The Middle of The Path, Trading Essays

Trading Essays & Excerpts – “The Middle of the Path” by AllxDayxRay

One of the hardest things for the human mind is too detach itself from the results of an outcome. Winning trade = a job well done; Bad trade = I did something wrong—not necessarily the case in either outcome. For the new trader, you’re going to experience the natural swing of emotion that occurs when learning a new endeavor. You’re going to have your “breakthroughs” and bouts of success—mostly temporary—and you’re going to experience mental blocks and the inevitable loss of money– hopefully mitigated by proper risk management. Throughout this mental and emotional rollercoaster, you must maintain a moderate temperament; not getting too high at your highs, nor too low at your lows. A good rule of thumb that was taught to me that helps me stay grounded: you’re never as good as you think you are—usually referring to when you’re on a hot streak—and never as bad as you may think you are: you’re going to fall somewhere in between. Cultivating this type of mindset is the pursuit of objectivity—a crucial skill at analyzing your participation in the market. 

Being a part of a trading community I’ve been able to see this concept in full display. You’ll have your traders who are on cloud 9, experiencing a winning streak of sorts. They start talking more definitively– an aura of pride in their speech. I’ve seen a trader boast how he makes more than certain prestigious professions– which was a blasphemous statement due to the sample size from what he was drawing from: it was laughably small. Because people can’t properly attribute the factor that luck plays into their success, they overrate their abilities, which as a risk taker, is one of the most dangerous places to be mentally. You also have the flip side of the coin, traders who berate themselves. This serves no purpose other than the twisted comfort you get from self-loathing. You’re going to fail a lot in this business. Ok, a trade idea didn’t work? Figure out where you went wrong, if you even went wrong in the first place—whether on the spot or aftermarket hours, as long as your heads clear—and move on! I’m ruthless with the thoughts that I let sit in my mind while trading. If it’s not serving your trading, there is no use for them. The feeling of winning money is elating and ego boosting, while losing money strikes at our insecurities. Take the middle path, the moderate approach, not succumbing to the extreme emotions that pull at us and serve as distractions from refining our process. 

I hate it when I hear people say you must have no emotions trading. That phrase right there shows you the persons lack of understanding. We can’t turn our emotions off. We’re participating in an activity that releases a copious amount of chemical reactions in our bodies– good luck stopping that. Rather, what people who spew that phrase are really looking to say is, don’t let your emotions dictate your actions or thinking. Again, that’s something that needs to be addressed away from market hours. I recently spoke with best-selling author and legendary hedge fund trader Turney Duff on the “Confessions of a Market Maker” podcast. He implied one of his edges as a trader came from his inability to feel the highs and lows of life or a trade: a medical condition he has. It’s a condition that I’m sure he’s struggled with in his greater life, but when it came to trading it served him well. Most of us are not in Turney’s position but this really struck home the impediment our emotions present.   

Being objective doesn’t come naturally to humans. Being moderate doesn’t come naturally for some: myself included. These are things that must be worked on away from the market. The market will reveal too you who you are and specifically your flaws; if you’re a passive person, it will manifest itself in your execution and tentativeness; if you’re a do first, think second type, it will manifest itself in huge losses, blown up accounts, and high susceptibility to FOMO; if you’re an emotional type, feeling the highs of your success’s—not to mention the pride that accompanies winning which is detrimental—and the gut wrenching pain of your losses will leave you with no emotional capital. These are generalizations and individuals are more nuanced, but I wanted to put an emphasis on how the market will reveal your demons. This endeavor can be mentally and emotionally trying but strive for the middle path and ignore the extremes; whether it be exuberance; self-loathing; pride; depression: focus with unwavering intent on the process. Focus on the results, and you have a trader with a faulty process; Focus on the process, and you have a trader who produces results. 

If you’d like to be apart of a pleasant and supportive trading community, trade along side Ray & 20 year market maker turned retail trader, @vwaptrader1 visit

Gaspar, More Interviews

Gaspar – Interview

IMG_7345QUESTION – Thank you for taking the time to participate in the Q & A session. Before we start in detail. Would you like to share with everyone who may not know, who you are, where you live and what is your current occupation or student status is?

GASPAR: My name is Gaspar. I am currently I’m living in south Mexico, it’s very nice tropical weather all year around and it’s the safest place in the country to be living in, I’m currently in my 3rd year of college getting a degree in accounting and finance.


QUESTION – Do you trade full-time, part-time.

GASPAR: I trade full time since my school hours are now in the evening. I trade one options strategy in the SPY ETF with a weekly outlook and day trade futures in the Emini S&P 500.


QUESTION – What our your goals and ambitions as a trader, career and personal life?

GASPAR: I want to be a full time trader and hopefully manage money for clients eventually moving to the USA.


QUESTION- How would you describe what makes a successful trader. Good traits, bad traits?

GASPAR: Successful trading requires a lot of discipline, focus on what you are doing, mindfulness, you can’t become complacent in any situation and always be with the guard up, being creative and able to evolve is key.   


QUESTION : We understand from your Twitter feed you are now into weight lifting, any other hobbies outside of trading?

GASPAR:I started a weight loss program about 2 years ago have since lost more than 80lb and now I am lifting weights to gain muscle mass. Taking care of the body is important since it’s the vessel that helps you achieve your goals, training the mind to be stronger and push trough hard situations, I used to play video games but I have stoped doing that since it’s extensively time consuming. I would say my hobby is watching basketball. I like teams such as the Houston Rockets, Lakers, Clippers and Mavericks.


QUESTION – Do you have a mentor in trading?  What role do you feel a mentor and being part of a trading community in your learning and success?

GASPAR: I never had a real mentor before JJ @Vwaptrader1 at Educational Trading Room. I would say learning from someone who has done it for a long time is a key advantage in speeding up your learning curve especially when you have most of the technical stuff down and you need to develop your execution to achieve your goals.


QUESTION – Outside of your career & trading, what are some of your hobbies? How do you escape from the real world during these crazy times?

GASPAR: Well I loved to spend time with my friends, go to parties, and the beach. Since all of that has been impossible for the last 5 months or more, I have now just put more focus on my new healthy life style, keeping track of all the nutrients and supplements I eat and working out, lifting, biking and taking my dog on walks in open air. It helps clear the mind and balance out the adrenaline one can build up while day trading.


QUESTION – If you could meet and hang out with any trader(s) out on the town, who would it be and why?

GASPAR: I would have dinner with JJ and other guys in the microefutures room. I like that everybody is older than me (I’m 21). I get a lot of knowledge from them, not only about trading but also in life. I would also like to meet Tic Toc Tick in person I have followed him for 2 years and think he is very talented and funny.


QUESTION – When you have lost your mojo or focus , what do you do to get back on track?

GASPAR: I don’t like going back and studying since I already have a very good solid understanding of the mechanics and I feel that doing that just overloads you more. I like to distance myself from trading for a couple of days and get my head right. I do some other stuff, build up some confidence, and then come back and keep at it with a good attitude.


QUESTION  – If you could have a big billboard with your favorite saying or message on it, what would it be.

GASPAR: “A investment in knowledge always pays the best dividends”


QUESTION-  Thank you  for taking the time for this interview. How can our readers contact you, including on social media. And is there anything else you like for our readers to know about you?

GASPAR: I have sacrificed a lot of time hanging with friends and going to parties. My first 2 years of trading, I would stay up all weekend watching replays, reading charts, going over what I did wrong during that week, and really train intensely. I’m a very intense person, I don’t like things done mediocrely. I like being the best, I like being proficient, and that takes a lot of effort. It’s not going to come from a book or a couple of hours of videos on YouTube. You really have to train like an all star sports player. We play a performance game and we can always get better. That’s what I love from trading; it’s a place where I can take myself to the limit and push myself everyday to be the best I can be. The score (money) is just there to confirm I’m training hard and working hard, that’s what I love. I hate seeing people come in and just ask for stuff black and white  and act like they know all the answers. I automatically know that trader still has a couple years and bad stories before the start to get a grasp for the game.

Beyond The Trades is now sponsored by the Educational Trading Room Communities listed below 

EquitiesETC Trading Room       (for stocks & options trading)

Microefutures Trading Room   (for ES futures & Market Profile trading)

Aggression Vs. Patience - The Uncomfortable Balance, Trading Essays

Aggression Vs. Patience – The Uncomfortable Balance

In first typing up this article I attended on emphasizing the aggression I believe traders must apply to maximize their upside: especially for the people who aspire to become a professional trader. In doing so, I’d feel remiss if I didn’t counter that aggression – unchecked – can be determent to our trading and ultimately our bankroll. While I believe aggression is in the toolbox of a trader who’s trying to maximize his profit, he also has patience in his repertoire to match. I wanted to say this so you as the reader know I’m not advocating RECKLESS aggression. As for many things in life, trading is the great balance between action and non-action: although non-action is an action. From my experiences in trading and other games of similarity, an optimal approach – or the pursuit of it – will leave you with an uncomfortable feeling. If you want to be the best trader you can be, if you want to make the most money in trading that you can, the unsettling feeling must not deter you.  

I wanted to write about “aggression” because it seems to be minimally talked about in the retail trading community. The trading twitter community loves and retweets these passive trading euphemisms, “sit on your hands”, “you don’t have to trade everyday”, “protect your capital at all cost”. There is nothing wrong with these statements and I wholeheartedly agree. But I feel like the other side of this coin doesn’t get the shine it needs. Being patient and patient alone isn’t going to take you to the promise land. Now if you trade for a hobby or entertainment and are just interesting in protecting your downside, sure: your reasoning and “goals” for trading are going to determine your approach. I’m speaking to those who are looking to maximize their upside. I’m coming from the perspective of someone who is trying to do this for a living and who wants to make a good living. 

Aggression will often make you feel uncomfortable. Trading is a game of math. Prior to trading I’ve been in other areas where machine learning and analytics have been applied: obviously there applied to trading as well. Poker, football, and daily fantasy sports being the areas I’ve looked into “optimal” play as advised by models, software and analytics. You see it with games that computers are already stronger than humans in, chess and GO. There is one common theme that is seen throughout: an often uncomfortable or counterintuitive, aggressive strategy that humans haven’t stumbled upon themselves. 

Trade Ideas artificial intelligence Holly is fairly aggressive with the quantity of trades and her profit target; and wide with her stops. You often hear people preach the opposite: less trades, take profits along the way and tighter stops. She trades set ups I doubt many human eyes would find attractive. And She is better than the majority of traders: she’s profitable. On the recent episode of “Confessions of a Market Maker” podcast, we spoke with Senior trader at SMB Capital Ryan Hasson, who spoke to the aggressive approach and the challenging of themselves that their prop firm embraces. Mike Bellafiore, head of SMB Capital puts it well in his book “The Playbook”, “We must strike and strike without mercy when the market gives us our best setup”. 

With the introduction of solvers and AI into the poker sphere, we’ve come to understand that a un-exploitable strategy is one that’s often uncomfortably aggressive for a human player, and often not intuitive. With the introduction of analytics into pro sports, you’re seeing a lot of commonly accepted principles or strategies in each respected sport going by the wayside in favor of aggressive actions. Analytics has shown the value in basketball teams shooting more 3 pointers; in football being more aggressive on early downs throwing the ball against heavier boxes and choosing to go for it on 4th down in enemy territory at a higher clip. 

All this talk about aggression and the examples I’ve given lead me to this point; striving to be the best trader you can be while in the pursuit of maximizing your strategies and profit will often leave you uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable isn’t always a bad sign. As you size up after a run of consistency, you should feel uncomfortable. Trying a new back tested strategy for the first time, probably will be uncomfortable. Losing 5 trades in a row and then having a A+ set up appear: get over your uncomfortable feelings and pull the trigger. Implementing an aggressive approach will undoubtably bring some pain and losses, especially as you work out the kinks. If you want to challenge yourself and make the most that you can, you must resist the urge to “play it safe”. There is nothing wrong with playing it safe like I mentioned earlier in the article: it all depends on your goals. But as someone who wants to make a living doing this, you have to develop a killer instinct. The cliché metaphor to trading like a sniper; Wait, wait, wait, then finger jab. Patience with timely aggression.  

This approach to trading isn’t for everyone. I’m writing from my perspective, my approach and the correlations I see with strategies in other areas outside of trading which I believe are applicable. I’ll end this article with a quote from Jesse Livermoore;“They say you never go broke taking profits. No, you don’t. But neither do you grow rich taking a four-point profit in a bull market”.


Trading Essays & Excerps is now sponsored by the Educational Trading Room Communities listed below 

EquitiesETC Trading Room       (for stocks & options trading)

Microefutures Trading Room   (for ES futures & Market Profile trading)

Jorge Salazar, More Interviews

Jorge Salazar “@FunkTrader” – Interview

CgEFMS3h_400x400 (1)QUESTION – Thank you for taking the time to participate in the Q & A session. Before we start in detail. Would you like to share with everyone who may not know, who you are, where you live and what is your current occupation?  

JORGE: Before I begin, I would like to thank you for this opportunity; I am truly grateful. My name is Jorge Salazar, and I am currently living in Ventura, California.  I am member of the U.S Navy who has served close to 21 years and who is getting to ready to retire.   


QUESTION – Do you trade full-time, part-time. What trading instrument and are you part of any Trading Community you like to share with our audience?

JORGE: I trade futures contracts primarily the micro ES.  I am a part of a trading community called MicroEfutures.  I have to say this is the best group of people I have come across in the trading world.  As we all know there is no lack of trading rooms/communities out there.  As a matter of fact, I have been part of a couple.  But this one is different.  It is lead by JJ who has this indescribable desire and passion to help other traders who have the desire to learn and work hard.  When he interacts with you, you feel as if you are the only person in the room.  It is all about education in there. You are almost guaranteed to walk away with a new piece of knowledge everyday you are in the room.

I need to mention all the wonderful traders in there too.  We have some talented individuals in there who consistently help other traders. The support for one another feels like family.  Trading is tough and can be lonely at times.  Having people around you with a like minded mentality really helps in this journey.  I could not do it alone.


QUESTION – What personal or professional failure/setback have you experienced in your life or professional career that has set you up for later success?

JORGE: This is a very good question and I was talking to my wife exactly about this subject.  What has set me back in my professional career is the lack of believing in myself.  I have put limitations on myself because I either thought I was not good enough or I was afraid of rejection and failure.  Now that I have realized that and understand how it has affected me, I can use it to my advantage.  Without any action you end up without any results.  Not taking any risks because you want to protect your feelings, you will end up saying “what if”. I have decided that I will not be that person anymore and it is only pure growth from here on out. 


QUESTION– How would you describe what makes a successful trader. Good traits, bad traits?

JORGE: What is helping me become a successful trader is my support system.  My wife and family.  They have been there my whole 21 years in the Navy and I would not be where I am today without them.  The work ethic, passion, and discipline that I learned while in the service help in my trading as well.  Now I have many things to work on.  This is an ever-improving endeavor.  Perhaps the hardest thing I have ever done.  But I need to learn to be more patient and put aside my emotions.  


QUESTION : What purchase of less than $100 have you made in the past year that you simple could not live without now?

JORGE: My music streaming subscription.  I cannot live without music.  Good times and bad times music has always been there for me.


QUESTION – What advice would you give to your younger self as it relates to your personal life. What about advice for your younger trading self?

JORGE: Believe in yourself and do not be afraid of failure.  You will never truly know what you are capable of without discovery.  The advice I would give to my younger trading self would be to focus on one trading instrument or stock.  Learn its characteristics and get familiar with it before attempting to tackle multiple things at once.


QUESTION – Outside of your career * trading, what are some of your hobbies? How do you escape from the real world during these crazy times?

JORGE: Cycling, hiking, swimming, coffee roasting, working out, music and reading.  Anything that gets me out of the house and around nature I am there.  But my favorite thing to do from that list is cycling by far.  To me there is no better feeling than the one I get after completing a 50 plus mile ride. It is only you and the road and there is no quitting.   


QUESTION – Where do you see yourself in 5 years – then 10 years?

JORGE: I see myself having a successful micro-coffee roasting business. Coffee and trading make for a perfect combination.  The first five years will focus on getting established locally and then years 6-10 move into the e-commerce space. 

I also want to have an impactful role in the community I am going to be living in.  This will be the first time I am going to be living in the same location for more than three years. I am a firm believer that to have a strong community you need to do your part.  I want to give back wherever I can. 


QUESTION – When you have lost your mojo or focus, what do you do to get back on track? 

JORGE: I remove myself from whatever current environment I am in because if I do not, I tend to force things.  Then I reach out to those who have helped me along this ride called life.  Talking things out has always had its benefits, it provides me with a different perspective, or it identifies a small but important detail I might have been missing.  Then being able to see things more clearly, I get back on the bicycle saddle.


QUESTION  – If you could have a big billboard with your favorite saying or message on it, what would it be. 

JORGE: “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever.”  -A Bronx Tale


QUESTION–  Thank you  for taking the time for this interview. How can our readers contact you, including on social media. And is there anything else you like for our readers to know about you?

JORGE: Thank you! I am currently only active on Twitter where I go by @FunkTrader.  The last thing would be that I love hip-hop and don’t forget to support your vets.

And feel free to join me in the trading room where I am a member.

Excerpts Writings From JJ @vwaptrader1, Trading Essays

Excerpt Writings from JJ @Vwaptrader1


The function of wholesale and other time frames in the market and their impact on price action.
(How to swim next to the shark instead of into its mouth)

(Footprint chart provided by null_antechamber)

When a market is trading up and down in a narrow range this type of price action is known as “chop”. As traders, we are taught to avoid this type of price action and for good reason. By the end of this, you should have an understanding of how and why “chop” occurs and how to position yourself on the right side of the trade once the opportunity presents itself.

Let us see why this type of price action occurs and how observing it can help you trade with the size players who move price in the market.

While price is moving in this up and down fashion larger timeframe players are building a position. Using the tools that we have, we can see where the position is being built and how the structural location of this position can tell you the agenda of the size traders who are building it.

In the graphics below is the structure in question. Here is some background: before the regular trading hours (RTH) of July 17, 2020, the overnight inventory was long. At about 35 minutes into the RTH session, ES began its downwards correction as trapped longs sold out near the overnight low. At this point, price cannot break the overnight nor the previous day low. This is a huge indication that the sellers who took price down are not OTF size sellers, but rather trapped long players who are selling out or having their stops taken out.

Market Profile (TPO charts) shows what business is transpiring. Now we must investigate how those size traders deal with this selling and how they later profit from it.

As the initial wave of selling starts to slow down, momentum traders see this and jump in and buy. The wholesale side of the business knows this and in order not to buy the momentum traders stock back and cut into their profits, they move bids up and down resulting in chop. (Also keep in mind when a market goes to areas like the overnight low, some traders who follow price will short here and there will be others that sell from long positions down here too.)

This order flow and the way the wholesale handles it is the mechanics of this business. By creating this back and forth price action the wholesalers are able to absorb all this selling order flow, consequently resulting in what we retail traders call CHOP.

Now we will see how the wholesalers resell this position back into retail buying as the selling subsides and is “taken into wholesale inventory” This is how the wholesaler makes their money as they provide liquidity to retail traders.

Screen Shot 2020-07-23 at 4.35.59 PM

The above is the market profile which shows selling has shot off down at 3196

Screen Shot 2020-07-23 at 4.37.07 PMScreen Shot 2020-07-23 at 4.37.15 PMScreen Shot 2020-07-23 at 4.37.20 PMScreen Shot 2020-07-23 at 4.37.32 PMScreen Shot 2020-07-23 at 4.37.37 PMScreen Shot 2020-07-23 at 4.37.44 PMScreen Shot 2020-07-23 at 4.37.48 PM

Excerpts Writings From JJ @vwaptrader1, Trading Essays

Excerpts Writings from JJ @vwaptrader1

How the markets have become cleaner over time,  My confessions of Stealing order flow

Before the advent of online trading the markets were very opaque: very few people now know anything about order flow, back then even fewer did. Practically no one, including people who took companies public, knew how the mechanics of the market actually worked. For pirates of the over the counter and small-cap markets, it was heaven.

This gave rise to opportunity.  

If you had a company you took public and you were the financier you had a large position. In order to sell or dispose of that position, you need to create a market to sell it into.  This is where the Stock promoter came into play. He was hired by the inside shareholders to bring in buyers. He is given a position of say 5 million shares to use as he desires to create a market for the insiders, to say, sell 40-50 million shares.The promoter will start his campaign using all known methods of advertising to bring in buyers. When those buyers come in, their orders go to large market makers. If the large market makers do not know where to find a size seller they will move their bids up. We relied on the fact that 90% of promoters do not know how to trade or are too cheap to hire a specialist like me to manage the market. This is how we did it.

We identify deals with weak promoters and hunt their order flow. So if their stock is 1.00x 1.05 (bidxoffer) and a size buyer comes in, NITE the market maker would go bid 1.02. We would see that, call him and say “Oh we have an interest what you got?” “ I can pay the bid for 100k” he would reply. Sold!

We have just shorted 100,000 shares of a stock at 1.02. Now that bid drops and NITE goes back to say 98 cents. (under the best bid of $1).

Now for the fun part. 

We go and hit the bids HARD! You do this by hammering every bid on level 2(of course you tell your buddies to get out of the way first) then you slam it down. Once you break $1.00, you offer 200,000 shares at 98 cents and SHOW it, while you are hitting the bids. This scares the heck out of everyone, buyers scatter like pigeons, you take the stock down to close to 50 to 60 cents. You now call around looking for stock. “I can pay the bid for 150,000 shares”  The promoter will find out because you want him to. You have a market maker who is on neutral grounds call the promoters brokerage firm and show the bid; he will sell. He has too. He has gotten the stock for free and spent money to bring in buying. HE MUST SELL. You cover your short, a quick 50G booked and on to the next pillage!  All before lunch.

 JJ (@vwaptrader1) is the head educator and trader at highly popular 


More Interviews

Shana Sissel – Interview

ShanaQUESTION: Thank you for taking the time to participate in the Q & A session. Before we start in detail. Would you like to share with everyone who may not know, who you are, where you live and what is your current occupation?  Do you actually trade, invest, etc.

SHANA: Sure. My name is Shana Sissel and I am the Chief Investment Officer of Spotlight Asset Group, an RIA located in the greater Chicago Area. I am originally from Worcester, Massachusetts and relocated to the Chicago area in 2016 with my husband Jason, our son Gabriel, and our dog Teeko. 

As Spotlight’s CIO, I oversee all aspects of the firm’s investment platform ranging from overall strategy, implementation, and communication to clients and prospects. As part of my role I am responsible for leading the Investment Policy Committee and implementing enhanced due diligence for investment selection.

I have been in the investment management industry for nearly two decades. Prior to joining Spotlight, I served as Director of Investment Due Diligence & a Senior Portfolio Manager with Orion Advisor Solutions. At Orion, I was tasked with building the firm’s in-house due diligence group. Establishing the framework on investment strategy review & analysis for the Orion Portfolio Solutions Turnkey Asset Management Program & Model Marketplace. In addition, I served as co-manager for the firm’s tax-managed direct indexing suite of separately managed accounts & was the firm’s subject matter expert on Alternative Investments.


QUESTION: You have an interesting Twitter profile.  What actually is a masshole? What are your goals (if any) on social media?

SHANA: 😊 A masshole is generally considered a derogatory term used by outsiders (usually northern New Englanders) for people from Massachusetts. It’s usually in reference to our very aggressive and some might say “wreckless” driving and tendency to be loud and outspoken. Native Massachusetts folks wear the term as a badge of honor. While intended to be an insult, we consider it the ultimate compliment. 

In terms of social media, the way I leverage the various social media platforms has evolved over time. In 2018 I was abruptly laid off from the job that actually brought me from Boston to Chicago. I spend 7 long months unemployed and it was a very dark time in my life. When I finally landed my role at Orion I swore to myself that I would use the opportunity to build my personal brand within the industry to serve as a way to reduce the risk that I would experience that type of career setback again. Reputational equity was important for me. In addition, it has really helped me build my public profile. Influencers are growing in demand and media outlets and corporations look to work with those who they believe have significant reach and influence across their target demographics. 


QUESTION: What personal or professional failure/setback have you experienced in your life or professional career that has set you up for later success?

SHANA: I have experienced plenty of failure in my life and career. In my opinion, failure is the key to success. Failure allows you to learn, keeps you humble and helps you develop resilience. There is a big difference between regret and failure. As I look back on my career, I regret nothing, not even the decisions I made that led to failure. As I eluded to earlier, being laid off in 2018 was probably the biggest failure/setback I’ve faced to date. My husband is an entrepreneur and runs a charity called the Endure to Cure Pediatric Cancer Foundation. The stability of my employment and income is the key to his ability to take risk as an entrepreneur. As the primary breadwinner supporting the family, I struggled with feeling like I was letting them down. At times I wondered if I’d ever get the opportunity to be in the investment industry again. I felt like the career I loved and that I had worked hard to progress in had been taken away. At a time when the unemployment rate was at all time lows, I struggled to get even initial interviews. I felt really lost. That said, had it not been for that experience I would not be where I am today. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity I was given at Orion and the way it helped drive me to focus on building my personal brand.


QUESTION: How would you describe what makes a successful financial professional. Good traits, bad traits?

SHANA: Hubris is the absolute worst trait if you want to succeed in the world of finance. The markets are unforgiving. No matter how smart you think you are the markets have a way of humbling you whenever you think you have it all figured out. Another bad trait for success in finance is being close minded. The most successful investors in the business seek out opposing views to help them better understand the weaknesses in their approach and make them better at assessing risk.

On the flip side, having a short memory and a resilient attitude is a key to success. Like the very best athletes in the world, you can’t dwell on your mistakes as an investor. Being willing to learn from every mistake, and not let it hinder you from moving forward is key. 


QUESTION: What do you feel is the role in having a balance all around life in your day to day activities. 

SHANA: Honestly, I don’t believe work-life balance is a real think. For me there are times where work takes priority and there are times where other aspects of my life take priority. Realizing that has significantly reduced my stress levels. 


QUESTION: What advice would you give to your younger self as it relates to your personal life. What about advice for your younger trading self?

SHANA: My advice would be the same in both cases. Don’t worry or stress too much about what the future holds, everything will work out the way it is meant to. 

My early life was not easy, if you had told 22 year old Shana that I would be the CIO of a major investment advisory firm who makes frequent media appearances and travels the world speaking at financial industry conferences, I don’t think I could have grasped that. It’s beyond what I ever thought could be possible based on the world that surrounded me then.


QUESTION: Outside of works, what are some of your hobbies? How do you escape from the real world during these crazy times?

SHANA: I really enjoy horseback riding, yoga, downhill ski racing and genealogical research. During the quarantine I’ve actually started coloring, as weird as it sounds, adult coloring books are really calming.


QUESTION: Where do you see yourself in 5 years – then 10 years?

SHANA: It’s hard for me to even think about where I could be 5-10 years from now honestly. I hope that I’ve continued to progress in my career. On a more personal level, I’d love to have a house I love in the next 5 years and hopefully get back into horseback riding more regularly. I’d love to own my own horse again.


QUESTION: When you have lost your mojo or focus, what do you do to get back on track? 

SHANA: There have been so many times in my life I’ve felt lost. As I’ve already mentioned when I abruptly lost my job in March 2018 and spent 7 long months looking for a new opportunity was particularly difficult. I had only moved to Chicago 18 months prior and was still recovering from a very bad car accident that occurred in June 2017. Most of my family and friends were still back east and I was deeply depressed. I spent a lot of time soul searching, rediscovered my faith in God and did a lot of meditation and yoga. It helped to remind myself that I had a little boy to look out for and I had survived multiple terrorist attacks and overcome other significant obstacles in life before. I knew eventually I would look back and understand why I had to go through that. Looking back now, the entire period made me stronger and I wouldn’t be where I am today had that not happened to me.


QUESTION: If you could have a big billboard with your favorite saying or message on it, what would it be. 

SHANA: Teddy Roosevelt’s Man in the Arena Quote is my personal mantra. I think it’s an important reminder that taking risks is important and failure is the key to success. 

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”


QUESTION: Thank you Shana for taking the time for this interview. How can our readers contact you, including on social media? And is there anything else you like for our readers to know about you?

SHANA: Well I’m excited to be the reigning Mrs. Illinois International and will competing at the Mrs. International pageant in a few short weeks! The opportunity has been amazing. I’ve really earned a valuable platform to help further one of my great passions in life: Improving financial literacy rates for women and underserved minority communities. I’m really excited to continue to bring financial literacy education to more communities, especially those beyond the major city financial hubs. I know pageantry is associated with some many negative stereotypes, but I’ve found competing to be a tremendous source of personal growth even as I’ve gotten older. I’m not sure if people realize the amount of impact and influence titleholders can have and a focus on service to others is a huge component of pageantry. I would not be where I am today had I not discovered pageants. When I was in my 20s, I used to try to downplay my participation, but honestly as I’ve gotten older, I’ve stopped caring about people judging me about it. People will always find ways to try to cut you down, if someone decides my voice isn’t of value because of it, that’s not really a reflection of who I am, it says more about who they are. Embracing all aspects of who I am is something I’ve gotten better at doing as I’ve gotten older. 

If people are interested in following me on social media, my twitter handle is @shanas621, they can also find me on Instagram @financequeen2020.

My Biggest Trading Weakness- and My Method in Combating it, Trading Essays

My Biggest Trading Weakness – and My Method in Combating it – – By AllxDayxRay

Ray D'Argenio
Ray D’Argenio

Me seemingly choosing two careers (trading & poker) that require keen mental dexterity would seem counter-intuitive to an overseer of my life. I’m a highly emotional being. Some blame it on my Italian heritage and upbringing; I’d think most would agree Italians on a whole are a passionate group. I’ve had people in my life turn to astrology to explain my nature: “Scorpios are inherently one of the most emotional signs”. Others of an old school variety would say I’m just a pussy, where they would get met with an unpleasant response because I’m anything but. The reasons for my sensitivity honestly don’t matter and for years I’ve wasted mental energy trying to determine why. I identified my hypersensitivity; how do I cultivate it into my gift instead of my curse?

The correlation to trading is straightforward. It’s well documented that a person in an emotional state is rarely using their reasoning and logical faculties. When you feel angry, discouraged, irritated, frustrated, sad, confused; it’s tough to be of a clear mind. On the converse, I’ve found when I’m over exuberant, overconfident and in general over stimulated, you get the same dampening effect.

While I’m considered a “newbie” in the trading game with just under a year of trading experience, I’m no amateur when it comes to wagering money. Starting off in poker I had success relatively right away. I mean that is what hooks a person right? Winning from the get-go, fast money. Open my laptop, fire up a few tables and watch the account balance grow. I put tremendous dedication in learning the theoretical and technical aspects of poker. What I was ill equipped for was the bad luck that accompanies money waging activities; and poker in my opinion (and the opinion of others I’ve spoken too who’ve venture in both arenas) is far more callous than trading. Poker really teaches you about probabilities in a visceral way. Still to this day its hard to wrap my head around losing as a 95% favorite in a poker hand; why does God hate me? Losing a hand being such a statistical favorite test your fortitude. You played the hand to perfection, got all your chips in the middle near 100% favorite, to then digging in your pocket for more cash befuddled at your misfortune. Losing a hand like this and letting it disrupt your mental equilibrium can and will have dire consequences. In poker we call this “tilt”. Now people’s tilt looks different from individual to individual, but more often than not it leads to pressing the action. You’re down money now and you’re going to do everything in your power to fight back tooth and nail. Lady luck the supreme seductress, played you and left you with the rage of a scorned lover. This is 100% applicable to trading right? Losing a trade on a surefire set up of yours can have the exact same effect. How about a string of 5 losses in a row? 10? The more they compound the bigger the explosion can be. Protection of the account is of the utmost importance.

You might not be inherently as emotional as myself, but you’re human none the less. These are issues we all deal with. So how do I go about combating “tilt”?

  • Understand the Game You’re In

Often “tilt” stems from a lack of understanding. In a poker book that has stood the test of time, in my opinion, where many have failed to do so, author David Skalansky in “The Theory of Poker” said the #1 way to prevent tilt is to not only understand and perfect how to play the game, but understand the role luck plays into the equation. I am going to lose. Being 95% favorite is not 100%. I am not entitled to that pot. My mentor and podcast co-host JJ (vwaptrader1) echoes essentially the same premise. When you understand market mechanics, what drives markets to move, the underlying structure; you’re not going to tilt. There’s a big emphasis on trading psychology in our current environment and rightfully so. But you don’t have to fix your mommy and daddy issues to become a profitable trader. Having a deep understanding is not a cure all, but it’s a huge step in the right direction in curtailing rising emotions that can have disastrous effects on our bankrolls. 

  • Set rules/parameters for losses

A well talked about subject so I won’t go too in depth. Personally though, I’ve been far too liberal in this area. I forget who coined the phrase “maximum pain threshold” as I’d love to give them credit for this idea. We all have a point to where additional losses do not add to the already excruciating pain we feel: we’re numb to any additional money lost. For an extreme example let’s say you lost 50% of your account on a given trading day. You might be beyond tilted at this point to where blowing up the whole account doesn’t add to the pain and frustration you currently feel. For poker players & traders this is a frightening place to be. This leads to account blow ups. This leads to days, weeks, and months of great execution going down the drain. Setting account stop losses prevents you from spewing money. You must be thorough with yourself and set parameters to prevent from breaching your threshold: 3 losses in a row, x% of your account lost, a fixed dollar amount lost. There are no right or wrong ways to go about it. The point is set parameters & rules to prevent yourself from going past your “maximum pain threshold”. 

  • If you have drama or difficulties in your personal life, you may be and probably are prone to tilt

Being a professional poker player, I didn’t necessarily have the luxury to take time off when there was drama in my life (too frequent and much of my own doing). But I had to keep this in mind when I went to the tables. You are in a vulnerable state. Losses that normally do not affect me have the ability to make my blood boil. It can be difficulties in a relationship, the health of a love one, a child struggling in some facet of life. JJ has impeccable discipline when it comes to this. Having a heart condition there are days he is just not feeling it: a lack of energy, lack of clarity. He doesn’t trade. There are people though, that are great at blocking life out and showing up with complete focus. It serves as a distraction from the troubles of everyday life. I believe I fall into this category somewhat. But I cannot forget I’m human. I don’t think you can completely block life circumstances out; I’m not sure it’s possible. When I’m at turbulent periods in my life, I’m apt to shut a potential disastrous day down quicker than normal; I tighten my daily stop losses. Not trading in the first place is never a bad idea, but if you must, be hyperaware of your condition. 

The beautiful thing about trading and poker is that it has taught me principles about life. Being a highly emotional person susceptible to mood swings, these endeavors have taught me how to moderate my temperament and keep my wits about me. All we can do is focus on the process, refine it and push forward with unwavering determination. 


If you want to learn how to use market profile, trade futures & or equites: Trade along side JJ & Ray at or

Trading Essays, What I Learned From Hosting A Trading Podcast

What I Learned from Hosting a Trading Podcast – AllxDayxRay

I have had the pleasure and good fortune to have started my trading journey literally with the “Confessions of a Market Maker” podcast. I co-hosted a good 4 to 5 episodes before I even executed a SIM trade. Me and my co-host, JJ (vwaptrader1) started just over a year ago; June 10th 2019. We were both approached by a mutual party to embark on a podcast together at a time in my life when I was at a crossroads. I was at a crossroads for a while in my life. I was/am a professional poker player. Those familiar with the poker industry know the abundance of obstacles it takes to be successful in this current environment. Poker as a career has been increasingly getting tougher to make money. With the advent of sophisticated training tools, rampant cheating, and shady operators, poker has been on the downslope for some time. This is the difficulty a lot of poker players face. You have spent most of your adult life putting your blood, sweat and tears into a career that is slowly deteriorating; now what? What’s the next career move? I’m not sure how employers view “professional poker player” on a resume. Just trying to explain to people I meet in real life that I “gamble” for a living and seeing the peculiar and skeptical look on their face is a challenge in itself. My ex-girlfriends’ parents were not a fan of mine. This is the life I choose.

In June 2019, right before I’m headed out to Las Vegas for the 2019 World Series of Poker (which I went 0/5 in the tournaments I played), I started co-hosting “Confessions of a Market Maker” with one of the best story tellers I’ve encountered, JJ: “The Guerilla of Howe Street”. His unique, calm and poised personality mixed with stories of debauchery and excess during the height of penny stock hay days had me sold. We went into this venture with the idea of getting JJ’s story out and using me as a guinea pig; can JJ take someone with little to no market knowledge and turn him into a successful trader? The pod has then morphed into a guest formatted show with highly respected traders, psychologist, authors and even actors. A year into trading, while I’d be hesitant to say I’m a consistently profitable trader (key emphasis on consistent), I believe I’ve made positive strides on the path to my new career. Here’s what I’ve learned from talking with notable people in the trading industry:

  • All guests have had an obsessive love and obsessive drive to be the best, yet most believe balance can be achieved or at least strived for

The beauty of hosting the podcast is that I get to talk to long-term successful traders one on one (well 2 on 1 but you get the point). I often draw from my own inquisitions as a developing trader which often overlap with the audience. I frequently ask a question along the lines of work/life balance. We all know hard work is required, but is an obsessive drive necessary? Is an obsessive drive healthy? I’d say almost all the guests we have interviewed have had been completely enthralled with trading: no surprise. Some have shrugged off this question with the attitude that extreme effort and time commitment is what is needed. Most though have admitted to spending a little too much time thinking about markets. In a hilarious story told by trading legend Damon Pavlatos, he recounts getting a globex machine installed in his house to capitalize on the overseas and overnight trading. This was in the 90’s so the installation men had to run large wires through his library: much to the dismay of his wife at the time. My co-host JJ pulled a Lazarus and came back from the dead! He had a heart attack and constantly reminds me to go have fun gallivanting around south Florida. Thanks to him I’m more cognizant of my stress levels on a day to day basis. We’re in a sport that will no doubt raise your cortisol levels. Damon’s now wife, profiled in the market wizard series, Linda Raschke talks about the importance of her health now due to raised cortisol levels. Bill Perkins, natural gas hedge fund Titan, high stakes poker player, movie producer, author and philosopher drives this point home. What’s the point of being successful if you’re a slave to your work? 

  • The Struggles are Real 

I debated even typing this point out because of the rudimentary feel. No matter how basic though, I believe it’s worth repeating. Every single person we interview had to take the windy path. Tom Canfield, perhaps known for beating this topic home on twitter, discusses blowing through 25k and having to ask family for a loan. He is now one of the most respected retail traders in the community. One of JJ & I’s favorite people, Turney Duff, New York Times bestselling author and frequent advisor to “Billions”, bounced back after blowing up his career on wall street due to drug and alcohol addiction. He went on to recount his life on Wall Street, triumph & tragedy, in the “Buyside” which stands as one of my favorite autobiographies to this day. Though not a trader but portrays one on the screen, “Billions” actor Daniel K. Issac was still waiting on tables well into the 2nd season of “Billions” until he could fully sustain himself acting. JJ & Dani Hughes, CEO of Divine Capital, discuss the devasting effects 9/11 had on their careers and the tools they used to bounce back. Scott San Emeterio, CEO of the innovative Ballstreet Trading, had a front seat to the collapse of 2008. Entropy in life is a given. Keep your wits about you.

  • Don’t Make The Big Mistake

I had the honor to read a draft of a soon to be released book by James Vogl, backgammon and poker professional who went on to manage 1.6 billion portfolio for a pre-eminent US marco hedge fund. He highlights this point in his book on risk/reward theory and on the podcast. Avoid the big mistake that will blow up the account. Your objective is to stay in the game. As long as you have chips, your still in the game. Then from there we can worry about maximizing the upside. I have to constantly keep this as a reminder to myself. I’ve incessantly worried about maximizing my profit: most likely from my poker background as squeezing every ounce of EV(expected value) is of the utmost importance to your bottom line. Ignoring the potential for a possible fatal mistake while your throwing haymakers could result in a KO for your bankroll. Troy Prince, whose leading a noble effort in bringing Wall Street opportunities to the underrepresented urban community with his non-profit Wall Street bound, hit home the simple fact that you just have to win more on your winning trades than lose on your losing trades. Once again, a rudimentary point, but one that’s not put into practice by many traders. Cut losers quickly. 

  • Get Familiar with Technology 

This is the 21st century. The “good old days” are over. It’s funny to me that I hear the same traders preaching adaptability to markets, yet resist the changing environment, whine about the FED, Elon Musk or any other external factors out of their control. Former US interest rates market maker, quantitative researcher & systematic trader Chris Cain, talked about how finance professionals now a days harness the power of python to build trading models. CEO of Trade Ideas Dan Mirkin talked about his days in the mid to late 90’s exploiting the small orders execution system, and the power of data mining and having back tested proven strategies. Auto-trader and Trade Ideas consultant, Michael Nauss, gives insight to how a statistical driven trader thinks and goes about his work. You don’t have to be a quant to succeed in the market today, but getting familiar with what your up against appears to be optimal. 

I apologize to the other guests who I haven’t mentioned thus far. Peter Reznicek and his surprising sex appeal amongst women traders. Steven Goldstein and the great work he’s doing with Alphamind and his enlightening podcast. Harmel Rayat, JJ’s mentor: A genuine, moral, ethical human being. Gregory Zuckerman, who I’m sure is not going to read this, was a little pretentious for my taste, but wrote an excellent book in “The Man Who Solved the Market”. The ever popular and eccentric Julia Cordova, whose free trading advice and material has helped countless retail traders. Tracy Shuchart and her informative geopolitical awareness and down to earth personality. Kelly Aucoin, actor who plays Dollar Bill on “Billions”, couldn’t have been more gracious. Walter Deemer, 52-year career as a market analyst, was a complete joy with his corky humor and nuggets of wisdom. Paul Asmar, a New Yorker through and through, took us down a trip through memory lane being on the floor of the NYSE for 25 years and discussing the traits and tools that make him a successful trader to this day. Dr. Brett Steenbarger, aka “the 3min lover”, dropping wisdom as always. Kunal Desai, whose natural abundance of energy I relate too, is witty, intelligent in many arenas, and just a flat-out fun guy.  

If you haven’t listened to the podcast, get on it. Rate and review it for us on apple podcasts and like. I’m absolutely glad I got dragged into this venture and we don’t plan on quitting anytime soon

If you want to learn how to use market profile, trade futures & or trade equites: Trade along side JJ & Ray at

More Interviews, Valerie Sanchez

Valerie Sanchez – Interview

ValQUESTION: Thank you for taking the time to participate in the Q & A session. Before we start in detail. Would you like to share with everyone who may not know, who you are, where you live and what is your current occupation?

VALERIE: Of course! Thank you so much for the opportunity. I am thrilled to be here. My name is Valerie Sanchez and I am a proud Latina, born and raised on the west side of Chicago. I am a mom, I love to volunteer and serve the Lord, I love music, cooking and being with family. My husband and I currently reside in Union County, NJ. I am an advisor; a financial education warrior and I am co-founder of Divine Asset Management.


QUESTION: What is it like being in management at a Wall Street woman owned trading firm. Care to share any positives, as well as negatives you experienced over the years up until the present?

VALERIE: I joined the Capital Markets division of Divine in 2014 and since the first day the experience has been like nothing I have ever experienced during my 29 years in this industry. We are like family. There is a top down culture of inclusivity and true respect and care for everyone at the firm. Any negatives I experienced were before I got to Divine. Starting out incredibly young, I never felt like I had very many female role models while I was growing up in this business. I had a couple exceedingly early on and then It was not until later in my career that I had another female boss who I felt was someone I could emulate. I admired and respected for her work ethic and tenacity. That is not to say that I did not have amazing male bosses and/or role models who guided me along my career, but the women were few. And now of course, my partner, Danielle and I have become like sisters! We have known each other since we both sat on the trading desk at MH Meyerson in 1993! It is wonderful to have such a like-minded and strong partner on this journey. We aspire to be the role models we did not see early on. I have to say that I have been incredibly blessed while on Wall Street because the positives have far outweighed the negatives.


QUESTION: What personal or professional failure/setback have you experienced in your life or professional career that has set you up for later success?

VALERIE: In 2010 I suffered 2 tragic losses back to back. My 13-year-old nephew was shot and killed in Chicago, and 10 days later my grandfather (who had helped raise me) passed away. The pain was unbearable and added to the already tumultuous personal struggles I was experiencing. I had to take a leave from my high-paced career to finally focus on my family and my health. When it was time to return to work, I realized that I could not stay in that position and maintain a healthy lifestyle and home. So, I resigned. At the time everyone thought I was crazy (including me!), but it set me up for the journey I am now on. I would have never joined Divine Capital and I would have never co- founded Divine Asset Management had I not paid attention to the tug on my spirit and stayed on the previous path.


QUESTION: How would you describe what makes a successful Trader. What do you look for in a new recruit at your firm?

VALERIE: I believe a successful trader or sales trader, or any employee, is someone who understands their craft but is still teachable. Whatever you do – do it well but know that you always have room for improvement. Someone will always know more than you and that is ok – learn from them. It does not have to be a competition. It is not a zero-sum game – we can all “win”. When we look for a new hire we want someone who has industry knowledge and expertise, and/or a strong desire to learn. They must be likeable, trustworthy, a self-starter and problem solver.


QUESTION: What do you feel is the role in having a balance all around life in your day to day activities. What hobbies do you enjoy?

VALERIE: I think it is a challenge to have overall balance. I feel like some days I am amazing at my career, some days I am amazing at being a mom, wife, or friend. The days are few and far between when I am killing the game in BOTH. However, I do not beat myself up for having off days at either one. I also must remind myself that self-care is critical. Whether that is reading a good book, reading a devotional, resting, or creating one of my DIY projects. I need me time because I cannot pour from an empty cup.


QUESTION: What advice would you give to your younger self as it relates to your personal life. What about advice for your younger trading self?

VALERIE: Personally, I would tell younger Val – “Trust yourself. You are doing great, keep going!” I am such a detail-oriented person that I can get sucked into a place where I need to know everything about something before I act, or I question myself to death even when I know what I am doing. I realize afterward that my initial gut reaction is always right. I must remind myself that I am an expert at some things and what I say and do matters, it carries weight. I can be confident and stand in that truth.
I would tell my younger sales trader self – “Do not let anyone make you feel inadequate, you are exactly where you belong.”


QUESTION: You are part of an impressive Women in Finance Initiative. Can you share with our readers exactly what this is about?

VALERIE: Absolutely! Divine Asset Management is a full-service financial firm with a focus on women and education around money. We want to guide women to be their best, most enlightened financial self and align with their desires. We want all women to understand that they are the engine of the economy and we have so much financial power. Women are in control of more financial decisions than ever before, but they are also locked out of the bigger picture of wealth. A lot of women feel left out from conversations about financial decisions and isolated because of the shame associated with facing the unknowns in our finances. We work with our clients to change that. Change the narrative and harness our financial prowess. And how we do this is through an online educational program, blogs, Youtube videos, weekly virtual group meetings, one on one planning, and asset management.


QUESTION: Where do you see yourself in 5 years – then 10 years?

VALERIE: Personally – I see myself enjoying all the things I enjoy now. God, family, food, travel, DIY projects and friends. Professionally – I see our firm building our client base, growing investable assets, recruiting amazing advisors, and continuing the mission of transforming people’s relationships with their finances and creating their legacy.


QUESTION: When you have lost your mojo or focus, what do you do to get back on track?

VALERIE: Any time I am out of sorts or need to recalibrate I go to a place of gratitude. I immediately think of 3 things that I am grateful for and it helps realign my mind and spirit.


QUESTION: If you could have a big billboard with your favorite saying or message on it, what would it be?

VALERIE: “If you get, give. If you learn, teach.” -Maya Angelou


QUESTION: Thank you Valerie for taking the time for this interview. How can our readers contact you, including on social media?

VALERIE: Thank you so much for having me!
We can be reached:

Phone: 212.344.5867.
Our Website
Twitter: @gathergrowgive or @divinevalsan

Readers can also sign up for one of our weekly “WealthWise Wednesday chats with Dani and Val” HERE.


Beyond The Trades is now sponsored by EquitiesETC Educational Trading Room  at 

…….and their sister site Microefutures Trading Room at