Jul 30 2020 BWB+Fly Aug Trade Update

A nice pop in the p/l given the US is contemplating giving up on those pesky elections. Who needs them 🙂 Delta sitting comfortably at -800 and given the DTE, any moves towards -200 delta and I’ll just start peeling off the trade piece by piece removing risk as I go.

Sep BWBs are currently going for about 95c credit and Oct BWBs are going for about 2.25c. I’ve got loads of flies up in Sep so I can purchase BWBs against those but I didn’t get any in Oct yet so I’d have some exposure to downside if I get some of the Octs on. Not terrible given the deltas I’ve got built up in Sep so I’ll probably put some on today. Usually I like to start with the flies. It’s no different than just entering a rhino/bwb though which loads of people do without the fly hedge/combo.

It’d be a huge milestone to close the Aug at 500k P/L. It’ll call for some real nice champagne. But I won’t fixate on it, I’ll just manage that risk. Huge month so far and I think July is sitting at just over 7% P/L and Aug will likely be similar. Cannot complain and thankful the market keeps on giving.

Had a 30% year last year and I gather I’ll get towards 50-60% this year solely from the opportunities. The last few months, I’ve just been concentrating solely on building that long vol BSH up and trading these Rhino/BWB combos but it rarely takes much more than 30min a day, things are boring when they are producing. Many traders say you’ve made it and are barking up the right tree when you’re trading a system thus eliminating human factors and bias and subsequently the actual act of trading becomes boring. The latter part is true right now, the former isn’t based on a system per say but it will be once this environment ends.

Jul 27, 2020 – August BWB/FLY Trade Update

We ended Friday at a delta of -900 after adjustments and now sit around -1700. That shows you just how quickly negative delta you get with time even just the weekend. The position is hovering around 285k P/L so it’s seen an increase of 35k over the weekend. I’ll have to adjust the upside today and by Thursday this will be done with removals from the structure rather than additions to it. There is 25 days to expiration and I’ll aim to remove risks as we go from here until it’s a benign structure that can be expired.

Jul 24 2020 – The Big ATM trade update

Here’s an update on my big August trade that has about two weeks left in it. It’s starting to actually look like an old school ATM trade given the reduction in VIX and the lack of credits in 30 DTE or earlier trades. From March till June, credits were huge and upside risk NIL. Now as opposed to then, I actually have to use some upside adjustments aggressively.

I started adjusting for upside exposure during this little fall towards 3200. My overall deltas are sitting at -900 and I’ll close out the day at that.

Delta: -939

Theta: 21,956

Vega: -10,567

The position represents 5MM in planned capital and is sitting at 251k profit. I’ll dance this thing into Aug 7/8th and continuously remove risk and adjust. There’s a small chance for an extremely large payoff (the biggest I’ve ever seen) @ 1MM in 1 month. Reminds me of that show 2months 2million. Ridiculous but it is the environment and the opportunities. These types of trades won’t last. For now, I’ll happily let it beef up the account. I’ve got BS protection in case we have some sort of massive gap down.

Here’s the trade looking forward 7 days

Here it is where I expect to close it. It won’t look like this later as I’ll be constantly adjusting back and forth between now and then and the negative deltas will continue to build up as time passes

For a bit there, the VIX hit around 24 and it looked like the ebb and flow trade was about to get a lot harder but today we can now get a Sep BWB for $1.00 credit. So we’re still going for now 🙂 I got some on to offset the Sep position which I started with symmetric flies back at 3260-3270. I’ll be very happy if we can keep getting these conditions for the next 6 months.

In a large fall, and if we approach -400 delta, I’ll start to adjust for the downside and I’ll offset with some way OTM calendars in case of a bounce. I have two trading weeks left for Aug position which will get more and more negative delta and have more and more protection to the downside. If I am forced to adjust for downside next week, it means we went through 3150 area and to offset the nuance of continuously increasing negative deltas, I’ll use some way OTM calendars for upside protection while adjusting for the asymmetric risks on the downside.

I gotta say, I feel kinda lucky that I was also able to start the September position, I wasn’t sure I’d be getting the same opportunities with BWB pricing. Perhaps this continues on for the rest of the year re elections in Nov. Eventually I will move on to a 488 campaign, BSH factory, TAA and ATM at lower PC.

Jul 16 – ATM Trade Update

I’m hitting (well above) negative delta limits on my current Aug ATM trade and am looking at ways to reduce it now that July expiration is over and that was providing me some positive deltas. It’ll get more and more negative delta as it progresses into the month so I’ll deal with it daily and continuously raise up that Upper expiration line. This trade represents a planned capital of 5,000,000.

I had the deltas in line a week ago but the reduction in vol and time passing has brought them quickly out of line. The BWBs in August are no longer giving a credit but would give some positive deltas and theta/risk. I think I’ll save those for a larger down day. We’re down about 0.75% today so I’ll have to start looking at PCS maybe even some call structures (call calendars or call BWB). I haven’t had to do that yet post crash as the bwb credits were sufficient in raising that UEL and eliminating upside risks.

I am looking at 3325 calendars, 3250 calendars (mixed) along with a 11 delta 75 wide PCS and I’ve already got some long ES to temp hedge.

So yeah, let’s go over the Aug position:

It is at -1450 or so delta and has pretty significant upside risk to the already existing profit of $125k. So we have to do something. We do benefit from vol release on up moves but it’s not enough. I’d like to get it down to about -700.

Here’s the trade looking forward 14 days

We’ve got massive theta, great risk reward if we get our deltas in-line and decent non-black swan downside risk profile. The previous expirations (from May till now) were a lot easier on the upside so this one will be a bit trickier.

May 6 2019 – Trade review (STT+BSH)

Nice little vol pop there. When I saw the tweet yesterday I knew to expect a very rocky futures open and when it got to about -2% I almost thought we could have a repeat of Aug 24 with a -5% open only because of the swiftness of the fall and the potential reaction when Europe opened. Alas, we swiftly found footing and the market rebounded and sits currently at 2920.

Funny enough, I had a portfolio on for my base via AllocateSmartly but didn’t love my entries and sold all of it Friday along with all my other longs. Good timing 🙂 I also harvested all my older STT and BSH last week and removed a ton of risk. I mean I have 600 net long puts in May 31 expiration and my Aug/Sep STTs were harvested. I wasn’t breaking a sweat last night even if we did open 5% down. Even today, I am neutral delta without a single adjustment.

Today, I am using the bounce and increased volatility to add some bearish toned STT. The bounce gives me better delta and the increased vol allows me to have a longer upside runway. Pretty much all I’ll be doing today.

My newest Oct STTs are taking a bit of heat, down about 300 a shot x 40. They were quite positive upper expiration line and roughly +50 delta but I have -delta older ones and I am adding some bearish toned ones now. Within a week or two they’ll be positive if all things remain equal. As time goes on, the trades get more and more -ve delta.

I gather I’ll get the account up to about 20% for end of June for the year. Which is roughly the target. I am hoping for 25% but we’ll see how this plays out. If we have more downside, then I gather I can get even more as we enter the tents of matured trades but if we runaway upwards, it’ll just be the standard lower profit. My goal is to consistently hit a yearly 50% with STT+BSH on total account value w/ compounding and opportunistic over-leveraging on significant down moves up to 1.2x. I won’t be deviating strategies or diverting any funds away to other trades. This is a year long real money test of real market conditions and actual trade results for the STT+BSH combo.

I’ve been researching T5 a lot lately but it’ll be far separated from my main account. There’s a lot of opportunity with that trade and its juicy AF but it’s more fitting of my older previous life as a professional gambler. You have to look at it like a weighted coin flip in your favor but with regular total losses. I have to analyze Kelly criteria and risk of ruin as well as all the trade mechanics and market environment entry type stuff. Big project. Re what I mean : if you have a 55/45 edge in a coin flip, and you have 50k total, how much do you bet per hand to eliminate risk of total ruin so that you can infinitely take advantage of that significant edge? Is it 5k a flip? 2k? etc. You have to analyze this differently then something where you put all your equity in every trade and try to eliminate max draw down. Rather you accept the 100% win or loss and determine the edge and calculate the bet size. Should be interesting.

Jan 29, 2019 – Update

Haven’t posted for a while mostly because I find it hard to post things that are intellectual property sensitive and now its even harder since I’ve gone back completely to the original course trades with slight tweaks. A 360 with nuance. How do I present interesting things when I can’t post the trade 🙂 But I am going to keep trying and hopefully try to post every few days…maybe more on my mindset, thoughts, challenges of managing larger account sizes etc. Whatever comes to my mind.

So first and fore most, My last post from like late Nov was emotive and when I just re-read it I realized just how confusing and unrepresentative it was of almost everything. Horrible. I wrote it and then kinda forgot about it and obviously didn’t proof-read it. So I finally edited it. I’ll explain more and why I did so below. I’ll start with the market and get into the events and where I am now:

We’ve just gone through a 20.5% fall in the SPX and it started in late September and was a culmination of two specific time periods (October and December). Both periods fell quite hard often following square sine wave type patterns (short abrupt moves down) then a pause and then a small bounce and more short abrupt down moves. And what was very unusual about it was that it didn’t have the same volatility spike you’d normally see. Nor did the actual volatility get reflected in the vol index or options pricing. The volatility in the market was not being priced according to actual volatility. Perhaps it was the complete annihilation of specific vol products in Feb that helped create this old relationship for the last 4-5 years (and subsequently all of our backtesting data) or perhaps its a new market pressure present. Who knows. The point is, we had a big big down move in 3 months and we didn’t have a vol spike that some rely on in specific vol type hedging. This created problems for people that created vol hedges based on data that we’ve only had really (intra-day) since 2011. Some created a ratio type hedge we called a KPBR. In backtesting, the thing pretty much was free. Paying for itself. No drag on income trades. Sounded good. But a few of us pointed out that the sea of death can be a big problem in specific market environments. I was initially excited but when I tested it, thought about and realized what could potentially happen, I insta-closed out the units I had on and fully relied on traditional BSH types.

Here’s what I said in the group as a polarized and probably rude comment re the KPBR

“I don’t want to be sitting up one night during the 4th day of a big down move/event and wondering if the market crashes tomorrow will the KPBR trigger or will it draw down further and I doubt I’d be thinking “Hey, my account is down 30% but at least my hedge was free” :)”

The thing with that hedge and even with the HS3, is that a slow large grind down will result in a very large draw down in the trade itself. These trades are just too exotic for me. So I am back to the basics (original PMTT BSH and BSH factories etc) I get that over time you probably will have the same cost (like over 5 years the KPBR may actually break even) but that doesn’t matter and here’s why: We are humans we have to cater to our human factors, our psychology if you will. How each trade and the management of our portfolio will feel and how it will affect everything from our ambition, motivation, sleep and our responses to trading our plan etc. If we are utilizing such a structure like the KPBR as a hedge to our OTM trades and we have an environment that temporarily draws down our STT by say a super standard 600-700 a unit (totally can happen in a heavy skew change due to a larger down move where way otm doesn’t quite spike) and our KPBR also draws down 600-700+ (I actually saw it go double that!) then you’re sitting at a draw down that could affect your trading mentality. You’re now sitting there at night, wondering if there is another big down move in the AM, will your KPBR trigger to provide some protection? what if it doesn’t? what if it draws down even further and more vix hurts my STT? All those doubts will cause you to probably make mistakes, burn out, lose sleep, or lose some humanity itself. I don’t want to be sitting up at night wondering if in the morning if my account will be down 30% but hey I got those KPBRs for free!

Most of you reading the blog know the STT inside and out, we know how much it’ll draw down in vol events, we know how to adjust it, we know it’s really docile and works well as a trade. Especially opportunistically. Having a 600-700 vol draw down won’t even make my heart rate increase 1 beat nor would I lose an ounce of sleep. Because I know it and I know how it will progress forward. The problem with the STT is a black swan, you need protection. That’s it really, just a black swan. Hence, why we need black swan protection. An STT alone w/out BSH protection can handle the 20% decline we saw in Oct-Dec because it wasn’t a shock event/swan. But imagine that you have the STT on and you have that 600-700 drawdown that you usually are not concerned with but you also have this 1k draw down in your hedge. Then things get really funky upstairs (in your mind). It starts to affect you in a variety of ways. Hence the need for protection that you understand.

So yeah, here we are now, Jan 29th, the market has fallen 20%+ and rebounded about 13% in a super V recovery. I’ve moved to trading a BSH factory (two versions: Income and hedge/lotto), an OTM Jeep type trade using the STT engine as per the course (not an ATM jeep ala the weirdor!), some rhinos and a base of standard equity type stuff (logical-invest), some earnings plays and that’s about it. Nice and simple.

I concluded that I will heavy trade STT opportunistically by itself (no BSH) when VIX is above 22 and especially if we have an MDD type day but I won’t trade them much in very low vix environments and instead I’ll do a version of the course JEEP trade probably with some directional bias (signals).

I was profitable through the Oct/Dec events and the STT put on in Oct event was insanely easy to manage through Dec. I loved that.

Nov 26 – Trade Update

Edit–I didn’t find I was clear enough on some specifics related to BSH activation and the KPBR and I was pretty emotive while presenting something in a very confusing manor. I am a big advocate for the original PMTT BSH and in fact my main base trade is a BSH factory for both income and hedging as well as a Jeep STT variant. My sole two OTM trades are centered around the original concepts. My frustration and emotive response was in relation to the exotic structures that I saw got some people in trouble.

So to get into it, my original post was not really clear re how OTM and BSH trades were affected in the Oct and (now even Dec) events. The VIX did not spike as much as it should have thus BSH trades acted accordingly BUT so did the STT trades. They compliment each other. The STTs were totally fine through Oct and Dec as anyone can find out re backtesting and who’ve traded it live and thus the BSH activation wasn’t needed. The same thing that affects the STT is the same thing that causes the BSH to activate. It activates in a black swan and this move was not a black swan. You manage these moves with the relevant downside adjustments and you wait out any small vol/skew draw down you might have. If the STT isn’t affected by an event, then you don’t need the BSH activation and so on. I was clear in my original post that I didn’t have problems and was doing great in my main IB account, and that’s because I had on original structures and not the alternative exotic ones.

The thing is with the alternative search for other cheaper BSHs, which people created to break even or even slightly profit (no cost BSH?…too good to be true eh?) there are always trade offs. In this round of creation, people were looking at types of ratios that many realized too late, had this sea of death issue that hadn’t triggered in previous backtests per say. If the move down is slow and controlled, you’re going to get in trouble. The attractiveness came from the fact that it was theoretically free most the time. The ideas is that the ratio style BSH paid for itself. The problem is that it was meant as a hedge and if there are situations where it trends with your income trade (ie doesn’t hedge it) then it could present unexpected problems. The thing is, now that we’ve had this move, we’d also have this data and had we backtested it thoroughly w/ this data previous to this event, we’d have seen that 🙂 So yeah, the VIX not spiking as high as it should have re the move that occurred did have slight very temporary affects on the income OTM trades but they were totally manageable and expected but the effect it had on exotic KPBR/KH type hedges was pretty horrible combination. Resulting in the income trade but also the exotic KPBR type BSH having double whammy draw downs. This can escalate account issues quickly. The trade off isn’t worth it. I was fortunate enough no to experience that because I stuck with more traditional approaches

(Original Content with some edits)

What an interesting month October was. The market fell pretty hard and not only that but the technical indicators on all sorts of metrics deteriorated to points not seen in a long long time. A lot of damage was done and the market won’t recover without a lot of reparation.

The KPBR hedges (not a PMTT trade) failed miserably and a few people that ventured away from the standard setups experienced a lot of pain. These types of exotic structures not only did not activate but also lost significant money and when combined with temporary P/L issues/vol draw downs in OTM trades, left some with balance issues that can cascade into margin issues etc. It didn’t affect me (I had standard BSH protection on) but it affected other people. What did affect me was margin expansion issues and broker (systemic) issues especially at EDF because of the HS3 (another alternative non-course related trade that’s probably going to be shelved by most people). My main account (@ IB) is crushing right now which is nice. My EDF account is down modestly through it all from its peak profit. Mostly because of broker panic issues and margin expansion of the HS3 (I won’t trade this again). In fact, as of Jan 2019, I am actually just trading a BSH factory (Income and Hedge) and a Jeep version of the STT (as per the PMTT course) and that’s going to be it.

To me, this last period provided us with the most interesting back-test data period that I’ve ever seen. It was a swift but controlled fall of just over 10% where the VIX did not spike nor did skew change all that much which showed which trades were swimming naked as the tide pulled out. The trades that were naked were more of the exotic new versions developed. This was interesting and helps us see and test ideas even further. It shows how OTM trades do in a 10% decline where BSH activation does not really occur. It’s given me all I need now to fully construct trades that take into account BSH protection including swift but controlled moves down, systemic/margin issues including expansion and loss due to temporary P/L issues and so on. I believe we’ve got all the pieces to the puzzle for some smart refinements to the existing trades.

I got approved for an IOM seat at CME which gives me much reduced rates for futures. I’ll be paying something like 77c total all in for each futures options contract. Sweet.

Poker: I played the online party poker millions yesterday with 20MM guaranteed. Busted 550th out of 1600 when my TT vs 66 had the opponent hit a damn 2 outer 6. If I won that I think I would have min cashed at least for 5x my buy in. Ah well. Such is my luck in poker. Getttttting siiickk of it.

Back in action after MTL (BSH, Rhino and Current status of trades)

I am now back at my desk after an eventful 13 days in Montreal. The trip did not work out as planned. Ash and our toddler got super sick and I had to deal with the market for the first 4 business days of the trip. EDF was on me like white on rice and forced me to capitulate a large portion of my account at a pretty crappy time. I went from 290 or so units to 77 units and from the 77 I had to get down to 40. So almost a 85% reduction in risk. Insane. That cost profit and added a very unneeded layer of stress. EDF is a small portion of my overall account which is good. My main IB account is actually profitable through the event as of today but it did have some draw down during some of those crazy days. Wildly, I have the most theta combined that I’ve ever had. If we end up anywhere in the 2550-2850 range within 30 days I gain something like 400k which would end the year reasonably especially after EDF and the Feb event. Overall, I’m like break-even from Oct 3 onwards because of the EDF issues but have loads of premium. Just have to get through these mid-terms unscathed.

Rhino pricing has been insanely good around $1 to $1.30 area (means very low upside risks and much easier to manage). So I’ve been putting those on quite a bit. I also formed a few BSh factories today as pricing on the longs finally fell enough. I’ll probably be doing a lot of BSH factory (two versions) and Rhino type trades while the pricing is good.

    Poker

I busted my last tournament in a gross way which almost had me want to retire. I had 66 on 6T2 flop. Got a guy with Aces all in. Ace hit on the river.. (2 outs) and I busted…horrific. Getting sick of these 5%’ers hitting on me when it counts.

There’s another really nice tournament in my backyard (Bahamas) Party Poker Millions Caribbean. It’s only a 1 hour flight and I get free biz class upgrades, so I can fly in style. I was kinda considering hopping over on Friday night until Monday but I dunno if I will. Disillusioned a bit 🙂

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 16 – Trade Plan

Yesterday, I put on about 37 Bearish STTs to hedge off the 282 March STTs. The goal is to roll up the debit spreads to eventually convert into a regular STT when my market bias supports it. I removed 7 ES hedges at 2669 (this AM) after spending about 2 hours reviewing technical sources last night. Confident that we’re locally bottomed and that we’ll bounce. I’ll continue to review technicals and market commentary but I don’t have all that much risk on, especially as time goes by.

What I am most upset about is that I didn’t have dry powder to enter during the mini-crash. Ah well. Next time.

My BSH factory is approaching even today after the bounce. The shorts I sold were in Dec so they’re getting pulled right down.

My Mar STT CC campaign is down about 22-25k or so on 282 butterflies (71 units). Loads of theta. Healthy and hedged by a bearish STT
My Jan STT cc campaign made about 10k through the mini correction and has loads of theta (it’s in the most perfect position imaginable for the next two weeks)
My Dec STT cc campaign is break even through the mini correction
My KH hedges are all down now (~20k or so) but are mostly Dec PCS that are just ab it compromised. They will quickly deteriorate into a slightly below break-even result if things don’t crash. They did their job with margin control and slight hedges.
My X4 is down about 18k (I am waiting for a 2800/2810 to take it off)
My Rhino is break even (it went through a 15% crash, well handled)
My ES HS3 (Mar) is down about 80k but the hedges I had on are +32k so net down about 48k. Will come back quickly
My ES HS3 (Jan) is really flying and should make up for the Mar within 14 days (Perfect positioning)
I removed all my Dec HS3
My ES BSh factory is break even

Poker

I have to up my study game as the last week had my focuses elsewhere. New course came out that I am interested to audit (Nick Petrangelo). This week I’ll catch up. The tournaments start next week and I am off to MTL on the 21st. Should be fun!