What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been

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(Editor’s Note: Davis Ramsey is well-known to Slopers. After reporting a blow-out month in profits on the NADEX, he shared a couple of interesting insights in the comments section about his journey. I encouraged him to expand those comments into a post, which he has kindly done below. – Tim)

I should start by saying that what you’re about to read was only possible because of the community here on Slope. I was directed here in the wake of the 2010 Flash Crash by a post on Yahoo Finance message boards. I didn’t say much for a long time – nothing to say really. But I learned a lot and people here helped me become the trader I am today. I very much believe in the value of community and sharing ideas freely – that’s why I’m committed to as much transparency as possible in what I do on NADEX.

I graduated from Florida State University three years ago. With my last stock/futures account blown up for a second time, reality caught up with me and I had no choice but to enter the work force. I immediately began my job as a paper pusher in cubicle town for the State of Florida. I knew with every fiber of my being I was meant to be a trader, so I saved every dime I could in the hopes that somehow I’d be able to pursue that dream one day.

Around this time Market Sniper did a post about binary options and I threw in $500 to check it out. The only trade I did was the Friday afternoon ramp – one trade a week, and it worked for 7 or 8 weeks in a row. I had about 10k in the bank and 2k in my NADEX account, and I thought if nothing else I can make a few bucks every week on this no-lose trade while looking for a better job.

So it was two years ago, and I quit my “real” job. People in the office came by asking what I was going to do, and when I said “trade”, it got awkward. I just averted my eyes and got out of there as soon as I could.

My first month out I was nothing more than a gambler really, and it is sheer luck that I survived. I kept a thorough journal and upon reviewing my trades, I realized one kind of trade stood out – the morning 8-10 am squeeze. I got serious, stopped all other trading, and only did the morning squeeze every day. From June 2013 to year-end I made 44k, and all seemed right in the world.

As soon as the new year arrived, it was like a switch got turned off. The squeeze had largely disappeared, and I struggled to adapt. I strongly believed I would NEVER make it as a discretionary trader, and the only way I would stay in the game is to stick to setup trades like the Friday ramp and the morning squeeze.

I spent the entire year trying to get ahead of the market but never could – $1500 was all I had to show for the sum of my efforts. When I posted on Slope I was going to trade full time, someone said, “There will be lean years, but it will be worth it.”. Luckily I took that advice to heart and had been extremely frugal. Otherwise, 2014 would have ended my trading career probably.

Enter 2015. A new year called for a new trading strategy, and I began to focus on the 20 minute binaries nearly exclusively. I had watched Market Sniper trade 20’s for awhile (most of that time thinking he was foolish for doing so) but I got serious, learned his method, and adapted it to make it my own. But there were new challenges that came with discretionary trading that I never faced when I limited myself to setups only. It was all too easy after a rough day trading 20’s to turn a RED day to GREEN by putting the whole account at risk. Once you do it and get away with it, it gets easier and easier to keep doing it, but inevitably your luck runs out.

February 1, 2015 – after making $22,700 in January thanks to the aforementioned “all in” strategy saving me on a few days, the trading gods no longer smiled upon me, and my $20k account was vaporized. No money left.

With a $60k net worth, you can understand the belief I have in myself when I deposited $10k into the account the following day.

I believe beyond any shadow of a doubt this is what I am meant to do, and in spite of every obstacle, there was no choice in my mind but to continue. It was a little over a week later when the work I had put in started to click in a big way – I began an epic run that culminated in a single day profit of $10,100 on 53 wins, 5 losses. Over a six trading day period I made over $30k on NADEX – it felt like I had finally arrived.

There were some unique trading conditions that made that run possible, and I spent the next month basically just grinding it out, day after day. I was still making too many avoidable mistakes, and my journal came in handy again as slowly but surely I identified and eliminated the bad trades.

April came along and I was finally on pace to beat my January profit record – just needed one more decent day of $1500 or so to finish up. Instead, I found myself in the hole $2k heading into the last hour. I was so focused on beating my record that I put the entire account at risk – later when I reported on Slope I had zeroed out my $20k account for the second time this year, I said it was basically over nothing – because it was. A meaningless record that NOBODY cares about led me to lose $20k. Never again.

I noted in my journal as May began – “It’s time to get back to doing GOOD work.” And that’s what I did. I implemented a $1k per day profit goal based on my analysis of the year’s trading results (I had a bad habit of running green days to red by over-trading). Through collaboration with other traders, some new setups were identified that have been paying off well lately, in addition to my daily trading which has become much more disciplined of late.

I made some mistakes on vacation that limited my May gain to $13,400 (new rule – NEVER trade on vacation), but once I returned in June, everything came together to allow me to smash my profit record the right way: though good work rather than masking losses with ALL IN plays. $34,900 is a lot of money to someone like me to make in a single month.

I have come a long way, overcoming obstacles that only other traders could really understand. It is really just one step in an eternal journey, one battle in an eternal war – not against the market but against myself. Accountability has been the key to finding my discipline on NADEX – that’s why my live stream is critically important. In my mind I have a responsibility to stick to my plan and my rules because you, the anonymous viewer, are always watching.

If anyone ever wants to talk shop, has questions about anything, or you just have some stuff you want to say, my door is always open  (here’s my email). For a direct link to my live stream, just click the yellow note by my handle here on Slope or check my Twitter profile .

I am humbled when I look at the community we have on Slope and everything that we’ve accomplished and will accomplish in the future. There is nothing better than having a tough trading day and getting an email from a Sloper sharing their story with me because I shared mine. It makes me feel a little less lonely and a little more hopeful knowing there are people out there that, like me, have put it all on the line for this thing we call trading.

I’ll see some of you in Vegas – everyone else, I’ll see you on Slope!