Top 28 Most Famous Day Traders And Their Secrets
Top 28 Best Day Traders In The World
Read the stories of the best day traders in the world
There is a lot we can learn from famous and successful day traders. Their actions are innovative and their teachings are influential
In fact, all of the most famous and successful day traders on our list have in some way or another completely changed how we day trade today.
Some may be controversial but by no means are they not game changers.
By learning from their trading secrets we can improve our trading strategies, avoid losses and aim to be better, more consistently successful day traders.
Who knows, maybe one day your name will be on this list!
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Top 28 most successful day traders
Let’s look at the most famous day traders!
1. Ross Cameron
Ross Cameron is a successful day trader and in 2016 he reportedly made $222,244.91, though he doesn’t boast about it and recognises that it could easily have been more or less.
He is highly active in promoting ways other people can trade like him and you can easily find out more about him online.
Cameron is the founder of Warrior Trading a chat room designed specifically for day traders to meet and learn from one another and has been operating since 2012.
As of today, Warrior Trading has over 500,000 active followers and 415,045 subscribers on YouTube.
Cameron’s strategy focuses on trading momentum on stocks priced under $20.
What can we learn from Ross Cameron
Cameron highlights four things that you can learn from him.
First, day traders need to learn their limitations. They need to recognise when they are getting exhausted and move away from trading as this will have a negative effect.
On top of that, they can work out when they are most productive and when they are not.
For Cameron, he found that he was more productive between 9:30 and 11:30 am, and so he kept his trades to those hours.
Second, day traders need to understand risk management.
Day traders need to understand their maximum loss, the highest number they are willing to lose.
Cameron says that he only gets into trades he is 99% certain of and then sets a tight point to stop at.
Third, they need to know what to trade.
He looks for stocks that have the ability to move 20 to 30% in a day. Identifying these stocks before they become this active is what takes up most of Cameron’s strategy.
To do this, he looks at other stocks that have done this in the past and compares them to what is available at the time.
A key sign to Cameron that a stock may make these kinds of moves is that they are already moving around 5% or more.
Fourth, keep their trading strategy simple. “Day trading is an exercise in repetition,” he says.
Day trading strategies need to be easy to do over and over again. This reduces the chances of error and maximises potential earnings.
- Know your limits.
- You must understand risk management.
- Identify appropriate instruments to trade.
- Keep your trading strategy simple.
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2. Brett N. Steenbarger
Brett N. Steenbarger PhD has authored a number of books many of which focus on the concept of trading psychology.
Steenbarger has a bachelors and PhD in clinical psychology.
Aside from being an active trader, Steenbarger is an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at SUNY Upstate Medical University.
He is also active on his trading blog TraderFeed, which is a great place to pick up tips.
Aside from trading and writing, Steenbarger also coaches traders who work for hedge funds and investment banks.
What can we learn from Brett N. Steenbarger?
All traders can learn from Steenbarger’s trading psychology rules. Perhaps the biggest lessons Steenbarger teaches is how to break bad trading habits.
For day traders, in particular, Steenbarger’s book The Daily Trading Coach: 101 Lessons for Becoming Your Own Trading Psychologist.
The book identifies challenges traders face every day and looks at practical ways they can solve these issues.
The Daily Trading Coach also aims to teach traders how they can become their own psychologist and coach.
Other books include:
- The Psychology of Trading: Tools and Techniques for Minding the Markets
- Trading Psychology 2.0: From Best Practices to Best Processes
- A Trader's Guide to Self-Discipline: Proven Techniques to Improve Trading Profits
- To trade effectively, you need to become your own psychologist and coach.
- Trading books are an excellent way to progress as a trader.
- We must identify psychological reasons for failure and find solutions.
- We can perform trading exercises to overcome.
3. Sasha Evdakov
For day traders, some of his most useful books for include:
While many of his books are more oriented towards stock trading, but many of the lessons also apply to other instruments.
Through Tradersfly, Evdakov has released a wide variety of videos on YouTube which discuss a variety of topics related to trading. At the time of writing this article, he has 123,628 subscribers.
As an educational entrepreneur, he is excellent at teaching and his style is very easy to understand and logical.
What can we learn from Sasha Evdakov?
In reality, Evdakov says that the ‘real money’ is in swing trading and his opinion is more geared towards it.
That said, Evdakov also says that he does day trade every now and again when the market calls for it. He will sometimes spend months day trading and then revert back to swing trading.
What he means by this is when the conditions are right in the market for day trading instead of swing trading.
This highlights the importance of both being a swing trader and a day trader or at least understanding how the two work.
- Depending on the market situation, swing trading strategies may be more appropriate.
- Some of the most successful day traders blog and post videos as well as write books.
- Day traders should at least try swing trading at least once.
- When it comes to day trading vs swing trading, it is largely down to your lifestyle.
4. Rayner Teo
Highly active, Rayner Teo’s marketing strategy has gained him a lot of attention.
He is mostly active on YouTube where he has some videos with over 500,000 views. Plus, at the time of writing this article, 174,291 subscribers.
Teo’s website, TradingwithRayner, is also a goldmine of trading secrets and has built a community of 30,000 traders.
He is also very honest with his readers that he is no millionaire.
Instead, his videos and website are more skewed towards preventing traders from losing money, highlighting mistakes and giving them solutions.
What can we learn from Rayner Teo?
Quite a lot.
Just like Sasha Evdakov, Teo is excellent at teaching traders not only the basics of trading but also how more technical elements of trading work.
Many of his videos that are useful for day traders focus on price action trading and it is a wise choice to follow him.
One thing he highlights quite often is not to put a stop-loss too close to levels of support. He advises to instead put a buffer between support and your stop-loss.
He advises this because often before the market starts to rally up again, it may dip below support levels, blocking you out.
Teo also explains that many traders focus too much on set up with a higher percentage return instead of setups which bring in more money.
Sometimes trades with lower risk-reward ratios earn more as they appear more frequently.
- Never put your stop-losses exactly at levels of support.
- Losing money should be seen as more important than earning it.
- Simpler trading strategies with lower risk-reward can sometimes earn you more.
- Price action is highly important to understand for day traders.
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5. Nick Leeson
‘Famous and successful day trader’ is perhaps is not the best word to describe Nick Leeson. Perhaps ‘notorious’ is a better word.
Leeson made headlines for the wrong reasons when his actions led to the bankruptcy of Barings Bank, one of the UK’s oldest financial institutions.
Barings Bank was an exclusive bank, known for serving British elites for more than 200 years.
Leeson had previously worked at JP Morgan and was shocked to find when he joined Barings how out of touch with reality the bank had become.
Instead of fixing the issue, Leeson exploited it. He was eventually sent to Singapore where he made his name on the trading floor.
This is where Leeson’s illegal activity started.
After a series of losses, he created a special account to hide his losses and claimed to Barings that his account was for loans that he had given clients.
They believed him.
Unmonitored, Leeson’s losses went out of control. Eventually, after a stroke of luck, he managed to regain his losses and cover his tracks.
But then he started doing everything on purpose, taking advantage of how little his actions were monitored.
Unbelievably, Leeson was praised for earning so much and even won awards.
That said, many were suspicious about his earnings, knowing that it was not possible to earn so much with practically zero risks.
By the end, he had lost £830 million of Barings’ money and was imprisoned for six and a half years in prison.
While in prison he wrote an autobiography titled Rogue Trader which was later released as a film starring Ewan McGregor as him.
What can we learn from Leeson?
A lot about how not to trade.
The most important thing Leeson teach us is what happens when you gamble instead of trade.
Leeson had the completely wrong mindset about trading. He saw the markets as a giant slot machine. Sometimes you win sometimes you lose.
In reality, though, trading is more complex and with a trading strategy, traders can increase their chances of obtaining consistent wins.
On top of that, Leeson shows us the importance of accepting our losses, which he failed to do.
Leeson hid his losses and continued to pour more money in the market. He was effectively chasing his losses.
If Leeson had accepted his losses and informed Barings about it, maybe the whole cycle never would have happened, he wouldn’t have made such enormous losses and went to prison.
Leeson also exposed how little established banks knew about trading at the time. His actions led to a shake-up of many financial institutions, helping shape the regulations we have in place today.
What he did was illegal and he lost everything. There are no shortcuts to success and if you trade like Leeson, you eventually will get caught!
- Accept your losses, don’t cover them up.
- Don’t gamble on the market, it’s not a slot machine.
- Have a risk management strategy in place.
- Don’t part-take in illegal activity, you will eventually get caught.
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6. William Delbert Gann
Famous trader, William Delbert Gann, has a lot to teach us about using mathematics on how to predict market movements.
Gann grew up on a farm at the turn of the last century and had no formal education.
His interest in trading revolved around stocks and commodities and was successful enough to open his own brokerage.
Gann’s brokerage, W.D. Gann & Company, provided him with the perfect environment to observe traders. Most importantly, what they did wrong.
This is where he got most of his knowledge of trading.
Gann went on to write numerous articles in newspapers with recommendations, published numerous trading books and taught seminars.
Some of his books include:
- 45 Years in Wall Street: A Review of the 1937 Panic and 1942 Panic, 1946 Bull Market with New Time Rules and Percentage Rules with Charts for Determining the Trend on Stocks
- New Stock Trend Detector: A Review of The 1929-1932 Panic and the 1932-1935 Bull Market, with New Rules and Charts for Detecting Trend of Stocks
Gann’s critics argue that there isn’t enough evidence that Gann made a profit from any of his trades and even question if he was even a trader.
Such critics claim that he made most of his money from his writing.
Despite passing away in 1955, a lot of his teachings are still relevant today. Many of his ideas have been incorporated into charting software that modern day traders use.
What can we learn from Willaim Delbert Gann?
Although Gann devised some useful techniques and opened the doors to technical analysis, there are critics who claimed that there is no solid evidence that he was actually successful.
Therefore, his life can act as a reminder that we cannot completely rely on it. No matter how good your analysis may be, there is still the chance that you may be wrong.
Further to that, some of the ways Gann tried to analyse the market are questionable, such as astrology, and so some of his teachings need to be looked at carefully.
A reminder that not all trading theorists can be said to be 100% correct all the time.
That said, he put into place ideas of geometry, which is still used today particularly triangle patterns which can be used to predict market breakouts.
More importantly, though is his analysis of cycles. Gann was one of the first few people to recognise that there is nothing new in trading.
He believed in 60- and 90-year cycles. Essentially at the end of these cycles, the market drops significantly.
This happened in 1869, then in 1929 and some believe a 90-year cycle may come to an end in 2019.
Each time he claims there is a bull market which is then followed by a bear market.
- Learn from the mistakes of others.
- Market analysis can help us develop trading strategies, but it cannot be solely relied upon.
- The market moves in cycles, boom and bust.
- Geometry and other mathematical patterns can be used to perform market analysis.
7. Andy Krieger
Andy Krieger is a legendary trader who made $300 million for Bankers Trust when in the aftermath of the Black Monday, 1987, he shorted the New Zealand dollar.
Black Monday was a disastrous event in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 22% of its value in one day.
It was a global phenomenon with many fearing a second Great Depression.
Thankfully, that didn’t happen but many traders lost everything in the process.
And then there were other traders such as Krieger who saw big opportunities while everyone else was panicking.
Kreiger wasn’t like other traders.
He was already known as one of the most aggressive traders around.
While most traders at the time had an absolute maximum of $50 million to trade, Krieger was allowed to trade as much as $750 million.
Kreiger was quick to spot that as the value of American stocks plummeted to new lows, many traders were moving large sums of money into foreign currencies.
This then meant that these foreign currencies would be immensely overvalued.
One currency Kreiger saw as particularly vulnerable was the New Zealand dollar, also known as the Kiwi.
He then became legendary for making $300 million on one single trade. His trade was soon followed by others and caused a significant economic problem for New Zealand.
The Kiwis even tried to ban Krieger from trading their currency and it also rumoured that he may have been trading with more money than New Zealand actually had in circulation.
Krieger then went to work with George Soros who concocted a similar fleet.
What can we learn from Krieger?
The biggest lesson we can learn from Krieger is how invaluable fundamental analysis is.
Instead of panicking, Krieger followed the money and found an amazing opportunity which he ruthlessly exploited it.
While it may not have been backed up with much technical analysis, it didn’t need to be too complex. In fact, many of the best strategies are the ones that not complicated at all.
His strategy also highlights the importance of looking for price action. Funds were being lost in one area and redistribute to others. What Krieger did was trade in the direction of money moving.
Why trade stocks when the market is on a steep decline and foreign exchange is on a steep rise? While it may be a great time to buy stocks, you have to be sure that they will rise again.
Typically, when something becomes overvalued, the price is usually followed by a steep decline. Krieger would have known this and his actions inevitably lead to it.
- Financial disasters can also be opportunities for the right day trader.
- Fundamental analysis.
- Overvalued and undervalued prices usually precede rises and fall in price.
- Large institutions can effectively bankrupt countries with big trades.
8. Timothy Sykes
Timothy Sykes became a famous day trader when he turned $12,415 into a profit of $1.65 million by day trading while attending Tulane University over the course of three years.
A penny stock trader, Sykes’ story acts as a reminder that it is very possible to work your way up from almost nothing.
Since Sykes’ success, he has gone on to launch his own website that aims to teach others how to trade like him.
There are issues with Sykes image though. The life of luxury he leads should be viewed with caution.
Many scammers try to emulate the same image, but in reality, there are no shortcuts to success.
Despite this, he is also highly involved in philanthropy, referring to himself as a financial activist and is highly interested in educating others in trading.
Sykes is also very active online and you can learn a lot from his websites.
From his social platforms, day traders can learn a lot about how to trade.
Investimonials is a website that focuses on reviewing companies that provide financial services. You can also use them to check the reviews of some brokers.
Profit.ly focuses on sharing public records of financial gurus, writers and students so people can learn from both their wins and losses.
What can we learn from Timothy Sykes?
Sykes has a number of great lessons for traders.
One of his top lessons is tha successful day traders should focus on small gains over time, not on huge profits, and never turn a trade into an investment as it goes against your strategy.
He also believes that the more you study, the greater your chances are at making money.
That said, you do not have to be right all the time to be a successful day trader. It is still okay to make some losses, but you must learn from them.
- Take advantage of social platforms and blogs.
- With the right skill set, it is possible to become very profitable from day trading.
- If you make mistakes, learn from them.
- Day traders should focus on making many small gains and never turn a trade into an investment.
9. Andrew Aziz
Andrew Aziz is a famous and super successful day trader and author of numerous books on the topic. But he didn’t start out as a trader.
Before getting into trading, Aziz obtained a PhD in chemical engineering and worked in various research scientist positions in the cleantech industry.
It wasn’t until he lost his position in one of these companies that he turned to trading, dedicating a lot of time to studying the market before diving in.
For day traders, his two books on day trading are recommended:
- How to Day Trade for a Living: Tools and Tactics, Money Management, Discipline and Trading Psychology
- Advanced Techniques in Day Trading: A Practical Guide to High Probability Day Trading Strategies and Methods
What can we learn from Andrew Aziz?
According to How to Day Trade for a Living, Aziz uses pre-market scanners and real-time intraday scanner before entering the market.
For him, the primary importance for traders is to survive and he advises not to risk more than 2% of your capital per trade.
Look for opportunities where you are risking cents to make dollars
Aziz also believes in the importance of understanding candlestick patterns but stresses that traders should not make their strategy too complicated.
Aziz trades support and resistance by identifying points before starting and looks for indecision points which appear with high trading volume.
Essentially, once he has worked this out, buy at the lowest points you identified and sell at the highest.
VWAP takes into account the volume of an instrument that has been traded. If prices are above the VWAP, it indicates a bull market. If the prices are below, it is a bear market.
- Never risk more than 2% per trade.
- As a trader, your first goal should be to survive.
- Much of Aziz’s strategies revolve around trading volume.
- Support and resistance trading and VWAP trading are efficient and effective strategies for day traders.
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10. Lawrence Hite
Lawrence or Larry Hite was originally interested in music and at points was even a screenwriter and actor.
Later in life reassessed his goals and turned to financial trading.
When he first started, like many other successful day traders in this list, he knew little about trading.
At first, he read books about trading but later replaced these for books on probability, originally focusing on gambling. One of these books was Beat the Dealer.
He concluded that trading is more to do with odds than any kind of scientific accuracy.
Mint Investment Management Company under his leadership became the first investment business to be valued at $1 billion.
He was also interviewed by Jack Schwagger, which was published in Market Wizards.
What can we learn from Lawrence Hite?
Hite’s philosophy on trading focused on odds and probability, and how to use them to your advantage.
With this in mind, he believed in keeping trading simple.
On top of that, it made him realise that there is no reason why he shouldn’t trade in any different market.
For him, you don’t need to know about the instrument, just the chances of winning and losing a trade.
His trading strategy is more focused on what you can afford to lose instead of what you are looking to make as a profit.
Hite is very conservative when it comes to risk, believing that traders shouldn’t risk more than 1% of their account per trade.
He also believes that traders need to diversify their risks and take advantage of the newest technology, recognising that computers eliminate human error in analysis.
- Trading is a game of odds, there are no certainties.
- Your risk is more important than your potential profit.
- Some traders employ.
- Diversification is also vital to avoiding risk.
11. Paul Rotter
Nicknamed ‘The Flipper’, Paul Rotter is a famous scalper that supposedly made somewhere between 65 and 78 million dollars a year for 10 years.
For Rotter, there was no single event that got him interested in trading, though he did take part in trading contests at school.
While working as an apprentice for a German bank Rotter started trading for himself, what he effectively called ‘gambling’ as he didn’t know what he was doing.
That said he learnt a lot from his losses and he is the perfect example of a trader who blew up his account before becoming successful. He says he knew nothing of risk management before starting.
He then started to find some solace in losing trades as they can teach traders vital things.
What can we learn from Paul Rotter?
Rotter is famous for saying “a trader should have no opinion. The stronger your opinion, the harder it is to get out of a losing position”.
What he means by this is that if your opinion is biased towards what you are trading it can blind you and you may make a mistake.
In reality, you need to be constantly changing with the market.
He is also known for placing buy and sell orders at the same time in order to scalp in several highly liquid markets. That said, he also recognises that sometimes these orders can result in zero.
Rotter also advises traders to be aggressive when they are winning and to scale back when they are losing, though he does recognise that this is against human nature.
He also advises having someone around you who is neutral to trading who can tell you when to stop.
- Opinions can cloud your judgement when trading.
- Rotter places buy and sell orders at the same time to scalp the market.
- Be aggressive when winning and scale back when losing.
- Use something to stop you trading too much.
12. Mark Douglas
successful trader, Mark Douglas came to fame with his book Trading in the Zone: Master the Market with Confidence, Discipline and a Winning Attitude.
The book’s influence is tremendous and is often cited as one of the most important trading books ever written. Some even call it a ‘trading bible’ and it is a must-have for day traders.
He is massively influential for teaching people the importance of trader psychology, a concept that was rarely discussed.
Before opening the debate about trader psychology, making good or bad trades was linked to conducting proper market analysis.
Douglas brought to people’s attention that if you do not have the right mindset, you may make bad trades.
You may enter or exit a trade at the wrong time and deal with the failure in a negative way.
During his lifetime, Douglas worked with hedge funds, money managers and some of the largest floor traders.
Douglas started coaching traders in 1982 and amassed a wealth of experience in teaching them how to develop the right mentality around it.
What can we learn from Douglas?
We can learn that traders need to know themselves well before they start trading and that is a very hard thing to do.
While technical analysis is hard to learn, it can be done and once you know it rarely changes.
Psychology, on the other hand, is far more complex and is different for everyone.
It directly affects your strategies and goals.
These problems go all the way back to our childhood and can be difficult to change.
Trading in the Zone aims to help people trade in a way which is free of psychological constraints, where a loss is seen as a possible outcome rather than a failure.
Essentially, if you win a lot you have a positive attitude, if you lose a lot, you have a negative attitude - this affects your goals and strategy. Ideally, this shouldn’t be the case.
- Trader psychology is important for confidence.
- By being detached we can improve the success rate of our trades.
- Everybody’s trader psychology is different.
- Trader psychology can be harder to learn than market analysis.
13. Mark Minervini
Mark Minervini is perhaps one of the most successful day traders alive today and his list of achievements is astounding.
Supposedly, in his worst ever year, he still managed to make a profit of 128% and he managed to make the unbelievable amount of 220% for five years consecutively.
What makes it even more impressive is that Minervini started with only a few thousand of his own money.
He also has published a number of books, two of the most useful include:
Minervini was also interviewed by Jack Schwagger and was featured in his Market Wizards where he is praised for his accomplishments.
He is US Investing Championship winner, almost made twice as much as second place and has his own website, Minervini Private Access.
What can we learn from Mark Minervini?
His book Trade Like a Stock Market Wizard has many key points that are highly useful for day traders.
Minervini urges traders not to look for the lowest point to enter the market but to try to enter trends instead.
He explains that firstly it is hard to identify when the lowest point will occur and secondly, the price may stay at this low point for a long time.
Minervini also suggests that traders look for changes in price influenced by institutions too. They often lead trails that traders can follow and a ride along with them.
Another great point he makes is that traders need to let go of their egos to make money.
Lastly, Minervini has a lot to say about risk management too.
He suggests that when markets enter difficult conditions, you need tighter losses and look for lower profits. Along with that, the position size should be smaller too.
- Trends are more important than buying at the lowest price.
- Workaround large institutions.
- In difficult market situations, lower your risk and profit expectations.
- To make money, you need to let go of your ego.
14. Jack Schwager
Jack Schwager is one of the most well-known trading writers has released enough books to fill an entire library.
His most famous series is on Market Wizards. They are:
Many of the people on our list have been interviewed by him.
Other books written by Schwager cover topics including fundamental and technical analysis.
On top of his written achievements, Schwager is one of the co-founders of FundSeeder. The company aims to find the next ‘Market Wizards’ by helping them connect traders with investors.
What can we learn from Jack Schwager?
Quite simply, read his trading books as they cover strategy, discipline and psychology.
One of his top lessons is don’t let your ego get in the way. It’s not about being right all the time. Losses shouldn’t be taken personally.
He also talks about the polar opposites of traders; those that focus on fundamentals and those that focus on technical analysis.
Though they both think that the other is wrong, they both are extremely successful. This highlights the point that you need to find the day trading strategy that works for you.
Like many other traders, he also highlights that it is more important not to lose money than to make money. Something repeated many times throughout this article.
Finally, the markets are always changing, yet they are always the same, paradox. Despite technology changing human nature doesn’t.
- His trading books are some of the best.
- It doesn’t matter if you trade fundamentals or technical analysis, what matters is you find a strategy that works for you.
- Importance of saving money and not losing it!
- The markets are a paradox, always changing but always the same.
15. Victor Sperandeo
Known as Trader Vic, he has 45 years of experience as a trader on Wall Street and trades mostly commodities.
Like many day traders in this list, he is featured in The New Market Wizards by Schwager.
He is one of few traders that predicted the Black Monday crash of 1987 and supposedly made a 300% by shorting the DOW.
What can we learn from Victor Sperandeo?
A great quote from Sperandeo: “The key to trading success is emotional discipline. If intelligence were the key, there would be a lot more people making money trading.”
What he means by this is that it doesn’t matter how smart you are, what really matters in trading is that you have your emotions under control.
He also talks about ‘false pride’ and how it can get in the way of accepting mistakes.
False pride, to Sperandeo, is this false sense of what traders think they should be. Most of the time these goals are unattainable.
Our goals should be realistic in order to be consistent.
Sperandeo started out his career as a poker player and some have drawn a correlation to the fact that poker is similar to trading in how you deal with probability.
More importantly, though, poker players learn to deal with being wrong. Sperandeo says that when you are wrong, you need to learn from it quickly.
Lastly, Sperandeo also writes a lot about trading psychology. Specifically, he writes about how being consistent can help boost traders self-esteem.
- Emotional discipline is more important than intelligence.
- Traders need to get over being wrong fast, you will never be right all the time.
- Reject false pride and set realistic goals.
- By being a consistent day trader, you will boost your confidence.
16. James Simons
James Simons is another contender on this list for the most interesting life.
Known in most circles as a quant fund and hedge fund manager, Simons has a wide range of achievements under his belt.
Simons started out with a PhD in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley and then when on to work for NSA (National Security Agency), helping them crack codes.
Took his code-cracking skills with him into trading and founded Renaissance Technologies, a highly successful hedge fund that was known for having the highest fees at certain points.
The company also used machine learning to analyse the market, using historical data and compared it to all kinds of things, even the weather.
Along with his wife, Simons founded the Math for America non-profit organisation with the goal of improving mathematics in schools and recruit more qualified teachers in public schools.
What can we learn from James Simons?
Simons is loaded with advice for day traders.
One key thing he says is don’t confuse luck with brains and don’t think you're smart because you got lucky.
What this means is that we shouldn’t think we are smart when we get something right, because then we start to think that everything we do is smart and we will continue to be right.
When this happens we leave ourselves open to making mistakes and effectively bring ego into trading.
Simons also believes in having high standards in trading and in life. As a trader, you should always aim to be the best you can possibly be.
Another thing we can learn from Simons is the need to be a contrarian. At times it is necessary to go against other people's opinions.
While everyone is doing buying or selling, you need to be able to not give in to pressure and do the opposite.
Simons is also quoted as saying “past performance is a predictor of future success”.
A wordplay on the common phrase that states the opposite often used as a disclaimer for brokers. But what he is really trying to say is that markets repeat themselves.
- Don’t confuse luck and brains.
- Have high standards when trading.
- Sometimes you need to be contrarian.
- The markets repeat themselves!
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17. David Tepper
David Tepper is a hedge fund manager, investor, and businessman and supposedly the richest man in the US state of New Jersey, worth approximately $5.5 billion.
During his trading career, Tepper has worked at many of the world’s most well-known financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs.
Was featured in Hedge Fund Market Wizards: How Winning Traders Win by Jack Schwager
He started his own firm, Appaloosa Management, in early 1993.
What can we learn from David Tepper?
Market uncertainty is not completely a bad thing. We need to accept it and not be afraid of it. Without fear, we wouldn’t be able to profit from trading.
Tepper is also quoted as saying “We have this saying: The worst things get, the better they get. When things are bad, they go up.”
He likes to trade in markets where there is a lot of uncertainty. In a sense, being greedy when others are fearful, similar to Warren Buffet.
Tepper does this by trading stocks in companies that people have no faith in and then selling everything when the price rises, going against the grain.
Another great quote from Tepper is “Replaying losses in your head is the only way you learn from your mistakes”.
Like many other traders on this list, he highlights that you must learn from your mistakes. For Tepper in particular, it is important to go over and over them to learn all that you can.
One last thing we can learn from Tepper is that there is a time to make money and a time not to lose money.
Risk management is absolutely vital. Not all opportunities are a chance to make money.
- We shouldn’t be afraid of market uncertainty.
- Be greedy when others are fearful.
- Learn from your mistakes!
- Not all opportunities are chances to make money, some are to save money.
18. Steven Cohen
Steven Cohen is one of the most famous hedge fund managers and has an estimated net worth of approximately $12.8 billion.
Cohen was included in Jack Schwager’s Stock Market Wizards: Interviews with America's Top Stock Traders.
He got interested in trading through his interest in poker which he played at high school and for him, it taught him valuable lessons about risk.
In the late 1970s, he started working on Wall Street and made $8,000 profit on his first day.
By the early 1990s, he had founded his own company, SAC Capital Advisors with $10 million of his own money.
Cohen is also well-known for philanthropy and is a trustee of Paul Tudor Jones’s Robin Hood Foundation.
What can we learn from Steven Cohen?
Cohen said that believes stock moves are 40% down to the market, 30% down to the sector and 30% down to the stock.
This is important because even if you have a stock that is doing well, it will not perform if the sector and market are down.
Think of the market first, then the sector, then the stock.
His best trader makes wins 63% of the time. Most traders, according to him, win between 50-55% of the time.
This rate is completely acceptable as you will never win all of the time!
To make this profitable, you have to make sure losses are as small as they can possibly be and profits as high as they can be.
Finally, you can’t control the market, but you can control your reaction.
By this Cohen means that you need to be adaptable. The way you trade should work with the market, not against it.
- When trading, think of the market first, the sector second and the instrument last.
- To win half of the time is an acceptable win rate.
- Keep losses to an absolute minimum.
- Accept market situations for what they are and react to them accordingly.
19. Richard Dennis
Legend has it that Richard Dennis once turned a $400 trading account and turned it into $200 million in 10 years and was a millionaire by the time he was 26.
Dennis is most well-known for his belief that anyone can learn how to trade and his ‘Turtles’.
His Turtles were a group of 21 men and two women that he taught a trading strategy based on following trends in a bet that he had with another trader.
The group was highly successful and accumulated $175 million aggregate.
Despite his successes, he did quit trading twice, once after Black Monday and the dotcom bubble and some have suggested that his strategies are most effective in bull markets.
He is also another name you will see in Jack Schwager’s Market Wizards.
What can we learn from Richard Dennis?
Dennis’s strategies follow trends and he believes traders should approach the market looking for points to enter and ride them.
He also follows a simple rule that when everyone starts talking about an instrument and the price is continuing to rise, it can be a sign that the market is about to go down.
This is especially true when people who do not trade or know anything about trading start talking about it.
Another thing Dennis believes is that when you start to day-trade, start small. He says this because that’s when you're going to be as bad as you can be.
This is great advice for beginners as it doesn’t matter how much money you have, you should still start out small.
Make mistakes and learn from them. It’s much better to learn from mistakes that cost you less instead of more.
Stop-losses, don’t put them where everyone else is putting theirs. Always have a buffer from support or resistance levels.
- Look for trends and find a way to get onboard that trend.
- When non-traders start talking about an instrument and the price is high, it can be a sign it’s about to fall.
- Beginners should start small and learn from their mistakes when they cost less.
- Put stop losses at a lower point than resistance levels.
20. Ray Dalio
Ray Dalio is a trading icon and the founder and CIO of Bridgewater Associates, a hedge fund consistently regarded as the largest in the world.
Throughout Dalio’s life, he was always curious to find out things for himself, a highly useful skill in trading.
He first became interested in trading at the age of 12 when he worked as a caddy at a golf course and listened to the conversations of the golfers, many of which worked on Wall Street.
Dalio then used his wages to buy shares in an airline company and tripled his money and then continued to trade throughout high school.
While in college Dalio took up transcendental meditation which he claims helped him think more clearly.
Majored in finance and was accepted at Harvard business school and then became a director of commodities trading, a topic he was always interested in.
Dalio went on to become one of the most influential traders to ever live.
What can we learn from Ray Dalio?
His book Principles: Life and Work is highly recommended and reveals the many lessons he has learnt throughout his career.
Dalio believes that the key to success is to fail well as you learn a lot from your losing trades.
When discussing market crashes, he believes when everyone thinks the same thing and bets on that same thing it’s usually going to affect the price and you shouldn’t bet on it.
Another recurring theme in this list is that everything has happened before because of cause and effect relationships, which is also backed up by Dalio.
Perhaps his best tip for day traders is that they need to be aggressive and defensive at the same time. Aggressive to make money, defensive to save it.
- Curiosity pays off.
- Need to accept being wrong most of the time.
- Having an outlet to focus your mind can help your trades.
- Day traders need to be aggressive and defensive at the same time.
21. Alexander Elder
Alexander Elder has perhaps one of the most interesting lives in this entire list.
Originally from St. Petersburg (known as Leningrad at the time), Elder, while working as a ship doctor jumped ship and left for the US aged 23.
Settling in New York, he became a psychiatrist and used his skills to become a day trader.
He is a highly active writer and teacher of trading.
Elder wrote many books on trading:
What can we learn from Alexander Elder?
He focuses primarily on day trader psychology and is a trained psychiatrist.
One of his primary lessons is that traders need to develop a money management plan. This plan should prioritise long-term survival first and steady growth second.
Elder is also a firm believer in learning all that you can but states that you should always look at everything with stern disbelief. Never accept anything at face value.
He also says that the day trader is the weakest link in trading. You may have an excellent trading strategy but if you are unable to stop impulsive trades it will not work.
Winning traders think very differently to losing traders. If you also want to be a successful day trader, you need to change the way you think.
- Have a money management plan.
- Learn all that you can but remain sceptical.
- Don’t give in to impulsive trades.
- To win you need to change the way you think.
22. Ed Seykota
Ed Seykota was featured in Jack Schwager’s book Market Wizards and supposedly took a $5,000 trading account and turned it into $15 million within 12 years.
He is a systematic trend follower, a private trader and works for private clients managing their money.
Seykota is reclusive and doesn’t talk much about his life and is not really socially active.
It is known that he was a pioneer in computerized trading in the 1970s. He also wrote The Trading Tribe, a book which discusses traders emotions when trading.
What can we learn from Ed Seykota?
Day traders can take a lot away from Ed Seykota.
Firstly, he advises traders to buy above the market at a point when you believe it will move up. Not only does this improve your chances of making a profit, but it also reduces risk. This is called trading break out.
He also advises traders to move stop orders as the trend continues. A way of locking in a profit and reducing risk.
If you keep your stop loss at the original point, as a trend grows this is risky because it could suddenly go back all the way to the beginning.
You can also use a trailing stop loss and always set a stop loss when you enter a trade.
Seykota believes that the market works in cycles. Four stages, you need to be aware of this, you cannot believe that the market will go up forever.
A golden rule from Seykota is to speculate with less than 10% of your liquid net worth and then risk only 1% of that on any trade.
Keep fluctuations in your account relative to your net worth. This can be regarded as a conservative approach.
A great quote from Seykota is “The trend is your friend except at the end where it bends”. A good quote to remember when trading trends.
Another rule for trends is if you are riding one and the price continues to increase and you want to buy more, but don’t buy the same amount on the second time, buy less because it is less risky.
Plus, when trends emerge instruments become popular, but there will also be times when they won’t be popular and you need to be prepared for it.
Finally, successful day traders need to accept responsibility for their actions. If you don’t, you’ll never be a good trader.
- When you trade trends, look for break out moments.
- The trend is only your friend when it’s there.
- You need to be prepared for when instruments are popular and when they are not.
- To be a successful day trader you need to accept responsibility for your actions.
23. Martin Schwartz
Often referred to as Marty Schwartz or by his nickname ‘Buzzy’, Martin Schwartz is one of the richest day traders ever.
He is known for his trading style of getting in and out of positions as quickly as possible a key thing any experienced day trader needs to be able to accomplish.
When Schwartz first started trading he made $600,000 in his first year and then doubled it up to 1.2 million in his second year.
He claims to have made approximately $70,000 per day and on some days made as much as several million.
You can read more about his trading career in Pit Bull: Lessons from Wall Street's Champion Day Trader.
Schwartz is also a champion horse owner too.
What can we learn from Martin Schwartz?
To many, Schwartz is the ideal day trader and he has many lessons to teach.
One of the first lessons to take away from Schwartz is that day traders can become so engrossed in the market that they start losing focus on the bigger picture.
He explains that working longer doesn’t necessarily mean you are working smarter, in fact, he believes it is the other way around.
Those that trade less are likely to be successful day traders than those who trade too much.
During Schwartz’s trading career, he also learnt the importance of taking a break. Saying you need to reward yourself and enjoy your victories.
For Schwartz taking a break is highly important. Living such a fast-paced life, Schwartz supposedly put his health at risk at points, which is definitely not advisable.
By enjoying them you are able to refresh yourself and appreciate what you have achieved, don’t immediately start risking your winnings.
Plus, if you don’t stop, you’re increasing risk. You’re making unnecessary trades and you are less likely to continue with a strategy.
- It is possible to make more money as an independent day trader than as a full-time job.
- Don’t sacrifice your health.
- Teach yourself to enjoy your wins and take breaks.
- Overtrading is risky!
24. Bill Lipschutz
Bill Lipschutz is one of the all-time best traders with a wealth of experience in foreign exchange.
With an interest for maths in high school, Lipschutz’s trading career all started when he inherited $12,000 worth of stock when his grandmother passed away.
Lipschutz managed to build his portfolio to the value of $250,000.
Unfortunately, for the young Lipschutz, this success didn’t last forever and he lost almost everything he owned on one bad trade and had to start all over again.
It was perhaps his biggest lesson in trading.
In 1982 Lipschutz when to work with the Saloman Brothers and made them $300 million a year by 1985.
What can we learn from Bill Lipschutz?
Lipschutz believed that you need to figure out how to be successful only being right 20% to 30% of the time.
Day traders will never win all of their trades, it is impossible. Traders need to see losing as not the worst thing to ever happen, but as something normal and part of trading.
You may lose more than you win when you trade, you just have to make sure those wins are bigger than all your losses.
This relates to risk-reward ratio, which should always be at the front of the mind of any day trader.
Reassess your risk-reward ratio as the trade progresses. Let’s look at an example of how you can do this:
You enter a trade with 20 pips risk and you have the goal of gaining 300 pips.
10 minutes later, the market has moved in the direction you were hoping for. Your 20 pips risk is now higher, it may be now 80 pips.
Along with that, you need to access your potential gains. Your outlook may be larger or smaller.
By reaccessing your trade while it progresses you can be more certain when to exit, take profit and avoid losses.
- Need to be profitable with only 20-30% successful trades.
- You will never be right all the time.
- Reassess your risk-reward ratio as the market moves.
- Make sure your wins are bigger than your losses.
25. Jesse Livermore
Jesse Livermore made his name in two market crashes, once in 1907 and again in 1929. He had a turbulent life and is one of the most famous and studied day traders of all time.
Livermore’s story is also one of the most interesting success stories as well.
Advanced in mathematics from an early age, Livermore started in bucket shops and developed highly effective strategies.
Eventually, after raising enough capital, he turned to trading stocks and, after a bit of a learning curve, in 1907 he made $1 million.
But Livermore’s greatest stories are not just about his winning trades.
We can learn not only what a day trader must do from him, but also what not to do. Livermore made great losses as well as gains.
At one point in his trading career, Livermore acting on advice got involved in the cotton trade and lost 90% of everything he owned. For him, this was a lesson to diversify risk.
In 1929, Livermore anticipated the crash that would cause the Great Depression and by the end of the crash was worth approximately $100 million, which would be the equivalent to $1.4 billion today.
What can we learn from Jesse Livermore?
He is perhaps the most quoted trader that ever lived and his writings are highly influential.
Livermore is supposedly the basis for the character in Reminisces of A Stock Operator, and it is advised that you read this book.
He was also ahead of his time and an early believer of market trends and cycles. In fact, his understanding of them made him his money in the 1929 crash.
Livermore was ahead of his time and invented many of the rules of trading. Even 100 years later his words still stand.
From his cotton trade, day traders can learn two important lessons; don’t make trades based on the opinions of others and ensure you diversify your risk.
Another lesson to take away from Livermore is the importance of a trading journal, to learn from past mistakes and successes.
- Diversify your portfolio.
- Don’t act on the opinions of others.
- Look for market patterns and cycles.
- Keep a trading journal.
26. Paul Tudor Jones
Paul Tudor Jones became a famous day trader in 1987s when he successfully predicted the Black Monday crash. In reference to the crash Jones said:
“[In 1987], there were no limits on any financial futures, it was an absolute accident waiting to happen.”
Also in 1987, Jones released his documentary Trader which reveals a lot about his trading style. Since then, Jones has tried to buy all copies of the documentary.
No one is sure why he has done this. Some speculate that he is trying to prevent people from learning all his trading secrets.
Jones was also featured in Jack Schwager’s Market Wizards.
He is also a philanthropist and the founder of the Robin Hood Foundation, which focuses on reducing poverty. Since its formation, it has brought on a number of big names as trustees.
What can we learn from Paul Tudor Jones?
Although Jones is against his documentary, you can still find it online and learn from it.
It should be noted that more than 30 years have passed since then and so you have to accept that some concepts may be outdated.
For example, one of the methods Jones uses is Eliot waves. Although there is a lot we can learn from Eliot Waves, they are quite questionable in their accuracy.
Perhaps one of the greatest lessons from Jones is money management. Jones says he is very conservative and risks only very small amounts.
He also only looks for opportunities with a risk-reward ratio of 1:5. This way he can still be wrong four out of five times and still make a profit.
Another key thing Jones advises day traders to do is cut positions they feel uncomfortable with.
He says that if you have a bad feeling about a trade, get out, you can always open another trade again.
One last piece of advice would be a contrarian. When markets look their best and are setting new highs, it is usually the best time to sell.
Highs will never last forever and you should profit while you can.
- Be conservative and risk only very small amounts per trade.
- Look to be right at least one out of five times.
- If you feel uncomfortable with a trade, get out.
- Be a contrarian and profit while the market is high.
27. Jean Paul Getty
The godfather of trading, Getty is well-known for his ‘I buy when everyone else is selling’ quote. Indeed, he effectively came up with that mantra; buy low and sell high.
He started young first joining his father’s oil business and made his first $1 million by the time he was 23 years old investing in his family’s business.
But despite his oil barren background, his real money came from stocks and soon was regarded as the richest man in the world and one of the richest Americans to have ever lived.
At one point in his trading career, Getty supposedly owned 1/900 out of the US economy, which would be approximately more than $160 billion today.
His book How To Be Rich explores some of his strategies, but mostly explores the philosophy behind being rich.
Further to that, the book is somewhat outdated now and many of the strategies Getty explains will not work in today’s world.
Made his most significant trades after the market crash of 1929 buying stocks at incredibly low prices as they shot back up again.
Getty was also very strict with money and even refused to pay ransom money for own grandson.
What can we learn from Jean Paul Getty?
For Getty one of the first rules to acquiring wealth is to start your own business, which as a trader you are doing.
In regards to day trading, this is very important as you need to think of it as a business, not a get rich scheme.
He then has two almost contradictory rules: save money; take risks.
Both are true. As we have highlighted in this article, the best traders look to reduce risk as much as possible.
But if you never take risks, you will never make money. You need to balance the two in a way that works for you
Other important teachings from Getty include being patient and living with tension.
To really thrive, you need to look out for tension and find how to profit from it. Just like risk, without there is no real reward.
On top of that, trading can be highly stressful and if you do not learn to adapt to it, it will be hard to be successful.
Lastly, you need to know about the business you are in. This is invaluable. If you don’t understand it you cannot learn how to profit from it.
- Think of trading as your business.
- Get the balance right between saving money and taking risks.
- Learn to deal with stressful trading environments.
- You must know about the industry you are in.
28. George Soros
George Soros is without a doubt the most famous and best trader in the world and his story is phenomenal.
Born in Budapest, Hungary, as Schwartz György to a Jewish family, his father changed the family name to Soros to avoid persecution.
Surviving WWII, Soros soon fled to the UK when communism took over Hungary at the age of 17.
There he enrolled at the London School of Economics and obtained a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree in philosophy.
Soros first got involved in finance when he started at merchant bank Singer & Friedlander in London, quickly moving into the arbitrage department.
In the mid-1960s, Soros moved to New York City and got involved in arbitrage trading, specialising in European stocks.
He gained the nickname ‘The man who broke the Bank of England’ in 1992 when he shorted the British pound and made £1 billion during Black Wednesday.
It took Soros months to build his short position.
The trade supposedly lost the bank £5 billion and led to the UK’s withdrawal of the ERM (European Exchange Rate Mechanism).
Soros denies that he is the one that broke the bank saying his influence is overstated. Nevertheless, the trade has gone down in
Soros is massively into philanthropy and has donated $32 billion to his charity Open Society Foundations which he founded in order to help democratic institutions.
What can we learn from the best trader in the world, George Soros?
Soros has spent his whole life as a survivor a skill he learnt as a child and which he later implemented into day trading.
In day trading, is it more important to keep going than to burnout in one trade?
We can learn the importance of spotting overvalued instruments. Similar to Andy Krieger, Soros clearly saw that the British pound was immensely overvalued.
When you know you’re right, you need to strike as hard as possible.
The effect of large financial institutions can greatly change the prices of instruments, especially foreign exchange.
Further to the above, it also raises ethical questions about such trades. Soros’s theory of reflexivity is also worth looking into as well.
- The importance of survival skills.
- Spotting overvalued instruments.
- When you’re 100% sure your right, you’ve got to make that count.
- Large institutions can cause gigantic market movements.
If you remember anything from this article, make it these key points.
- We can learn from successes as well as failures. Some of the most famous day traders made huge losses as well as gains.
- Famous and successful day traders can influence the market. Their actions and words can influence people to buy or sell.
- Some famous best day traders changed markets forever. Their trades have had the ability to shatter economies.
- Not all successful day traders started out as traders. Many of them had different ambitions at first but were still able to change their career.
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