At the beginning of last month I attended the No BS Day Trading Webinar. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been a student of John Grady for a while now so I thought I’d set out how I’ve found his material to be helpful and why it’s changed how I look at trading.
I started writing this blog entry a while ago and it turned into an epic 4000 word post. I felt it was important to explain how I came to No BS Day Trading and that in turn ended up being a huge blog about my thoughts on Trading Education and my journey through the varied terrain that you inevitably encounter when searching for quality material. I think it’s a worthwhile piece so I will post that at a later date but in this post I’ll concentrate on No BS Day Trading.
Sadly in this day and age it’s important to start with a disclaimer, I have a lot of time for No BS Day Trading and John himself so this could quite easily come across as a paid for plug to his site, it isn’t in any way. I came to John’s teachings through my own means while trying to find out more on both Order Flow and Tape Reading. I’m just a customer and I don’t get any sort of discount or freebie for writing this.
On with the review. As I mention I came to NOBSDT while on another educational course, it was a very good one and I learned a lot, in fact without it I don’t think I’d have been ready to understand a lot of what John teaches. In that previous course however I was still using charts and had become repeatedly and ultimately frustrated with using them. I could never seem to implement trade ideas or decipher good levels, price points or time trades well and always found myself struggling to maintain perspective on the big picture.
At the same time as I became disillusioned with charting and with the general idea that the market is a coherent entity diligently obeying the methodologies of retail traders, I started to learn about Order Flow. It was a topic I’d heard of but didn’t really understand so I decided to investigate it more. Whilst learning about the concepts of market auctions and price discovery this topic of Order Flow appeared more and more, something else also happened that was instrumental in me starting to feel like I had a basic understanding of how the market functioned – and that was devouring any info I could find on Pit Trading.
Getting a handle on how the traders in the Pit used to work, their transition upstairs to trading on a computer and trying to understand how they made their careers revealed to me that the market is a psychological beast, and nothing more than a series of outcomes based on the actions of people entering and leaving the market largely due to human emotion (if, of course you ignore mechanical HFT/Algo side of things for now).
This idea that there is a human (and more to the point behavioural) element to the market sat much better with me than the technical, indicator based approach to trading that is sold en masse and so I decided to delve deeper. The book One Good Trade was really helpful in gaining an understanding of Tape Reading too, although a book about trading stocks I still found it a great resource.
Whilst trying to find what I could on Tape Reading (which was next to nothing) I found John Grady’s site. I pretty much immediately purchased the beginners course and liked what I saw. I watched and re watched the videos and read the e book a couple of times and before I knew it a few months had passed. During this time I got set up with the Jigsaw DOM and some demo feeds so that I could watch the tape myself.
Soon after I found myself wanting more knowledge so purchased the intermediate course which gives you an expansion on the beginner course with some more videos and some more advanced ideas. I repeated the process of watching them as much as I could and this time took to demo trading with Ninja Trader. I toyed with the idea of doing John’s webinar but given that I wasn’t in a position to open a trade account with any significant capital I thought the investment might be best saved till later, then I got some advice from John that changed my mind.
I had emailed John a few times and had always received a quick and informative reply. Specifically I’d asked him his opinions on Demo Trading. The advice I got back is what lead me to a few things, firstly ditching the demo, secondly opening a live account and thirdly to participating in the webinar sooner than I expected. It’s important to point out though that there is no hard sell with John. In fact I think his honesty and transparency in how he works his courses are a large reason why customers like me come away feeling like they’ve received great value.
John’s basic advice was that you need to have some skin in the game and that the only way to do that is to trade real money. For me this was something I was finally ready to accept. I had been stuck in the perpetual search for a trading method I could make work, and a point in life when the time would be right to commit to trading that I’d become locked in demo. I’d justified it in the past by saying I didn’t have enough to commit to a Futures account so staying on demo was the best way ahead. In truth I was probably hiding from the commitment of going live and was scared in cased I failed and that all the years of research and effort would be wasted.
I decided that was bullshit and I’d had enough, it was time to commit my small account to the market and see how I could do, I was sick of pretending to be a Trader. I booked the time off work to commit to the course and signed up to John’s Webinar. I’m so glad I did. The first thing you get is what has now become 40 prep videos which outline what will happen in the webinar and go over the varied conditions and elements that make up how John trades. These are pivotal to your understanding and success, I say that because it’s what I really believe. I’d read and been through his previous courses and spent a lot of time watching Jigsaw so I felt comfortable with at least the basic idea of Order Flow, if you haven’t had the chance to do that, and don’t watch these videos you will be lost. Also you have to question if it’s for you and ask honestly how committed you are to the idea of the webinar if you can’t get the time to watch the prep videos. I know that sounds like a preachy thing to say and I know how hard it is to set time aside for these things, but like John says no one want’s to come home from work and watch 2 hours of prep videos or get up early to go over the previous days action, but not only is it necessary but as I started to get through the videos you do get a sense of achievement in getting yourself ready for the course and feeling like your making good headway in learning a new skill.
The webinar itself gets underway just before 8am Eastern Time and runs (depending on action) till about midday or early afternoon. John goes through what happened the previous day, what he expects to happen, what news is out and where he thinks will be good points to watch. From there its straight into the DOM where he watches the ZN, ZB, ZF, UB & ES all day. John discusses a number of things and explains when he’s expecting to take a trade, when he’s not and you get to watch it all from entry to management to exit to de brief live. If you can’t attend a live session he gives you the option of downloading previous recorded sessions but I feel being there live makes it so much more real. You also get to ask questions which he answers (very thoroughly I might add) in the Q&A at the end of each day.
At the end of each day you receive a download of the days action, a recap video and a video of the Q&A. Personally I recommend not trading during the two weeks and just watching the action. In the second week I opened Ninja Trader to watch my screen whilst I listened to John talk and found that a lot of the ideas started to jump out at me, it also helped with the slight delay thats inevitable when dealing with a fast moving data feed through webinar software. That all said if you don’t have Jigsaw or similar software and just want to watch John you won’t miss out as the delay doesn’t hinder the learning.
One thing you will hear John talk about a lot is context. By context he is talking about current market conditions, how the market is moving, what the order book is doing and ascertaining if the current price is somewhere where you either wish to be involved or wish to stand aside. This was the single biggest take away from the course for me, that most of the time you want to do nothing at all. Putting together a more complete picture of how a professional trader spends his time either in or out of the market was pivotal in me understanding what is and what is not good market action, and coupled learning when you are wrong and how to cut your loss quickly makes the webinar hugely worthwhile. I also feel it has really has set me up on the right course for success going forward.
What you will learn on this Webinar is that trading is a slog, it’s a slog of sitting it out in front of the screen without knowing what the day will yield. It’s about capitalising on the day’s opportunities and doing something else when there aren’t any. John will advocate spending months at the screen, staying out of the market whenever you have no confidence that getting in will be profitable and that you need to be identifying high probability, low risk trades.
I know the question in the back of your mind is did he make money? The honest answer is that I lost track a lot of the time. I’m not worried about saying that because I was concentrating more on what he was trying to say than his P&L. Every webinar is different and ours was a difficult two weeks and John definitely had some down days. I got a lot out of him managing losing trades though and it’s a great part of the webinar. You see how it is for real and John is not afraid to show you that. It felt like at one point he was down a large amount as everything he tried on one day didn’t work but at the end of the day he was only down one to two ticks. How you ask? Risk Management. John is able to manage his trades so that he looses as little as possible so that even if he has a bad run it’s not catastrophic. This was a big eye opener for me. John also extended the webinar for 2 days as he felt bad about how the action had been, he also sent us some recordings from the previous webinar to demonstrate a few days where the market was behaving differently.
Whether Order Flow, the Jigsaw DOM, Tape Reading and the No BS Day Trading webinar is for you is something I can’t answer, but if you feel like I did, that in order to understand what is going on in the market enough to give you confidence in order to participate in it, then I would highly recommend it. I’ve learned that the market is made up of human participants and learning to spot their actions and determine how they might be feeling and thinking based upon those actions is something that I not only find really cool but also gets me fired up for trading. I’m still rubbish at it and will be for a long while I’m sure but at least I’m finally making progress.
When I look at the DOM now I can’t help but find it fascinating that amongst all the numbers are the thought processes of traders from around the world, all trying to gain an edge. The human side is what has got me hooked again and that is a huge relief because truth be told I wasn’t far off ditching the whole trading idea recently, I’d just had enough of trying to implement a method and a set of rules I just didn’t believe in. Whether I’ll make my successes in the future remains to be seen but I do feel that John Grady and his teachings have at least allowed me to lurk quietly in the shadows of sharks for at least a while longer.
So what now? Well after the webinar John says you need to go it alone, get some screen time in and see how you fair – exciting times. I’ve had a lot going on outside trading recently so that period of gaining experience will probably be longer for me so I’ve set myself a goal of trading regularly and hoping to have my account break even after a year. If I can do that it means I’m surviving which is a good sign and I’ll probably do another webinar with John and reassess from there.
As ever I’m more than happy to answer any questions on anything I’ve discussed so please feel free to drop me a line. Similarly I’d loved to hear how you’ve found Order Flow help you in your trading so please leave a comment below if you want to share anything. I hope I’ve laid out a good understanding of what it’s like to do the Webinar and why I think it really is a great course for aspiring traders, if you are interested in Order Flow i’d recommend checking out John’s site www.nobsdaytrading.com and his youtube page as he has a ton of free videos and resources that have helped me a lot. Also check out www.jigsawtrading.com for some more great material. I hope this has been useful.