My name is Marek Hawk and I am a professional trader of Horizon Trading team. For today’s article we selected a controversial topic often discussed in trading community, it is the Martingale trading system. Would you be interested in a trading strategy that is virtually 100% profitable? Many finds this system as gambler’s tool with high risk exposure and they do not think about starting with the Martingale at all. But the Martingale strategy is based on probability theory, and if your pockets are deep enough, it has a near 100% success rate.
Does it really work? Is it possible to win always in the end? Let’s find out!
How Martingale Works
The Martingale system is a simple process that involves doubling your bets after a loss. The idea is that if you can make a trade that offers probabilities, you eventually win and make enough money on the win to cover all your previous losses, and have a profit left over equal to your first bet.
The Martingale is a mechanism of placing double bet in case of loss.
A martingale strategy relies on the theory of mean reversion. In the end you should win at some time, the theory says, and you should make a profit. Let’s look at mechanics of the martingale system.
Examples of the Martingale Strategy
Let’s assume trading strategy which works with 1:1 risk-reward ratio and initial risk for first trade is 100 $. Your initial account balance is 10 000 USD.
First trade was speculation on growth and your long trade worked out. In another situation you found an interesting entry level to open the new long trade, but the speculation did not work out and you are back to the initial bankroll value. Next trade you needed to double your risk and you needed to open a larger position to cover the previous loss and to gain profit. Unfortunately, you suffered another loss and you had to double your risk again to 400 $. Next trade you won, and your equity raised to 10 200 $.
The problem with the Martingale is the situation when you get a long streak of losing trades. You must always double your risk and in the end your last trade in the row could be huge portion of the capital, and you can be still wrong…
Money Management of the Martingale System
While the Martingale System seems like a fantastic way to make money by trading, it’s not a good solution in case of money management. In pure mathematical terms the system is bulletproof, however, in the reality of the trading world it’s full of problems. The main issue with the Martingale is that it requires an extremely large capital.
Let’s look how you would carry on with the system with your equity of 12 200 $ in case of losing streak.
With initial trade which was less than 1 % of your capital, you suffered 6 losses with the Martingale system, and you are done. It is not possible to continue with doubling your risk as you run out your capital for next trade and you end up with the drawdown -6 300 $, more than 60 % from the peak of equity!
Because of this reason, it is necessary before putting the Martingale system into the real world, to know statistical attributes of your trading system. You can use useful mathematical and statistical applications, like MATLAB, and run statistical simulations, like Monte Carlo, which are widely used in trading industry. You need to know a precise output of your strategy in matters of your risk and money management!
Trading Forex with the Martingale
One of the reasons the Martingale strategy is so popular in the currency market is because, unlike stocks, currencies tend to go back to their mean. Although companies in term of probabilities can bankrupt more often, countries cannot. For example, even if currency is devalued or depreciated, the chances that currency's value reaches zero are very low.
The forex market also offers the ability to earn interest which allows traders to offset a portion of their losses with interest income. This means that a martingale trader may want to only trade the strategy on currency pairs in the direction of positive carry. In other words, they would buy a currency with a high interest rate and earn that interest while, at the same time, selling a currency with a low interest rate. With many lots, interest income can be very substantial and could work to reduce your average entry price.
In this article I described principles of the Martingale trading strategy. The system may look like a perfect winning system; however, it carries huge risk exposure of your capital. A trader needs to be prepared to work on professional money management techniques in case of building working Martingale system. I gave you some hints which tools can help managing this mathematical trading system. I described the examples of trading the Martingale trading techniques on forex markets.
I believe that you have now an idea how dangerous the Martingale system is. For beginners and experienced traders, we share risk wise method of making money on the markets. In case of interests how we are making money with our Horizon System, check and subscribe to our socials:
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