@BinanceResearch: With the latest piece in its Global Markets series, @Binance Research discusses notable trends in #staking services, margin trading, and futures markets from November. Check out a case example showing margin trading's impact on orderbook structure. https://t.co/ZWLwq5qQNB
I'm trading for 11 months with pretty good success. I never traded metals and forex before, just stocks. Today when gold started to consolidate at the last hour, I decided to scalp short it with a large amount, so I opened 100 lots. I haven't realised, in forex 100 (lots) doesn't mean "100 pcs", because I used to stocks and I went full retard without knowledge. Seconds later, I realised it means 10 million dollars (1 lot = 100.000, and I had 500x leverage). It moved up a bit and immediately I was down £4000. I scared as fuck and rather than closing the position quickly I hoped maybe I could close break even. The market closed, and I waited for the Asian session. The gold popped like never before, and I lost all my life savings (£55000) in less than two hours. (including the 1-hour break between sessions). If I count that I lost all my earnings as well, I lost around £85000. Here is the margin call https://imgur.com/a/XY5m4ZA https://imgur.com/a/VSgmCSs https://imgur.com/pRWl5g9 IC Markets closed my position partially in every 1-2 minutes until I shut it myself at £35. You know the rest of the story. I'm depressed, crying and shouting with myself. Yes, I know I was stupid, thanks. I just wanted to share this with you. Edit: WOW THANK YOU, GUYS! I haven't expected this, but you help me. Many of you asked the same questions, I answer it here: - I live in Europe, and we usually trade CFD's, not futures. - Currency in GBP. - As you can see, this account made on IC Markets. They not just allowing you a 500x leverage, it's the default. - You can ask me why I went against the market. Because gold is way oversold? Because I expected institutions would sell their shares before gold is hitting £2000, leaving retails hanging there. Also, as I said, I wanted to scalp, not riding the gold all the way down. If I had a loss of £100, I would close the position immediately. But when I saw the £4000, my heart is stopped, and my brain just freezes. - I went for a revenge trade with my last £2k, and I don't have to say what happened. I uninstalled the app, and I give up trading for a while. - Again, in the past months, I was cautious, I lost a significant sum in March, but I managed to recover. Made consistent gains, always with SL. This is just an example of how easy is to fuck up everything you did. - I didn't come here for some shiny digital medals. I can't tell about my losses to anyone who I know in real life. I would make a fool of myself. - Anyone who attacking me that it is a scam. Well, think what you want. I feel terrible and the last thing is to answer all the messages saying "You fucking karma whore". I don't give a shit about karma.
The dollar standard and how the Fed itself created the perfect setup for a stock market crash
Disclaimer: This is neither financial nor trading advice and everyone should trade based on their own risk tolerance. Please leverage yourself accordingly. When you're done, ask yourself: "Am I jacked to the tits?". If the answer is "yes", you're good to go. We're probably experiencing the wildest markets in our lifetime. After doing some research and listening to opinions by several people, I wanted to share my own view on what happened in the market and what could happen in the future. There's no guarantee that the future plays out as I describe it or otherwise I'd become very rich. If you just want tickers and strikes...I don't know if this is going to help you. But anyways, scroll way down to the end. My current position is TLT 171c 8/21, opened on Friday 7/31 when TLT was at 170.50. This is a post trying to describe what it means that we've entered the "dollar standard" decades ago after leaving the gold standard. Furthermore I'll try to explain how the "dollar standard" is the biggest reason behind the 2008 and 2020 financial crisis, stock market crashes and how the Coronavirus pandemic was probably the best catalyst for the global dollar system to blow up.
Tackling the Dollar problem
Throughout the month of July we've seen the "death of the Dollar". At least that's what WSB thinks. It's easy to think that especially since it gets reiterated in most media outlets. I will take the contrarian view. This is a short-term "downturn" in the Dollar and very soon the Dollar will rise a lot against the Euro - supported by the Federal Reserve itself.US dollar Index (DXY)If you zoom out to the 3Y chart you'll see what everyone is being hysterical about. The dollar is dying! It was that low in 2018! This is the end! The Fed has done too much money printing! Zimbabwe and Weimar are coming to the US. There is more to it though. The DXY is dominated by two currency rates and the most important one by far is EURUSD.EURUSD makes up 57.6% of the DXY And we've seen EURUSD rise from 1.14 to 1.18 since July 21st, 2020. Why that date? On that date the European Commission (basically the "government" of the EU) announced that there was an agreement for the historical rescue package for the EU. That showed the markets that the EU seems to be strong and resilient, it seemed to be united (we're not really united, trust me as an European) and therefore there are more chances in the EU, the Euro and more chances taking risks in the EU.Meanwhile the US continued to struggle with the Coronavirus and some states like California went back to restricting public life. The US economy looked weaker and therefore the Euro rose a lot against the USD. From a technical point of view the DXY failed to break the 97.5 resistance in June three times - DXY bulls became exhausted and sellers gained control resulting in a pretty big selloff in the DXY.
Why the DXY is pretty useless
Considering that EURUSD is the dominant force in the DXY I have to say it's pretty useless as a measurement of the US dollar. Why? Well, the economy is a global economy. Global trade is not dominated by trade between the EU and the USA. There are a lot of big exporting nations besides Germany, many of them in Asia. We know about China, Japan, South Korea etc. Depending on the business sector there are a lot of big exporters in so-called "emerging markets". For example, Brazil and India are two of the biggest exporters of beef. Now, what does that mean? It means that we need to look at the US dollar from a broader perspective. Thankfully, the Fed itself provides a more accurate Dollar index. It's called the "Trade Weighted U.S. Dollar Index: Broad, Goods and Services". When you look at that index you will see that it didn't really collapse like the DXY. In fact, it still is as high as it was on March 10, 2020! You know, only two weeks before the stock market bottomed out. How can that be explained?
Global trade, emerging markets and global dollar shortage
Emerging markets are found in countries which have been shifting away from their traditional way of living towards being an industrial nation. Of course, Americans and most of the Europeans don't know how life was 300 years ago.China already completed that transition. Countries like Brazil and India are on its way. The MSCI Emerging Market Index lists 26 countries. Even South Korea is included. However there is a big problem for Emerging Markets: the Coronavirus and US Imports.The good thing about import and export data is that you can't fake it. Those numbers speak the truth. You can see that imports into the US haven't recovered to pre-Corona levels yet. It will be interesting to see the July data coming out on August 5th.Also you can look at exports from Emerging Market economies. Let's take South Korean exports YoY. You can see that South Korean exports are still heavily depressed compared to a year ago. Global trade hasn't really recovered.For July the data still has to be updated that's why you see a "0.0%" change right now.Less US imports mean less US dollars going into foreign countries including Emerging Markets.Those currency pairs are pretty unimpressed by the rising Euro. Let's look at a few examples. Use the 1Y chart to see what I mean. Indian Rupee to USDBrazilian Real to USDSouth Korean Won to USD What do you see if you look at the 1Y chart of those currency pairs? There's no recovery to pre-COVID levels. And this is pretty bad for the global financial system. Why? According to the Bank of International Settlements there is $12.6 trillion of dollar-denominated debt outside of the United States. Now the Coronavirus comes into play where economies around the world are struggling to go back to their previous levels while the currencies of Emerging Markets continue to be WEAK against the US dollar. This is very bad. We've already seen the IMF receiving requests for emergency loans from 80 countries on March 23th. What are we going to see? We know Argentina has defaulted on their debt more than once and make jokes about it. But what happens if we see 5 Argentinas? 10? 20? Even 80? Add to that that global travel is still depressed, especially for US citizens going anywhere. US citizens traveling to other countries is also a situation in which the precious US dollars would enter Emerging Market economies. But it's not happening right now and it won't happen unless we actually get a miracle treatment or the virus simply disappears. This is where the treasury market comes into play. But before that, let's quickly look at what QE (rising Fed balance sheet) does to the USD. Take a look at the Trade-Weighted US dollar Index. Look at it at max timeframe - you'll see what happened in 2008. The dollar went up (shocker).Now let's look at the Fed balance sheet at max timeframe. You will see: as soon as the Fed starts the QE engine, the USD goes UP, not down! September 2008 (Fed first buys MBS), March 2009, March 2020. Is it just a coincidence? No, as I'll explain below. They're correlated and probably even in causation.Oh and in all of those scenarios the stock market crashed...compared to February 2020, the Fed balance sheet grew by ONE TRILLION until March 25th, but the stock market had just finished crashing...can you please prove to me that QE makes stock prices go up? I think I've just proven the opposite correlation.
Bonds, bills, Gold and "inflation"
People laugh at bond bulls or at people buying bonds due to the dropping yields. "Haha you're stupid you're buying an asset which matures in 10 years and yields 5.3% STONKS go up way more!".Let me stop you right there. Why do you buy stocks? Will you hold those stocks until you die so that you regain your initial investment through dividends? No. You buy them because you expect them to go up based on fundamental analysis, news like earnings or other things. Then you sell them when you see your price target reached. The assets appreciated.Why do you buy options? You don't want to hold them until expiration unless they're -90% (what happens most of the time in WSB). You wait until the underlying asset does what you expect it does and then you sell the options to collect the premium. Again, the assets appreciated. It's the exact same thing with treasury securities. The people who've been buying bonds for the past years or even decades didn't want to wait until they mature. Those people want to sell the bonds as they appreciate. Bond prices have an inverse relationship with their yields which is logical when you think about it. Someone who desperately wants and needs the bonds for various reasons will accept to pay a higher price (supply and demand, ya know) and therefore accept a lower yield. By the way, both JP Morgan and Goldmans Sachs posted an unexpected profit this quarter, why? They made a killing trading bonds. US treasury securities are the most liquid asset in the world and they're also the safest asset you can hold. After all, if the US default on their debt you know that the world is doomed. So if US treasuries become worthless anything else has already become worthless. Now why is there so much demand for the safest and most liquid asset in the world? That demand isn't new but it's caused by the situation the global economy is in. Trade and travel are down and probably won't recover anytime soon, emerging markets are struggling both with the virus and their dollar-denominated debt and central banks around the world struggle to find solutions for the problems in the financial markets. How do we now that the markets aren't trusting central banks? Well, bonds tell us that and actually Gold tells us the same! TLT chartGold spot price chart TLT is an ETF which reflects the price of US treasuries with 20 or more years left until maturity. Basically the inverse of the 30 year treasury yield. As you can see from the 5Y chart bonds haven't been doing much from 2016 to mid-2019. Then the repo crisis of September 2019took place and TLT actually rallied in August 2019 before the repo crisis finally occurred!So the bond market signaled that something is wrong in the financial markets and that "something" manifested itself in the repo crisis. After the repo market crisis ended (the Fed didn't really do much to help it, before you ask), bonds again were quiet for three months and started rallying in January (!) while most of the world was sitting on their asses and downplaying the Coronavirus threat. But wait, how does Gold come into play? The Gold chart basically follows the same pattern as the TLT chart. Doing basically nothing from 2016 to mid-2019. From June until August Gold rose a staggering 200 dollars and then again stayed flat until December 2019. After that, Gold had another rally until March when it finally collapsed. Many people think rising Gold prices are a sign of inflation. But where is the inflation? We saw PCE price indices on Friday July 31st and they're at roughly 1%. We've seen CPIs from European countries and the EU itself. France and the EU (July 31st) as a whole had a very slight uptick in CPI while Germany (July 30th), Italy (July 31st) and Spain (July 30th) saw deflationary prints.There is no inflation, nowhere in the world. I'm sorry to burst that bubble. Yet, Gold prices still go up even when the Dollar rallies through the DXY (sadly I have to measure it that way now since the trade-weighted index isn't updated daily) and we know that there is no inflation from a monetary perspective. In fact, Fed chairman JPow, apparently the final boss for all bears, said on Wednesday July 29th that the Coronavirus pandemic is a deflationarydisinflationary event. Someone correct me there, thank you. But deflationary forces are still in place even if JPow wouldn't admit it. To conclude this rather long section: Both bonds and Gold are indicators for an upcoming financial crisis. Bond prices should fall and yields should go up to signal an economic recovery. But the opposite is happening. in that regard heavily rising Gold prices are a very bad signal for the future. Both bonds and Gold are screaming: "The central banks haven't solved the problems". By the way, Gold is also a very liquid asset if you want quick cash, that's why we saw it sell off in March because people needed dollars thanks to repo problems and margin calls.When the deflationary shock happens and another liquidity event occurs there will be another big price drop in precious metals and that's the dip which you could use to load up on metals by the way.
Dismantling the money printer
But the Fed! The M2 money stock is SHOOTING THROUGH THE ROOF! The printers are real!By the way, velocity of M2 was updated on July 30th and saw another sharp decline. If you take a closer look at the M2 stock you see three parts absolutely skyrocketing: savings, demand deposits and institutional money funds. Inflationary? No. So, the printers aren't real. I'm sorry.Quantitative easing (QE) is the biggest part of the Fed's operations to help the economy get back on its feet. What is QE?Upon doing QE the Fed "purchases" treasury and mortgage-backed securities from the commercial banks. The Fed forces the commercial banks to hand over those securities and in return the commercial banks reserve additional bank reserves at an account in the Federal Reserve. This may sound very confusing to everyone so let's make it simple by an analogy.I want to borrow a camera from you, I need it for my road trip. You agree but only if I give you some kind of security - for example 100 bucks as collateral.You keep the 100 bucks safe in your house and wait for me to return safely. You just wait and wait. You can't do anything else in this situation. Maybe my road trip takes a year. Maybe I come back earlier. But as long as I have your camera, the 100 bucks need to stay with you. In this analogy, I am the Fed. You = commercial banks. Camera = treasuries/MBS. 100 bucks = additional bank reserves held at the Fed.
Revisiting 2008 briefly: the true money printers
The true money printers are the commercial banks, not the central banks. The commercial banks give out loans and demand interest payments. Through those interest payments they create money out of thin air! At the end they'll have more money than before giving out the loan. That additional money can be used to give out more loans, buy more treasury/MBS Securities or gain more money through investing and trading. Before the global financial crisis commercial banks were really loose with their policy. You know, the whole "Big Short" story, housing bubble, NINJA loans and so on. The reckless handling of money by the commercial banks led to actual money printing and inflation, until the music suddenly stopped. Bear Stearns went tits up. Lehman went tits up. The banks learned from those years and completely changed, forever. They became very strict with their lending resulting in the Fed and the ECB not being able to raise their rates. By keeping the Fed funds rate low the Federal Reserve wants to encourage commercial banks to give out loans to stimulate the economy. But commercial banks are not playing along. They even accept negative rates in Europe rather than taking risks in the actual economy. The GFC of 2008 completely changed the financial landscape and the central banks have struggled to understand that. The system wasn't working anymore because the main players (the commercial banks) stopped playing with each other. That's also the reason why we see repeated problems in the repo market.
How QE actually decreases liquidity before it's effective
The funny thing about QE is that it achieves the complete opposite of what it's supposed to achieve before actually leading to an economic recovery. What does that mean? Let's go back to my analogy with the camera. Before I take away your camera, you can do several things with it. If you need cash, you can sell it or go to a pawn shop. You can even lend your camera to someone for a daily fee and collect money through that.But then I come along and just take away your camera for a road trip for 100 bucks in collateral. What can you do with those 100 bucks? Basically nothing. You can't buy something else with those. You can't lend the money to someone else. It's basically dead capital. You can just look at it and wait until I come back. And this is what is happening with QE. Commercial banks buy treasuries and MBS due to many reasons, of course they're legally obliged to hold some treasuries, but they also need them to make business.When a commercial bank has a treasury security, they can do the following things with it:- Sell it to get cash- Give out loans against the treasury security- Lend the security to a short seller who wants to short bonds Now the commercial banks received a cash reserve account at the Fed in exchange for their treasury security. What can they do with that?- Give out loans against the reserve account That's it. The bank had to give away a very liquid and flexible asset and received an illiquid asset for it. Well done, Fed. The goal of the Fed is to encourage lending and borrowing through suppressing yields via QE. But it's not happening and we can see that in the H.8 data (assets and liabilities of the commercial banks).There is no recovery to be seen in the credit sector while the commercial banks continue to collect treasury securities and MBS. On one hand, they need to sell a portion of them to the Fed on the other hand they profit off those securities by trading them - remember JPM's earnings. So we see that while the Fed is actually decreasing liquidity in the markets by collecting all the treasuries it has collected in the past, interest rates are still too high. People are scared, and commercial banks don't want to give out loans. This means that as the economic recovery is stalling (another whopping 1.4M jobless claims on Thursday July 30th) the Fed needs to suppress interest rates even more. That means: more QE. that means: the liquidity dries up even more, thanks to the Fed. We heard JPow saying on Wednesday that the Fed will keep their minimum of 120 billion QE per month, but, and this is important, they can increase that amount anytime they see an emergency.And that's exactly what he will do. He will ramp up the QE machine again, removing more bond supply from the market and therefore decreasing the liquidity in financial markets even more. That's his Hail Mary play to force Americans back to taking on debt again.All of that while the government is taking on record debt due to "stimulus" (which is apparently only going to Apple, Amazon and Robinhood). Who pays for the government debt? The taxpayers. The wealthy people. The people who create jobs and opportunities. But in the future they have to pay more taxes to pay down the government debt (or at least pay for the interest). This means that they can't create opportunities right now due to the government going insane with their debt - and of course, there's still the Coronavirus.
"Without the Fed, yields would skyrocket"
This is wrong. The Fed has been keeping their basic level QE of 120 billion per month for months now. But ignoring the fake breakout in the beginning of June (thanks to reopening hopes), yields have been on a steady decline. Let's take a look at the Fed's balance sheet. The Fed has thankfully stayed away from purchasing more treasury bills (short term treasury securities). Bills are important for the repo market as collateral. They're the best collateral you can have and the Fed has already done enough damage by buying those treasury bills in March, destroying even more liquidity than usual. More interesting is the point "notes and bonds, nominal". The Fed added 13.691 billion worth of US treasury notes and bonds to their balance sheet. Luckily for us, the US Department of Treasury releases the results of treasury auctions when they occur. On July 28th there was an auction for the 7 year treasury note. You can find the results under "Note -> Term: 7-year -> Auction Date 07/28/2020 -> Competitive Results PDF". Or here's a link. What do we see? Indirect bidders, which are foreigners by the way, took 28 billion out of the total 44 billion. That's roughly 64% of the entire auction. Primary dealers are the ones which sell the securities to the commercial banks. Direct bidders are domestic buyers of treasuries. The conclusion is: There's insane demand for US treasury notes and bonds by foreigners. Those US treasuries are basically equivalent to US dollars. Now dollar bears should ask themselves this question: If the dollar is close to a collapse and the world wants to get rid fo the US dollar, why do foreigners (i.e. foreign central banks) continue to take 60-70% of every bond auction? They do it because they desperately need dollars and hope to drive prices up, supported by the Federal Reserve itself, in an attempt to have the dollar reserves when the next liquidity event occurs. So foreigners are buying way more treasuries than the Fed does. Final conclusion: the bond market has adjusted to the Fed being a player long time ago. It isn't the first time the Fed has messed around in the bond market.
How market participants are positioned
We know that commercial banks made good money trading bonds and stocks in the past quarter. Besides big tech the stock market is being stagnant, plain and simple. All the stimulus, stimulus#2, vaccinetalksgoingwell.exe, public appearances by Trump, Powell and their friends, the "money printing" (which isn't money printing) by the Fed couldn't push SPY back to ATH which is 339.08 btw. Who can we look at? Several people but let's take Bill Ackman. The one who made a killing with Credit Default Swaps in March and then went LONG (he said it live on TV). Well, there's an update about him:Bill Ackman saying he's effectively 100% longHe says that around the 2 minute mark. Of course, we shouldn't just believe what he says. After all he is a hedge fund manager and wants to make money. But we have to assume that he's long at a significant percentage - it doesn't even make sense to get rid of positions like Hilton when they haven't even recovered yet. Then again, there are sources to get a peek into the positions of hedge funds, let's take Hedgopia.We see: Hedge funds are starting to go long on the 10 year bond. They are very short the 30 year bond. They are very long the Euro, very short on VIX futures and short on the Dollar.
This is the perfect setup for a market meltdown. If hedge funds are really positioned like Ackman and Hedgopia describes, the situation could unwind after a liquidity event:The Fed increases QE to bring down the 30 year yield because the economy isn't recovering yet. We've already seen the correlation of QE and USD and QE and bond prices.That causes a giant short squeeze of hedge funds who are very short the 30 year bond. They need to cover their short positions. But Ackman said they're basically 100% long the stock market and nothing else. So what do they do? They need to sell stocks. Quickly. And what happens when there is a rapid sell-off in stocks? People start to hedge via put options. The VIX rises. But wait, hedge funds are short VIX futures, long Euro and short DXY. To cover their short positions on VIX futures, they need to go long there. VIX continues to go up and the prices of options go suborbital (as far as I can see).Also they need to get rid of Euro futures and cover their short DXY positions. That causes the USD to go up even more. And the Fed will sit there and do their things again: more QE, infinity QE^2, dollar swap lines, repo operations, TARP and whatever. The Fed will be helpless against the forces of the market and have to watch the stock market burn down and they won't even realize that they created the circumstances for it to happen - by their programs to "help the economy" and their talking on TV. Do you remember JPow on 60minutes talking about how they flooded the world with dollars and print it digitally? He wanted us poor people to believe that the Fed is causing hyperinflation and we should take on debt and invest into the stock market. After all, the Fed has it covered. But the Fed hasn't got it covered. And Powell knows it. That's why he's being a bear in the FOMC statements. He knows what's going on. But he can't do anything about it except what's apparently proven to be correct - QE, QE and more QE.
A final note about "stock market is not the economy"
It's true. The stock market doesn't reflect the current state of the economy. The current economy is in complete shambles. But a wise man told me that the stock market is the reflection of the first and second derivatives of the economy. That means: velocity and acceleration of the economy. In retrospect this makes sense. The economy was basically halted all around the world in March. Of course it's easy to have an insane acceleration of the economy when the economy is at 0 and the stock market reflected that. The peak of that accelerating economy ("max velocity" if you want to look at it like that) was in the beginning of June. All countries were reopening, vaccine hopes, JPow injecting confidence into the markets. Since then, SPY is stagnant, IWM/RUT, which is probably the most accurate reflection of the actual economy, has slightly gone down and people have bid up tech stocks in absolute panic mode. Even JPow admitted it. The economic recovery has slowed down and if we look at economic data, the recovery has already stopped completely. The economy is rolling over as we can see in the continued high initial unemployment claims. Another fact to factor into the stock market.
TLDR and positions or ban?
TLDR: global economy bad and dollar shortage. economy not recovering, JPow back to doing QE Infinity. QE Infinity will cause the final squeeze in both the bond and stock market and will force the unwinding of the whole system. Positions: idk. I'll throw in TLT 190c 12/18, SPY 220p 12/18, UUP 26c 12/18.That UUP call had 12.5k volume on Friday 7/31 btw.
Edit about positions and hedge funds
My current positions. You can laugh at my ZEN calls I completely failed with those.I personally will be entering one of the positions mentioned in the end - or similar ones. My personal opinion is that the SPY puts are the weakest try because you have to pay a lot of premium. Also I forgot talking about why hedge funds are shorting the 30 year bond. Someone asked me in the comments and here's my reply: "If you look at treasury yields and stock prices they're pretty much positively correlated. Yields go up, then stocks go up. Yields go down (like in March), then stocks go down. What hedge funds are doing is extremely risky but then again, "hedge funds" is just a name and the hedgies are known for doing extremely risky stuff. They're shorting the 30 year bond because they needs 30y yields to go UP to validate their long positions in the equity market. 30y yields going up means that people are welcoming risk again, taking on debt, spending in the economy. Milton Friedman labeled this the "interest rate fallacy". People usually think that low interest rates mean "easy money" but it's the opposite. Low interest rates mean that money is really tight and hard to get. Rising interest rates on the other hand signal an economic recovery, an increase in economic activity. So hedge funds try to fight the Fed - the Fed is buying the 30 year bonds! - to try to validate their stock market positions. They also short VIX futures to do the same thing. Equity bulls don't want to see VIX higher than 15. They're also short the dollar because it would also validate their position: if the economic recovery happens and the global US dollar cycle gets restored then it will be easy to get dollars and the USD will continue to go down. Then again, they're also fighting against the Fed in this situation because QE and the USD are correlated in my opinion. Another Redditor told me that people who shorted Japanese government bonds completely blew up because the Japanese central bank bought the bonds and the "widow maker trade" was born:https://www.investopedia.com/terms/w/widow-maker.asp"
Since I've mentioned him a lot in the comments, I recommend you check out Steven van Metre's YouTube channel. Especially the bottom passages of my post are based on the knowledge I received from watching his videos. Even if didn't agree with him on the fundamental issues (there are some things like Gold which I view differently than him) I took it as an inspiration to dig deeper. I think he's a great person and even if you're bullish on stocks you can learn something from Steven!
Hi guys, I have been using reddit for years in my personal life (not trading!) and wanted to give something back in an area where i am an expert. I worked at an investment bank for seven years and joined them as a graduate FX trader so have lots of professional experience, by which i mean I was trained and paid by a big institution to trade on their behalf. This is very different to being a full-time home trader, although that is not to discredit those guys, who can accumulate a good amount of experience/wisdom through self learning. When I get time I'm going to write a mid-length posts on each topic for you guys along the lines of how i was trained. I guess there would be 15-20 topics in total so about 50-60 posts. Feel free to comment or ask questions. The first topic is Risk Management and we'll cover it in three parts Part I
Why it matters
Using stops sensibly
Picking a clear level
Why it matters
The first rule of making money through trading is to ensure you do not lose money. Look at any serious hedge fund’s website and they’ll talk about their first priority being “preservation of investor capital.” You have to keep it before you grow it. Strangely, if you look at retail trading websites, for every one article on risk management there are probably fifty on trade selection. This is completely the wrong way around. The great news is that this stuff is pretty simple and process-driven. Anyone can learn and follow best practices. Seriously, avoiding mistakes is one of the most important things: there's not some holy grail system for finding winning trades, rather a routine and fairly boring set of processes that ensure that you are profitable, despite having plenty of losing trades alongside the winners.
Capital and position sizing
The first thing you have to know is how much capital you are working with. Let’s say you have $100,000 deposited. This is your maximum trading capital. Your trading capital is not the leveraged amount. It is the amount of money you have deposited and can withdraw or lose. Position sizing is what ensures that a losing streak does not take you out of the market. A rule of thumb is that one should risk no more than 2% of one’s account balance on an individual trade and no more than 8% of one’s account balance on a specific theme. We’ll look at why that’s a rule of thumb later. For now let’s just accept those numbers and look at examples. So we have $100,000 in our account. And we wish to buy EURUSD. We should therefore not be risking more than 2% which $2,000. We look at a technical chart and decide to leave a stop below the monthly low, which is 55 pips below market. We’ll come back to this in a bit. So what should our position size be? We go to the calculator page, select Position Size and enter our details. There are many such calculators online - just google "Pip calculator". https://preview.redd.it/y38zb666e5h51.jpg?width=1200&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=26e4fe569dc5c1f43ce4c746230c49b138691d14 So the appropriate size is a buy position of 363,636 EURUSD. If it reaches our stop level we know we’ll lose precisely $2,000 or 2% of our capital. You should be using this calculator (or something similar) on every single trade so that you know your risk. Now imagine that we have similar bets on EURJPY and EURGBP, which have also broken above moving averages. Clearly this EUR-momentum is a theme. If it works all three bets are likely to pay off. But if it goes wrong we are likely to lose on all three at once. We are going to look at this concept of correlation in more detail later. The total amount of risk in our portfolio - if all of the trades on this EUR-momentum theme were to hit their stops - should not exceed $8,000 or 8% of total capital. This allows us to go big on themes we like without going bust when the theme does not work. As we’ll see later, many traders only win on 40-60% of trades. So you have to accept losing trades will be common and ensure you size trades so they cannot ruin you. Similarly, like poker players, we should risk more on trades we feel confident about and less on trades that seem less compelling. However, this should always be subject to overall position sizing constraints. For example before you put on each trade you might rate the strength of your conviction in the trade and allocate a position size accordingly: https://preview.redd.it/q2ea6rgae5h51.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=4332cb8d0bbbc3d8db972c1f28e8189105393e5b To keep yourself disciplined you should try to ensure that no more than one in twenty trades are graded exceptional and allocated 5% of account balance risk. It really should be a rare moment when all the stars align for you. Notice that the nice thing about dealing in percentages is that it scales. Say you start out with $100,000 but end the year up 50% at $150,000. Now a 1% bet will risk $1,500 rather than $1,000. That makes sense as your capital has grown. It is extremely common for retail accounts to blow-up by making only 4-5 losing trades because they are leveraged at 50:1 and have taken on far too large a position, relative to their account balance. Consider that GBPUSD tends to move 1% each day. If you have an account balance of $10k then it would be crazy to take a position of $500k (50:1 leveraged). A 1% move on $500k is $5k. Two perfectly regular down days in a row — or a single day’s move of 2% — and you will receive a margin call from the broker, have the account closed out, and have lost all your money. Do not let this happen to you. Use position sizing discipline to protect yourself.
If you’re wondering - why “about 2%” per trade? - that’s a fair question. Why not 0.5% or 10% or any other number? The Kelly Criterion is a formula that was adapted for use in casinos. If you know the odds of winning and the expected pay-off, it tells you how much you should bet in each round. This is harder than it sounds. Let’s say you could bet on a weighted coin flip, where it lands on heads 60% of the time and tails 40% of the time. The payout is $2 per $1 bet. Well, absolutely you should bet. The odds are in your favour. But if you have, say, $100 it is less obvious how much you should bet to avoid ruin. Say you bet $50, the odds that it could land on tails twice in a row are 16%. You could easily be out after the first two flips. Equally, betting $1 is not going to maximise your advantage. The odds are 60/40 in your favour so only betting $1 is likely too conservative. The Kelly Criterion is a formula that produces the long-run optimal bet size, given the odds. Applying the formula to forex trading looks like this: Position size % = Winning trade % - ( (1- Winning trade %) / Risk-reward ratio If you have recorded hundreds of trades in your journal - see next chapter - you can calculate what this outputs for you specifically. If you don't have hundreds of trades then let’s assume some realistic defaults of Winning trade % being 30% and Risk-reward ratio being 3. The 3 implies your TP is 3x the distance of your stop from entry e.g. 300 pips take profit and 100 pips stop loss. So that’s 0.3 - (1 - 0.3) / 3 = 6.6%. Hold on a second. 6.6% of your account probably feels like a LOT to risk per trade.This is the main observation people have on Kelly: whilst it may optimise the long-run results it doesn’t take into account the pain of drawdowns. It is better thought of as the rational maximum limit. You needn’t go right up to the limit! With a 30% winning trade ratio, the odds of you losing on four trades in a row is nearly one in four. That would result in a drawdown of nearly a quarter of your starting account balance. Could you really stomach that and put on the fifth trade, cool as ice? Most of us could not. Accordingly people tend to reduce the bet size. For example, let’s say you know you would feel emotionally affected by losing 25% of your account. Well, the simplest way is to divide the Kelly output by four. You have effectively hidden 75% of your account balance from Kelly and it is now optimised to avoid a total wipeout of just the 25% it can see. This gives 6.6% / 4 = 1.65%. Of course different trading approaches and different risk appetites will provide different optimal bet sizes but as a rule of thumb something between 1-2% is appropriate for the style and risk appetite of most retail traders. Incidentally be very wary of systems or traders who claim high winning trade % like 80%. Invariably these don’t pass a basic sense-check:
How many live trades have you done? Often they’ll have done only a handful of real trades and the rest are simulated backtests, which are overfitted. The model will soon die.
What is your risk-reward ratio on each trade? If you have a take profit $3 away and a stop loss $100 away, of course most trades will be winners. You will not be making money, however! In general most traders should trade smaller position sizes and less frequently than they do. If you are going to bias one way or the other, far better to start off too small.
How to use stop losses sensibly
Stop losses have a bad reputation amongst the retail community but are absolutely essential to risk management. No serious discretionary trader can operate without them. A stop loss is a resting order, left with the broker, to automatically close your position if it reaches a certain price. For a recap on the various order types visit this chapter. The valid concern with stop losses is that disreputable brokers look for a concentration of stops and then, when the market is close, whipsaw the price through the stop levels so that the clients ‘stop out’ and sell to the broker at a low rate before the market naturally comes back higher. This is referred to as ‘stop hunting’. This would be extremely immoral behaviour and the way to guard against it is to use a highly reputable top-tier broker in a well regulated region such as the UK. Why are stop losses so important? Well, there is no other way to manage risk with certainty. You should always have a pre-determined stop loss before you put on a trade. Not having one is a recipe for disaster: you will find yourself emotionally attached to the trade as it goes against you and it will be extremely hard to cut the loss. This is a well known behavioural bias that we’ll explore in a later chapter. Learning to take a loss and move on rationally is a key lesson for new traders. A common mistake is to think of the market as a personal nemesis. The market, of course, is totally impersonal; it doesn’t care whether you make money or not. Bruce Kovner, founder of the hedge fund Caxton Associates There is an old saying amongst bank traders which is “losers average losers”. It is tempting, having bought EURUSD and seeing it go lower, to buy more. Your average price will improve if you keep buying as it goes lower. If it was cheap before it must be a bargain now, right? Wrong. Where does that end? Always have a pre-determined cut-off point which limits your risk. A level where you know the reason for the trade was proved ‘wrong’ ... and stick to it strictly. If you trade using discretion, use stops.
Picking a clear level
Where you leave your stop loss is key. Typically traders will leave them at big technical levels such as recent highs or lows. For example if EURUSD is trading at 1.1250 and the recent month’s low is 1.1205 then leaving it just below at 1.1200 seems sensible. If you were going long, just below the double bottom support zone seems like a sensible area to leave a stop You want to give it a bit of breathing room as we know support zones often get challenged before the price rallies. This is because lots of traders identify the same zones. You won’t be the only one selling around 1.1200. The “weak hands” who leave their sell stop order at exactly the level are likely to get taken out as the market tests the support. Those who leave it ten or fifteen pips below the level have more breathing room and will survive a quick test of the level before a resumed run-up. Your timeframe and trading style clearly play a part. Here’s a candlestick chart (one candle is one day) for GBPUSD. https://preview.redd.it/moyngdy4f5h51.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=91af88da00dd3a09e202880d8029b0ddf04fb802 If you are putting on a trend-following trade you expect to hold for weeks then you need to have a stop loss that can withstand the daily noise. Look at the downtrend on the chart. There were plenty of days in which the price rallied 60 pips or more during the wider downtrend. So having a really tight stop of, say, 25 pips that gets chopped up in noisy short-term moves is not going to work for this kind of trade. You need to use a wider stop and take a smaller position size, determined by the stop level. There are several tools you can use to help you estimate what is a safe distance and we’ll look at those in the next section. There are of course exceptions. For example, if you are doing range-break style trading you might have a really tight stop, set just below the previous range high. https://preview.redd.it/ygy0tko7f5h51.png?width=1200&format=png&auto=webp&s=34af49da61c911befdc0db26af66f6c313556c81 Clearly then where you set stops will depend on your trading style as well as your holding horizons and the volatility of each instrument. Here are some guidelines that can help:
Use technical analysis to pick important levels (support, resistance, previous high/lows, moving averages etc.) as these provide clear exit and entry points on a trade.
Ensure that the stop gives your trade enough room to breathe and reflects your timeframe and typical volatility of each pair. See next section.
Always pick your stop level first. Then use a calculator to determine the appropriate lot size for the position, based on the % of your account balance you wish to risk on the trade.
So far we have talked about price-based stops. There is another sort which is more of a fundamental stop, used alongside - not instead of - price stops. If either breaks you’re out. For example if you stop understanding why a product is going up or down and your fundamental thesis has been confirmed wrong, get out. For example, if you are long because you think the central bank is turning hawkish and AUDUSD is going to play catch up with rates … then you hear dovish noises from the central bank and the bond yields retrace lower and back in line with the currency - close your AUDUSD position. You already know your thesis was wrong. No need to give away more money to the market.
Coming up in part II
EDIT: part II here Letting stops breathe When to change a stop Entering and exiting winning positions Risk:reward ratios Risk-adjusted returns
Coming up in part III
Squeezes and other risks Market positioning Bet correlation Crap trades, timeouts and monthly limits *** Disclaimer:This content is not investment advice and you should not place any reliance on it. The views expressed are the author's own and should not be attributed to any other person, including their employer.
Would you like to entertain yourself with a story about one of the greatest schemes in the history and, maybe, learn a few plays? This story is about three brave autistic brothers, who almost cornered the entire commodity and how one (not so brave, but shrewd) bank did it without anyone noticing. As in any good fable – there’s a moral and a strategy that you could draw from it. The year is 1971. Nixon temporarily abolishes gold standard. And every temporary government program is never reversed, as you know. Trading price of gold went sky high: from 270s to 800s in two years or so. Enter Hunt brothers, sons of H. L. Hunt, oil tycoon, one of, if not the, richest man in the world at that time. Hunt family was, what one might describe as, right-wing libertarian and anti-globalist. They believed that Keynesian economics and the US shift to the left in the 60s will lead to the debasement of the US dollar and monetary collapse. Thus, return to the gold or silver standard was the way, as they thought. Allegedly, Hunts also had a feud with Rothschild family and other financial speculators, and were resentful towards the US government for doing nothing to protect their oil assets in Libya, confiscated by Gaddafi. So they started their move against America, alpha-silver bug style. In 1973 Hunts began buying all the silver they could. And, instead of just speculating futures contracts, they actually took delivery. Initial price was $1.5/oz. Silver was shipped to Switzerland in secretive and costly operations and stored in vaults (brothers feared confiscations – remember, private citizens were still prohibited from owning gold in the US). The following events are quite vivid and include the efforts to create a cartel similar to OPEC, talks with Iran and Saudi monarchs, pump and dump publicity and large scale purchases of miners. But we will spare the details, except one: Hunts even tried to corner the soy market at the same time. Reminds you how WSB slv gang quickly switched to corn gang. But the soy scheme didn't fly and they focused on silver only. Their efforts pumped the price to almost $50/oz by early 1980. At some point Hunts controlled around 230 million oz of silver and the majority of what was traded. Hunt brothers laughing at your pump&dump effort Of course, when you are such a smart ass, you become a target. Chicago exchange officials became very concerned citizens by 1979. They started issuing numerous regulations limiting the amount of market share one can accumulate in one hands. As all American concerned citizens, they had financial incentive to do so: Hunts managed to prove that Chicago exchange board members had short positions against silver. Finally, CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) issued a ruling that basically forced Hunts to liquidate part of their portfolio by February 1980. This sent silver prices down dramatically and brothers started to get margin calls which they could not cover. And so their story ended with bankruptcies and heavy fines for the family. Shortly after, Reagan and Volcker raised interest rates and silver price never recovered to $50/oz ever since. We skip to the year 2008. Global financial crisis is in full swing. Bear Stearns is royally fucked, as due to all bears. Before the music was over, they mastered paper speculation of futures contracts like no one else. Bear Stearns accumulated world biggest naked short position on silver. What could go wrong? Stonks go up, silver goes down. Until it reversed and silver skyrocketed from $11 to $21. This became one of the margin calls to screw Bear Stearns. JP Morgan is asked by the FED and co. to buy out BS and to save the entire market. Since BS's shorts are now deeply down - JPM gets the whole bank with pennies on a dollar. But the problem is that JPM themselves have massive naked short position on silver. Combined with BS it will exceed anything permitted by the CFTC. Since Obama administration was in a rush, they push CFTC to grant JPM basically a carte blanche to accumulate any position over the limit for a period of time. Period of time comes due and turns out that JPM not only didn’t trim the shorts significantly – they even bought more shorts at some point. Even with all the fines, it went very much their way, because in 2009 silver dropped. So they pocketed hundreds of millions of dollars. But come 2011 and silver spiked again, dramatically. JPM, now bleeding cash on shorts, could close short positions, like any of us would do, right? Nope, fuckyall says JPM and starts hedging short futures positions with… physical silver. 'But wouldn’t that be even more control over the commodity?' - you might ask. See, nothing in the rules of CFTC says you can’t do that, because to help cronies speculate with paper futures contracts, made of thin air, CFTC basically started treating physical silver and futures as two different instruments (it’s, actually, even more complicated than that: google difference between physical, eligible, registered and so on). In the next 9 years JPM becomes the world biggest holder of both short contracts and physical silver. The later they 'loaned' to SLV trust, of which they are custodian. This way upkeep of physical silver, which otherwise would be a liability for hedging, becomes an asset, because we, retards, who own SLV pay the maintenance. People are often confused here, because SLV is issued by Black Rock, not JPM. Well, there is a difference between being an operator of a financial instrument and being a custodian providing backing. Now, to confuse you even more – JPM is one of the major holders of Black Rock itself with 1.6% or sth like that. By estimates of Theodore Butler, JPM acquired 900 million oz of physical silver since 2011. That’s 4 times more than what Hunts owned. Just shows you, that banks can get a pass with something that even the richest individuals can not. And you have to give it to JPM - their play was very clever. Instead of risking it all on a margin call, they make money on every turn. As of 2020, JPM still holds both shitton of physical silver and short COMEX contracts. You can call this the most epic straddle of all time. With such mass they can swing prices in any directions and profit from this on any given day. Latest example you’ve seen on the August 11th. Why am I bothering your poor gambling soul with this wall of text, you might ask? Market makers manipulate the market as they please, what’s new about that? Well, here we come to the conclusions and a strategy. How can a small retard replicate what the big boys are doing? Conclusions:
There will not be a linear up or down with silver and the swings might be dramatic. The reason being not only the sentiment of investors, but the ease of manipulation that is eligible to big players.
If we believe that speculation will throw the price of silver in all directions – it is unwise to go only long or short on silver, especially on a short term;
What shall we do? a) Only long expiration dates and calls; no weekly expiration, not even monthly. Ideally – at least half year options; b) Go long on certain silver stocks. Maybe I’ll do a write up on good silver stocks to buy; c) Sell covered calls on long positions; d) Buy 1-3 month puts on your long positions as a hedge; Now, day trade with those positions: on red days sell your puts and buy back covered calls. On green days – reload puts and sell calls. Repeat until lambo. P. S.: I gathered these facts from the open sources, since these events were of interest to me. Some facts are intentionally oversimplified, google for more details, there are good reads. And feel free to correct me if you know contradictory facts. P. P. S.: JPM, plz don’t whack me.
I spent the last 6 weeks playing all 13 main series Pokémon games. Here's my experiences
Some of you may remember me. Most of you probably don't. I made a post about it six weeks ago, which you can find here, about how I was gonna play 13 of the main series Pokémon games within six weeks, which I did. I was gonna make weekly updates, but they got automatically removed for some reason, so that's fun So what I'm gonna do now is the biggest part of this whole 'project.' I'm gonna summarize exactly 306 hours and 35 minutes of gameplay within one reddit post. And if you're wondering how I know the exact times, I made a Google Sheet to document my journey, which you can see here, if you want all the boring numbers. If you don't want my summary of every single game, just scroll down to the bottom, where I'll share my thoughts about the whole ordeal. So let's get started on this, shall we?
Honestly, I enjoyed Blue a lot more than I thought I would, even though the flaws of Gen 1 were hard to ignore. And may I say, thank god for LP compilers and podcasts, because 95% of the time I was playing Blue and Crystal, I was listening to something else. There's only so much beep-boop music one man can take. Overall, it was a great start to this journey. Some miscellaneous notes I took while playing:
Wrap is terrible and can go die in a fire
Damn some of the old sprites were terrible
I used a Snorlax in the latter part of the game, which I nicknamed Monokuma. But I should've named it Critikuma, because he was ALWAYS hit by critical hits. I know that crits are more common in Gen 1, but I cannot stress enough how frequent he was slammed down to half health immediately. It was so bad I just boxed him partway through the Elite Four
I captured all 4 legendaries in this game within the span of a few hours. After that, I considered the game 'completed.' (more details on what I consider 'completed' later)
The team I used: Venusaur, Golem, Alakazam, Ninetales, Vaporeon, Snorlax
Crystal was where the... difficulties of this challenge started coming up. I actually started Crystal on July 6th, just after capturing Mewtwo, and I played up to beating Bugsy. Unfortunately, I stayed up way too late, and woke up with a massive headache. So I spent most of the next day unwinding and mentally preparing myself for what's coming up. The rest of the game wasn't too difficult... until the 10th. I wanted to stay on a '1 game per 3 days' schedule, and this was the last day for Crystal, and I was just started on the Pokemon League. I was a little underleveled, so I spent the first half of my day repeatedly grinding up farther and farther up until I beat Lance on my 5th or 6th attempt. So I had to speed through all the Kanto section to stay on track. Which I did, to my amazement. I beat all the Kanto gyms super fast, and managed to get to Red... and immediately got slamjammed by his Pikachu So this lead me to a question: 'when can I stop playing a game?' So I made this rule: Once I've beaten the Champion and the credits roll, I'm free to move on to the next game as I please. This is the hard rule I'm gonna adhere to. I don't want this to become stressful or a job, so I'm making this rule for my own sanity That all out of the way, here's a few notes I took while playing:
I think this game made me appreciate color again. You don't realize how much you miss color until you spend 3 days only looking at a monochrome screen
I find it so strange that Jasmine's Steelix is the same level as the boss of the radio tower, but you have to beat Jasmine in order for Team Rocket to attack
One of my team members was a Slowpoke/Slowking that was so ugly, anything with Self-Destruct or Explosion immediately went off. Fortunately my Gengar usually stepped in to block in, but goddamn it was uncanny how often it happened
Using Forretress before the invention of Gyro Ball was a mistake. He was always the least useful of my team, and I straight-up boxed him during the Elite Four and Kanto
The team I used: Typhlosion, Gengar, Slowking, Forretress (aka the mistake), Umbreon, Dragonair
If I had to create a line graph detailing my enjoyment of Emerald, it would be a line steadily going up... until Flannery, then just a slow painful crawl down to the end. I can't place an exact reason why, but this was the only game I played that I've actively disliked playing through. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say it's because the RNG of Pokemon finally broke me. If there's one lesson I took out of this, it's that you can NEVER chance it on Sleep/Paralysis/Confusion not working. If you wanna work past them, you just heal. And if you inflict it on an enemy, it just won't work. I know it sounds like I'm exaggerating for comedic effect, but this was way too true for me. And the critical hits in this game were maybe the worst yet, even more so than gen 1, although I realize that might've just been me I ended up using Rayquaza to speed through the Elite Four, because I was just genuinely exhausted of this game, and I did not want to try grinding through it. I'm gonna try to avoid using legendaries, but if I have to, I'm not gonna feel sorry about it That being said, here's some various extra notes:
Whoever decided that Flannery's Torkoal should be level 29 when everything else is 26 or less should be shot. Similarly, fuck Liza and Tate. I have no clue why these kids are the smartest goddamn trainers this side of Orre. Seriously, I spent 30 minutes of my precious time grinding up, and I was still 5 levels lower, and barely survived with my Skarmory. Fuck. Them.
On the other hand, I need to shout out my Skarmory, who was the absolute GOAT of my team. Seriously, I cannot overstate how great she was. I always liked Skarmory, but she has easily been one of my favorite team members so far.
Actually, my entire team was solid this time, although Skarmory ended up outshining them. Even Torkoal was a solid team member (a lot better than the Forretress, anyways)
I debated using Shedinja and Armaldo, but I dropped them. I evolved a Shedinja, but after the first few battles with her ended up unsuccessful, I boxed her for my own sanity. I also revived Anorith, but I boxed him after learning that he evolved at level 40. F in chat for Ninjask/Shedinja and Anorith.
The team I used: Swampert, Gardevoir, Breloom, Torkoal, Skarmory, Rayquaza
This game was a lot easier to play through than Emerald, fortunately, although I don't have a lot more to say. It was pretty fun, but my Blue playthrough might've been more enjoyable due to my choices in team members. I decided against capturing all the legendaries this time around, with one exception. I captured Articuno to replace my Fearow for the Pokemon League, since they were long outclassed by this point, and I couldn't cheese my way through Lance with poison-types this time. Still, my Fearow did better than the useless Forretress, so I still appreciate them. Overall, it felt like my Blue playthrough, except slightly worse. But it was still better than Emerald, so I won't complain That's pretty much all I have to say, so time for some extra points:
I have no clue why they made the L and R buttons bring up a tutorial menu. Maybe it's because I already know all of this, but it feels absolutely unnecessary
I am 90% sure that Magnitude can only be 7-10 when enemies use it, but only 3-7 when you use it. I have no proof to back it up, but that's what it feels like. Similarly, the chances of me switching my Pokemon, only for RoaWhirlwind to immediately drag them back out cannot be a coincidence
Holy shit, my Gyarados was the damn hero of this playthrough. Bulky as hell, hit hard with Surf despite it being a special attack, and when I gave them Secret Power, they paralyzed so often. Ever had a Gyarados that could paralyze? It's fantastic
On the opposite hand, my Dugtrio was good... up until I beat Koga, then they were useless. Even for Blaine, my Gyarados did most of the heavy lifting. They just could not take a hit, so they really underperformed
The team I used: Charizard, Fearow, Gyarados, Vileplume, Dugtrio, Magneton, Articuno
So this is my favorite Pokémon game, so I really tried to be impartial about it and treat it the same as the others... which didn't work, since it was the game I spent the most time on and explored the most in. Whoops! But I'm not ashamed; this was the best region out of everything I played. Honestly, I'm glad to know that my joy for this game wasn't just misplaced nostalgia, and still holds up to today. Although it was really unfortunate that I was having technical issues that I had to devote a lot of time to dealing with, otherwise I could've probably beaten this game in three/three and half days. I'll go into more details in the SoulSilver section. So here's some notes about my experience:
Replaying this game made me realize how great the ground type was in gen 4. Torterra, Gastrodon, and Garchomp, just to name a few
Team Galactic is still my favorite evil teams in the Pokémon franchise, mixing evil campiness and serious threat perfectly in ways the Team Plasma and Team Flare don't. Also their aesthetic is really cool
Did you guys know the Storm Drain only redirected water-type moves instead of absorbing it? I didn't, so imagine my surprise when I bring my Gastrodon into Wake's fight and get whooped
And while we're talking about my team, wow my choices made the Candice fight hard. If it wasn't for my Bronzong, it would've been a lot harder
The team I used: Torterra, Staraptor, Gastrodon, Bronzong, Garchomp, Porygon-Z
If I had to rank my favorite Pokémon games, SoulSilver would be in the top 5, only just below Platinum. So it sucks that my house was suffering internet outages (around the 19th-24th) while I was supposed to be playing this game. And since gen 4 is the slowest of all the games, that DOUBLY sucks. So I had to devote valuable time to fixing that, and ended up not getting to play the Kanto section of this game. That sucks, but since I already went through this with Crystal, so I'm not too fussed. Other than the circumstances, this wasn't too different from Crystal, although my team choices were a lot better Yada, yada, yada, notes:
This was the first game I decided to play as the girl player character this time, because she's the cutest thing in the entire franchise. This is not up for debate
I ended up bringing trading some stuff from Platinum, mainly Houndour and some evolution stones for my Togetic and Exeggcutor. I would've gotten the stones legitimately, but I'm on a time crunch here. I brought Houndour over because it's one of my favorite gen 2 mons, and the only way to get it before Kanto is by trading it in, and it's super easy to grab in Sinnoh, so... fuck it
I ended up keeping Metronome on my Togekiss for way too long, just because it was too much fun. It wasn't until after Clair that I ended up dropping it
Whoever decided that Koga's Muk should spam Minimize, gave it Black Sludge, use Toxic on everything, AND gave him a Full Restore... I hope your children hate you. I'm still upset just remembering it
The team I used: Feraligatr, Ampharos, Togekiss, Houndoom, Exeggcutor, Mamoswine
WHITE & WHITE 2
(I'm combining the two because I don't have a lot to say about them individually) So as a child, I really disliked White, because I was a child who couldn't appreciate how much effort was put into them, and I was upset I couldn't use any of my old favorites. But as an adult, I can really understand the work behind it, or at least behind White 1. Although I still say the lack of options in White 1 is a major downside, since anybody who's not challenging themselves are gonna have some combination of the same 15-ish Pokémon on the story campaign. But while the 2nd game has a better Pokémon choice, the story is also factually worse, so pick your poison. But back to the point, I really enjoyed these games. A lot more than I did when I was younger, anyways So here's my extra notes; two for each game: (White)
I thought Platinum and Soul Silver were rough with encounter rates, but good fucking lord, this game was bad. I could not count how many times I walked 1-2 steps into the grass (not running, walking) and got an encounter, often just after one encounter. I ended up yelling 'I TOOK ONE STEP' so many times
I really, REALLY hate the Reshiram vs Zekrom fight with N. Seriously, it's absolutely stupid. N's dragon has two extra levels, so it's guaranteed to outspeed you. And since the dragon's stats are near-equal, it's gonna do as much damage as you do to it, so there's next to no way you can beat it with just your dragon alone. Ugggghh
When I fought Elesa, she was a massive level spike, which I never got to overcome. But the game got easier, even if the numbers said I should be struggling. Maybe because trainers started to use less Pokémon, but I couldn't place my finger on it
I did a small challenge here: I used a Swoobat on my White 1 team, and a Crobat on my White 2 team, as a pseudo-experiment to see which one was better. Unsurprisingly, the better performer was my favorite Pokémon, Crobat. But Swoobat was still a favorite of mine, and performed a lot better than I thought they would
The team I used for White 1: Serperior, Swoobat, Excadrill, Scolipede, Carracosta, Chandelure The team I used for White 2: Emboar, Azumarill, Crobat, Sigilyph, Sawsbuck, Escavalier
A lot of my friends consider X/Y some of the worst games in the franchise, and while they may have a point, I still enjoy them a lot more than... another title we'll be talking about later. Personally, I think the gameplay is pretty much a straight upgrade from Black/White, although the story... UGH. Easily the worst. Especially Team Flare. I could make an entire post about them, but to simplify: They're a team all about style, yet their admins are way too overdesigned and forgettable to make a point. Instead of the cold uniformity of Team Galactic or the easily understood motives of Team Plasma, they're just a hot mess whose admins are completely forgettable. And Lysandre is just President Rose, but more obviously a villain and somehow more overdramatic I had a loooooot of notes about this game, mostly about Team Flare, but here's what I condensed it down to:
Did you know that you can buy Hyper Potions after getting the second badge? This is when your Pokémon are around level 25. Why the hell would you need a 200 HP heal at this point in the game?
Remember before you could save Xerneas/Yveltal, and you had to fight 4 admins, who collectively had 6 Pokémon? Why not just condense them into one admin, and actually give them a personality?
Ok, I really need to rant about Lysandre's final fight. He uses four Pokémon that're pretty much the same as the ones he uses when you first arrive in his lair, the background is a burning area for some reason, and he's wearing some stupid sci-fi nonsense that does nothing! I sweeped him with my Meowstic, who was five levels higher than his Gyarados
This was the first game I was a higher level than the Champion, and my Meowstic made Diantha trivial by just putting up Light Screen/Reflect and letting the others 1-hit ko 2/3rds of her team, with only her Gardevoir putting up any meaningful resistance. Seriously, this was the easiest game yet, by a large margin
The team I used: Chesnaught, Talonflame, Florges, Meowstic, Barbaracle, Goodra
(So a quick preface, I actually played Ultra Moon before Omega Ruby, since the cartridge I had was corrupted, so I played UM while I waited for my new cart to arrive. Just thought I'd mention it) So Alpha Sapphire was is in the top 5 games for me, alongside Platinum and SoulSilver. Which is why I'm kinda surprised that this is the game I spent the least time on (17 hours, 18 minutes), being one of the two games I spent less than 20 hours on. Which is absolutely strange to me, since I spent at least an hour grabbing useful TMs for the Elite Four and getting Heart Scales to remember moves, so it really should be higher. Whatever, what about the gameplay? Well, it was like Emerald, but the exact opposite, since I actually really enjoyed it. I don't have much else to say except Pelipper, Zangoose, and Cacturne were all surprisingly fun team members. Seriously, Cacturne might be my new favorite grass-type Extra notes, blah blah blah:
Why did they make the lower floor of Granite Cave inaccessible until you got the bike? I had to wait until I got the Mach Bike to go catch my Aron, and I have no idea why they did this. It's not like having one would be game-breaking, but whatever
I decided to catch a Manectric here, since I knew they could be Mega-Evolved in the main story. But they weren't too much stronger when they were Mega'd, so that was a little disappointing. Still, at least they were a strong team member overall
I didn't mention this in the X notes, but lemme clarify: I abused the hell out of the improved Exp Share, since it really helped me cut past any grinding, which is great, since I'm on a timer here
I tried to cheese the Steven fight by teaching my Cacturne Spikes, so imagine my surprise when his Skarmory also uses Spikes of his own. Touché, Mr. Stone
The team I used was: Blaziken, Pelipper, Manectric, Aggron, Zangoose, Cacturne
So I originally promised to play Sun and Ultra Sun in my original post, but some circumstances led me to cut it down to Ultra Moon. More details can be read about it in the Google Sheet, but trust me, I have my reasons. I decided to play the Ultra version because the bonus versions of the games are supposed to be the "definitive version" of the games. Not sure if I agree on that, since there's basically no difference between Sun and Moon and USUM, and what is different is sometimes worse than what it was. This isn't the time or place to review these games, but if you ever want to replay the Alola games, pick up Sun or Moon, and avoid USUM. As for my experience... I dunno, it was ok. I liked my team, had a few challenges, yeah yeah yeah. Look, this is like the 10th or 11th game I played, this whole thing's become routine at this point But at least I got a few notes to add:
I guess we'll slightly critique the story: I really hate the Aether Foundation. They're like Team Flare, but if they had Team Plasma as a side antagonist before they came out of nowhere. I adore Team Skull and how they're really sympathetic, but them Team Aether comes in, and then we're back to the typical Poképlot
And I'm still upset that they turned an eldritch horror story about an alien creature corrupting a mother into insane obsession into the standard evil dragon Poképlot. Also whoever came up with the Ultra Recon Squad should never work on Pokemon again
In the second visit to Aether Paradise, you fight three scientists, each with one Pokémon. Why not just one scientist with three? This bugs me so much, and I don't know why. Also, one of the double battles later had the same Houndoom/Manectric pair as one of the Team Flare admin fights, because thinking up another good pair of Pokémon that look good together costs too much/is too much work
I almost used a Lopunny on my team, but then I relaized I could use a Metagross instead. So I used a Metagross instead. But I am gonna include Lopunny on my team list because they did a lot of work
The team I used: Primarina, Lopunny, Alolan Muk, Ribombee, Alolan Marowak, Lurantis, Metagross
LET'S GO, EEVEE
UUGGHHHH. This is my least favorite game. I insisted on playing it, since it was technically a main series game, and that was a mistake. I forgot how hand-holding this game was. If you don't know what I'm talking about here's my example: In the original games, you could immediately go from Lavender Town to Celadon, and then go into the Rocket base, no problem. Here, you have to go up the tower, see that there's ghosts, and then leave the tower (which to my knowledge, no other dungeon in Pokémon ever does) then go see Jessie and James talk out loud about the ROCKET HIDEOUT in the CELADON GAMES CORNER. Then when you get there, you can get close to them, and they'll talk out loud about the HIDDEN HIDEOUT with the SWITCH BEHIND THE POSTER Also, the gym requirement thing is just dumb. The fact that the game requires you to have a grass/water-type to fight Brock or have a Pokémon at least level 45 before fighting Sabrina is insane, and makes it nearly impossible to lose. And Koga's requirement of catching 50 unique Pokémon is uniquely cruel in a game where there's only 150-ish Pokémon available, especially to people like me who just like to capture a core team and stop catching unique Pokémon Even besides those, the catching mechanic was broken. Seriously, it was terrible. I had to throw the ball at a 90-degree angle to throw the ball at a target just a little off to the side. One time, I tossed the controller upwards to throw the ball, and it was a perfect throw. Uggghh, I don't even wanna talk about my experience, I just want to complain. So whatever, I'm moving on, no notes this time The team I used: Eevee, Victreebel, Mr. Mime, Rhydon, Starmie, Magmar
I'll admit, I enjoyed this game more than I thought I would. Maybe it's just because it WASN'T Let's Go, or because it was so easy to grind up levels with wild area candies. Either way, this was my second-fastest game played, clocking in at exactly 20 hours played. If I devoted myself to it, I could've beaten this in two days. But since I've got nothing much else to talk about, I'd like to discuss the stories of these games. Because I think I've found the perfect metaphor for these "Poképlots." It's like there's a good story somewhere in there, but half of it we're told to stay out of because we're not adults, and the other half of the plot was ripped out of a better story and painstakingly refitted into the Poképlot format. And if you're wondering why I'm talking so much about the stories, it's because that's the only thing meaningfully different about these games at this point Alright, one last set of notes:
I hate Eternatus' design. Like, I understand that it's supposed to be like an unknowable alien creature, but it's so alien and incoherant that it's just a meaningless skeleton. I know it's supposed to be the bow to Zacian and Zamazenta's sword and shield, but it just doesn't work. It looks like something ripped out of a different JRPG. Even its name sounds out of place
Also the Eternamax fight is pointless, it should've just been a cutscene. Zacian and Zamazenta are the only ones who can do meaningful damage, me and Hop are just pointless additions
I think I've discovered the telltale sign for a pokemon antagonist. They show up for no logical reason in the early game, talk some exposition at you without any real interaction, then walk away
The thing that infuriates me most about this game is that for some unholy reason, some goddamn Burger King has some long-lost tapestry about ancient legend. Seriously, imagine going into a Five Guys, and seeing the Venus de Milo on top of some grill. WHAT THE FUCK. HOW ARE WE THE FIRST ONES TO NOTICE THIS???
The team I used: Inteleon, Boltund, Tsareena, Centiskorch, Perrserker, Grimmsnarl
So I ended up completing my challenge, but what was the point of this whole thing? Well, I wanted to try and revive my love for the Pokémon franchise, since the past few games have really burned me out on the series. So, did I accomplish that? Yeah! Despite all the hard times and frustrating moments, this was actually really fun. I feel like I should hate Pokémon now, since I've literally spent the last month and a half doing nothing but playing the games, but no. I came out of this whole challenge with a greater enjoyment of the series and a few new favorite Pokémon. So... mission accomplished! Although I don't think I'm gonna play any Pokémon games until the Sinnoh remakes come out (whenever that happens). I'm not burned out, but I think I need some time away at this point So... that's it. I'm done. It's over. Feels free to reply about how right/wrong I am with my opinions. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk EDIT: I'm glad this blew up, all the discussions I've been having have been super interesting, especially since we're talking about literally any Pokémon game right now. Thanks for making this post so incredible with your replies, guys. I'm happy my experiment was so interesting to read about
Plain english warning about CFD trading, just something I wish someone had told me
tl;dr - trading CFD's is the equivalent of drag racing your drunk mate down the freeway into oncoming traffic. No self respecting adult would bother with them, CFD's are for cocaine-snorting thrill-seeking morons (like me apparently) who have no respect for risk management. Don't gamble with your savings. What are CFDs CFD's are 'Contracts for Difference'. Very simply, if you have a trading account with the right permissions you can trade in CFD's. Why are they dangerous Because say you trade $250, on a normal trade (ie stocks etc) if the price falls by 10% you lose $25, which sucks but isn't world ending. CFD's are NOT like that - they are 'leveraged' which just means that if you put up $50 your exposure is many many many many times larger than that EXAMPLE You buy 50 contracts on a stock that is trading at $100 a share.The stock then drops $10 in value.Your exposure is (50 * 100) = $5,000 BUT because your 'margin' is only 5% of that, the initial amount you put up is a mere $250. So to illustrate: Stock Trading Initial Investment - $250 Value drop - 10% Loss - $25 CFD Trading Initial investment - $250 Value drop - 10% Loss - $5,000 Closing remarks These things are illegal in the US for a good reason. CFD's are for suckers, don't listen to anything that you hear to the contrary. EU regulators say that 76% of CFD accounts lose money. Let me say that again, 76% of these things lose $&*#ing money. If the odds at the casino were 1:4 there is no fkn way anybody would go. When you trade CFD's you are essentially just gambling but with WAY WAY worse odds.Cited: https://www.iexpats.com/76-of-cfd-traders-lose-money-on-their-deals/ You can't make long investments with CFD's, they aren't a long-term strategy and they are not part of ANY investment strategy with a reasonable risk profile. Please don't make the mistake I did and get sucked into trading them, it's stressful as hell and it is pure bravado driven bullshit. Stay safe out there folks, times are nuts Edit 1: Formatting got stuffed up
I have a post that I explained how in etoro you don’t own the stock what so ever but u just own a cfd contract even if you don’t use margin In this post I’ll explain a little bit about how etoro pays dividends on your stocks even tho you don’t own them and the dangers of trading on this kind of brokers “””””””””””””””””””” As I said in one of my replay , the underlying asset is a cfd contract (cfd contracts are decaying assets ) , a cfd contract doesn’t grant you any ownership over the real stock. Let me explain again . In one of the legit brokers I use , they have this program that if you subscribe in , you give the broker the permission to lend the stocks in your portfolio to other traders who want to short sell the stock , like I have 5 apple stocks in my portfolio, if I’m signed up to the lending programme in this legit broker , then they can take my 5 apple stocks and lend them to someone who wants to short sell them . 1 - by law I’m not paid dividends on those stocks that they borrowed from me , but the borrower is paid the dividend cause he is the owner now as long as he is borrowing my stocks . 2- said broker will pay me 50% of the interest that he charges the short seller 3- the broker will still give me my dividends equivalent but in a form of capital gain ( etoro does pay u dividends equivalent from the commission that he charges on his platform , but not real dividends, ) This might sound complicated but again this is way a broker like etoro can tell their clients that they are buying the asset which in-fact they are not , it is legal but it is a form of word play , the real danger is if etoro goes bankrupt or for any reason doesn’t wna does his part of cfd contract deal then they tottaly can , they don’t do it upfront , but they can halt trading on a certain stock , just an example , a real legit broker will never halt trading on a stock unless the exchange itself halt trading and no one in the world can buy the stock , in etoro you will find that you can’t sell a certain position or open one , while at the same time other traders on other platforms are happily buying the same stock and selling it , this is one form of etoro saying “ I don’t want to keep up to my words that and exercise the cfd contract “ Somethings I said are a bit complicated but etoro banks on the low experience and innocency of their clients . They actually blocked a popular investor called “harshsmith” because he was allegedly scalping stocks , and he have 2k copiers , so every 1000$ he made is 2 million $ that etoro had to pay to all his copiers , they might not allow scalping and that’s their law but keep in mind , if they are a legit broker they would be happily letting him scalp cause he and his 2k copiers are paying commission, and commission is how they make their profit as they say (big lie , they make it from your losses ) , then why block and profitable popular investor with a lot of copiers paying commission? Cause they are paying him his profit from their pocket and not the real market , I don’t mind them having their own non scalping law , but why have it if your legit ?! More scalping is more commission for the broker right ? Unless it is not a legit broker such as etoro Hope this helps
The NBA league office announced that all awards will be officially based on play PRIOR to the bubble. With that, the cases are locked, the campaigns are closed, and the voting will begin. While the media may focus on the MVP award and other prestigious honors, reddit has the distinct honor of awarding the LVP. The LEAST Valuable Player. It's a tradition that dates back to 2016-17, when aging Indiana SG Monta Ellis won the inaugural trophy and then promptly disappeared from the NBA forever. In 2017-18, Minnesota SG Jamal Crawford won the (dis)honor with some incredibly bad defensive numbers. Last season, New Orleans SF Solomon Hill won LVP by helping to sink a drowning team and accelerating Anthony Davis' decision to fly the coop. Before we announce this year's winner, let's review the criteria and caveats: --- Obviously, the worst players in the league are the ones who sit at the end of the bench and don't get any playing time. However, this award focuses on players who log a decent amount of minutes and consequently affected their team's play the most. Simply put: the more you play, the more damage you can do. --- And that actual "damage" is important. If you're on a tanking team, no one cares about your poor play; it may even be a positive. I'm also ignoring young players (under 21) who are still developing and can't be expected to be solid players yet. --- Similarly, we don't want to judge players within the context of their salary any more than the actual MVP does. We also do not weigh in injuries either. For example, the Wizards would have a hard time competing with John Wall on the sidelines (0 games played, $32M in salary), but we want to focus on players' on-court performance instead.
PG Mike Conley, Utah: 28.6 minutes per game, -0.80 RPM We're using Mike Conley to reiterate that the LVP does NOT factor salary into the equation any more than the MVP does. But if it did, Mike Conley and his $33M salary may be in trouble. It was a disastrous start to the season for Conley. Playing in a new role as a second fiddle to another guard, he could never find his groove. His assists plummeted (down to 4.3 per game), his free-throw attempts cut in half (from 5.8 to 2.9), and he only shot 42.9% from two-point range. That said, he still shot pretty well from 3 (37.6%) and played OK defense, keeping him off our official ballot. SF Miles Bridges, Charlotte: 30.7 minutes per game, -2.68 RPM Like Mike Conley, Miles Bridges seems like a great guy whom you'd hate to criticize. Alas, that's our exercise here. Caught in between positions, Bridges hasn't been able to figure out his rhythm on offense in the NBA either. He hasn't shot well (33% from three, 48.6% from two) and doesn't get to the line enough (2.0 FTA) to make up for it. The advanced stats get even worse from there (although to be fair, they get dragged down by playing in a bad starting lineup.) Fortunately for him, Bridges is spared by his youth. At 22, he's technically over our "21 year old" threshold, but it still feels unfair to pick on his growing pains as a sophomore. Perhaps in time, he can find a role that can take advantage of his athleticism and talent. But be warned: the clock is ticking. We're taking the kid gloves off soon. Bridges and fellow analytics-allergic Kevin Knox (-7.7 RPM!) will be entering Year 3 next season and will need to step their games up to avoid LVP discussion. SF Kyle Kuzma, L.A. Lakers: 24.6 minutes per game, -0.74 RPM Kyle Kuzma can score if need be, but his skill set never made him a natural fit to play third banana to superstars like LeBron James and Anthony Davis. He's not a 3+D player -- he's more of a no-3 (30% this year) no-D player. At the same time, the LVP is about negative impact, and it's hard to find much of consequence here. After all, the Lakers still finished with the # 1 record in the West. Kuzma struggling to find his way is like a tree falling in the woods or a person farting in an empty elevator – ultimately it didn't matter. SF Andre Iguodala, Memphis/Miami It feels like ancient history now, but this past offseason, the Memphis Grizzlies acquired Andre Iguodala in a trade (under the presumption he may be dealt again.) According to official reports, Iguodala and the Grizzlies MUTUALLY decided that he wouldn't play for Memphis and wouldn't even report to the team in the meantime. Okay. Fine. We'll go along with that. Still, that situation leaves a sour taste in the LVP headquarters. Memphis turned out to be better than expected, and could have used an extra rotational player. And even if Iguodala wouldn't have helped much on the court, he could have been a valuable mentor for their young kids. That's the least you can expect for a nice $15M in salary.
our official top 5 LVP ballot
(5) PF Anthony Tolliver (POR, SAC, MEM): 15.6 minutes per game, -3.60 RPM I've always had a soft spot for the wise ol' owl, Anthony Tolliver. He's reportedly a great teammate and locker room presence. He also started to develop into an effective stretch four towards the end of this career. But alas, the end of his career may have snuck up on us sooner than we expected. Tolliver disappointed for Minnesota last season, and completely flopped in his return to Portland. At age 34, he doesn't seem to be a viable rotation player anymore. He didn't play quite enough to merit LVP, but he still played more than he should have. There's a chance Tolliver comes back next year to serve as a veteran mentor and pseudo-assistant coach somewhere, but it's more likely that he retires. If he does, he'll have played for 10 different franchises in his not-so-illustrious but very respectable career. (4) SG Bryn Forbes, San Antonio: 25.1 minutes per game, -0.95 RPM The NBA is all about shooting these days, and Bryn Forbes can shoot. He's hit an even 40.0% from three during his NBA career so far, and wasn't too far removed from that this season with 38.8% on 6.0 attempts per game. As a result, his true shooting percentage (57%) was above average. The Spurs lacked spacers, and Forbes fit that bill. So what's the problem...? Turns out, basketball is more than a halfcourt game. And whenever the ball crosses that pesky midcourt line, Bryn Forbes starts to become a liability. At only 6'3", Forbes is undersized to play the SG position, which is where the Spurs played him 74% of the time (according to basketball-reference.) Partly due to those athletic limitations, he only registered 0.5 steals per game, and blocked a grand total of 0 shots in his 1579 minutes of action. The advanced stats get ugly; Forbes ranks near the bottom at his position in DRPM, DBPM, all the alphabet formulas that you can cook up. At the end of the day, LVP is about negative impact, and there's plenty here. Forbes is not a bad player in a vacuum, but he did not help the Spurs this year. In fact, their undersized lineup is a big reason why they're struggling so much on defense (25th in the NBA). As a direct result, they're on track to miss the playoffs for the first time in decades. (3) SF Mario Hezonja, Portland: 16.3 minutes per game, -2.79 RPM During the entire run of the Damian Lillard - C.J. McCollum era, Portland has struggled to figure out their wing rotation. That would be tested even more this season, with familiar faces like Moe Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Evan Turner slipping out the door. The trials and tribulations kept coming like Damian Lillard was Job, as injuries ravaged the Blazers' new depth chart. The team didn't need a star to emerge at forward -- but they needed somebody. Anybody. In theory, that player should have been Mario Hezonja, a former lottery pick and a live body with good athleticism and size at 6'8". Signed this summer for a modest price ($1.7M), Hezonja had the chance to jumpstart his NBA career with a major opportunity on the team. Instead, he flopped like Marcus Smart taking a phantom elbow. Hezonja's biggest problem is that, at age 25, he still hasn't found his feel on the court. He's not a good shooter (32.8% from three), and doesn't use his athleticism to find his way to the line (1.1 attempts per game.) He was a non-factor (5 PPG, 3 RPG) on a team that desperately needed him to step up. In fact, the Blazers were so desperate for help that they not only signed Carmelo Anthony, but they played him over 32 minutes a game. Again, we see a real "LVP" candidacy here with a direct effect on the standings. The Blazers' getting a big fat nothing from Hezonja was a major part of their struggle to get to .500 this season. (2) C Dewayne Dedmon, SAC/ATL: 17.6 minutes per game, -2.51 RPM We're not supposed to factor in salaries into this equation, but Dewayne Dedmon's situation merits a mention for context. The Sacramento Kings signed the big man to a head-scratching 3-year, $40M deal this summer (seriously.) Clearly, GM Vlade Divac thought his young Kings were only a few veterans away from making the playoffs, bringing in (and over-paying) Dedmon, Cory Joseph, and Trevor Ariza. Among the three, Dedmon turned out to be the most disappointing for several reasons. He didn't play well to start the season, and got usurped in the rotation by underrated Richaun Holmes. Rather than suck it up, take a deep breath, and take a relaxing dive in his new Scrooge McDuck money pool, Dedmon started to whine and complain and push for a trade. For a team that was struggling, Dedmon's headache became the last thing they needed. Ultimately, they ditched him back to where he came from in Atlanta. Now, being difficult and being a prima donna isn't enough to get you LVP honors. You have to stink on the court as well. And sure enough, Dedmon started to check those boxes. Billed as a stretch five after hitting some threes in Atlanta, Dedmon lost his shot in the SMF airport baggage claim. He shot only 19.7% from three for the Kings, registering a 47.3% true shooting percentage on the season. His defense is OK, but it's not good enough make up for his poor offensive play. He's not bad enough to get LVP, but he hurt his team this year. (1) PG Isaiah Thomas, Washington: 23.1 minutes per game, -2.75 RPM We've awarded three LVP trophies in the past, and a familiar pattern is starting to emerge. The most dangerous players aren't necessarily the bad players; they're the players who used to be good. Because of their prior success, they tend to get overplayed by their coaches and drag their teams down with them. It wasn't too long ago that Isaiah Thomas found himself in the MVP conversation for the Boston Celtics, as his incredible shotmaking helped make up for any defensive limitations he may have as a 5'9" player. That said, a small player like Thomas is always going to have a thin margin for error to remain a winning player. He needs to be GREAT offensively to make up for his defense. Unfortunately, his offense has not been great since his infamous injury. He can still make shots (hitting 41.3% of his threes), but he's not getting inside the paint and not getting to the free-throw line (1.9 attempts per game.) As a result, his true-shooting percentage lagged to 53.1%, well below league average. If Isaiah Thomas isn't making scoring efficiently, then what is he doing to help a team win? He's not a great distributor (3.7 assists per game.) He's a very poor rebounder (1.7 per game.) And yes, that defense is still a major problem. According to ESPN's RPM metric, Thomas graded as a -4.2 impact per 100 possessions, the second worst in the league at PG after Trae Young. Basketball-reference lists his "defensive rating" at 121. For comparison's sake, the worst team defense in the league still held teams under 116. (That worst team? The Wizards.) You can make an argument that there's still a place for Thomas in the NBA as a sparkplug scorer off the bench. Alas, that's not how the Wizards had been using him this season. He started 37 of 40 games for the team. Largely as a result of that, the Wizards' starting lineup was atrocious defensively. Fellow starters like Bradley Beal and Rui Hachimura ranked toward the bottom of their position in defensive metrics as well. When your lineup stinks defensively, a good coach may look in the mirror and say: hey, maybe we need a change here. Sadly, quick reactions are not Scottie Brooks' strong suit. He has the type of sloth-like speed that even frustrate workers at the DMV. The Wizards eventually dumped IT, but it took far too long to make that shift. To be fair, the Wizards' options at point guard were limited with John Wall injured. Veteran Ish Smith is mediocre right now, and Shabazz Napier arrived late in the season. Still, the point here is: almost any competent point guard (like a Napier) would have helped the Wizards more than Isaiah Thomas. He had become a negative for them. The cold hard truth is that: it's very difficult to win basketball games with Thomas starting. And given that, he is our official LVP.
Margin Isn't Dangerous & Why I'd Still Use It If I Had Less Than $25,000
Cash vs. Margin
TL;DR- Use Margin if you're trading securities and either above or below 25k. If you know how to size positions, it won't matter if you move $4,000 into a trade or $4,000,000. As long as you sized the position correctly. If you're limited to 3 trades, then take 3 PERFECT trades: https://imgur.com/a/SpPOERQ I see lots of people discussing contrasting ideas although they attempt to justify using both. Here are some things I see said and written frequently from people that doesn't add up for me:
"Use a cash account to avoid PDT" - (Totally fine, in some cases such as certain options traders. Not if you're trading securities.)
"Risk 1% of your account" - (So if your account is at $25,500, I risk ~$255 and if I lose 2R I'm below PDT. Doesn't sound too great to me if I were to lose the first 2 straight trades.)
"Margin is a double-edged sword" - (It's only dangerous if you don't set hard stops or size your positions correctly.)
"Never take on a trade that is worth more than your account" - (I can agree if you were swing trading but in terms of IntraDay trading, this is hindering your ability to grow your account. If you're risking $100 on a trade that costs less than your account value.. then $25 on a trade because of your account value.. then you're adding unneeded variables. Remember: "Consistency.")
If I were to go back to when I was below $25,000 some years ago. I'd still use a margin account while being limited to 3 trades per week. Here's why:
Formulas you have to know: Position size formula = Risk ÷ Stop Size Stop Size Formula = Entry - StopLoss
Stock ABC, Entry = $10.00 StopLoss = $9.90 StopSize = 10¢ Risk = $100 In Live Trading: $100 ÷ $0.10 = 1000 Shares 1,000 shares at $10.00 = $10,000 position
Stock XYZ, Entry = $385 StopLoss = $383.00 StopSize = $2.00 Risk = $100 In Live Trading: $100 ÷ $2.00 = 50 Shares 50 shares at $385 = $19,250 position. *$10,000 CASH account: CANNOT trade Stock XYZ and must wait 3 days for his entire account to settle after trading Stock ABC. If it was a margin account, they'd still be able to take 2 more trades this week. *$10,000 MARGIN account: CAN trade Stock XYZ and can trade both scenarios while still able to trade 1 more time in a 5 day rolling period.
Then the next point made is, "Just won't trade anything above $20".
Ok. great rebuttal, but why? Let's remember this: StopSizes aren't always directly correlated to the price of a stock. YES you're more likely to have a wider StopSize on a higher priced stock and a tighter StopSize on a lower priced stock. But remember this: 1¢ of slippage on 1,000 shares is 10% of his risk ($10)... It will be even more slippage if his stop loss market order is hit. Even a Sell-StopLimit order will have slippage within the amount you allow for when you enter a position. Stock XYZ would have to be slipped 20¢ just to equate the amount of slippage on Stock ABC.Highly liquid and available stocks such as AAPL, AMD, NVDA etc don't have 20¢ spreads. Not even 10¢. Rarely 5¢. Most of the time. Just a couple cents. Of course there could be more right out of the open but the spread in my years of experience is tightened within 2 minutes of the open. Yes, these small amounts in pennies do hold lots of merit if you're looking at having any longevity in this business, it WILL add up over the years.
Both trades have the same risk [in perfect world theory].
If both stop market orders were hit (StopLoss). Both traders would exit with a $100 loss on each. Although 1 trade required $10,000 in capital and the other trade required $19,250 in capital. Use margin. If I had to go back to when I had less than $25,000 in my account, I'd still do it the same way I did it with margin. I highly suggest using margin even if you’re limited to 3 trades per week. I get asked all the time when I began trading. If you watched my last video, I showed my first ever deposit with Scottrade (Old brokerage that was bought out by TDA a few years ago) in 2015 although I don't consider that's when I started trading because I didn't treat it the way I do today. I really consider myself starting as a trader in 2017 when I: •Wrote a business plan •Understood statistics •How to research. All this being said, slowly over time I noticed that I am taking less and less trades and increasing my risk size. Why? EV: Expected Value. - Margin has zero negative effect if you're sizing your positions the same every time. Margin allows you to take on more expensive positions that are showing your edge. Bonus: Being limited to 3 trades a week isn't fun, I remember that feeling from years ago. Just remember to take 3 perfect trades a week. Sometimes "Perfect Trades" don't work out in your favor while some subpar situations hit target. Some weeks you might take your 3 "Perfect Trades" by Tuesday. Some weeks you might take only 1 "perfect trade". If you follow my watchlists on Twitter (Same handle as my Reddit), I keep my Day Trading Buying Power transparent. Not always is it growing perfectly linear. And not always am I posting every single day because sometimes, my edge isn't there. Just because the market is open doesn't mean you HAVE to trade. My watchlists aren't littered with 15+ tickers. Rarely do they have more than 7. That may work for other traders, but for me, I demand quality. It's either there or it isn't. No reason to force a trade. I'd rather focus heavily on a few tickers rather than spread myself thin across multiple. Trading isn't supposed to be exhilarating or an adrenaline rush. It can be boring. I said that in the post I wrote back in April. Also if you make money, even if its just $20 in a month. Take that money out and buy something. Shrine it. Cherish it. You ripped that money out of WallStreet. Be proud of it. It takes a lot of courage to do this business. Realize that the P/L is real money. Sometimes even just buying a tank of gas or a book will help you realize that. Spend it from time to time. Get something out of your trading account. You may or not be trading for long, get something that is tangible to always remember the experience in case you don't last. Make it your trophy. That's all I've got for right now. Maybe I'll make another post or 2 before the year ends. I hit my 1 year full-time mark in September. Best wishes! -CJT2013
Leveraged ETFs aren't the best thing since sliced bread.
Recently I've seen a lot of discussion about how high leverage is the way to gain tons and tons of money and I'd like to push back against that a bit. Firstly before we begin see here: https://imgur.com/a/e2XMgT7 . This is a graph of GUSH, a 2x levered crude oil ETF. I've left out 2020 since there have been weird happenings and I don't want to base my arguments on specific events (its lost over 90% of its value since the end of the graph) but you can still see the precipitous drop over the 4 years, going from 80k to just under 1k even though oil itself didn't make any drastic changes in its price over the time period in the graph (the scale on the graph is logarithmic). This alone should be enough to send alarm bells ringing, how is it possible this ETF lost nearly 99% of its value when Crude Oil hardly shifted over the 4 year period? Yes, levered ETFs can be good to make a lot of money in a short period of time if you have reason to believe that a big market move is imminent, however they should absolutely not be held over long periods of time and unless you are active in the markets on a daily basis you should stay well clear of them. Furthermore the graph above was for a 2x levered ETF, not like a 10x leverage like there was some discussion about recently. There is a reason you can't just just go and buy arbitrary leveraged stuff (and no it is not to do with margin requirement, but instead the regulators forbid this for good reasons). Why is that the case? Lets do an example with Crude Oil. Suppose you have a Crude Oil 2x ETF with $1 billion in total assets and oil is trading at $100 a barrel. To maintain your 2x leverage you need to borrow $1 billion and buy $2 billion of oil. Firstly you have to pay interest on what you borrowed, but that is tiny these days and we will ignore it. Now you have $2 billion of oil, $1 billion of equity and $1 billion of debt. Suppose the next day oil goes up to $150 a barrel (a huge move, but bear with me). Now you have $3 billion of oil which corresponds to $2 billion of equity and $1 billion of debt. So oil has gone up 50% and your equity has increased 100%, so far so good, the ETF is doing what it is supposed to be. However now there is a problem, you have $2 billion of equity but only $3 billion of oil and so you are no longer 2x leveraged (to see this note that if oil goes up 50% again the equity won't double). To maintain your leverage you need to go off and borrow $1 billion more and buy more oil. Now you have $4 billion of oil and $2 billion each of equity and debt. Now suppose the price of oil goes back to $100 a barrel the next day. Now you have $2.66 billion dollars of oil and still have $2 billion of debt. So you only have $0.66 billion dollars of equity left. (Re leveraging properly will leave you with $1.22 billion dollars of oil and $0.66 billion dollars of debt). Note that over the course of these two days the price of oil is net unchanged, it started 100 and ended 100, however your 2x leveraged ETF has lost 33% of its value while a 1x leveraged ETF would still be worth the same today as it was 2 days ago. Obviously these changes are extreme but even the normal daily variance in oil price over a long period of time will destroy the value of this ETF through rebalancing, which is exactly what happened to GUSH, those 1% up 1% down days do really add up and so holding this ETF over a long period of time is just asking for your money to get destroyed since normal daily variance is a constant factor of how markets behave. You can see the effects over just 4 years with your own eyes. So, as they say with everything else, but I would add specifically for leveraged ETFs: Caveat Emptor.
What has Trump actually done? I've done some research...
A little about myself: I have always been a right-leaning financially conservative liberal. Meaning I'm all for newer technologies. I want solar energy, electric cars, auto-driving technologies (Love Musk). I do care about our environment. I do believe LGBT relationships/marriage is awesome. I'm all for Black people having their fair style of policing as well. I hate Nazis, hate Communists, hate racism, sexism, abuse, etc. I hate hate. I love LOVE! I want our government to be LESS controlling and want less taxes. I do NOT believe we should be handing out welfare checks unless IF needed (you just lost a job, sure). If you are sitting on welfare for 10 years....that becomes a problem. I look at BOTH SIDES. I've signed up for newsletters/emails/facebook/twitter groups from both sides. However I've seen that the left has become a socialist groupthink mindset, for example omitting the word God in a few speeches....It's not a BIG deal but small unnoticed details may lead to big overhauls. The censorships of channels, the media attacking conservatives, people getting fired for just having a different political opinion...are you kidding me?? The media turning a blind eye to destruction yet talk about Coronavirus numbers and criminals that are resisting arrest get shot as the cop's fault...however we do need more police training. Cops are aggressive here (I do agree with my liberal friends on that). The double standard: letting people protest for BLM but when the Conservatives tried to protest to go back to work, at the beginning in March/April, they were at fault. Or how CA Gov Newsom stated "You're allowed to protest, but not allowed to have social gatherings"....isn't a protest a type of social gathering. I don't like to be biased, but holy crap how much I've found what Trump has done for the past 3.5 years is insane!! My point is I look at both sides for politics. Anyways, I decided to do a full day's work with the help of some people to compile a list:
Trump recently signed 3 bills to benefit Native people. One gives compensation to the Spokane tribe for loss of their lands in the mid-1900s, one funds Native language programs, and the third gives federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians in Montana.
Trump finalized the creation of Space Force as our 6th Military branch.
Trump signed a law to make cruelty to animals a federal felony so that animal abusers face tougher consequences.
Violent crime has fallen every year he’s been in office after rising during the 2 years before he was elected.
Trump signed a bill making CBD and Hemp legal.
Trump’s EPA gave $100 million to fix the water infrastructure problem in Flint, Michigan.
Under Trump’s leadership, in 2018 the U.S. surpassed Russia and Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest producer of crude oil.
Trump signed a law ending the gag orders on Pharmacists that prevented them from sharing money-saving information.
Trump signed the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” (FOSTA), which includes the “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act” (SESTA) which both give law enforcement and victims new tools to fight sex trafficking.
Trump signed a bill to require airports to provide spaces for breastfeeding Moms.
The 25% lowest-paid Americans enjoyed a 4.5% income boost in November 2019, which outpaces a 2.9% gain in earnings for the country's highest-paid workers.
Low-wage workers are benefiting from higher minimum wages and from corporations that are increasing entry-level pay.
Trump signed the biggest wilderness protection & conservation bill in a decade and designated 375,000 acres as protected land.
Trump signed the Save our Seas Act which funds $10 million per year to clean tons of plastic & garbage from the ocean.
He signed a bill this year allowing some drug imports from Canada so that prescription prices would go down.
Trump signed an executive order this year that forces all healthcare providers to disclose the cost of their services so that Americans can comparison shop and know how much less providers charge insurance companies.
When signing that bill he said no American should be blindsided by bills for medical services they never agreed to in advance.
Hospitals will now be required to post their standard charges for services, which include the discounted price a hospital is willing to accept.
In the eight years prior to President Trump’s inauguration, prescription drug prices increased by an average of 3.6% per year. Under Trump, drug prices have seen year-over-year declines in nine of the last ten months, with a 1.1% drop as of the most recent month.
He created a White House VA Hotline to help veterans and principally staffed it with veterans and direct family members of veterans.
VA employees are being held accountable for poor performance, with more than 4,000 VA employees removed, demoted, and suspended so far.
Issued an executive order requiring the Secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs to submit a joint plan to provide veterans access to access to mental health treatment as they transition to civilian life.
Because of a bill signed and championed by Trump, In 2020, most federal employees will see their pay increase by an average of 3.1% — the largest raise in more than 10 years.
Trump signed into a law up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave for millions of federal workers.
Trump administration will provide HIV prevention drugs for free to 200,000 uninsured patients per year for 11 years.
All-time record sales during the 2019 holidays.
Trump signed an order allowing small businesses to group together when buying insurance to get a better price
President Trump signed the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act that provides funding for states to develop maternal mortality reviews to better understand maternal complications and identify solutions & largely focuses on reducing the higher mortality rates for Black Americans.
In 2018, President Trump signed the groundbreaking First Step Act, a criminal justice bill which enacted reforms that make our justice system fairer and help former inmates successfully return to society.
The First Step Act’s reforms addressed inequities in sentencing laws that disproportionately harmed Black Americans and reformed mandatory minimums that created unfair outcomes.
The First Step Act expanded judicial discretion in sentencing of non-violent crimes.
Over 90% of those benefitting from the retroactive sentencing reductions in the First Step Act are Black Americans.
The First Step Act provides rehabilitative programs to inmates, helping them successfully rejoin society and not return to crime.
Trump increased funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by more than 14%.
Trump signed legislation forgiving Hurricane Katrina debt that threatened HBCUs.
New single-family home sales are up 31.6% in October 2019 compared to just one year ago.
Made HBCUs a priority by creating the position of executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs.
Trump received the Bipartisan Justice Award at a historically black college for his criminal justice reform accomplishments.
The poverty rate fell to a 17-year low of 11.8% under the Trump administration as a result of a jobs-rich environment.
Poverty rates for African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans have reached their lowest levels since the U.S. began collecting such data.
President Trump signed a bill that creates five national monuments, expands several national parks, adds 1.3 million acres of wilderness, and permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Trump’s USDA committed $124 Million to rebuild rural water infrastructure.
Consumer confidence & small business confidence is at an all-time high.
More than 7 million jobs created since election.
More Americans are now employed than ever recorded before in our history.
More than 400,000 manufacturing jobs created since his election.
Trump appointed 5 openly gay ambassadors.
Trump ordered Ric Grenell, his openly gay ambassador to Germany, to lead a global initiative to decriminalize homosexuality across the globe.
Through Trump’s Anti-Trafficking Coordination Team (ACTeam) initiative, Federal law enforcement more than doubled convictions of human traffickers and increased the number of defendants charged by 75% in ACTeam districts.
In 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) dismantled an organization that was the internet’s leading source of prostitution-related advertisements resulting in sex trafficking.
Trump’s OMB published new anti-trafficking guidance for government procurement officials to more effectively combat human trafficking.
Trump’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations arrested 1,588 criminals associated with Human Trafficking.
Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services provided funding to support the National Human Trafficking Hotline to identify perpetrators and give victims the help they need.
The hotline identified 16,862 potential human trafficking cases.
Trump’s DOJ provided grants to organizations that support human trafficking victims – serving nearly 9,000 cases from July 1, 2017, to June 30, 2018.
The Department of Homeland Security has hired more victim assistance specialists, helping victims get resources and support.
President Trump has called on Congress to pass school choice legislation so that no child is trapped in a failing school because of his or her zip code.
The President signed funding legislation in September 2018 that increased funding for school choice by $42 million.
The tax cuts signed into law by President Trump promote school choice by allowing families to use 529 college savings plans for elementary and secondary education.
Under his leadership ISIS has lost most of their territory and been largely dismantled.
ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was killed.
Signed the first Perkins CTE reauthorization since 2006, authorizing more than $1 billion for states each year to fund vocational and career education programs.
Executive order expanding apprenticeship opportunities for students and workers.
Trump issued an Executive Order prohibiting the U.S. government from discriminating against Christians or punishing expressions of faith.
Signed an executive order that allows the government to withhold money from college campuses deemed to be anti-Semitic and who fail to combat anti-Semitism.
President Trump ordered a halt to U.S. tax money going to international organizations that fund or perform abortions.
Trump imposed sanctions on the socialists in Venezuela who have killed their citizens.
Finalized new trade agreement with South Korea.
Made a deal with the European Union to increase U.S. energy exports to Europe.
Withdrew the U.S. from the job killing TPP deal.
Secured $250 billion in new trade and investment deals in China and $12 billion in Vietnam.
Okay’ d up to $12 billion in aid for farmers affected by unfair trade retaliation.
Has had over a dozen US hostages freed, including those Obama could not get freed.
Trump signed the Music Modernization Act, the biggest change to copyright law in decades.
Trump secured Billions that will fund the building of a wall at our southern border.
The Trump Administration is promoting second chance hiring to give former inmates the opportunity to live crime-free lives and find meaningful employment.
Trump’s DOJ and the Board Of Prisons launched a new “Ready to Work Initiative” to help connect employers directly with former prisoners.
President Trump’s historic tax cut legislation included new Opportunity Zone Incentives to promote investment in low-income communities across the country.
8,764 communities across the country have been designated as Opportunity Zones.
Opportunity Zones are expected to spur $100 billion in long-term private capital investment in economically distressed communities across the country.
Trump directed the Education Secretary to end Common Core.
Trump signed the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund into law.
Trump signed measure funding prevention programs for Veteran suicide.
Companies have brought back over a TRILLION dollars from overseas because of the TCJA bill that Trump signed.
Manufacturing jobs are growing at the fastest rate in more than 30 years.
Stock Market has reached record highs.
Median household income has hit highest level ever recorded.
African-American unemployment is at an all-time low.(was until Covid bullshit)
Hispanic-American unemployment is at an all-time low.
Asian-American unemployment is at an all-time low.
Women’s unemployment rate is at a 65-year low.
Youth unemployment is at a 50-year low.
We have the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded.
The Pledge to America’s Workers has resulted in employers committing to train more than 4 million Americans.
95 percent of U.S. manufacturers are optimistic about the future— the highest ever.
As a result of the Republican tax bill, small businesses will have the lowest top marginal tax rate in more than 80 years.
Record number of regulations eliminated that hurt small businesses.
Signed welfare reform requiring able-bodied adults who don’t have children to work or look for work if they’re on welfare.
Under Trump, the FDA approved more affordable generic drugs than ever before in history.
Reformed Medicare program to stop hospitals from overcharging low-income seniors on their drugs—saving seniors 100’s of millions of $$$ this year alone.
Signed Right-To-Try legislation allowing terminally ill patients to try experimental treatment that wasn’t allowed before.
Secured $6 billion in new funding to fight the opioid epidemic.
Signed VA Choice Act and VA Accountability Act, expanded VA telehealth services, walk-in-clinics, and same-day urgent primary and mental health care.
U.S. oil production recently reached all-time high so we are less dependent on oil from the Middle East.
The U.S. is a net natural gas exporter for the first time since 1957.
NATO allies increased their defense spending because of his pressure campaign.
Withdrew the United States from the job-killing Paris Climate Accord in 2017 and that same year the U.S. still led the world by having the largest reduction in Carbon emissions.
Has his circuit court judge nominees being confirmed faster than any other new administration.
Had his Supreme Court Justice’s Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh confirmed.
Moved U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
Agreed to a new trade deal with Mexico & Canada that will increase jobs here and $$$ coming in.
Reached a breakthrough agreement with the E.U. to increase U.S. exports.
Imposed tariffs on China in response to China’s forced technology transfer, intellectual property theft, and their chronically abusive trade practices, has agreed to a Part One trade deal with China.
Signed legislation to improve the National Suicide Hotline.
Signed the most comprehensive childhood cancer legislation ever into law, which will advance childhood cancer research and improve treatments.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law by Trump doubled the maximum amount of the child tax credit available to parents and lifted the income limits so more people could claim it.
It also created a new tax credit for other dependents.
In 2018, President Trump signed into law a $2.4 billion funding increase for the Child Care and Development Fund, providing a total of $8.1 billion to States to fund child care for low-income families.
The Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) signed into law by Trump provides a tax credit equal to 20-35% of child care expenses, $3,000 per child & $6,000 per family + Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) allow you to set aside up to $5,000 in pre-tax $ to use for child care.
In 2019 President Donald Trump signed the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support Act (CARES) into law which allocates $1.8 billion in funding over the next five years to help people with autism spectrum disorder and to help their families.
In 2019 President Trump signed into law two funding packages providing nearly $19 million in new funding for Lupus specific research and education programs, as well an additional $41.7 billion in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the most Lupus funding EVER.
Another upcoming accomplishment to add: In the next week or two Trump will be signing the first major anti-robocall law in decades called the TRACED Act (Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence.) Once it’s the law, the TRACED Act will extend the period of time the FCC has to catch & punish those who intentionally break telemarketing restrictions. The bill also requires voice service providers to develop a framework to verify calls are legitimate before they reach your phone.
Israel-UAE peace. More Muslim countries (Countries such as Oman, Morocco, Sudan, Lebanon) said they may follow. Last time Israel and a Muslim country normalized ties was 26 years ago.
US stock market continually hits all-time record highs.
Note: I would like to also add that this list will obviously be very similar to other lists if not the same, since these are facts and not really opinions. I may have missed some stuff or duplicated a few things. Sorry about that. Please let me know if you have anything to add. Thanks for reading!
The importance of crosshair placement, why you're doing it wrong, and how to fix it.
Valorant and the importance of crosshair placement.
Introduction Hey guys, I'm Twix, and I'm back with another informative post, this time concerning the aspect of crosshair placement. Through this post I will be discussing the importance of crosshair placement within the tac shooter genre, going over the most common mistakes I see people make in my experience as a coach, and offering structured routines to remedy the majority of these mistakes. If you haven't read through any of my posts before ( I wouldn't they're too long ) I am an FPS player which mainly played CS:GO competitively, with around 7k hours and multiple level 10 faceit accounts and LAN wins in the past 5 years, who transitioned towards the end of my CS:GO days into being an FPS coach, I mainly worked with people trying to gain a competitive edge in CS, but later moved to coaching Apex players, and following the closed beta release of Valorant, I have been coaching Valorant players for the past few months, with unanimously positive feedback. If you haven't read my first post which is a comprehensive general guide for players looking to improve in Valorant, I highly recommend you look at it here before continuing on to this post. In relation to other qualifications / achievements, I have hit top 30 as hitscan DPS in Overwatch, maintained top 500 ranking in Apex ( PC ) for a couple of seasons, and hold numerous 1% rankings on various Kovaak's FPS Aim Trainer maps. My main goal in creating these posts is to contribute to the Valorant community by sharing my knowledge gained over 10k collective hours of FPS experience ( mainly Tactical fps ) and hopefully help the people reading my posts improve and gain that competitive edge they need to progress into their desired ranking. For those of you interested in learning more about my coaching service, or looking for a community of Valorant players looking to improve, I will link my Discord server at the end of this post.
Why is crosshair placement important?
If I was asked about the importance of consistent crosshair placement in games such as PUBG, Apex, Overwatch, Fortnite, etc. I would probably answer by saying that while it's beneficial to maintain solid crosshair placement, it's by no means the most important aspect in relation to performing well in those games, in tactical shooters however, it's a whole different story. Tactical shooters are low TTK ( time to kill ) games, and for the most part, a single bullet to the head is enough to eliminate a player, this means that in contrast to AFPS games, or games like Overwatch or Apex, which have a much higher TTK, first shot accuracy is of extreme importance in Valorant, inevitably leading to the fact that crosshair placement is also extremely important. In a game with higher TTK, even if your first shot accuracy isn't perfect in an aim duel, you can win the fight if you land more shots on the opposing player over x amount of time that you trade with them, while in Valorant, whoever needs to make the least amount of adjustment to their crosshair when engaging in a 1v1 scenario wins the exchange. It doesn't matter if your raw aim is out of this world, even if you have the most precise flicks known to the FPS community, if your crosshair placement is sub-optimal, you will lose vs. someone with consistent crosshair placement, this is simply due to the fact that all they need to do, is click once your head moves into their crosshair, often without even needing to move their mouse. Crosshair placement may very well be the most important aspect in relation to gunplay and generally the mechanical aspect of tac shooters such as CS:GO or Valorant, as it's the deciding factor in the majority of aim duels.
A large amount of players tend to underestimate the importance of crosshair placement in Valorant, and especially the underlying complexity of maintaining consistency in that context. People think that all you need to do to maintain solid crosshair placement is aim high enough to hit headshots, meaning that the only factor that affects crosshair placement is vertical positioning, others still stick to making their main source of information on game improvement being players who make statements as un-informative and vague as "just click heads", my main goal is to break down and explain the multiple factors that go into proper crosshair placement. Lets start with the basics: Vertical Positioning: As mentioned above, one of the elements which ties into crosshair placement is vertical positioning. this is the set distance that you need to position your crosshair at in relation to the ground to be able to align your crosshair's horizontal axis with player model head-level. The good thing about vertical positioning, is that you can get accustomed to the head level that the player models have in Valorant quite rapidly, as the hitbox sizes in this game are identical, meaning you can always use the ground as a point of reference to determine where the enemy player's head would be. In Valorant, the head level always remains a set distance from the ground In order to train your general ability to place your crosshair at the correct height, try to make a habit out of constantly reminding yourself to place your crosshair at head level, regardless of where you are or what you're doing on the map. What I mean by this, is that even if there isn't any imminent threat of enemy players peeking you, try to keep constantly keep your crosshair at head level, the more time you spend doing this, the faster it will become a habit and become something you do subconsciously, without having to actively focus on the action. This habit allows you to build muscle-memory during otherwise useless down-time, another way to do this is to track your teammate's heads with your crosshair while rotating, leaving spawn etc. While vertical positioning is something that people get used to relatively easily, I have come across a recurring issue among the VODs of people I coach, and that is that people generally struggle with adapting the vertical component of their crosshair's position to varying points of elevation. Here's an image to help you visualize a scenario where this could be an issue: Peeking C Long, Positions marked: Cubby ( right ), Platform ( left ), back-site ( back ) In the image above I am peeking into C back-site from C long on the map 'Haven', I have highlighted three different positions / angles where an enemy could potentially peak from in an in-game reenactment of this scenario, Platform, Cubby, and back-site. What you'll notice is that these positions all have different points of elevation, meaning that while using the ground as reference will allow me to maintain my crosshair at head-level if someone peeks my position from ground level on C site, in order to clear cubby and platform, I would need to adjust my crosshair accordingly, using their lower levels as a reference for where the head-level position would be in those angles. Unfortunately, if you are struggling with this due to the fact that you aren't familiar with the map layout yet, the only thing that will remedy your situation is more time spent playing the game, if however, your issue stems from a mechanical inability, meaning that your mouse control isn't good enough to allow you to make such adjustments comfortably, the routine provided later in the guide may help you get past that issue. Horizontal Positioning: Just as with vertical positioning, horizontal positioning is pretty self-explanatory in terms of it's function. Knowing at what height to position your crosshair at in relation to the environment is far easier to do than knowing where to position it on a horizontal axis, the reasoning behind this is that with vertical placement you will always have the ground or lower level of the object the opponent is standing on as a point of reference which allows you to instantly know at what height head-level is. When focusing on the horizontal aspect of crosshair placement, there isn't a set point of reference at all times; Sometimes you need to hold wide angles, sometimes you need to move along with the object you're playing against, and sometimes you need to pre-aim to swing effectively, all this variability makes it much harder for a newer player to grasp crosshair placement and horizontal positioning is just as crucial as vertical positioning if not even more important. A very common mistake which I see a lot of in the VODs I review as a coach, is newer players holding angles too tightly, meaning that they're playing in a position where they anticipate an enemy push and are waiting for the engagement, and their crosshair is a position where it's hugging the edge of the wall the enemy will peek from. Here is a visual representation of what I'm talking about: Example of incorrect horizontal placement In the image above, I'm holding an angle where if someone crosses moving parallel to the wall I'm looking at, I'll have under 50 ms to react, my crosshair is so close to the edge of the wall that I will need to click my LMB the milli-second I see the enemy. By holding this angle, chances are that by the time I click the enemy will have already crossed to the left of my crosshair resulting in a miss and most likely my death; It would take inhuman reaction times for anyone to hit a player while holding like this, especially if the enemy player is swinging. Instead, you should allow some distance from your crosshair to the edge of the angle you're holding, allowing yourself to spot the enemy's player model, and then time your click effectively. Here is a visual representation of correct crosshair placement while holding the same angle: Example of correct horizontal placement As you can see, in the image above I am allowing for some space between the wall and my crosshair, giving me a significantly longer time window to spot an enemy player and react. Holding an angle that's too "tight" would mean I need to make a larger adjustment to hit the enemy, and therefore I increase my margin of error due to vertical overshoot ( see below ). There are exceptions to the rule when it comes to the distance you need to hold at, if the angle you are holding only allows forward movement ( into your crosshair ) you can hold a narrow line of sight. If you are clearing an angle ( moving along it to check for enemies ) and you are the agressor, you can hold tight and move along with the wall / LOS to allow for a faster reaction if you spot an enemy during your movement. If you are the agressor and you want to swing into an angle that you believe / know an enemy is holding, it is sometimes optimal to pre-aim, meaning you position your crosshair in a way where without moving your mouse it will be aimed at the enemy's head once you swing out the angle. Vertical Offset: The final common issue I would like to bring up which ties into both crosshair placement and horizontal click-timing, is something I call "vertical offset" or "vertical overshoot", this is a player's inability to move his crosshair horizontally while maintaining the same vertical placement. Vertical offset is a big issue when it comes to switching angles or flicking horizontally, I have seen many scenarios where a player is holding an angle properly with their crosshair at a pixel-perfect vertical position in relation to head level, only to make a 30 degree turn to check a different angle and end up shooting at an enemy's chest and losing the duel. Usually, the larger the movement, the more the player's crosshair deviates vertically. Here is a depiction of what vertical offset / overshooting looks like in-game: Example of margin of error caused by vertical offset / overshooting In the image above the green dot is where the crosshair should end up in an ideal scenario while flicking from it's current position to the target dummy, while the green lines represent a theoretical margin of error for overshooting. Fortunately for people that face this issue, I have come up with multiple Kovaak's maps and firing range excercises to help combat it and largely reduce your margin of error when moving your crosshair / flicking horizontally.
Settings: What sensitivity / crosshair should I use?
This part of the post discusses a topic which is highly subjective, both the sensitivity you use and the crosshair you use are something preference-based that you should decide upon on your own, the reason I'm adding this section into the post is for players which are newer to the tac-shooter genre; There are a few guidelines that will help them narrow down the settings that work the best for them. First off, don't by any means copy your favorite pro's config, just because something works for a professional player that has probably spent well above 10,000 hours playing FPS games and decided upon their ideal sensitivity and crosshair within that massive period of time, doesn't mean that it's going to work for you, use whatever you're most comfortable with. Other than individual preference, and having gotten used to their sensitivity, the Pros you watch may be using gear which feels different at their sensitivity setting. A lighter mouse, faster mouse-pad, and faster feet can feel very different in terms of mouse movement, even if you're playing on the same sensitivity value on paper. In relation to grip-styles and what mice are ideal for each hand size, make sure to check out my first post in this sub before moving forward with this guide, as playing on hardware that caters to your individual preferences plays an important role in increasing your mechanical potential. Sensitivity: As I stated in the paragraph above, sensitivity is something quite subjective and while there's no general rule as to which single sens value is superior, Valorant and CS:GO professionals tend to stick to e-dpi or cm/360 much lower than professional players in other titles and FPS subgenres. Your e-dpi is your in-game sensitivity value multiplied by your mouse's DPI setting. The average e-dpi used by Valorant professionals is around 250 e-dpi, which would be a value of 0.625 in-game @ 400 DPI, or around 50 cm/360. Pro player & Streamer sensitivity settings (e-dpi) cm/360 is a universal format for sensitivity measurement, it's the amount of centimeters you need to move your mouse in order to perform a full rotation. This is the format adopted within aimer communities due to the simple fact that you asking someone "what sensitivity do you play on?" And them responding with "1.5 in CSGO" is pretty useless information as they could be playing at any DPI range, and you don't necessarily know what each CSGO sens corresponds to in relation to physical movement, or even movement in other games. "e-dpi" solves the issue of different DPI x Sens measurements within the same game, but the cm/360 format is easily transferable from title to title. The reason professional players in the tac shooter genre use lower sens on average, is due to the fact that in contrast with other FPS games, tac shooters don't require larger or extended movements, instead they require you to hold or clear angles while maintaining stable crosshair placement, the least adjustments you need to make to your crosshair's position on your screen, the better your "aim" will be. The majority of players I have coached report that it has been significantly easier for them to maintain consistent crosshair placement at lower sensitivities. For newer players that still haven't found a "main" sensitivity that they feel comfortable on, I would recommend for them to stick to the range of 200-300 e-dpi, while for more experienced players coming from CS or other similar games, I would recommend a similar range with a higher cap, at 200-400 e-dpi ( very few professional players play above 300 e-dpi ). Crosshair settings: This is something even more subjective and preference-based than sensitivity even, so what I will do in this section is simply post my own settings which I use for my in-game crosshair, and explain why I picked each value within the menu. Crosshair Settings So, lets break my crosshair down setting by settings:
Color: I use "Cyan" as it stands out quite well for me with my current color settings, any color that doesn't match your enemy outline color works perfectly fine here.
Inner Line Opacity: This setting basically determines how see through your crosshair will be, I like setting mine at "1" as It makes the crosshair stand out more.
Inner Line Thickness: I set this to "1" which is the lowest value, a lot of professional players like to use "2", I think setting the value to "1" makes it easier to align your crosshair with heads or with other objects in the environment, it is also less obstructive, so I highly recommend either this or "2" to newer players
Inner Line Offset: This setting determines how large the gap is in your crosshair, I like setting this to "1" as the gap is as small as possible without disappearing, larger gaps make it more difficult to determine where the exact center of your screen is, which can act as a hnderance in your first shot accuracy at longer range engagements.
Movement & Firing Error: These settings just turn your crosshair into a dynamic crosshair and make the gap widen significantly while moving or shooting respectively in order to give you a visual representation of how the innacuracy factor works. Useless and distracting, would highly suggest that you keep these both off unless you're very new and still don't understand how movement / spray accuracy works.
Outer Lines: Everything is off here, I don't think playing with outer lines provides any benefit whatsoever and it's an extra distraction.
Crosshair Placement Improvement Routine:
A large portion of improving your crosshair placement is based on simply playing the game more, crosshair placement is largely based on muscle memory, part of having good crosshair placement is simply based on having experience in-game allowing it to become a subconscious habit, and the rest is based on your ability to anticipate player model movement and learn to make horizontal movements without simultaneously your crosshair vertically. The routine I will provide is not only a great way to work on your crosshair placement, but also highly beneficial to the click-timing aspect of your aim, which is basically the only element of aiming required in Valorant, as good tracking is unecessary in such a low TTK game. If you are already training using a daily routine on Kovaak's ( as you should be ) you can just implement this into your daily scenarios. Kovaaks: ( These are all maps which require you to make horizontal movements without overshooting vertically, thus good aim training for those struggling with crosshair placement, see my other posts for a larger variety of Kovaaks maps )
1 wall 2 targets horizontal - 10 minutes ( focus on your flicks, work on hitting both targets in the same movement, not pausing in between )
Valorant Small flicks - 10 minutes ( Great routine as head level is that of Valorant, and vertical deviation will cause you to miss, forcing you to maintain head level as you play through it )
PatTarget Switch small - 10 minutes ( Works on your ability to swap from one target to another while maintaining head level crosshair placement, keep LMB held while playing, only go for heads )
Valorant doesn't currently offer it's own deathmatch servers, therefore the next best thing is practicing in CS:GO. HSDM is a headshot only modifier for community FFA servers in CS:GO. To access these maps go to "Community Server Browser" and simply type in "HSDM", any server with decent population will do ( preferably 128 tick ). Playing FFA on headshot only forces you to maintain head-level crosshair placement as body shots don't count. I advise going for taps rather than spraying, as it limits the RNG, also spraying in CS:GO isn't transferable to Valorant as a mechanic. Make it a challenge for yourself to maintain positive K/D while playing. Use the AK in rifle servers, and the USP-S in pistol servers.
Set the target dummy position to static, and practice your click timing by only going for the targets furthest to the left and furthest to the right interchangeably, do this for around 10 minutes.
Play Spike Rush and set it to hard. When set on "Hard" the AI will one shot you as soon as you peek if it has seen you, and one shot you after around half a second if you shift-peek it. Pretty decent warmup in relation to crosshair placement as you will die every single time if you aren't instantly headshotting the targets the moment you peek. Play this for another 10 minutes.
Link to my Discord server for further questions / coaching inquiries:
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