Firstly it can, under certain conditions give a predictable outcome in terms of profits. This is useful given the dynamic and volatile nature of foreign exchange. It yields a better return the more skillful you are. And thirdly, currencies tend to trade in ranges over long periods — so the same levels are revisited over many times. As with grid trading , that behavior suits this strategy.
Martingale is a cost-averaging strategy. This results in lowering of your average entry price. Your long-term expected return is still the same. What the strategy does do is delay losses.
Under the right conditions, losses can be delayed by so much that it seems a sure thing. The idea is that you just go on doubling your trade size until eventually fate throws you up one single winning trade. At that point, due to the doubling effect, you can exit with a profit. This simple example shows this basic idea. Imagine a trading game with a If I lose, I double my stake amount each time. Gamblers call this doubling-down.
If the odds are fair, eventually the outcome will be in my favor. This is thanks to the double-down effect. Winning bets always result in a profit.
That means the string of consecutive losses is recovered by the winning trade. A trade can close with a certain profit or loss. You just define a fixed movement of the underlying price as your take profit , and stop loss levels. Rate Order Lots micro Entry Avg. Averaging down trade entry levels in falling market. I start with a buy to open order of 1 lot at 1. The rate then moves against me to 1. It reaches my virtual stop loss. I keep my existing one open on each leg and add a new trade to double the size.
A complete course for anyone using a Martingale system or planning on building their own trading strategy from scratch. It's written from a trader's perspective with explanation by example. Our strategies are used by some of the top signal providers and traders. This gives me an average entry rate of 1. But you also reduce the relative amount required to re-coup the losses. The break-even approaches a constant value as you average down with more trades.
This constant value gets ever closer to your stop loss. Standard Martingale will always recover in exactly one stop distance, regardless of how far the market has moved against the position. At trade 5, my average entry rate is now 1. When the rate then moves upwards to 1. I can close the system of trades once the rate is at or above that break even level. My first four trades close at a loss. But this is covered exactly by the profit on the last trade in the sequence. Losses from previous trades are offset by the final winning trade.
In a pure Martingale system no complete sequence of trades ever loses. If the price moves against you, you simply double the size of the trade. Neither of which are achievable.
In a real trading system, you need to set a limit for the drawdown of the entire system. Once you pass your drawdown limit, the trade sequence is closed at a loss. The cycle then starts again. Ironically, the greater your drawdown limit, the lower your probability of making a loss — but the bigger that loss will be. This is the Taleb dilemma. In Martingale the trade exposure on a losing sequence increases exponentially. That means in a sequence of N losing trades, your risk exposure increases as 2 N On the other hand, the profit from winning trades only increases linearly.
Winning trades always create a profit in this strategy. But your big one off losing trades will set this back to zero. For example, if your limit is 10 double-down legs, your biggest trade is You would only lose this amount if you had 11 losing trades in a row.
So your odds always remain Your risk-reward is also balanced at 1: But in this strategy your losses will all come in one big hit. It just postpones your losses. Your net return is still zero. Basically these are trend following strategies that double up on wins, and cut losses quickly. The best opportunities for the strategy in my experience come about from range trading. And by keeping your trade sizes very small in proportion to your capital, that is using very low leverage.
That way, you have more scope to withstand the higher trade multiples that occur in drawdown. There are dozens of other views however. Some people suggest using Martingale combined with positive carry trades. What that means is trading pairs with big interest rate differentials. Because the risks are that currency pairs with carry opportunities often follow strong trends.
These often see steep corrective phases as carry positions are unwound reverse carry positioning. This can happen violently. Getting caught the wrong side of one of these corrections is just too big a risk in my view. Over the long term, Martingale suffers in trending markets see return chart — opens in new window. The low yields mean your trade sizes need to be big in proportion to your capital for carry interest to make any difference to the outcome.
As I said above, this is too risky with Martingale. A strategy better suited to trending is Martingale in reverse. For it to work properly, you need to have a big drawdown limit relative to your trade sizes. The most effective use of Martingale in my experience is as a yield enhancer. This was done by trading the liquid part of a big portfolio. Trading pairs that have strong trending behavior like Yen crosses or commodity currencies can be very risky. You can download the complete trading system , as described here, or check my Excel spreadsheet.
My program trading module, which was effectively a Martingale robot EA was created from this basic design. From this, you can work out the other parameters. The maximum lots will set the number of stop levels that can be passed before the position is closed.
So for example, if your maximum total holding is lots, this will allow doubling-down 8 times — or 8 legs. If you close the entire position at the n th stop level, your maximum loss would be:. Here s is the stop distance in pips at which you double the position size. So, with lots micro lots , and a stop loss of 40 pips, closing at the 8th stop level would give a maximum loss of 10, pips.
Closing at the 9th stop level would give a loss of 20, pips. This would break your system. You can use my lot calculator in the Excel workbook to try out different trade sizes and settings. The best way to deal with drawdown is to use a ratchet system. So as you make profits, you should incrementally increase your lots and drawdown limit. For example, see the table below. Ratcheting up the drawdown limit as profits are realized.
This ratchet is automatically handled in the trading spreadsheet. You just need to set your drawdown limit as a percentage of realized equity. The system still needs to be triggered some how to start a buy or sell sequence.More...