For the students of Market Profile, Jim Dalton is no stranger. He is the man who took the initial teachings of Pete Steidlmayer and not only made them his own but took them to a whole different level. Dalton actually sponsored Steidlmayer’s first book. Those unfamiliar with Market Profile can read an article by Jim Dalton, the free handbook from the CME, or watch a short video series from Windotrader.
Jim Dalton was a member of the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), a Senior Vice President of the CBOE, and he managed an institutional trading desk at UBS. He currently advises two hedge funds, several trading firms and is himself a discretionary trader. He has written two books: Mind Over Markets and Markets in Profile.
I first heard of Market Profile in 2006 when I met Frank, an ex-floor trader, in Chicago who transitioned to the electronic screen. We became friends and he told me about how the profile help him. I was already dabbling in the Dow and S&P futures, so on his advise I read Jim’s books and started watching the profile on and off. I admit that I probably tried every indicator and method I could get my hands on, but every time I kept coming back to the profile. It was the only tool that I thought made logic sense and could be used in every market environment. I could see it ‘worked’ but couldn’t quite grasp how to put execute while using it. Imagine giving a caveman a bicycle. It has wheels and appears to be able to travel well. There is a seat but how exactly does he learn to ride it? He can just keep walking, but this tool, this bicycle can take his transportation to the next level. That’s how it felt to me.
On the internet there are several “expert profile traders” ready to sell you their method. They have an entry signal and an exit signal. I have been fortunate not to fall into any of these traps. In my opinion, these guys are simply conmen who have no clue what they are doing but are good salesmen. Every time I read about such an expert I looked at their samples, trials, examples and asked around. Nothing convinced me that they were on the right path.
On one forum I met Francis, who introduced me to a very small group of traders who use Market Profile, and whom I still chat with on Skype. Here I got some positive feedback on Dalton’s intensive course that I had heard about. Jen (one of the group members signed up for the next one) and so I decided to do so myself. Jen and I had the same belief – that in order to really understand Market Profile, you needed to focus on that and not blur your vision with a million other indicators. (Note this is something Jim myself goes on and on about). During the first intensive I noticed that may participants were repeats. The information was just too much to absorb. You needed time to internalize it. During the intensive I understood that Jim took this tool to the next level but at this point all I could really do was learn the ‘definitions’ rather than be able to piece it all together. Jim declares that the best complement he received was one where someone said it was too complicated. Jim believes (and I agree) if it was easy it would be automated and there would be no edge.
While I had learned a great deal, I had not yet internalized it. Then I heard that Jim was going to retire and would be doing a Legacy Series. This Legacy Series was essentially two intensives with a break in-between. I gave Julia (Jim’s business partner) a call and after a long chat I decided to sign up for one last shot at Market Profile.
Apologies for the long intro but I believe it was necessary before I talk move about the intensive. From the moment I signed up (i.e. before the intensive actually started), I received a morning and evening report from Jim. The evening report described what had happened and what Jim saw, and the morning report was a continuation with a discussion of what had occurred overnight (i.e. globex action). To give you a taste see this evening report, and this report the following morning before the open. Everyday we had 1-3 webinars that lasted around 1.5-2 hours each. The last intensive had webinars that exceeded 75 hours in total. Every morning we had a “Pre-opening Comments and Early Trade” webinar. Two samples can be seen for free here and here. Other sessions included Psychology, Q&A (to help beginners), Weekly Orientation (to discuss what was coming up), and Options Methodology (where Jim described his own options trading method). During each webinar, anyone could pretty much ask Jim anything by typing in their question. Furthermore, the live market was almost continuously up in all sessions regardless of topic and so viewers were essentially living the market with Jim throughout. Furthermore when the webinar was over, Jim would put comments in a 1-way chat which participants could monitor live. Jim was very welcoming too all types of questions and responded to several e-mails I had sent him. So it was almost like one-on-one mentoring. During the intensive I saw Jim put on trades. (Note this was not a signalling service for us to follow but to learn – he would say “I bought this at this price for this reason..”, “This is a spec trade” – small trade with small risk taken usually due to good location with high potential reward to risk). Most of his trades were profitable but some also lost money. Sometimes he even made trade entry errors, but he would always admit his mistakes. Jim was humble and ready to analyse where and why he was wrong. What affected his judgement and what we could all learn from it.
Jim charged participants under $2,000 (depending on signup date – with most paying around $1500) for both intensives. This included: over 135 hours of live webinars, 2 reports a day for 5 months, live chat, e-mail access, and lifetime membership to the training site. The training site has over 80 articles, along with all the videos from current and past intensives.
As I listened to Jim every day it made more and more sense. I started to internalize what Jim was saying. I did simulation trades throughout the intensive and was profitable. Since the intensive finished, I switched to live trading and am happy to say that I have been profitable. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from Jim Dalton. The books were a great introduction but were not enough for me. The intensives are what gave me an edge that no one can now take away from me.
Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.