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March 20, 2014

Aint’ Nothin’ Like the Real Thing, Baby!

When it comes to learning to trade, there really isn’t anything like the real thing. You can read hundreds of books, watch thousands of videos, but without having someone to show you the way to actually DO IT, learning to trade can be tough.

Imagine trying to learn a complex game like chess by reading a book or watching a video. You’ll get some good pointers, but can you really learn to master the game? There is logic, psychology, player interaction, time-tested moves and other intangibles that a book or video can only teach you so much about. You can practice playing the game over and over again as well, but without someone showing you move-by-move, piece-by-piece how to play the game, you’ll never achieve mastery of the game. You need someone to show you how to play, the way to counter certain moves, the way to set up attacks three moves ahead, the way to read your opponent.

That’s the way I learned to trade: Face-to-face, and often toe-to-toe, down on the trading floor. I learned the old fashioned way: By having people around me to show me how to do it. The benefit of being able to ask the experts standing next to me on the trading floor the burning questions that I needed answered. This helped me to reach the level of competency I need to become a successful a trader. It proved to be the biggest contributor to a long and rewarding trading career.

It’s hard for people to learn to trade without access to the knowledge center that I was fortunate enough to have which was smack dab in the middle of the trading floor; and I appreciated that. I consider myself extremely fortunate to have grown up in Chicago and to have gotten a break, getting a job on the trading floor after college. I was able to springboard that opportunity into a successful trading career. I get it. And that’s why, for two days, I am going to help recreate some of that experience for YOU.

We are planning an intensive (but fun) two-day class in Chicago. It will be held at the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), where I first learned to trade.

We’ve got a GREAT curriculum planned and a really fun social event in the plans as well. Right now, this class has not been made officially public. We’re still in the final stages of planning and we’ll announce all the details next week. Right now, we’d like your input so we can finish off the amazing itinerary we have planned. Please help us create the kind of class you’d love to be a part of—your DREAM CLASS—by answering this short, four-question survey.

Dan Passarelli

CEO, Market Taker Mentoring, Inc.

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August 8, 2013

The Fed’s Bernanke is Having His Cake and Eating It Too

OK. I want to hire Ben Bernanke to run my PR (not that I have a PR guy, but if I did…). He’s a gosh-darn brilliant spin-doctor. What am I talking about? OK. Here’s the trading world we’re living in these days:

There is good economic news… The market goes up. It’s good news, after all!

There is bad economic news… The market goes up. The Fed won’t taper and will keep propping the market up!

How can you lose?!

These, of course, are famous last words. If I had a nickel for every time an over-confident novice trader told me how he just can’t lose… Well, let’s just say I’d have a lot of nickels.

The fact is you can lose. This market-news paradigm cannot last forever (and, yes. I know that right now I’m alienating those cocky, over confident novice traders. But I’m only trying to help you keep that money you’ve made with your “can’t lose system”!)

The market simply can’t keep going up forever with disregard to economic news. Sorry. It just can’t. At some point, it is time to pay the piper.


Be the piper.

It’s all timing. Early in my career, I worked (as a clerk, before I became a floor trader) for a trading firm run by a brilliant man. In the 90s, his model said the market was over priced. There were internet companies that flat out told investors they would not make money in the foreseeable future that doubled, then tripled, then quadrupled in share price. Were they overpriced? Yes. But that didn’t stop the stocks from rising violently. But one day (as we market historians know) that bubble burst. After fighting the market for a few years, the boss was finally right. By that point, he’d lost millions and had to abandon his strategy and never recouped what he lost. Once his ship finally came in, he missed the boat.

So the question of the day is, when will this market pull back? We’re starting to see signs now. I was just chatting with a CME Group floor-trader friend of mine today. He told me about how the Fed Funds contract was pricing in higher interest rates in the near future. Translation: The fix is in! The Fed Funds contract is an excellent predictor of future interest rates. Higher interest rates means the market will end its climb to the nose-bleed seats and sit and rest.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not necessarily predicting a bursting bubble like we saw with the internet stocks. I’m just saying the sweet ride long-term stock investors have enjoyed is coming to a close soon.

But, we’re option traders. What do we care?! Option traders can make money either way. Once the market starts pulling back, there are going to be call credit spread opportunities galore. The implied volatility will likely return some—probably to the mid-teens. And the market will probably drift somewhat lower—or at least not rise.

And so, we start to wait with a watchful eye. We start looking for some of these call credit spread opportunities now (like the WYNN trade John talked about in Group Coaching this week). And we wait as more set ups transpire.

Bernanke might not be long for being able to continue enjoying his cake, but we option traders can always get a piece of the pie.

Dan Passarelli


Market Taker Mentoring