I always let my trades on Betfair run for longer than I should….
I think we have all done this on Betfair haven't we, when trading?
Ooooo this is going to be a good one, we have all been there haven’t we? We get into a situation when trading whether thats red or green and we start to hope, we pray to the trading gods to turn this situation around and get back to break even…. I mean we are getting out at break even aren’t we? We cannot lose money, we have let this trade run so much longer than we should we get a glimpse of it moving in the right direction then BANG its gone! We are in a worse position, we trade out but have battered our bank and now feel horrendous, that low belly pain, why has this happened again.
It’s a result of a couple of things, fear of taking a loss or greed (if you didn’t get out with profit when had the chance). It’s something we all experience and its brutal, it is so tough to get out of this hole.
I know the thought process is to let trades in the green run and then you should cut your losses and exit the trade to protect the bank when a trade is going against you. To do this you have to understand when a trade has room left to run without greed getting in the way and you becoming your own worst enemy and sabotaging the trade.
In theory it sounds easy doesn’t it? I think we all know from experience it’s a whole different story.
The losing feeling, it’s the worst feeling. People will say that they can manage their emotions when they lose, but people are not robots and you cannot know which way the market will go 100% of the time - nobody can. As human beings we are prewired for ‘Loss aversion’ where we want to ignore, totally forget or avoid losses. This is one of the reasons why we let the losses run, we are afraid of taking a loss, stubborn in our thinking. When you hit that trade out on a loss it becomes real, you have lost, your thoughts were not correct - keeping a clear head and identifying this early is the difference between a stubborn trade and a profitable one.
Research suggests that despite knowing the obvious and most logical course of action to take, people will deviate from this path and experiment, they will look at other markets put in more money to chase losses - this is a one way ticket to blowing the bank. I always harp on about having a trading plan and rules to follow, but by having these and sticking to them you limit your exposure and protect the downside.
Successful traders have a personality and mental toughness that allows them to quickly look at the information and react to it logically, instinct kicks in they follow the plan and create value from their trading plan and their own trading rules, this is what separates them from the non profitable.
Confirmation bias doesn’t affect them, confirmation bias is a huge problem for human beings, where you attempt to be ‘right’ as opposed to remaining more objective around the outcome and following the rules. This is an often overlooked topic with traders, the need to be right. The more you feel you need to be right the less right you will be, follow the rules, let logic take hold and constantly ask yourself is this trade going in the way I planned? If not, cut it short. Don’t panic at it, be logically connect the dots. Before the trade happens think about everything that has to happen for the trade to work out then combine that with the in play data.
Emotions when trading will happen and they can be toxic, we cannot get away from this. But what can be done?
Firstly, remember you are a trader. You are there to trade in and out of things over the shorter term, traders research their trades and follow not only their plan but also the set rules. If this happens I will do this etc….
Don’t focus on the win rate! Most beginners are always looking for a high win rate in terms of wins to losses, this stems from childhood when we are rewarded for being right, now we associate this with a needing a high win rate this can ruin your trading and actually force you to take a quick smaller profit and cut a good trade short. What we are aiming for is to build you up to logically assess your trades so you will be able to cut the losses short because they aren’t following the plan and have no chance of doing - I saw this on a blog post once and it resonated with me ‘Remember, the captain of Titanic was only wrong once. It is the size of the mistake that matters and not the number.’
My final take away is to constantly assess the trades, are your original thoughts close to coming correct? This is the same no matter what sport, what has to happen for your trade to come good, break it down and build on it.
This post forms part of a series of blog posts on this topic all with the aim of making your trading mentality stronger, to get all the posts click the banner at the bottom and you will also get a FREE video mini-series on this topic.