How a Retail Trader made $34,800 Trading Futures in One Day

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This is a special post for The Options Bro. If you’re like us, then you’re an avid trader and you’re intimately familiar with the many ups and downs of trading.

We’ve all had our fair share of “downs”, but it’s safe there are some interesting moments along the way.

The following is one of those interesting moments authored by an anonymous writer at The Options Bro.

This is the unabridged story of how I made $33,250 in a single day. Does this sound ridiculous? Yes. Thankfully, I have screenshots from my account to prove it…I had other positions that caused some small losses, but the profit from the trade in this story was $34,800. Let that sink in. Seriously.

How did I end up making $34,800 in one day?

Well, the short answer is that I took a lot of risk. This was back in March of this year when crude oil was trading a little above $55 per barrel. I had been long at the beginning of the year and made absolutely no money. For about two months, crude hardly moved; the market was stuck in a very narrow range, and I was dying for some excitement.

The excitement came soon enough…On one average wednesday morning, the weekly petroleum status report from the EIA was released and it showed a MASSIVE build in crude oil stockpiles. I can’t remember the exact number, but the current stockpiles, at the time, were around 12 million barrels more than anticipated.

Immediately after the data was released, crude didn’t do anything. Then, almost instantaneously, it had a small and sharp rally of $0.40. I thought this was the most bizarre reaction to one of the largest stockpile builds in history…so I reversed my position and increased it. A lot. I was willing to sell as many barrels as it took…

I shorted 10 contracts around $52.59 per barrel and 5 more at $52.62 per barrel. Next thing I knew…the price of crude dropped about 2 dollars to settle at $50.28. I was $34,800 richer, and it felt pretty damn good.

Futures trading profits on thinkorswim.

The leverage of futures

Because the tick size for WTI light sweet crude oil is $10, and I had a whopping 15 contract position, I stood to gain/lose $150 per penny in crude oil. Since it sold-off $2.00, and I had 15 short contracts, I legitimately made $30,000+ in a single day. I went on to close out this position shortly after the mark-to-market adjustment at the end of the day.

It felt like my brain was on drugs. It was truly unbelievable. Crude went on to drop significantly more throughout the rest of the week. Perhaps I closed out my position too soon, but it was just too stressful to hold on to.

Looking back, the whole experience is sort of horrifying, because had I been on the wrong side of that trade, I would have been wiped out. It was a humbling and rewarding experience at the same time.

Takeaway

The reason I felt compelled to share this story publicly is simple. I’ve made a lot of money trading through the simplest of trades, yet I constantly see market “gurus” selling their eBooks and newsletters to other traders for high fees. These ostensible market wizards promise to teach willing traders how to make a ton of money in the market, if you pay them $500 per month.

But this is where my story comes in. Nobody had to teach me how to place a trade like this. There was no technical analysis or special technique. It was simple. I saw an opportunity, and I capitalized on it.

Plus, using a cost-efficient futures-friendly broker helps. Brokers like tastyworks only charge $1.25 per futures contract and have very low margin requirements.

There’s really not too much else involved. That’s why I’m perplexed when trading gurus sell their program for hundreds of dollars. What are they teaching? Maybe it works for some people, but I’ve always viewed these programs as a scam. What I’m trying to say is…I would never divulge my true trading methods for any amount of money unless Goldman Sachs offered to by my trading operation for a few hundred million or something like that.

Plus, I’ve done a lot of research online, and I seldom see other traders actually posting screenshots of their trading activity. Lots of traders claim to be successful, but there is no evidence to back it up. I hope this article is inspiring to at least one person out there, because I think I serve as a good example. It’s entirely possible to make a lot of money from trading. Was there luck involved in this trade? Sure. But I think there was also an element of market awareness.

Overall, the lesson I learned from making an entire minimum wage yearly salary in less than a day was this: if you don’t play the game, you will never have a chance to win. It sounds sort of cliche, but it’s true. I could have easily not traded that day. Nevertheless, I stuck to my guns and use a little bit of good ol’ fundamental analysis (huge increase in stockpiles = more demand than supply = price should go down) to bag one of my coolest winning trades of my career.

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