Nov 26 – Trade Update

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 this thing won’t recover without a lot of reparation. During all of this, the VIX did not spike and the OTM option values did not move relative to the move in SPX. This presented problems for a lot of the OTM trades that require BSH activation. KPBR hedges failed miserably and a lot of people experienced a lot of pain from that in our group. BSH’s barely activated leaving temporary P/L and balance issues in OTM trades which can compound into margin issues and panic removals. It didn’t affect me but it affected other people. What did affect me was margin expansion issues and broker (systemic) issues especially at EDF. 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).

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. 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 engine. We’ve got great backtesting data for crashes and now we’ve got market types like this and Jan 2016. What conclusions did I make? Well, the newer version has BS/hedge protection that’s much closer to the OTM structure such that grind downs, crashes, or any move will be protected and this also solves all the margin expansion issues. It costs about 30% of profits but as a combo this thing will do 30% non-compounded a year and when you compound it monthly over the course of 36 months, it’ll be close to 240% over the course of 3 years. That’s good enough. It’s slow paced but whatever.

My rhinos have been crushing through all of this. Not surprisingly. I’ll be doing these often when the pricing is good (I’ve been paying $1-$1.15 for a BWB) where usually pricing is like $3.00-$3.50. This solves upside issues and gives you more room on the downside.

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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!

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 πŸ™‚

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.

Whoa, what a day.

Huh, what a day.

Maybe we’ll now have 3 sets of backtesting dates we can use for correction analyzing lol πŸ™‚ Spicy 3.5% down on the market day while Futures are sitting at 2778 (nearly 4% down) post market day.

The day started off well. I was able to close a load of HS3 out for close to profit target (I removed around 150 SPX equivalent units throughout the day). That was nice. Rare that on days like these I hit target..nice for a change. That was for December HS3 though. Nice and matured and liked the down move. However, I did end up at 2810 with too many previous ATM PCS adjustments relative to the size of what I had left of HS3 original structures and the market puked so quick I didn’t get them off. A bit annoying because it drew down a bit at end of day.

However, not all that rosey, the VIX spike to 23 and the skew changes have hurt my newest existing CC and HS3 trades as well as the start of my BSH factory. Not insane down but a bit spicy. As well, I wasn’t able to get all my Dec HS3 trades off and I have some with too many ATM PCS that I didn’t close. Probably 5-10 units left here but positive delta exposure (though limited because the ATM PCS are only 25 wide and are already half the value). No matter how you slice it we sell Vol and when we have a move like this (they say its top 3 point move in history) we’ll feel some pain in the volatility increase.

My current main exposure is this:

67 Jan HS3 (+30k)
75 Mar HS3 (-65k)
65 Mar CC (-52k)
Oct HS3 Hedge (+30k) (converted today early on)

BSH factory start (-35k to -40k or so) (this is probably temporary..the puts are around 2050 and 1975 so I am not overly worried, it’ll just take time). I nearly took them off when the force index hit 15 but it wasn’t really part of my plan so I didn’t. I obviously wish I did.

I kinda expect the market to slow down here and bounce, it’s hitting the trend line from the Feb lows and the RSI is very oversold. Probably a bit more pain (capitulation) as we visit and test the 200 SMA in the AM which sits at 2769 area (approaching now in afterhours) and a bounce/relief. That said, the RUT broke its 200 day today quite a bit…maybe SPX follows. I’d say that a bounce is better odds than another 90% MDD day but who knows. My gut wasn’t too worried @ 2pm today but this after hours action is kinda worrisome. Should be an interesting few days.

I am not overly exposed and the pain is relatively small. The HS3 March could experience a vomma surge to help its profit if we crash more but likely it’ll be drawn down until we have vol relief. It’s generally BSH protected but none of that activates unless its really swift and large in magnitude.. Yesterday it was about break-even and today its down 65k on a 110 point move. The CC’s were down about 30k yesterday (all expected) and today was hovering around 50k and with this afterhours movement I bet it is touching 60k. Anymore and I’ll have to do something.

I turned my Dec/Jan CC’s more neutral well before this move and they’re all relatively ok. Barely flinched from yesterday, though drawn down from the start of 8 days ago due to vega over the past week.

I rolled my rhino yesterday which was great. It’s just drawn down a bit but positioned well.

I have KH on that are now up a bit today…not quite activated yet.

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 πŸ™‚ 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.

Oct 4 – Nice! A 1.35% down day!

Finally got some volatility.

I put on the following today:

125 ES Units of HS3 (Futures)
10 units of CC (BWBSTT) in SPX
20 ES units of CC (BWBSTT) in ES
105 ES short puts for the BSH factory
10 units of Rhino Dec
100 ES PCS ATM for Dec/Jan HS3s
Some KH in my SPX account

Yesterday and late last week

5 units of X4V14
Rolled up my CC longs for January by 100 points (nice timing!)
Throughout last few days I got on 20 units of BWBSTT in SPX

All of my Jan and Dec STT campaigns are fairly neutralized as I’ve harvested the lower part of the risk profile. Kinda love that. They still have loads of theta but downside risk is much more contained. I basically only have March STTs that have BS risk but I’ve got hedges for that.

In my ES account, I still have about 200 old HS3 units from Dec/Jan that are about 70% of profit target. I just sold some ATM PCS at today’s bottom to raise the UEl and get them less negative delta. Will be closing Dec very soon.

I added 125 ES units in March expoiration(67.5 SPX equiv) and I consider it an opportunistic trade as well as added some ES CC (STTBWB) and started the short selling for the factory. I have a factory started both in the ES and SPX.

Busy day today, the type of day where you work for your money.

Had some minor vol related draw downs but no big deal, temporary and extremely small. The X4 I put on yesterday was poor timing πŸ™‚ That thing is down about 3k. It’s funny, I can predict what my balance would be during a 1.35% down-day almost exactly as well as the rise in balance when we have a end of day relief rally (like now).

I do have about 105 shorts exposed on my BSH factory that was borderline ready to form yesterday (wish I had) but those Dec puts will be a magnet down in value if we get any bounce and as a week or so goes by. Once they are formed, I’ll have about 100 units of BSH formed for profit.

Oct 1 – BSH Factory, CC (BWB-STT) campaign and poker

On Wednesday I just finished up a mastermind presentation in the PMTT group that talked about how to deal with your trade portfolio in a crash, the BSH factory campaign and how to harvest the STT-BWB. It went well, lasted about 1.5 hours and had 155 slides. It’s hard to talk about all this stuff on the blog as the info is protected in the group. It’s kinda what probably makes this blog stagnate at times. I have to get creative while not divulging our IP. If it was up to me, I’d share a lot more but it’s unfair to the group.

I did have some back of mind reservations presenting this campaign as I thought it was the “nuts” and I worried about having tons of people selling the same strikes on the same opportunistic days, but I dunno, I don’t ever want to be that guy, I don’t need to resort to that in life and my integrity is worth more than whatever perceived value there is. My belief is the group works because we all generally share our good ideas and in return we get tons of smart “eyes” looking at it and making it better. It works and this is what makes it tick and I’m going to continue on this path. Besides, the value back has been incredible and I am glad that we’re all exploring furthering the campaign in both its theory and its practical implementation. Returns in spades.

On Friday, I had 12 units of Rhino waiting to fill and it did right at the end of day at a good price @ 2.75 for the Dec 1710/1670/1620 BWB. Nice. I just closed off my other 10 units that I put on in July for 21k in profit. I still dabble in the ATM trades for diversification. Though, I hate taking this shit off sometimes. I had a host of Call calendars, Call BWBs and put BWBs and taking one part off leaves the other side exposed and sometimes fills just suck. It took me 2 hours to close it and I was cursing the entire time.

On the opposite spectrum, the STT CC campaign is much easier to manage and I usually just convert the structure to a hedge structure late in the trade. Saves commissions and adds some insurance. The STT CC is my bulk trade right now coupled with the BSH factory which will be for both income and hedging. Pretty much all I do now is some Rhinos (super low % of account), CC campaign, BSH factory and opportunistic HS3. I also dabble in some mechanical equity investing but its just for utilizing some of my balance (for further info check out the motley fool mechanical investing forum (search TMF mechanical investing) or check out imarketsignals.com. It’s cool stuff. The community in mechanical investing have been doing it for 20+ years.

Poker

I’ve been studying every day ramping up for the Oct WPT in Montreal. This is going to be practice run at the PSPC in January. I have about 40 hours of study left I suppose just to get me on par level in knowledge with the average competition. Not an easy game as I’ve been at this since 1999 ;). When I was in my twenties, I mean, I felt like my generation was easy competition, I’d put in reasonable efforts and excel in whatever it may have been..ie. Poker at the time was jokes, first person shooters on PC was jokes or whatever. Now, I put in probably 800 hours into PubG and still suck, back in the day my wife and I played Rainbow 6 lockdown/vegas and were top 100. Now, I doubt I break top 100k πŸ™‚ I don’t know, it feels like everything is taken next level (or ten) by this new generation. The kids in poker now have just perfected everything. They literally eat, breathe, shit poker. It’s all they do and they do it right. They’ve broken down the game to levels that are so far beyond. If they put that effort into anything else (trading, business start ups etc) they’d probably have easier success though. I’d gather that to be earning reasonable money in tournament poker would take the same effort it takes to be be a professional trader but with less variance.

All that said, After Oct, I might hire the best tournament coach in the world to get me prepped. The prob is he’s like 375 EUR an hour πŸ™‚ Steep, but thats what you get for the best. I might start with a more reasonable one and get ramped up towards him. BencB is the coachs name. Epic track record.

Sep 25 – Presentation, BSH and Trade plans

Tomorrow I am going to be presenting at the mastermind group about how to deal with your trades during a correction event. It entails having a trade plan that deals with potential broker rules, neutralizing income trades to allow for removal of hedges and doing practice runs w/ your similar structures through the Aug and Feb events of which we have data for. It talks about adding in how the system will react to your portfolio of trades and knowing how to deal with that. It’s so important to have this area attached to your trade plan. We need to address systemic issues (how the system (broker, margin rules etc) will react to your portfolio of trades.

The Feb vol event was a big hit on the system and represented the single largest increase in VIX (VVIX) in all of history. Volatility and VIX by the nature of how it is calculated represents the premium or insurance rise in the value of options at specific strikes. Each option contract is basically an insurance contract for that specific point in the market. Simplistically put (no pun intended), someone buys a 2825 put because they want to be protected for any falls below 2825 while someone else might buy a 2500 put because they don’t want the risk below 2500. The pricing of the option contract at 2825 is quite a lot higher than the 2500 put because you’re asking for a lot more protection. . The pricing of each contract has stable portions but the unstable portion, the portion that changes when all else remains the same is what represents the premium or insurance cost or fear price that we are selling or buying. This premium value can change across different strikes at different ratios and that is what we define as skew. That thing that changes across strikes, visualize each strike price as a like a bar graph with part of it shaded black. That black part can move up or down depending on the market pressures of each strike, some events put pressure on way out of the money puts while others might not. These changing “black portions” of the bar graph is how you can visualize skew. You might see a 2825 contract really get jacked up in premium but no change in the 2500 premium. If you’re a net buyer of 2500 but sold the 2825, you just got screwed by skew. Anyways, back to the point, the VIX It’s supposed to represent the fear in the market related by noting the increase in the insurance premium. We’re net sellers of that insurance, and when you are a net seller of insurance that just had the largest rise, you’re going to have problems. We’re glorified market insurance sales people πŸ™‚ These problems can be not just in P/L, but also in how the broker reacts to the increased value of those contracts despite the risks of said contracts as well as the general margin rules related to portfolio margin while we are removing hedges (which must be taken off right around the event).

Our trades were theoretically supposed to be immune to such events as we had separate hedges but we had a failure in how the system reacted to the value of our trades which was not expected nor where the rules they implemented at certain brokers known. We need to address potential systemic reactions in our black swan trading plan.

The Feb event was a problem not because of the trades per say but rather how the system/brokers responded to the increased value of those trades after the event. It was how the system responded to the trades that threw most of us for a loop. We’re dealing with incredibly complex trade systems that were meant to solve for all the known variables. They did for the crash day but the system they were in didn’t allow for the unwind that we needed. The hedges we have only last a few days as they are fear based hedges. If we can’t unwind those, we’re fucked. That was unforeseen but now solved for.

Poker

I’ve been studying quite intensively for the upcoming WPT in October (Montreal) and the end goal big daddy PSPC in Bahamas in January. The PSPC is a 25k buy-in mega event where Poker stars gave away 300 25k seats for free plus added 1MM to first–Total of 9MM juiced into the tournament by poker stars for free. I’d usually max out at 10k just because I think its kinds nuts to go higher for a tournament but a few friends wanted to get in on the action and are going to stake a bit. So I’ll sell off 10k in action. It’ll be an epic tournament.

A lot of people ask me how can I possibly study for poker. It’s not what you’d think. It’s incredibly complex and requires a lot of upfront hours to be at par.

Here’s a example of the thought process of a hand to give an example that I’ve told my friends who’ve asked:

Let’s say you’re dealt QJs in the small blind. Everyone is 100BB deep.

Everyone folds to Button who raises. His range of hands is very wide being on the button. Probably 45-50% of all possible hands. Being in small blind we’re generally 3-betting or folding as we really don’t want to act first every hand nor do we want the BB to mandatory complete which puts us against 3 opponents on the flop. SO the three bet can show immediate profit but if he calls, we’re still good.

So we 3-bet.

The Button smooth calls. His range becomes quite defined here as he can’t call a three-bet with most of his range.

What do we know so far? Well it’s unlikely he has AA or KK and with QJ we block combos of QQ and JJ. So we block a lot of his value range and its unlikely though not impossible he has AA and KK

Flop comes T73 rainbow

His value range is pretty much only sets and two pairs as we’re blocking QQ and JJ and AA and KK is unlikely.

We have decent equity here with two overs, we can turn a K or 9 for open-ended and an 8 for a gut-shot and thus we can barrel every turn with semi-bluffs because of villains range. Further, a bet here is showing immediate profit as many Ace high, king high (beating us currently) are folding though some are calling. On the turn, if he called flop bet, he still has some Ace highs and small pairs, mid pairs that will fold to a second barrel. Further we aren’t blocking ace high as we have QJ so that’s a further edge. Let’s move on to the next card.

We bet and he calls

Turn is a 2

Given his call on the flop, it’s likely he has ace high type hands or over card broadways. These will have a hard time calling a second barel. We do NOT block his ace high hands so that’s a positive. We don’t want to block his folding hands that re better than ours. This is a good second barrel bluff. He’s forced to fold a lot of better hands here.

Concepts like blockers, knowing the opponents range and our own gives us ability to gain small edges and to make the right plays which are necessary in this game. I’ve got probably at least 50 hours of study before MTL and double that before Bahamas. But once I get past that, I should have increased to a level where I can really make a run in this world. It’s the only thing at my age that I can compete at on a world stage so I’ll stick with it.