Sep 13 Update

Not a whole lot going on,

On the super low vol pump up during the last 13 days, I did enter a bunch of BSHs and set and enter much of the Jan STT at a higher UEL on the one down day we had. So the higher UEL is helping financing some of the BShs but not completely and I wait for ANY return of vol to get them paid off. When will this period end? This is the last time I work BSHs like this. I will enter a BSH factory and do opportunistic STTs, Sails and T5s. I just suck at financing these things.

My year is pretty crappy, I’m positive but it must be around 10% or so max thus far. I guess I can’t complain but I feel like I am just waiting for some sort of vol to happen so I can get out of my Dec STTs and start entering all the new setups I have (which all require some volatility to enter). The whole year went to shit re returns from the original Rhinos I had on in Jan-Mar and my poor payoff of BSH financing (RC’s didn’t work well enough and my over-patience for high vol entries of NPs didn’t go as planned). All of the poor performance is to do with my poor financing and using archaic strategies that we no longer use (it was all we had at the time). I attribute this year as a final year to my on-going learning and setup of the dream trading portfolio 🙂 If I can’t break 50% next year, I will question everything. I know that sounds crazy.

I did put on a small Rhino the other day but the up move has it in negative currently. I am still trying to get out of my T5 which I am seeing some value come back in.

As I mentioned, I am convinced that a BSH factory is a great core trade and pairing it with some opportunistic STTs, some Sail trades (High Vol entries and trend following entries with bias) will be the move going forward. I’ve been backtesting it like mad and I am getting crazy returns on any date I enter for the BSH factory, within 6 months or so. It’s a great income trade, but I can only use a fraction of the account on it re initial risks at the beginning. We have exposure for like 10-20 days. I will likely try to tool old structures I have on to compensate this risk so I can put on more and more.

I am back in Cayman now, boredom is starting to set in more regularly but I am getting a lot more work done 🙂

I pledge to post 15x a month :)

I am making a pledge to myself to post at least 15 times a month :). I keep letting this go but I find it is a cathartic healthy activity that I need to focus on. It has benefits re accountability and maybe it provides some value to the readers. I just had a baby (third) so I’ve just been in this distracted state after 4pm. I love tending to this and I hate that I often let it go.

Re trading: nothing too exciting. I am up to 450 or so units on the STT which is something I guess. It’s been such an adjustment (for the better). I no longer wake up a few times a night to check futures and I don’t need to check the phones often outside my normal adjustment period during the day. My obsession with market technicals has gone down too! Love it. The trade is just so damn docile compared to other trades. It’s literally the perfect trade for my style. It’s gone from reacting in real time to market events to evaluating market events over a longer period of time and creating a plan for adjusting the following day in a much less stressed way.

I’ve still got on one last unit of Rhino (april) that I has very minimal upside risk left. I’ll still put some of these on bit only opportunistically.

I am trying to mechanicize the management of the STT and BSH re having a large account and this is what I am working on currently. This has everything to do with the financing the BsH. A new idea emerged that I quite like.

We are doing a 3 month Europe trip again come May 28th with a newborn and a 5 and 7 year old. Should be fun! We will get an au pair to help us out (university student that wants a free summer trip). Probably do Poland, Germany, Slovenia and Italy again.

I’ve got two more poker tournaments coming up. I’ve been studying and practicing quite a bit. I want that main event final table. That’s the goal. I will get it soon come.

Tomorrow I will post the screen caps of my current trades.

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.

Oct 10 – Rhino M3 Trade plan

Not much to report. All the trades are sitting comfortably, we’re in a range that isn’t affecting much per say. I’ve got Dec and Nov expiries on and profits are rolling in. Great few months.

NOV:
For RUT I have 1150/1200/1240s

For SPX I have 2040/2120/2180s

DEC:
For RUT I have a mix of 1140/1190/1230, 1150/1200/1240 and 1160/1210/1250s

For SPX I have 2020/2100/2160s

I am approaching the need to RH the upper longs for both trades but I will wait till tomorrow since its reduced volume today re Columbus day.

I’ve been backtesting a longer variant of the SPX Rhino (80/60 wings) where I start 88 DTE and end before 31 DTE. I reduce the planned capital by half or in other words, accept a 5% return on the original planned capital of 25k for 3 units. The results were very good so far. The trade is easier to manage both on the upside and downside though quite boring 🙂

I’ve also been looking at uneven condors as adjustments (sell and buy volatility when skew is favourable for either). I like how Jim Riggio approaches this. When volatility is low, and skew steep, I might enter a symmetrical butterfly with a long call (buying cheap iv) and convert it to BWB when vol gets higher on a large down move.

As for the market, I have not the foggiest where things will go but bonds should be putting some pressure on the SPX especially if we clear 1.75. I still see a small correction to the 2040 area before making ATHs for end of year baring no surprises re Trump.

Sep 29 -Rhino M3 Trade Plan

Nothing too exciting related to the trades this week. I usually have some sort of market opinion but I really don’t right now. My guess if I had to state one is that we’d see some more weakness into October and probably touch 2040 and rebound up to 2300/2400 into the end of the year.

I put on some more SPX Rhino trades today. The pricing got way better in the afternoon and I bought several 2160/2100/2020s @ 2.75 and 2.80. Across all of my accounts I have 370/740/370 on. Big. Lots of downside room and lots of upside room at those prices. I’ll probably try to close them all by Nov 8 (start later and end earlier).

Here’s what one of the Dec SPX Rhinos look like

screen-shot-2016-09-29-at-2-13-36-pm

I’ve got a bit of RUT Rhinos on but not as much. I had great pricing early on but been struggling to get pricing I liked the past few days.

I’ll manage the SPX upside if we should break 2200 by selling condors or RHing. I probably won’t use calendars this time around. I do like how Jim Riggio (Kevlar) handles his trades. Not much else to say right now.

I’ve had to do nothing with any of these trades lately, boring, which is good. I am erring to start more like 86-88 DTE and end by 30 DTE. I am working on a full backtest with some updated rules and adjustment types.

Sep 26 – Trade Plan

My whole day was spent closing down October trades. The SPX monster one reached 10% profit on planned capital, my other SPX ones hit about 7-8% as I was a bit more conservative with upside and the RUT one hit 5% or thereabouts. We’ve got 25 DTE and I am more comfortable starting larger trades later and exiting earlier, plus the SPX one was already at profit target. The debate is on tonight and if Hillary falls dead, faints, coughs for 20 min or anything else, I worry the market will open down big and if she does well, it may open up up big. So yeah, I closed them down and I am happy. I have some 200+ units on Nov/Dec across all the accounts and I didn’t need any Oct exposure.

I got some champagne for the debates (it’s sort of entertainment isn’t it?) and to celebrate the big result for the month. I cleared about 180k in profit across the Oct trades. One more month with a good result would put the account at about 30-40% for the year, maybe 50% if we got 7-10% P/L. Two good months, and I’d be laughing. Sounds like a lot, but the amounts exposed during the last 6-8 months and some of the swings, well, it’s somewhat deserved and I’ll be more comfortable after a few of those good months to cover any bad month.

I entered some SPX Dec BWBs (2160/2100/2020) @ 2.80 today.

Trade 1 – M
screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-5-08-33-pm

Trade 2 – P

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-5-09-03-pm

Trade 3 – D

screen-shot-2016-09-26-at-5-09-28-pm

Sep 19 – Trade Plan

The market may be range bound until the big two meetings on Wednesday (FOMC and BOJ). The gap up today was a bit of a pain to see but the market has now moved back into range and the pattern might even be suggesting a 3 step up that is bearish, further the double bottom intraday failed, again bearish, at least for today. Breadths are on new lows as well. There was apparently a new comment by a Fed with a different more hawkish tone?? I haven’t confirmed. Maybe we retest 2120 and relief really from there into FOMC?

I am contemplating exiting most of the SPX OCT trade as we’ve hit a solid 6% profit target and any outsized move in either direction would negatively affect the trade. We’re 32 DTE.

I checked the Rhino results over at Capital Discussions and saw that it’s single digits for the year. It’s at 6.92% since Nov where I think I’m at about 15% where we expect 5% a month. I am still ecstatic about the result. Almost somewhat giddy. I am being serous. Why? Because this period was the most difficult set of months for the Rhino to profit. This concurrent set of weak months are not matched in backtesting through to 2008. There’s been no worse time. It’s about as bad as it can get (short of some unhedged Rhino’s going through 9/11 or something). Let’s break down the year starting Dec, 2015. Keep in mind, From Feb 9 to Sep 1, we’ve seen a 34% move in RUT. I’ll always tell someone that this trade will not make money in a 34% move over 6 months 😉

Dec 2015/Jan 2016

The massive down move from Dec 02 through to Feb 9 was extreme (1204 to 946) = 22% down move. Rhino’s can handle these decently so long as the move isn’t a 5-6% gap overnight. It did handle it decently. My expectation is that a break even to slightly positive result is doable depending on when it happened in the cycle of the trade. If it was right at the beginning, you’d be hurting, if it was in the middle and you were diligent with rolling the structure down, you could have gotten out for a decent profit. That said, getting fills and rolling structures down could be very difficult to deal with especially if forced to do it in a fast moving market. I actually was slow to pull the trigger a few times and hedged with bearish butterflies. A mistake in my opinion. I ended up treading water around break-even until Feb 9 bounce. The bounce initially set up a lot of profit but the subsequent fire storm upwards took most of it away. From that point till about August, I was only slightly positive. When you see the following months, you’ll know why!

Verdict: Likely both months are break-even to slightly negative in reality. A No-emotion mechanical trader would make profit following the rules. I would make profit now. I didn’t at the time!

Feb 2016

The big bounce from 946 to 1100 was extreme and quick. It was almost unrelenting and I’d expect any trade in this environment to do around -2% or worse. It’s not an environment that you can do well in. The market moves ahead of your tent into a zone that is, at best, break-even to slightly negative. Theta kills and if you aren’t diligent in upside hedges, then you’ll get a losing trade. Remember human factors, the market is bouncing off of a huge low, you expect the bounce to retrace to test the lows, or at least do a partial retracement after such an aggressive move, the factors that caused the fall haven’t just disappeared have they? If You leave the trade on too delta negative expecting to do you upside adjustments on any reasonable pull-back and it never comes. You’re now down.

Verdict: Likely a -2% month

Mar 2016
This is another 4-5% up month. Again, VIX low, shitty prices on BWBs and a fairly big up move. I’d predict a break-even month. Maybe 1%. the 4-5% up move isn’t as much as the previous month and probably good enough for a very slightly positive result. Any trades entered would be at poor value (high cost for the BWBs i.e. @ 3.3-3.50 a pop) and these trades are affected by more up moves as you paid more for the BWBs.

Verdict: Likely a 1% month

Apr 2016

This is a 5-6% up month. Vix is Low, BWB have Shitty prices, and a big up move into May. I’d expect a break even month

May 2016

A challenging V-whipsaw month! The market moves down about 6% into May 17. IF you were lucky, you closed off some May expiry trades into expiry (unlikely you held that far into expiration). If you had June ones, they had 31 DTE by May 17, likely didn’t close those either. Maybe you hit profit target by May 17, doubtful, we paid way to much for the BWBs re the low VIX environment. The market then rebounded huge and any trades initiated or started around May 1-May 17 are now under water. The move was very aggressive.

Verdict: Likely a negative month..maybe some trades hit profit target and were exited?

Jun 2016

Nice decent decline into June 26, likely you exited some towards the end of the month or on the rebound post Brexit. I’d say possible to profit a few percent here if not 4%. If it wasn’t time to exit (very likely), you’d lose most of the profits on the way back up on the 12% or so bounce

Verdict: 2-4%

Jul 2016

Low vix grind up market move of 8-9%. BWBs very expensive, no pull backs, no relief, huge up move. If you’re slow to adjust upwards, you’ll get killed. I got killed in this move. I lost my Aug and Sep expiries by this low vix melt up that last through most of August as well. Very difficult month to make anything.

Verdict: -2%

Aug 2016

Low vix grind up market of 5%-6%. BWBs very expensive, no pull backs, no relief. If you’re low to adjust upwards, you’ll get killed. I got killed in this move. I lost my Aug and Sep expiries by this low vix melt up. Very difficult month to make anything.

Sep 2016

Not over yet, but we haven’t had a 5% up move, so that’s a positive 🙂 Oct and Nov expiries are all in the money profitable. Market has some volatility, pricing is good, we’re back to a more normal month since February. Possible to make some good % profit here.

So all in all, this year has been a challenge for the Rhino, done typically, it hates big up moves, it’ll get out of the tent and the trade all of a sudden becomes a challenge. How do you make money in front of the tent?? You really can’t and if you paid a high price (typical of Low VIX environments)..the BWBs will quickly lose value and you’ll be negative theta. Each cycle experienced a 6% up move and the entire 7 months from Feb-Sep experienced a 34% up move. The common-denominator to loss in these months are the viscous up moves experienced in each and every cycle (short of the Jan one which was in and of itself a huge challenging down month).

I’m ecstatic about the positive result because I know it’s about as bad as it will get over a 6-7 month period, I am not saying that some black swan event won’t come and be worse in a single month, I fully expect that, but I will likely have full hedges always on soon for any event that’s 8-12% overnight gap or flash crash. The point is, the market environment can’t keep going up 6% each cycle and when it stops doing that,this thing will fly. On the Brexit, when the market fell 5%, my balance skyrocketed almost 35% (it was huge, like 300k or something). A return to volatility and a return to mean reversion in 45 day cycles will equate to outsized gorgeous returns. Looking forward to it.

Sep 16 – Trade Plan

    SPX OCT Rhino MONSTER

P/L: ~60,000-70,000

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-12-24-04-pm

Getting close to profit target of $120,000. Any good 1.5-2% move down will get it at profit target and I’ll close it up. Good trade. If we get lucky and the move happens a bit later on, the profit can be a lot higher. I’ll be pretty quick to lock up profits as we get into next week since we’ll be approaching the 30 DTE level.

    RUT OCT Rhino

P/L: ~22,000

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-1-10-36-pm

Getting close to the 37,500 profit target. Same thing applies as with the SPX one. Will start locking in profits and removing.

    SPX NOV Rhino

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-1-13-40-pm

Majority of our shorts are at the 2120 strike and we’re up about 7,000. I have to consider rolling the structure down soon. If we go towards 2100 especially.

    RUT NOV Rhino

screen-shot-2016-09-16-at-1-15-01-pm

Majority of the shorts are at the 1200 area and any move towards 1190 will require me to roll the structure down @ a profit.

Sep 12 – End of Day

A complete reversal. Looks like my lotto’s are out of play…or maybe not. If the market had fell today, I’d have been forced to close them at whatever profit was there as leaving them on with any significant profit would have been gambling. Now, if we actually had a black swan or big 5-6% move, it’d be significantly more as time is ticking on them. Anyways, lots of potential market moving news out there (Hilary, North Korea, etc). A complete waste of time talking bout them but hey, whatever, it’s kinda fun.

Huge Ramble and verbal diarrhea below. Maybe someone can relate to them.

Today’s reversal actually wasn’t too bad on my P/L as I had bought some hedge calls yesterday towards close that paid off reasonably well on the reversal. Sort of internally thought that this would happen re three feds talking today but thought the down move was too harsh for anything significant (I was wrong). Still, Oct/Nov trades are all perfectly positioned. If we can sustain the up move to no more than another 3% we should be sitting very pretty with nice trades that will make the entire year. It’s possible the year ends up at 50% after the Nov and Oct trades, if we have any normal movement from here till mid Oct. If this market screams up to 2240+ then that won’t be possible and we’ll be treading water as we have been.

I am trying to explain to some friends (when they ask how my trading is going since Feb) why the results have been less then spectacular. It think all of us market neutral BF traders agree, it’s a very difficult market for market neutral trading, it really is. I think John Locke is negative 3-4% for the year on his core Bearish Butterfly, M3, V-Condor and Rock trades combined. It’s just a shitty market for these trades. Why specifically for the Rhino? Well, it’s the fact that the market has moved up significantly in every single cycle since February and this strategy really is a mean-reversion based strategy. It expects normal market action with normal volatility where somewhere in the cycle, the market falls into the tent enough to generate the profit targets in the plan. Of course, some months it won’t and you’ll do break-even or slightly negative but other months you’ll get lucky and do 10%. In general, it will do well in each cycle if the cycle moves 10% or less to the downside and 5% or less to the upside. THat’s a huge 45 day range potential for decent results! The crazy thing is, each cycle since Feb has had the latter requirement violated each time. Since February, the trade has not gone back to the tent long enough to generate the profit targets. It’s moved up 34% in 5 or so months. That’s an average of 6% a month or 8-9% a cycle! So, how could any of our trades end anywhere near the tent to where it generates a significant profit? In the Rhino, if the market moves outside of the tent on an up-move, and it sits 3% or more away from the tent without mean-reversion or a move back, the trade is pretty much dead. That’s if you follow it as per the guidelines and original intent of the Rhino. Of course, you could adjust the upside to generate a return via things like RH (Reverse Harvey’ing the upside) but there is trade offs, and to me, when we’ve had significant up moves, we are at risk of quick moves to the downside..and well..I’ve backtested the trade to death and I like it as it is, I don’t want to deal with downside exposure especially now, I mean, it’s kinda already too late 🙂 I believe that over time we mean revert and overtime volatility will come back into the market. If you turn the right wing weak area of the Rhino into a more income generating area, like RTT traders do, it’ll expose you on the downside significantly. I know some of the RTT traders did much better in this environment by reverse harveying but at the same time, these trades will suffer in a larger down move, in fact, I saw several talk about how they were at limits on Friday. If it fell another 3% on Monday, they’d suffer greatly. I prefer to keep managing the Rhino the way I manage it. Eventually it’ll pay off.

I’ve backtested the Rhino to death, and if you go back to 2007, it does extremely well, it’s extremely resilient and it generates an average of 5% a month. It struggles in run-away up markets but little else. No matter how you slice it, if you backtest the last 5-6 months, you’ll get similar crappy results UNLESS you were very liberal on your upside adjustments and didn’t follow the original guidelines (IE RHing the trade). So, when I go through this period with live trades, and I am frustrated with the break-even results (which is only really the last 5 months) and then I backtest and get the same type of results, while having had 70+ months backtested with fantastic results, well, that tells me it’s just the current market type. The trade will work over time but it struggles in times like this..I mean 34% UP in five months, how could I expect any better in the trade result. In fact, its so extreme, shouldn’t I expect to be quite negative during that period?

So the point of all this unedited jabbering, well it’s meant as a cathartic check for myself to remain patient. The next year will not be the same as this year, and if it is, well fuckn’ hell, I’ll just endure it. But I believe that the market goes through cycles and all cycles end. The point is, I have a trade plan, I am going to follow the trade plan and I will continue to trade the plan for years to come. I am confident in the trade. This applies to the Rhino trade, I am actively looking at other trades to compliment.

Here is a few of the trades I have on

1. The Monster SPX Rhinoscreen-shot-2016-09-12-at-7-01-32-pm

This one is quite healthy. It’s got a P/L of about 34k right now. It hit 53k yesterday. If in 20 days we are sitting anywhere between the 2034-2142 area, it’ll be up between 130k-410k If it’s at 2070 area, it’d be up 410k! That would put my account up almost 50% for the year. Not a bad result for one winning trade in 4-5 months. See, it’s about waiting for some mean reversion and for some luck in having the trade end within the tent and this tent is very large..2040-2140 would generate a hefty profit. If the market keeps moving up and we get to the 2230 area or above, yeah I mean, it’ll do slightly positive (15-30k) and that’s it…and that is exactly what’s been happening the last 5 months. You just can’t win too much on relentless up moves.

Here’s my Nov RUT Rhino

screen-shot-2016-09-12-at-7-07-52-pm

You can see here..we’re about 2% out side the tent and well, we have no real profit potential if we go another 1% out. Of course, I’ll add some call BWBs to help hedge it but it’s likely we’ll just hit break-even if we sit out here and don’t move back in the tent. If you have 4-5 months like that, you have to ask yourself, what are the odds that the market moves up and away from tent and does not enter back into the tent enough to generate the profit target? It’s actually quite rare, it’s just a symptom of an extremely bullish market like this has been and some bad luck with timing. The last 2 down moves worth any salt since Mar lasted 2-3 days and were in such a time where we couldn’t yet close the trade.