Important trading lessons from Market Wizard, Tom Basso.

Tom Basso, known as a “Market Wizard,” from the book by Jack D. Schwager, is a successful trader who has developed his own exit strategy for trading financial markets.

Basso is known for his trend-following approach to trading, where he aims to capitalize on sustained price trends in various financial markets.
His exit strategy focuses on managing risk and protecting profits, and it involves several key principles.

Use of stop-loss orders: Basso emphasizes the use of stop-loss orders, which are predetermined price levels at which a trade will be automatically exited if the market moves against the trader’s position.
This helps to limit losses and protect capital, as it ensures that a trade is exited if it is not performing as expected.
Trailing stops: Basso also uses trailing stops, which are stop-loss orders that are adjusted as the market moves in the trader’s favour. This allows him to capture profits as the market moves in his favour,
while still protecting against potential reversals. Basso typically sets trailing stops based on technical indicators or price levels, and adjusts them periodically to lock in profits.
Risk management: Basso is known for his strict risk management rules. He typically risks a small percentage of his trading capital on each trade, often around 1% to 2% of his total portfolio.
This helps him to limit the impact of losing trades on his overall portfolio and ensures that he can continue trading even after a series of losses.
Adapting to changing market conditions: Basso believes in being flexible and adapting to changing market conditions. If the market starts to exhibit signs of unfavourable trends or volatility,
he may exit his trades or reduce his position sizes to protect his capital.
Discipline and patience: Basso emphasizes the importance of discipline and patience in trading. He sticks to his trading plan and does not let emotions drive his trading decisions.
He waits for favourable trade setups and follows his exit strategy diligently, regardless of short-term market fluctuations.
Overall, Basso’s exit strategy focuses on managing risk, protecting profits, and being adaptable to changing market conditions. It is a disciplined and systematic approach that aims to capture trends while minimizing losses,
which has contributed to his success as a Market Wizard.


Tom Basso’s emphasis on the importance of trade exit strategy over trade entry strategy is based on the idea that managing risk
and protecting profits are critical factors for long-term trading success.

Here are some reasons why the exit strategy is often considered more important:
Risk management: The exit strategy plays a crucial role in managing risk. By setting stop-loss orders and using trailing stops, Basso aims to limit losses and protect his trading capital.
Proper risk management is essential for preserving capital and avoiding large drawdowns, which can significantly impact a trader’s ability to continue trading and achieve consistent profits.
Profit protection: The exit strategy helps in protecting profits. Basso uses trailing stops to lock in profits as the market moves in his favour. This allows him to capture gains and protect them from potential reversals.
Protecting profits is important for preserving trading gains and preventing profits from turning into losses.
Flexibility in changing market conditions: Markets are dynamic and can change rapidly. An effective exit strategy allows traders to adapt to changing market conditions.
Basso’s approach of being adaptable and flexible with his exit strategy enables him to respond to changing trends, volatility, and other market dynamics.
This helps him to avoid staying in losing trades for too long or exiting winning trades too early, based on the evolving market conditions.
Emotion management: Emotions can often cloud a trader’s judgment, leading to impulsive and irrational trading decisions. Having a well-defined exit strategy helps traders to avoid making emotional decisions.
Basso’s disciplined approach to following his exit strategy minimizes the impact of emotions on his trading decisions and helps him to stay focused on his trading plan.
Trade expectancy: Trade expectancy is a key metric used by traders to assess the profitability of their trading strategy. It is the average amount a trader can expect to make or lose on each trade over the long term.
A well-designed exit strategy that incorporates stop-loss orders, trailing stops, and profit targets can significantly impact trade expectancy, which ultimately determines the overall profitability of a trading strategy.
While trade entry is important, Basso’s emphasis on the exit strategy stems from the understanding that managing risk, protecting profits, adapting to changing market conditions,
and mitigating emotional biases are crucial elements for successful trading. A robust exit strategy helps traders to achieve these goals and can contribute to long-term trading success.


The “Market Wizards” series of books, written by Jack D. Schwager, features interviews with successful traders and investors who have achieved remarkable success in financial markets.

While each trader has their own unique trading style and approach, there are some key points that can be summarized from the collective wisdom shared in these books:

Risk management: Successful traders prioritize risk management and use techniques such as stop-loss orders, trailing stops, and position sizing to manage risk and protect their capital from significant losses.
Discipline and patience: Discipline and patience are crucial traits among successful traders. They stick to their trading plans, avoid impulsive decisions,
and patiently wait for favourable trade setups based on their strategies.
Adaptability: Market conditions can change rapidly, and successful traders are adaptable. They adjust their trading strategies and approaches based on changing market dynamics, trends, and volatility.
Trading psychology: Understanding and managing trading psychology is important. Successful traders have a disciplined mindset, manage emotions, and do not let fear or greed drive their trading decisions.
Continuous learning: Successful traders have a thirst for knowledge and are constantly learning and improving their skills. They may experiment with different approaches, strategies,
and techniques to refine their trading methods.
Focus on probabilities, not certainties: Traders understand that trading is inherently uncertain and focus on probabilities rather than trying to predict certainty.
They accept that losses are part of trading and aim to achieve a positive expectancy over a series of trades.

Importance of trade exits: Many successful traders emphasize the significance of exit strategies, as they play a critical role in managing risk, protecting profits, and capturing gains.
A well-designed exit strategy is considered crucial for trading success.
Long-term perspective: Successful traders often have a long-term perspective and do not get swayed by short-term market fluctuations.
They focus on their overall trading performance over time rather than getting overly concerned with individual trade outcomes.
Individuality in trading: Successful traders often develop their own unique trading styles, approaches, and techniques that suit their personality, risk tolerance, and market beliefs.
They do not blindly follow others but develop their own edge and stick to it.
Realistic expectations: Successful traders have realistic expectations about their trading results and do not chase get-rich-quick schemes.
They understand that trading is a challenging endeavour that requires time, effort, and experience to achieve consistent profits.
These are some of the key points that can be summarized from the “Market Wizards” books, highlighting the common traits and approaches of successful traders interviewed in the series.
It’s important to note that while these traders have achieved remarkable success, their strategies may not necessarily be suitable for everyone,
and it’s crucial to develop a trading approach that aligns with one’s own risk tolerance, goals, and beliefs.


Here are 10 additional points to be aware of, based on the insights shared by successful traders in the “Market Wizards” books:

Trading plan: Successful traders emphasize the importance of having a well-defined trading plan that includes clear entry and exit rules, risk management guidelines, and a systematic approach to decision-making.
Position sizing: Determining appropriate position sizes based on risk tolerance and trade setups is crucial.
Successful traders emphasize the need to carefully manage position sizes to avoid excessive risk exposure and preserve capital.
Diversification: Diversifying trading strategies, timeframes, and markets can help spread risk and improve overall trading performance.
Successful traders often diversify their trading approaches to capture opportunities in different market conditions.
Focus on process, not outcome: Successful traders focus on executing their trading plan with discipline and consistency, rather than being solely fixated on short-term trade outcomes.
They understand that the process is more important than individual trade results.
Keep it simple: Successful traders often use simple and robust trading strategies that are easy to understand and implement.
They avoid unnecessary complexity and focus on strategies that have a proven track record of success.
Trading as a business: Many successful traders treat trading as a business and have a structured approach to their trading activities.
They maintain records, analyse performance, and continuously look for ways to improve their trading operations.
Patience in trading: Successful traders understand the importance of patience in trading.
They wait for high-probability trade setups and do not force trades in uncertain or unfavourable market conditions.
Risk-reward ratio: Assessing and maintaining a favourable risk-reward ratio is crucial.
Successful traders aim for trades with a positive risk-reward ratio, where potential profits outweigh potential losses.
Capital preservation: Preserving trading capital is a top priority for successful traders.
They are disciplined in cutting losses and protecting their capital, knowing that preserving capital is key to staying in the game for the long term.
Mental and physical well-being: Successful traders recognize the importance of maintaining mental and physical well-being.
They manage stress, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and take breaks as needed to stay focused and perform at their best.
Remember that trading involves risks, and it’s important to carefully consider your own risk tolerance, financial goals, and trading style before implementing any strategies.
Successful traders develop their own unique approaches and continuously learn and adapt to changing market conditions.
It’s important to find an approach that works best for you and aligns with your individual circumstances and trading goals.


Here are 10 more points worth mentioning based on the insights from successful traders in the “Market Wizards” books:

Keep emotions in check: Successful traders recognize the role of emotions in trading and develop strategies to manage them.
They avoid making impulsive decisions based on fear, greed, or other emotions, and instead rely on their trading plan and analysis.
Trade with a positive expectancy: Successful traders aim for a positive expectancy in their trading, which means that, on average,
their expected profits outweigh their expected losses over a series of trades. They focus on trades with a high probability of success.
Keep learning and adapting: Continuous learning is a hallmark of successful traders. They stay informed about market developments, learn from their mistakes,
and adapt their strategies to changing market conditions.
Keep emotions separate from trading decisions: Successful traders do not let their personal opinions, biases, or emotions interfere with their trading decisions.
They base their trades on objective analysis and stick to their trading plan.
Trade with a plan, not impulsively: Successful traders have a well-defined trading plan and follow it rigorously.
They do not make impulsive or random trades but instead wait for their trade setups based on their plan and strategy.
Review and learn from trades: Successful traders review their trades regularly to learn from their successes and failures.
They analyse their trades to identify patterns, strengths, and weaknesses, and make adjustments to improve their performance.
Be adaptable to changing markets: Successful traders understand that markets are dynamic and constantly changing.
They are willing to adapt their trading strategies, techniques, and timeframes to stay relevant in evolving market conditions.
Develop a trading edge: Successful traders often develop a unique trading edge that gives them an advantage in the market.
This can be through specialized knowledge, proprietary indicators, or a unique perspective on market dynamics.
Manage trading costs: Successful traders are mindful of trading costs, including commissions, slippage, and other fees.
They aim to minimize trading costs to improve their overall profitability.
Maintain discipline during drawdowns: Drawdowns, or periods of losses, are inevitable in trading.
Successful traders maintain discipline and stick to their trading plan during drawdowns, avoiding emotional decisions or overtrading to recover losses quickly.
Remember that trading involves risks, and it’s important to carefully consider your own risk tolerance, financial goals, and trading style before implementing any strategies.
Successful traders develop their own unique approaches and continuously learn and adapt to changing market conditions.
It’s important to find an approach that works best for you and aligns with your individual circumstances and trading goals.
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