I've written several articles in the past about my relative distaste for e-mini trading simulators. I had a trade running on a simulator account today and proved to myself why I continue to believe that they are good for familiarizing yourself with a trading platform but relatively worthless when learning to trade. Are you a simulator warrior?
I think that just about every brokerage uses trading simulators to entice prospective clients into sampling their trading platform. With that fact in mind, usually traders have spent a good deal of time on trading simulators before they ever come in contact with me in the trading room. What is the real benefit of all this simulating trades? In my opinion, not too much.
In my trading room, I normally trade my DOM up and trade a live account. Because of some changes suggested by my trusted accountant (I really can't stand accountants when they do stuff like this), I am consolidating in number of accounts into single account at a new brokerage. Because it is a small block account, there is quite a bit of paperwork and signatures to be collected during the move; so I have been trading in a simulated account in the trading room. I had a bad experience and it reminded me why simulators don't provide the most realistic trading environment in which to participate.
It's important to realize that I was trying to trade the simulated account exactly the way I would trade my normal live account. I entered a trade that immediately began to work against me and instead of exiting the trade as I normally would, I thought I would give the trade a little time to develop. That was mistake 1.
When I entered the trade the market was flat, but fortunately I was able to spot the point when the market would break down and take a trade in the opposite direction. That was mistake 2. Of course, it was only a simulator trade; but like I said, I was trying to trade the simulator exactly the same way as I trade my live accounts. After I entered the trade the market moved to the downside and then set up for what I thought was a much larger move down. I did nothing. That was mistake 3. As the market moved against me, I was transformed from a professional trader into a blithering trading hack. I moved my stops; I never move my stops when trading a live account. I doubled down twice; I never double down when getting smeared in a trade on my live account. Those were mistakes 4, 5, and 6. Then I got distracted talking to somebody who stopped by my office and by the time I had finished I had lost $3500 of simulated money. No big deal, it's just the simulator. That is a problem.
And therein lies the rub. Because the trade had no meaning, despite my best efforts to simulate real trading conditions, my entire technique and 30 years of experience wilted under the lack of pressure. Yes you read that right; when nothing is on the line the lessons you learn seem to be superficial and seldom long lasting. On the other hand, when a mistake costs you a couple hundred bucks you tend to remember that mistake and not repeat it.
I was shocked at the relative ease I displayed in abandoning everything I knew about trading on this trade. Even though I was determined to make this fake trading as realistic as possible, my mind treated it as superfluous and I traded as if I'd never been taught the thing about trading. It was also unbelievably embarrassing, I felt like an idiot; so embarrassing that I sent a personal email to everyone in the room apologizing for my deplorable trading exhibition. I just could not get over how quickly my mindset changed when I was on this simulator compared to how sharp my mind stays trading real money. I guess at some subconscious level that is the trade has no meaning it doesn't merit my full attention. I wonder how many people battle this problem?
Would you like to start earning 300% every week? So would I... yet you see this type of hype on many sites these days. I don't promise astronomical returns, but 25 years of Wall Street trading experience has helped churn out solid e-mini traders for 5 years.