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The Fundamentals of Successful Trading

Presented by Van K. Tharp, Ph.D.


This workshop is designed by Van Tharp to cover the important fundamentals for successful trading— a set of ideas and principles that he calls "Tharp Think."


These concepts take the mystery out of trading by helping you understand who you are as a trader, how your personal psychology can work for you instead of against you, how to think about and manage risk, and how to develop winning trading systems.

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Eight Core Areas of Trading

This one-day Tharp Think Workshop provides an excellent low risk way to find out what you need to succeed long term as a trader.  You get to experience the high quality of all Van Tharp Institute workshops in a one day presentation.


Dr. Tharp will help you understand eight core areas of trading.


1. How to think about your trading success in terms of achieving your objectives.   


Few traders start with good objectives.  Is it any wonder more traders aren’t successful?  At this workshop, you will play a trading simulation game where you first have to define good objectives before you design a strategy to meet those objectives. This invaluable practice helps you immensely set strong objectives for your own trading business when you get back home. 

2.  How to think about risk.   


In spite of what you have heard, risk has nothing to do with market volatility. That sort of thinking produced a subprime crisis and has allowed rogue bank traders to lose billions. Dr. Tharp will help you understand a highly useful definition of risk that will transform how you think about trading and shave years off of your learning curve.

3. How to think about your reward-to-risk ratio.   


Once you truly understand risk, you can then consider reward-to-risk.  If you don’t do this already, you'll learn how to evaluate every single trade easily and quickly so you can start passing up the poor ones. 

4. How to think about trading systems as statistical distributions.   


So many traders spend a lot of time and energy looking for a Holy Grail trading system.  Once you begin to think about your trading systems as a distribution of results, however, your trading can take a leap forward. You start thinking about probabilities, variability, performance, how different sets of trades can vary within acceptable limits - or - outside of them.  Rather than worrying about having a high probability entry, you can leave the workshop with a more robust understanding that makes developing good trading systems an easier process. 

5. How to think about trading systems in terms of sample theory.   


If you want to know what Republicans think, you probably won't survey people in South Chicago. Why? Because they are almost all Democrats. What does this have to do with trading?  If you have a system that makes great money in a quiet bull market, you probably don’t want to trade that same system in a volatile bear or a volatile sideways market.  Why?  It’s likely to lose money.  You need different systems for different market types and Dr. Tharp will help get you started. 

6. How to think about position sizing™ strategies.   


Most traders don’t realize, that 90% of trading performance comes from position sizing strategies – not from trading a great system!  Why haven’t you heard this before?  Because so few people have a clue about it.  At this workshop, you will play a fun game that very powerfully demonstrates how a so-so trading system can generate fantastic results – once you understand position sizing strategies. 

7. How to think about self-sabotage.   

Dr. Tharp has created a way to objectively define and measure self-sabotage. You'll be able to take this measure home and apply it immediately to your trading results to determine how much self-sabotage affects your bottom line.


8. How to think about the psychological side of trading.   

Your success as a trader is due to how you think. You'll learn why most traders struggle with this area.

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What to Expect

In addition to covering eight core areas of trading, as a bonus, Dr. Tharp includes his famous System Quality Number® Talk.


You'll learn how to objectively evaluate your system and compare it to any other system. You'll also learn that your system quality has nothing to do with achieving your objectives. It simply determines how easy it will be to achieve your objectives through various position sizing strategies.


Dr. Tharp will also leave ample time for questions to ensure that you truly understand what you have learned during the day and that you can easily apply it when you go home.


What you will cover during your day of How to Tharp Think will go something like this:

1. Risk

2. Meeting Your Objectives

3. Marble Game Strategy

4. Playing the Marble Game

5. Practical Lessons

a. 90% of Performance Variability Comes from a Variable You'll Learn About in this Session

b. Big R-Multiples and Their Importance

c. What You Must Know to Meet Your Objectives

6. Key Game Factors

7. Why People Lose Money

a. Expectancy

b. Position Sizing Strategies

c. Discipline

8. Q&A Session

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Reviews & Testimonials

We've gotten great feedback from previous sessions.


Here's what students have said:

"A very nice overview. I had a deep insight as a result of the marble game."


"Excellent overview of Dr. Tharp's work"


"I enjoyed the entire day and I understood more than I expected!"


"Thanks for great day on Saturday! I had hoped to come to one of your classes for some time, and really enjoyed the experience. I learned a lot about understanding risk, and having a structured and business-like approach to trading. Just the idea of planning and measuring from R is a big step beyond most traders I know. I think everyone in the class felt at home with like-minded students."


"Great fundamentals from someone I trust."


"Full of quality instruction from beginning to end!"


Students were asked to list the top benefits of attending. Here are some of their responses:

  • Learning an easy-to-develop system for one market type.
  • A better understanding of SQN and how it works.
  • The power of position sizing strategies and the importance of position sizing methods in a wide range of possibilities.
  • Using beliefs as a filter.
  • Understanding the importance of R-multiples.
  • Learning to put less emphasis on entry.
  • Realizing the importance of psychological aspects.
  • The importance of tracking mistakes.
  • Market type information.
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