May 29, 2023
Gian is a 25-year-old trader from Argentina, Ex-Pro Poker Player, Fitness enjoyor and currently teaching in Killmex.
What attracted you to trading?
I have always been an unorthodox person; from a very young age, I always had unusual interests. I was fascinated by strategy, by being a lone wolf in a highly competitive environment.
I played professional poker for several years and I think it has a lot of similarities with trading. It was nice to try something new without deviating too much from what I enjoy.
I was fascinated by strategy, by being a lone wolf in a highly competitive environment.
How long have you been trading and what markets have you traded over your career?
I’ve been trading for slightly less than two years, and I’ve traded Crypto and Indexes (NQ / E-Mini).
Are there differences/nuances on how you trade each?
Yes and no. By ‘no’, I mean that I still use orderflow tools to execute my trading. The main difference is that crypto is fragmented transactions and OB data is viewed across several exchanges. I think this is one of the major reasons why it has remained so profitable for such a long time. It’s inherently more inefficient. NQ/ES is way more efficient, the flow is “cleaner” because you can see all transactions in one place, but markets are just positions, and Indexes are significantly more complex because Hedging is more common and you need to understand what's going on behind every lot by paying attention to options dealers.
How long did it take you to become profitable?
I’ve always been profitable, but I had severe swings at first. During the first few months, I would say that I won money probably for all the wrong reasons. When you don't really know what you’re actually trading, it’s very hard to give an accurate PNL attribution. If you're not conscious and objective enough, earning money for the wrong reasons can create an awful habit that becomes hard to get rid of.
earning money for the wrong reasons can create an awful habit that becomes hard to get rid of.
Are you talking about thinking you’re a better trader than you are?
It's incredibly hard to accurately describe where you’re sitting in “skill” as a trader. In poker or chess, for example, you have binary decisions, either it was EV+ or EV- to take certain action. In trading, right or wrong aren’t absolutes. You have a lot of relative measures comparing different situations and try to make the most of the one that looks the best, but at the end of the day, who knows if if they were simply blessed by variance?
In trading, right or wrong aren’t absolutes.
I think volume helps in a way to reduce “variance” or to see if you actually are beating the market or not, because a bigger sample will reflect more accurately your decision-making over time, but ultimately, you could’ve been just lucky in a certain period and you never had an edge to begin with.
I think the closest to seeing how you are as a trader is by doing volume (Repetitions) and adapting to several conditions over many years.
I’m good? Maybe. Could it have all been luck? Also possible. Just manage your risk in case your luck goes away.
I’m good? Maybe. Could it have all been luck? Also possible. Just manage your risk in case your luck goes away.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I don't really have a schedule, I tend to track the average vol of each session and adapt to whatever the market gives. Lately, you could treat it like a 9-5 job because the US has led any major movement. In 2023 this started to dissipate. Especially with all the regulations that forced some US entities to leave. Now the market moves the most in the less liquid timezones = Australia / London. Besides that, I usually go for a walk, and whenever I have free time, I try to spend it with my siblings. I have a brother and a sister, both older than me, and I'm a first-time uncle, so I try to spend most of my time with my nephew whenever possible.
Who did you look up to when you first started trading?
When I first joined CT I was completely clueless. It’s really hard at first to identify who can provide value and who can’t because you are ignorant, you have no idea.
In such situations, I always follow my intuition, and from the very beginning, I liked @Insiliconot and I became a replyguyor. I would say that I learnt most of it from him, or at least he provided the clearest roadmap of what I should learn. After that, it was becoming part of the “Friends circle” like Abetrade, Jimtalbot, etc. I learnt a little bit from all of them, but definitely, the one that influenced me the most was Insilico by far.
Tell us about your most memorable trade
My most memorable trade was longing every single altcoin when I first joined (Btc was trading around 63k) and I didn't know they were correlated. I got completely cucked on like 10 longs at the same time.
It’s the most memorable for me because I always laugh when I think about it. If you asked me right now, I don't know, “It's just a fucking trade. Put it into the books and onto the next.”
I didn't know they were correlated. I got completely cucked on like 10 longs at the same time.
What’s the best trading advice you’ve been given?
“Withdraw your money from FTX right now”.
What drives you to keep trading?
Like I said at the beginning, I'm addicted to competition. I just love to try to be among the best in whatever I do, and I think trading suits all the perks that I enjoy. Competition, math, strategy, creativity - it’s a perfect combo.
It's not a solved game, so I love the fact that you are forced to evolve continuously. As the meta of a game evolves from time to time, the market does too.
It's not a solved game, so I love the fact that you are forced to evolve continuously.
Would you say you’ve ‘made it’? If not, what does ‘making it’ look like to you?
Yes, I would say that I’ve made it. I don't really know if I fit CT standards, but I'm pretty happy with where I am currently.
I think “making it” will highly differ from one person to another. In my opinion, it is not stressing about money on a daily basis. I don't really care about luxuries or things like that, but knowing that I have the chance and opportunity to do it if I want gives you peace of mind.
Unironically since I started to have significantly more money, I started to consume significantly less. I think that knowing that you can have it makes it less desirable. You start to realize that material things don't really hold any value, at least not for me.
So making it is just enjoying the small things, family, friends, a small roadtrip, nothing huge.
What's the most important quality in a trader and why?
Creativity. Crypto is a very fragmented space, there’s so much stuff to lurk that I think creativity plays a major role in selecting which table you to play. I think most traders struggle to find an “edge” because of that. There’s a ton of stuff that's highly inefficient and exploitable; you just need to be curious and open-minded.
I think creativity plays a major role in selecting which table you to play.
How would you describe the way you trade?
I think that most of the time, the markets are “fairly” efficient, so, my strategy gravitates around being patient and waiting for obvious price dislocations due to flow imbalances.
Has the way you trade changed over time?
Yes and no, I think it always has been “more or less” the same, but it has changed because I’ve been polishing some details and learnt more strategies to exploit other participants. It's always a work in progress, so if you ask me next month I would probably say that it changed a little bit from today.
You talk about exploiting other participants - how much of your thinking is PvP vs PvE?
I don't really see Markets as PVP; maybe some situations are like skirmishes, but my trading highly relies on reversion, so most of my thinking is based on, how I would punish the masses as a whole rather than a single person. People unconsciously move in groups because they want the safety of human company. When they might be in a vulnerable position it's time to attack.
People unconsciously move in groups because they want the safety of human company. When they might be in a vulnerable position it's time to attack.
Why do you think you have success trading?
I'm very conscious of my limitations. I have a huge ego, but I still put it aside when it comes to trading. It doesn't matter if you are the 8th best player in the world if you are sitting at the table with the best seven.
I think here it's exactly the same. Like in poker, table selection is everything. I think I'm really good at managing my risk, something that is essential to compound over time.
I think you need an inherent curiosity for random things and enjoy the game for its own sake. The motivation to be very competitive leads to making money, not the other way around.
Like in poker, table selection is everything.
What's the worst thing about trading and why?
It's either a love or hate relationship, but variance can be stressful at times. Sometimes doing the “right things” might not pay off, and it is what it is. Since I come from poker, I’m incredibly used to it, but it can be very triggering from time to time.
What's something you've learned in the last six months that has made you a better trader?
Honestly, there are too many things that I’ve learned in the last six months, but to summarize, surrounding yourself with the right people is what is going to help you the most.
surrounding yourself with the right people is what is going to help you the most.
What's the mistake you find hardest to avoid when trading? Any tips to avoid it?
Most of my mistakes are execution-wise, I don't think I can avoid them and I wouldn't want to either. I simply embrace them, review them and improve them, a little bit better than yesterday, worse than tomorrow.
Mistakes I tend to see in most people are that they pay too much attention to PNL rather than the quality of their decision and execution. Clearly, the first one is easier to see because it can be very easily quantified, but progress will come from reviewing the qualitative part.
people pay too much attention to PNL rather than the quality of their decision and execution.
If you could give someone starting trading tomorrow one piece of advice, what would it be?
Focus on your weaknesses, not your strengths. It’s significantly easier to improve our C-Game (Our worst decisions) than it is to improve our A-Game (Our best decisions). I like to see it as “The Law of Least Effort”. Going from great to perfect is really hard, and requires a lot of energy and focus, something that on a daily basis you won't have. Instead, you can improve on the worst mistakes you make and at the end of the day, your B-Game (Your average) will improve because your worst game improved, moving everything forward.
It’s significantly easier to improve our worst decisions than it is to improve our best decisions.
How would you describe your relationship with risk?
Well, life is risk per-se. To exist is inherently to risk. Losing is inevitable, so I don't really spend a lot of time thinking about it. I just make sure that I will have chips to make the next bet.
I think time is the most valuable collateral, not money. If you ask me, I think risk depends on the person and their economic situation.
When you have a lot of collateral (time), it makes sense to risk more or better said, it makes less sense to risk less.
Those who technically have time on their side should aim for the parts of the Efficient frontier in which risk is the highest but still offers enough reward to justify it.
Losing is inevitable, so I don't really spend a lot of time thinking about it.
What goals do you set for your trading?
The only goal I have is to enjoy it. The day I stop enjoying it is the day that I stop trading.
Fill in the blanks
Most traders would be better off choosing a stable-income job.
What separates the pros from the rest is that the first knows how to handle swings caused by volatility and bad traders are forced to reduce exposure at the wrong times
A good trader should never ignore the exposure to a variety of risks
The biggest misconception about trading is that you will make easy money