Well the price alert triggered at 112.95 as it went against me and I exited with a $23 net loss. There it is. Now I'll wait for the next trade opportunity

The guy I know is a multi-millionaire who has made real money trading. He knows the business really really well. I reckon the stuff you read about is just a scam. Do you think George Soros trades with a stop loss. Read up on what happened when he shorted the pound. Paraphrasing but a whole bunch of people in his trading house or whatever sold their positions quickly - he held on and took their positions on as his own. I'm pretty sure he also lost a tonne of money not long after this because he picked the wrong position. That is the game that the professionals who actually make money play. These people are extremely rare.

I've traded and I learnt that the automated approach doesn't work. Being a successful trader is really really hard. It's significantly harder when you can't even view the game accurately. I honestly think that the standard approach is designed to rip amateurs like yourself off.

Two thoughts:

1) There are options trades where, for example, you can put $100 at risk and have an 90% chance of winning another $10 and a 10% chance of losing your $100 investment. The expected value is thus (.9)110+(.1)-100 = 89 which is less than the EV of holding cash, which is 100. However, for a true gunslinger with a gut instinct that the asset will make a directional move, the trade can seem rational, highly profitable market makers be damned! He will dip a toe in by placing a $1,000 bet. He will win 90% of the time. With newfound confidence he doubles his bet size and wins a few more times. This "experience" will convince the trader he is "experienced" and perhaps "good at" trading. He does some excel calculations and finds he will be a millionaire with just a few more wins in a row. He goes all in... and probably wins! At some point, however, the streak almost certainly ends in a total loss as the low probability losses add up.

Behaviorally, what is occurring? It's operant conditioning. The rat is pressing a lever and getting little rewards, and literally cannot stop pressing the lever because doing so produces a little dopamine hit on its own. But it's a trap. Similarly, a clever deer hunter will spread corn near his hiding place so that deer will frequent the area and overcome their fear of human smell. Market makers and casino operators allow their marks to earn little rewards very often so they can establish a behavioral compulsion and wipe them out with the long-run odds.

2) If you flip a coin, betting double-or-nothing on heads each time, there is a 1 in 1024 chance you will win ten tosses in a row. If you start with a $1,000 bet, re-bet your winnings each time, and manage to win 10 in a row, you will have $1,024,000 within a matter of minutes. With this algorithm, ALL other possibilities than 10 heads in a row result in a 100% loss. The odds of that are 1023/1024 or 99.9023%.

Now let's say the forex/futures/options market has 100,000 active traders at any given time. How many would we expect to become millionaires using the algorithm and odds described above? The surprising answer is about 98 would be expected to win ten 50/50 trades in a row. The odds of the rest of us hearing one of those 98 brag about their skill at essentially coin-flip is about 100%. Some will write books. Some will start blogs. Some will go on TV. These are all behaviors that the 99,902 wiped out people are far less likely to perform. Besides, "How I lost everything" is a less interesting book than "How I turned $1,000 into $1,024,000" and will be purchased/printed/read far less often. The world magnifies the message of the winners and drowns out the warnings of the losers. Nobody is searching Amazon for "How to lose all my money."

In summary, trading is the perfect trap. Operant conditioning encourages the mark to take bets with a negative NPV. Meanwhile, the trap lets a lucky few traders win for a while so they can tell everyone else how easy it was to make millions of dollars from the trap.