a bit premature as I closed them around 2795 rather than the 2815 its trading at now).

Jan HS3s are locked and loaded in a really nice zone for quick profits in the next 14 days. Could add 40k in profit by end of Oct.

The Mar HS3 is down about 59k while the hedge is locked in at 30k profit so the combo is still down 29k total. Could recover quickly but EDf did force me to liquidate and lock in some loses last week. Not bad still. I also had initiated a 100 wide PDS at 2775 last week which hurts the UEL (upper expiration line) a bit.

The BSh factory is now profitable. I will use the next few days to start forming the BSHs and should be ready to rock soon as a hedge.

SPX

March CC campaign is at even now (wow!) and I have some bearish STT covering it which are down about 6k. So all in all about -6k to 10k on the whole thing.

Jan CC campaign is doing fantastic. It’s got so much theta that it could swiftly make a lot of cash in the next 14 days

Dec CC campaign. About even now (from pre-crash—but was at target anyways before) but has no real juice or risk. Will slowly turn into a hedge.

BSH Factory. Is profitable now. I was a bit too aggro on the short puts so I might use the opportunity to start forming on any signs of a down turn. Not really worried as it’s december shorts and they are deteriorating quickly.

X4: Removed for loss of 15k

Rhino: About even.

KH recovering some of the draw down.

All in all, I am about about 1.5-2% on the account and a week sets that even in theta and a month should be aces in profit.

If I get a few weeks to a month to rejig my plans, form factories and work on sizing then any further vol should be easily deflected if not profitable from here on in.

Oct 15 2018 – Update on Trades

All in all, this was a perfect little mini-crash tester for my systems and risk parameters. My systems and parameters (trade plan) were drastically revised after the Feb event (which was an absolute earthquake shake up in how I handle risk). That event let me see how everything reacts both re BS protection and how the system reacts to the portfolio of trades. The really important part is the nuance of removing trades while staying within margin parameters. The hedges have to get taken off quickly but that means you have to take off some income trades. These income trades are sometimes riddled with so much juice that it is hard psychologically to remove them. The thing is, you’re now closer to your tent, any stabilization and you could be at 2-3x your profit target in the first place. So re human factors, what do you do if your hedge didn’t fully protect your income (under sized or it just didn’t trigger, or you waited too long to remove) and you’re down 5-10%. Do you just take the loss and close the hedge and income trade with no hope of getting back? Do you close it all down and open new ones? All these things have to be part of a trading plan. Accounting for how to deal with yourself and your portfolio during an event is crucial.

I am convinced the experience I gained having traded through the markets of Sep/Oct 2014, Aug 2015, Jan 2016, Feb 2018 and now Oct 2018, gave me an incredible wealth of insight into how to manage events and event risk. I feel that I am reaching a stage of trading where my focus is solely on risk management much before maximizing returns. That’s a big big step for me, I am naturally a risk taker, and I go big. To be so focused on the opposite part and it now being natural is a massive step for me. It’s served me very well in life re taking risks and making them work but with the nuance that I usually have 3 back ups and really understand the risks/odds I don’t sleep until I make sure it works! In trading, I found that I sometimes didn’t initially understand fully the risks and I couldn’t just make it work. So this slaps you in the face and requires you learn to be pro-active in risk management. And here we are. This was and is the hardest thing I’ve done in life. I think that road (the learning of how to manage risk) is now coming to an end, I think I’m arriving to the point where I should be re trading. Risk in trading is not easy especially if you’re doing amounts that make a difference to your life. Taking large losses during an event and/or waiting for the vol to come out can take months and these months can affect your life if you’re trading large. I can tell you that it sucks waking up at 3am to check futures. It’s just not worth it. Pre-plan and take care of your risks. As I said, I am a risk taker, always have been and I’ve done it successfully in all areas of my life. I mean I was a professional gambler at the start (7 years!), made tons, parlayed that into a business (all of my cash..which is absolutely insane if you think about it) I could have retired off what I made but instead, I bet it all on a business. Took that risk. But. When I choose to take a big risk, I do everything I possibly can to make it succeed. That’s the key (but it doesn’t work with trading unless you’re thinking long term development as a trader). What I mean, is if you have an event, and you’ve taken loss, you just can’t do anything there can you? But you can do all you can to work on your trading plan and yourself to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I don’t sleep at night if it requires attention. You just make it work. I’ve seen so many people start businesses, then just fuck off and give up on it. It’s like they end up with a resentment to it, a resentment to their failed expectations. That resentment seems to push them away from success and allows them to accept the failure. They’ve tricked themselves into hating their business or whatever it is which allows them to just close it up.

This Feb event gave the tools and foresight to strengthen my trade plan in this search for what I hope ends up being an almost riskless very conservative way to obtain 30-40% returns per year. The Oct mini-event, allowed a partial test of the new systems and allowed me to refine a few things. The goal used to be to trade very intricate complex structures and trade it full time and aim for 75-100% returns on capital but as my size grows and as my risk appetite lessons, and as my focus to risk management changes, I’ve realized that I probably will max out in the 30-40% range for OTM structures. I do believe the best ATM traders (John Locke, Kevin Lee) can do the 70-100% returns but it all depends on what capital they’re using. If you’re allocating 100k out of 2MM to a trade, then sure, you can probably accept specific risk parameters that allow you to obtain those out-sized returns, but if you’re allocating the entire 2MM then you have to dial it down.

What’s changed this time around?

1. I am going to allocate 50% of what I normally allocate re trading capital. I am so PISSED that I didn’t have more dry powder on Thursday. The shit is like 4x more juicy to enter. I am convinced if you waited for a 90% MDD day to enter these types of trades, you’d make the same amount as if you entered every month. These 90% MDD days happen 3.5x a year on average for the last 50 years.

2. I am going to have a trifecta of hedges (that’s right, 3). I will use an LP campaign, a Hedge BSH, an income BSH and KH for margin control.

3. I will be utilizing some bearish ATM structures as a partial hedge and separate income trade that covers that first 5%-7% down move in the markets.

4. I will utilize bearish STT during bounces after a crash event as well as index dynamic hedging.

5. Maybe stay away from futures and futures brokers 🙂

6. I don’t think I’ll trade HS3 unless its opportunistic and on large MDD type days. I don’t love its unpredictable complexity. I feel an STT so intimately.

High VIX – All loaded up

I pretty much reached the end of my risk tolerance in adding new trades. I have loads of HS3 and STTs on and I have all the shorts I’m allowed to have re the factory. Not much I can do now but wait for things to form on the factory side. All my HS3 and STT are POS UEL so I doubt I have much adjustments to even consider there. Should be a relatively easy few weeks re time spent on trading. A waiting game.

My Mar STT are all drawn down as expected re VIX being at 18 and skew changes. I have 282 total BWBs on total over course of 4 weeks (average of 65 a week) which represents a planned capital 1.25MM. My Jan/Dec are fairly neutral as I did tons of roll ups, but still have loads of theta in them. They are slightly drawn down from the highs as all the T+0s are falling re volatility.

The shorts I sold last week (Dec expiration) are increasing w vol but also time is a magnet. So it’s fighting that. A week or two more and should be able to form those. A crash now would kinda suck though 🙂 I am actively looking into a rule where I’d take off. I got a great price on the Jan expiration that I put on end of week. All in all, will be a really nice start if we bounce at all.

My x4 are hurting a bit. Will probably roll them out tomorrow.

My Rhino is break-even. Needs a roll too. Looking at that now.

    Poker and life

Getting ready for end of October and the study required, I am doing a 14 day no alcohol thing so I can focus, get as geared up as possible and get this studying done. Doing a bit of a health blitz which involves no alcohol, doing a regular niacin flush, slamming some vitamins, no carbs, and working out every single day in some form (I am doing a cross fit type class..I don’t like cross fit or the culture but I am too lazy to figure out an alternative as I go w/ my wife). I’ll be playing tennis and then jogging as well. Every day has to include one of these activities. I am also going to start up the mindfulness activities (meditation via primed mind) and just get to the best spot I can both physically and mentally. I want to make the best run I can at this thing over the course of Oct/Nov and getting ready for the PSPC in January.

If I can make a dent this year in tournament success, that’d be cool. I’d like to break-even with expenses in 2019 but keep having shots at 1MM+ payouts and that elusive final table.

I can’t get over the hand in the 2017 Bahamas main event. There’s 56 left out of 800 or so and my stack is above average. Good for probably top 30 and a reasonable shot at the final table. I get dealt AA. I raise, get three bet, I four bet (against the only other stack larger than mine at the table) and he shoves all in. I call with the best hand. His hand is AK. I am 94% favorite here. This is a massive double up opportunity that all but puts me at the final table. The blinds were 3/6k and I’d have had 720k stack (omg).

Since it’s an all in situation. They pause everything and call over the poker press, cameras etc..(i never found the video..odd). I stand there for 5 min with all sorts of pros behind me telling me omg you’re 94% favorite here. I’m all but counting the chips. So it’s really hard to explain but this is like after 4 12 hour days where you’re concentrating and so emotionally invested…when I see the flop KKT. I am absolutely decimated. One of the worst feelings I’ve ever felt and I know that sounds weird. But it was. I didn’t even collect my cash, I just wandered aimlessly around the Atlantis in a total weird ass state of mind. That was my shot. I hope I get another. Horrible luck for that point in the tournament and for the chips and position I would have been in.

Whirlwind month of Jul (Travels, HS3, STT, Rhino etc)

Finally settling down and getting back to normal work lifestyle rather than scurried catch-up.

Just finished a 24 day cruise, then traveled to Arona, Italy for some R&R with family friends then onwards to meet my biggest client (a well known Ferrari racer/entrepreneur socialite type guy who’s got the fastest lifestyle I’ve ever seen) in Budapest which consisted of me trying to balance 2 kids, a baby, an “at the end of her rope” wife while staying out to 3:30am for business (and some pleasure). I barely could keep up with anything. After that I made my way by rental van to Zadar, Croatia where I caught up. We just left and made it to Istria, Croatia and now I am in a villa in the countryside relaxing and catching up on everything.

During these little whirlwind periods, I have to balance everything which can be difficult but I think I have it down to a science. My communication usually suffers, emails that aren’t super important sometimes get forgotten but everything else is generally aces. One of the reasons I travel to Europe during the summer instead of elsewhere is because of the timezone, i.e. the market opens at 330pm here so I get the evenings to attend to trading.

My mind is always focused on the trades during every single day regardless of where I am, or what tours I might be on or if we’re on the road. I generally don’t miss a beat on the management of these trades and finding opportunities for entry and adjustment.

I usually wake up every day, model my trades, look at the market technicals, figure out what I need to do later, enter trades in IB/EDF and pause them for market open. I then get out for the day with the family and do whatever we may have planned. We have a small baby now so we have to usually be back for 12-1pm for nap time. I use that to further catch up and usually do some backtesting or whatever else I have to do for market open. Then at about 2:30-3pm my wife and I will typically head out for some alone time for about 3 hrs, usually touring cities and getting dinner and a drink. During this time, I got everything on my phone and sometimes I may have to interrupt the conversation to get things on but its never a prob. We are usually back by 7pm where I finish out the rest of the market hours and I’m done by 9:30pm to finish the night. Through all that, I am usually tapped out and non important things get left to the way side until I get to an area where I can relax more and catch-up. So yah, If I am out, and I usually am, I’ll be looking at phone and entering those BWBs (for new trades), PCS (for raising UELs in HS3s etc), and entering them in-between talking to my kids at dinner or wherever else I am. I am using downtime during the day (naps or AM) to model and get a plan in place.

The HS3 futures in EDF are crushing right now, I started them I think in May and it’s up almost 35% or so. I reached profit target on 111 units in Oct 31 expiration and 20 units in Sep expiration. I have another 83 (SPX equiv) units on in Dec monthly which are more than half way to target and 61 (SPX equiv) in Dec 31 expiration that I just started on those two down days we had last 8 days or so 🙂

My HS3s in SPX/IB are also near profit target. Wonderful. I think I have on about 100 units there. Solid gains. My CC campaign is also doing great.

I added in some Rhino and X14V14s in for ATM trades. I changed how I manage upside in the Rhino but the main reason I added is I call it a middler which loves moderate down moves and helps hedge that little area where the market falls 2-5% and affects (short term) the HS3s and CC trades negatively re vol and skew effects. I love how it reacts together. I really liked the rhino in the old days as I remember being super upset about making 20% when the market moved up 50% over 2016 🙂 I will use it small as a booster and middler 😉

I am not sure where we will go next (we’re here in Croatia until the 11th but for sure I will be in Barcelona for the Pokerstars tournament on the 22nd where hopefully I can have some decent luck..

More to come as I have lots of time…

Big accounts and prepping for travels (HS3 and STT trades)

I am about to board a 24 day cruise and am preparing all of my trades.

I have this on right now:

250 units of HS3 (spread between ES @ EDF and SPX @ IB) (2.5MM planned capital)
20 units of Campaign style STT (1.5MM planned capital)
34 units of X4V14 (Locke style ATM BWB) – (765k Planned capital)
50 units of KH hedge (Black swan lottos)

So that’s quite a bit!

To prepare I have 2 sim cards (local EU with roaming and a CAD world wide roaming) as a reserve. I have unlimited internet on the cruise and I brought a portable monitor and laptop. I’ve entered GTC orders for every HS3 and STT so that they’re there for me. I’ve got all my models ready and none of these are particularly exposed to a BSH as they’ve all got BSH built in. Most of the work is entering, and I am fully entered. I’ve got the GTCs so I can close in crisis (hopefully at profit). The market opens here at 3:30pm-4:30pm depending where you are, so I am usually done my tours etc by then so I can attend to trades in the evening or early afternoon.

I’ve done this before and guess what, it was during Aug 24 2015 crash 🙂 Suffice to say I was tied to the computer for the last 4 days of that cruise. The internet handles IB with ease. Haven’t had an issue. It was different them, I was trading rhinos and Modified Condors. I needed to adjust.

Lately, skew and vol has increased due to trade war rhetoric and i’ve noticed my Decembers take a vol hit. Not a big deal but could have had better entries.

Back at it – April

After what was a very rough period from Feb 2 to about last week, I am starting to recover and regain my ambition and motivation.

I had a rough go with IB margin rules during Volmageddon (Feb). They had implemented a 30x rule which basically summed up the total value of the options and if it exceeded 30x the value of your account, you had severe restrictions with adding new positions/contracts EVEN if they were risk reducing. During what was one of the biggest vol spikes and thee biggest change in volatility (VVIX) the option pricing sky rocketed across the board, and when summed up vastly exceeded 30x. It’s a ridiculous rule and it was an unknown rule. IF I had opposing positions where I sold a put at $5 and bought another put at 4.75 they would sum the position as 9.75 even though there was no substantial risk in that position. In the vol spike, options 10x or more so they’d be $50 and 97.50. This summation technique would put the account in violation of the rule. This gave me problems for when I had to roll or remove hedges. They also used some bizarre calculations that would restrict even further. This left me in a very precarious position where the complexity of removing hedges and positions was very difficult. I couldn’t get off my variety of hedges unless I literally liquidated the entire account which would have been impossible during those few days. I tried as best as I could to remove hedges and small parts of income positions but I just couldn’t get it done in time and the hedges collapsed in value and the STT remained compromised.

Anyways, I’ve been nursing these remaining positions since February and have recovered much of it but not all. I hope that maybe I can get to full recovery by May or June. That’s my year so far.

Suffice to say, I am working with new brokers and won’t be using IB for PM type trading (STTs, HS3s etc). I will also be moving my base trade towards HS3 type trades, STTs in higher vol down moves and John Locke style trades (M3, X4v17 and some BB) as a booster and to bring back some diversification in my trade plan. I still like ATM type trades. I remember when I had the Aug 24 crash with my MICs (this happened right when I was learning the Locke trades and was just initiating). Soon after I had recovered the entire loss from Aug within 4-5 months using M3s and BBs. Anyone that traded MICs, would know just how bad those did during Aug 24 2015. I liked trading those things (M3). I eventually switched to Rhinos and did modestly with them but I hate the upside exposure on runaway markets. Though, I mean, I did Rhinos during one of the biggest up moves in history in the RUT. No wonder I was frustrated with those.

Anyways, that’s my current situation and plan re trading.

I am in Canada now visiting the office and some family and friends. I will be back again for the Montreal Party Poker tournament and probably touring Europe again this summer. I’ll post more about those travels and the trading complications there-in.

2017 Results Table

Below is a snippet of the 2017 results with time slices to see relative draw downs across all three trades.

The RED defines when we’d have exited for the trade but sometimes I tracked what if we hadn’t. I don’t even see a drawdown for the HS1 in 2017 (short of the -209 on the Jan 19th trade).

I will be testing the HS1 in random entries as well to see how the DIT changes and how bad draw-downs can get.

Jul 13 – Trading the STT and BSH

I am solely in STT and BSh trades at the moment. They are not as exciting as the older Rhino trades because they kinda just make money there isn’t much variance per say. The one cool thing I guess is that I am doing it in quite the volume. I think I’ve got about 600 units on right now total. That’s something interesting I guess.

I had a contact at IB for putting on orders via the floor but to be honest, I just haven’t used it much lately, I found I was getting fills easily enough myself at various times. I tend to scale in to each trade over a few days. One time I got quotes from them and I was getting better fills w/ units below 50 then they could get me so I just haven’t used as much as I would. That said, when I get bigger in size, I think I either need employees or I’ll need to use the floor 🙂

I got into a bunch of longer term Dec STTs most recently and I have a lower profit target on those (they take up a lot less margin) and are even more benign. I’ll probably start doing this, 150-180 DTE w/ 2x less margin requirement but I’ll aim for a 350 profit target per unit.

I’ve finally started the BSH factory but I’ve only managed to get on 50 units of that so far. It’s profitable as I sold the 50 units worth of puts at the very bottom of the last months range. Eventually, I’ll have to put on 500 units worth. That’ll be tedious and we kinda need more than one down day.

As for how the year has gone so far, it’s been slow re P/L OVERALL but exciting for P/L of the STTs alone—>Very exciting. The STTs did fantastic but the P/L from those were countered by losses in the first sets of BSHs which weren’t fully financed and bigly (no trump pun intended) affected by the losses on the old 2016 Rhino’s I had on until April of this year. I don’t trade them anymore. I just trade STTs and BSH.

Let me get into more details, I started the year off by trading some units of STT and BSh from January 5th when the course was released but not in size until April. All the STT trades did great and were profitable and still are into this month. Almost makes me giddy how good they do. However, the profits from Jan-April/May were offset by the losses of the remaining Rhino’s I had on that were started in Late 2016. They did terribly, by April, we were finally finished w/ those damn Rhinos and they had a larger loss due to the insane Trump up-move. Difficult market to manage the Rhinos. In one account, they lost about 88k while the STTs did about 130k (for the first ew months of 2017). Included in this were the poor performance of my BSH hedges and the financing. I quickly learned from waiting too long to get financing on and the community developed better ways of paying for them (RCs put on the same time) or BSH factories. I use RCs now but am working on the BSH factory. Ideally I just have BSH factories and the STTs. All that said, the last 6 months we’ve got very profitable STTs that were hit by older Rhino legacy trades and by poor financing of BSHs in early part of the year. The future is bright as we perfect the management of the BSH and STTs. I love how the STTs have done so far and I wish I hadn’t had the Rhino losses from last year nor the poor financing early on. Ah well, things are building up quickly re P/L now.

Dec 16 – March Rhino M3 Trade Entry

Not much going on. Trades gained some value today. Nice little down day in the SPX and flat for the RUT.

I entered some March Rhinos

50 x RUT:1290/1340/380 @ 2.19
75 x SPX 2120/2200/2260 @ 4.00

A bit far out but I do like to enter around 88DTE anyways.

I’ve converted most of my Jan trades into more M3 like structures today with the drop. I worry about a slow grind up for the rest of the holidays so figured I’d jump in front of that with some calls and futures hedge. Low volume rarely gets sold into. I do expect some January weakness though.

Oct 18 – Rhino M3 Trade Plan

Been a while since I posted. I haven’t needed any catharsis so that’s probably why 🙂 What a great/fantastic two month period we’ve had…I mean the market (RUT) didn’t move up 7% in a cycle! Can things get any better? The last two months have made the entire year, I might even achieve the 7 figure profit in a 12 month period IF the next two-three months behave. Major Major milestone. When I say behave, I mean it goes down, stays neutral or goes up 3-4% max. That’s all that’s needed. What a journey. I started trading by investing in AAPL and BRK.B, frustrated with the lack of hands-on, I got into earnings volatility options plays via www.steadyoptions.com and eventually on to Modified Iron Condors only to experience the most dreadful trading experiences in Oct 2014 and Aug 2015. Learning experiences! I finally stumbled onto the M3 and BB courses via John Locke and here I am trading BWBs in my own way profitably and into 2017.

As my portfolio and trading size gets larger, I’ve been putting on more and more Space Trip Trades in an effort to hedge my portfolio by way of cultivating the STTs to the point where only debit spreads remain on the first set while cultivating the other expirations to the same point. My main concern is an 9%+ gap down overnight. I want to be protected in any flash crash and a gap down of any size. It’ll take some time to cultivate the STTs to the point where they are providing protection for both the ATM trades and the uncultivated ones still in process (in the case of a 12%+ move). Once, I have adequate hedging I’ll start to increase my size past what it currently is. I’ll probably be sticking to SPX with versions similar to the White Rhino and Jim Riggios 100 point butterfly. I really like the approach Jim Riggio takes. Sell volatility when vol is high and buy volatility when vol is low. Simple. I’ve changed my style a bit and I don’t use calendars and I will probably be doing versions of reverse-harveys for the upside rather than using call BWBs. It’ll be sometimes selling or buying iron condors as adjustments to the butterfly structure (depending on skew and volatility). I might have to call my trade something else, probably will end up calling it PEAK.

My November trades are all 10%+ and I have already started closing them all out by removing risk and unwinding the structures.
I’ve got Dec expiry on and I’ll look to put on some January as we get closer to the election (option premium will be elevated and the BWBs cheaper to buy). I might hold Dec but if I am anywhere close to a 6% profit, I’ll probably close them ahead of the election. They’re doing very well right now so it’s possible.