Acknowledgments xiii Introduction 1 Chapter 1 Everyone Needs a Plan 7 The Hanging Curveball 7 A Typical Bad Trader 9 A Typical Good Trader Prepared with a Plan 9 The Trading Plan and the Game Plan 11 A Disclosure or Two before We Continue 13 Chapter 2 The Trading Plan 15 What is a Trading Plan? 15 A Simple Trading Plan 16 Why a Trading Plan? 17 A Business Plan for Traders 18 Making a Trading Plan 19 Breaking Down the Trading Plan 20 Closing Thoughts 23 Chapter 3 The Game Plan 25 Always Be Prepared 25 Why a Game Plan 26 The Basics of the Game Plan 27 Know Yourself 27 Drawing up Scenarios 27 Making Your Plan Work 29 Closing Thoughts 32 Chapter 4 Get to Know Yourself 33 Different Types of Traders 34 Figuring Out Who You Are 35 The Importance of Knowing Your Style 36 Two Sides to Every Story 38 Closing Thoughts 39 Chapter 5 Trading Strategies 41 Trading Strategies 41 Your Strategy Needs to Fit Your Style 42 Technical Strategies 42 Building Systems 45 Don't Be Stubborn 50 Why Should You Have a Strategy? 51 What Goes into a Strategy? 51 The Entry 52 Exits 52 Times Frames and Holding Times 54 Stick to Your Trading Strategy 55 Closing Thoughts 55 Chapter 6 Know Your Markets 57 Markets Differ 57 Know What You are Trading 60 What's the Real Risk? 62 Time Frames and Charting 63 Who Moves the Markets? 68 Know Any Correlations 69 Getting the Big Picture 75 Closing Thoughts 75 Chapter 7 After the Close 77 Let's Review 78 The Open Trades 79 Thinking about Tomorrow 88 The Closed Trades 89 Getting Ready for Tomorrow 91 Review Your Plans and Strategy 92 Closing Thoughts 93 Chapter 8 Before the Market Opens 95 To Each His Own 95 Getting the News 96 Know Your Markets 97 Look at Overseas Markets 98 How are the Markets Opening? 98 Making Adjustments 99 Were There Any Big Moves Overnight? 100 Look for Possible Trading Situations 101 Draw Up Scenarios 103 Adjusting Size 103 Make Your Daily Game Plan 104 Closing Thoughts 105 Chapter 9 Drawing Up Scenarios 107 Know Your Markets-Revisited 107 Getting the Big Picture 108 Getting a Better Picture 109 End of the Day 113 Back to Monitoring Open Positions 114 Once the Trade is On 115 The Day Trader 122 Making Scenarios for the News 123 Generic Stuff to Look at with Open Positions 125 Closing Thoughts 130 Chapter 10 Taking the Gamble Out of Trading 131 Good Trades Can Be Losers 132 Two Parts to a Trade 135 Same Market, Two Views 136 Going Long 136 Going Short 139 Waiting for the Right Opportunities 143 Measure the Risk-to-Reward Ratio 143 Ways to Get the Odds in Your Favor 145 Closing Thoughts 148 Chapter 11 Getting In 149 Spotting the Opportunity 149 Planning the Trade 150 Drawing Scenarios for Getting into the Trade 152 Don't Chase the Market 154 Timing the Trade 154 Look For Patterns within the Long-Term Trade 155 Knowing the Risk 159 Deciding How Much to Trade 159 Closing Thoughts 160 Chapter 12 Getting Out 161 Preestablish Your Exit Strategies 161 Cutting Losses and Letting Profits Ride 162 Using Stops in Your Game Plan 163 Planning Your Risk 164 The Setup 165 Trading the Gap 167 Another Trade 170 A Crazy Day 171 Planning Your Target 173 How Will You Exit? 174 The In-Between Area 175 Closing Thoughts 175 Chapter 13 Reviewing and Managing 177 After the Trade is on 177 Looking Ahead 182 Reviewing Your Trading 184 Keeping a Journal 188 Closing Thoughts 189 Chapter 14 How to Keep from Overtrading 191 Why Have a Plan 192 You Don't Always Need to Be in the Market 192 Stop Being in Too Many Positions 196 Using a Game Plan to Help if You Trade Too Many Positions 198 Keeping to Risk Management Limits 200 Closing Thoughts 204 Chapter 15 Money Management 207 Don't Take Risk Lightly 208 Another Gambling Analogy 209 The Money Management Basics 211 Incorporating Your Money Management Plan into Your Trading Plan 220 Incorporating Your Money Management Plan into Your Game Plan 221 Establishing Money Management Procedures for Open Positions 223 Closing Thoughts 223 Chapter 16 Trading Rules 225 Trading Rules 225 Using Your Rules to Make a Trading Plan 226 My Trading Rules 227 Appling the Money Management Rules 228 Applying the Entry Rules 229 Applying Your Exit Rules 231 Applying the Discipline Rules 232 The Top 25 Rules 233 Closing Thoughts 240 Chapter 17 Focus and Discipline 241 Staying Focused 242 Distractions 242 Have a Routine to Help You Write a Game Plan 244 Following Your Plan 245 How to Stay Focused if You Have Trouble Staying Focused 246 Mental Side of Discipline 248 Keeping Tabs 251 Unwinding after the Day 253 Closing Thoughts 254 Chapter 18 Learning How to Win 255 Clean Out Your Closet 256 Don't Blame Others for Losses 256 Think of It as an Expense and Not a Loss 257 Self-Destructive Behavior 257 Learn from Mistakes 257 Trade, Trade, Trade 258 Curb Your Emotions 258 Losses are in the Past 258 Money Management is More Important than Trade Selection 259 Treat Yourself 259 Preserve Precious Capital 259 Have a Cutoff Point 260 Jumping in Too Soon or Getting in Too Late 260 Do Not Let Big Winners Turn to Losers 260 Make a List of Rules 261 Trade Your Style 261 Use a Proven Strategy 261 Tips are for Bartenders 261 Learn as Much as You Can about What You are Trading 262 Keep Learning 262 Read and Learn 262 Trade with a Plan 264 Fill in Your Own 264 Final Thoughts 264 About the Author 267 Index 269
MARCEL LINK has been involved in trading for more than twenty years and, for the last several years, has been a successful independent trader of futures and stocks. Previously, he founded LinkFutures.com, which was a discount, online brokerage firm. Link is a former member of the New York Financial Exchange. For more information, visit www.MarcelLink.com.