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Life’s a Bet

One of my favorite bits of wisdom from trading legend Larry Hite:

Life is nothing more than a series of bets and bets are really nothing more than questions and their answers. There is no real difference between, “Should I take another hit on this Blackjack hand?” and “Should I get out of the way of that speeding and wildly careening bus?” Each shares two universal truths: a set of probabilities of potential outcomes and the singular outcome that takes place. Everyday we place hundreds if not thousands of bets–large and small, some seemingly well considered and others made without a second thought. The vast majority of the latter, life’s little gambles made without any thought, might certainly be trivial. “Should I tie my shoes?” Seems to offer no big risk, nor any big reward. While others, such as the aforementioned “speeding and wildly careening bus” would seem to have greater impact on our lives. However, if deciding not to tie your shoes that morning causes you to trip and fall down in the middle of the road when you finally decide to fold your hand and give that careening bus plenty of leeway, well then, in hindsight, the trivial has suddenly become paramount.

Larry sees it.

How to Beat the Odds at Judging Risk

Fast, clear feedback is crucial to gauging probabilities; for lessons, consult weathermen and gamblers:

Most of us have to estimate probabilities every day. Whether as a trader betting on the price of a stock, a lawyer gauging a witness’s reliability or a doctor pondering the accuracy of a diagnosis, we spend much of our time—consciously or not—guessing about the future based on incomplete information. Unfortunately, decades of research indicate that humans are not very good at this. Most of us, for example, tend to vastly overestimate our chances of winning the lottery, while similarly underestimating the chances that we will get divorced.

Psychologists have tended to assume that such biases are universal and virtually impossible to avoid. But certain groups of people—such as meteorologists and professional gamblers—have managed to overcome these biases and are thus able to estimate probabilities much more accurately than the rest of us. Are they doing something the rest of us can learn? Can we improve our risk intelligence?

Yes. One of my better efforts at explaining that yes.

Article Excerpt: Source.

Striking Out Is Part of Winning

I put this great quote in my bestseller Trend Following:

“What is striking is that the leading thinkers across varied fields–including horse betting, casino gambling, and investing–all emphasize the same point. We call it the Babe Ruth effect: even though Ruth struck out a lot, he was one of baseball’s greatest hitters.”

You have to get it–to survive. Ever hear political leaders talk like this? No, political leaders promote the nonsense that there will never be a stubbed toe again. Believe that?

Harvard Poker Pro Says Texas Hold ‘Em Can Teach Traders to Fold

From Bloomberg:

“Someone who has made a successful living as a poker player for a few years would more likely be a good trader than someone who hasn’t,” said Aaron Brown, a 53-year-old former poker pro who is now a risk manager at AQR Capital Management LLC in Greenwich, Connecticut, which oversees $23 billion. “They know to push when they have the edge and they know how not to bust, and that’s a tough combination to find.”

Thinking in odds is a crucial point of my film.

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