Daily Archives: December 16, 2012

The Biggest Leap In My Trading Career

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Trading often appeals to impulsive people, to gamblers, and to those who feel that the world owes them a living. If you trade for excitement, you are liable to take trades with bad odds and accept unnecessary risks. The markets are unforgiving, and emotional trading always results in losses.

– Alexander Elder (Trading for a Living)

I love Mr. Elder's quote. It embodies the typical retail options trader. Why do you think the most popular options strategy among retail options traders consists of buying out-of-the-money straight calls and puts?

There is a reason why out-of-the-money options are so cheap; it's because they are the equivalent of buying a lottery ticket. And gamblers love lottery tickets. Look no further than the hype around the latest Powerball jackpot.

But unlike the typical lottery system where the seller of the ticket pays only a small portion of the overall proceeds in the form of winnings, options are a zero-sum game in the truest sense of the definition – winner's profits are loser's losses. And the majority of loser's losses typically come in the form of speculative out-of-the-money plays.

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