Varaben Trading Journal

I wanted to start this one a while back, but never got around to it during the first $1k challenge.

Long story short, assuming the RSX 3/18s expire worthless (hopefully they don’t), I burned through the entire $1k through bad trades, bad entries and just straight up gambling. I’d like to think I learned a lot and will be a better trader for it, but to limit my risk going forward, I am starting fresh with…$100. I know this is going to severely limit my ability to engage in challenge trades and ITM options, averaging down, etc., but for now it is what it is.

My plan is to deposit $100 a month into this account and hopefully over time it grows slowly, but based on my performance in the last 6 weeks, I can’t risk this much capital by restarting with $1k. It’s the responsible thing for me to do, and hopefully it will improve my risk management.

Some lessons I learned in round 1 of the challenge:

  1. Even with a small account, consider overall portfolio diversity and position sizing. If you have $1k you probably shouldn’t spend $400 on any given option, or even $200.
  2. Don’t play with SPY or other FDs. In general, the risk seems too high and they can get swung violently due to environmental factors.
  3. Be very careful with entries; looking back, I have taken so many poor entries and in several situations those options were never profitable.
  4. Think hard about how much an option is “worth.” There were times where I spent $150 on a far OTM FD on SPY, and in hindsight, the risk there was enormous with limited upside. I was counting on one of those classic $10 SPY swings on the day, then sometimes it would just trade sideways all day (then Theta would eat my booty).
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Yesterday I had only $17 in settled cash, so I bought a MULN 4C expiring 3/18 for $0.15 ($15), then sold it was $0.25 ($25) a few minutes later.

Today, I bought a HYMC 1P - APR 14, but ended up selling it for the same value ($0.20 / $20). Hoping to have the more settled cash tomorrow (deposited the $100 starter cash, but it is not available yet) to have a better position. I realized this was too far OTM (I mis-read the challenge alert) and too different from the challenge position (2.5P).

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Yesterday got into an AMC 25MAR 12P for $0.24; could not afford the more ITM put at that time.

Today bought a SPY 427P FD for $1.02, then sold it for $1.10 (~8%). I had originally set my limit sell at $1.25, but got spooked by the SPY roller coaster this morning. Looks like it may have actually sold at that price, but because it was an FD (and 80% of my tiny portfolio) I didn’t want to take that big of a risk.

Seems like a lot of the time my initial limit sell would have been “right,” but risk-wise I end up settling for smaller profit. Still green on the day, so I am happy with that. No more settled cash today, but looking for other potential plays for tomorrow/next week.

Had an unfortunate end to the week with poor timing on a SPY put yesterday. It looked like I might get out green after the AH/PM price action, but ended up selling deep red. Did end up scalping a call on SPY, then got blown out on the next attempt. AKA I overtraded it.

Learned a couple lessons that hopefully I won’t repeat: Position sizing (the SPY put was like 80% of my already tiny port), and trying to time the trend reversal. These are not new lessons, so we will have to see if I learn from them this time.

For now, I have a very small portfolio to play with depending on how the AMC puts end up. Planning to hold those into next week unless AMC dumps out this afternoon. They appear to be correlated heavily with SPY/GME, so they’re bleeding today.

Another tough day yesterday. Mostly playing my paper trading account at this point due to limited capital, but I don’t think it’s valuable to discuss those trades here, as I can just take whatever risk I want, jump into every callout, etc.

On my challenge account we’re down to the last few dollars, but took a few OTM SPY calls hoping for a pump today and tomorrow. I’m finding that trading with small dollars is very challenging, so I need to be more careful especially since the amount of trades I can actually do is very limited (e.g. I can’t get into the BNO calls with $20). March is going to be quiet for another week probably, then I will get into some more trades. Hopefully I can learn some things from the paper trading.

Scalped MULN shares (just 6) from 3.00 to 3.50 today. A nice little set and forget for a few bucks profit.

Scalped TLRY from 8.17 to 8.50 today for a tiny profit. Still messing with the paper trading portfolio (which is obviously doing MUCH better than my real portfolio) for another week or so before I can make more real trades.

Been a quiet week, got blown out on two SPY FDs this week, but very small $$s. Currently holding one MULN 10C 14 APR that’s currently down (.15 cost basis), but planning to hold it hoping for some legislative movement on EV/green funding, plus riding TSLA’s coattails, plus their recent announcement of an upcoming order. Probably too far OTM to get any real return (unless the stock REALLY moves), but I’m interested in EVs, so that’s my excuse.

Also scalped 1 single share of THCA from 10.93 to 11.34$. Really just feeding FOMO, but made a few cents on momentum. Still trading with a tiny portfolio to limit downside risk.

Scalped SPY 4/6 452P .99 → 1.05, 6% banger done for the day. Took literally 20 seconds. Scalped the big red candle down on SPY. Trying to ride strength/weakness vs timing reversal.

Decided to take a SPY call (wasn’t I done for the day??) and immediately regretted it, but cancel order didn’t go through. So I decided to hold it and got stopped out 4/6 458C .47 → .30. So now we’re down .5 instead of up .4% on the day. Maybe I can child lock my Webull app?

Had a good day scalping, ended up +$34 (+~3%) on the day:

SPY 4/8 438P .89 → .93
SPY 4/8 446P 3.02 → 3.07 (This one stings because it immediately went to >$4.00, but profit is profit)
SPY 4/6 452C .12 → .15
SPY 4/6 452C .15 → .11
SPY 4/6 452C .16 → .12
SPY 4/6 450C .19 → .23
SPY 4/6 447C .68 → .70
SPY 4/6 447C 1.13 → 1.14
SPY 4/6 439P .17 → .22
BEEM 4/14 25C 1.50 → 1.60
SPY 4/6 445P 1.47 → 1.55
SPY 4/6 440P .2 → .22
SPY 4/6 440P .16 → .16

After writing all of these out, it really seems like I am overtrading, albeit I did end up positive on the day. Most of these I held for just a few minutes (or seconds), and in almost all cases if I had held a bit longer I would have made a lot more. All in all, met the +2% target for the day, so I am very happy with that. Looking forward to more green days even if the market is red.

Scalps this morning:

HPQ 4/14 40C 1.55 → 1.60
SPY 4/8 446P 1.47 → 1.52
SPY 4/8 448C 1.90 → 2.00
SPY 4/8 443P 1.72 → 1.77

Up $27 or 2.6% on the day, so met the trading goal for now. Still looking for other quick scalps, but seeing a lot of chop. Happy to hit this with just a few trades (4/4 for small gains) 2 hours into the day.

A couple times here I almost averaged down, but did not have the conviction and it would have significantly improved my profitability. I’m not sure how I feel about increasing my exposure to a specific play especially when these are pretty big chunks of my port for the moment (~10-15% in each single contract buy).

OK seriously last scalp of the day. I said I was done at 3, and now this is the fifth one.

SPY 4/8 450C Bought at 1.06 and .90 → 1.04 x2 = $14 profit

Luckily out profitable on every trade today, 5/5 today. Deleting Webull from my computer and phone for the day.

Overall up $43 or about 4.25% on the day. Have erased all my losses from the first few days of the month and then some. Trying to follow the Thots method of quick in and out on SPY calls/puts following momentum and confirming with trade chat.

Embarrassingly bad day today, but I am going to post anyway. I knew I had a busy day at work-work, and that I shouldn’t trade, but I did anyway.

I won’t even list all the trades, but I did end up scalping a few SPY calls/puts for small gains, but overall down 38% on the day. Really have to re-evaluate my trading strategy, stop losses, averaging down, etc. after this one.

Unfortunately an example this week where I had two good days (+3-4% each day on Wed + Thurs) then a monster red day the wipes out all those gains x 5. Really just poor trading on my part. Will have to take a few days to recover from this one.

Having a decent week after getting blown out last week, slowly crawling back:


NVDA: scalped 250c .61 to .65
Spy: scalped 441p 1.91 to 1.96 (this one stung because it promptly went to 3.80, but oh well)
445c 2.58 to 2.62


SPY 450C 4/22 1.15 → 1.35 (trying to hold these a little longer when they look positive)
Took a BEEM 35C fd lotto for .04
SPY 450C 4/14 3x at .09, hoping this one is a multi bagger. Very limited cash tied up here so letting it run at least through power hour today.

Trading too poorly, so I am stepping away from the Discord for a while. Need to focus on other things. I will re-apply if/when it makes sense, but for now I’m just throwing good money after bad with poor trading decisions.