Sunday, May 11, 2008

5 Minutes to E-Mini Fame and Fortune with Dr Al Brooks


Al Brooks, 56, is a self taught/self made day trader who has traded for his own account for 20 years. He started out in medicine after attending the University of Chicago, where he also did his ophthalmology residency. The pull of trading was with him early, as during his entire stay in Chicago, he always wondered if he should drop out and work on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. But he continued his medical career and taught for a year at the Emory University School of Medicine and then practiced in Los Angeles for about 10 years. During his academic years, he published more than 30 scientific papers and regularly presented his work at national ophthalmology meetings. In Los Angeles, he built one of the first Medicare-approved eye surgery centers in California and performed thousands of operations in his office OR.

After his twin girls were born, and then with three girls under the age of 15 months, Al decided to leave medicine. He sold his practice, moved to a small town outside of Sacramento, stayed home to raise his daughters, and started trading.

He says that as a scalper, he needs to focus intensely on every tick and doesn’t want distractions. As he describes his trading style: "My room is dimly lit, all of the shades are fully drawn, and I trade off my 17” HP notebook computer. I have another computer on my desk with two 21” monitors but I keep it off during the trading day and never use it for trading. I trade best when I have minimal distractions and only a single chart with no indicators (other than a 20 bar ema and volume, which I rarely watch) and no additional monitors. I use TradeStation for charting and place most of my trades through IB using their BookTrader price ladder. I find TradeStation too cumbersome for scalping but that may only be because I never spent much time learning the subtleties of their order entry. I tried Ninja Trader a few years ago but using it violated my fundamental principle of keeping my life as simple as possible. I am prone to making mistakes and that costs me money, so the simpler I can structure my life, the less I give back. I never watch TV while trading and have no interest in the results of economic reports. I also never read newspapers and get all of my news from the internet. I just trade the price action that comes from those reports, rarely ever finding out what the actual numbers were. Although I have a high IQ, I simply am not fast enough to process all of the ramifications of a report, read the 5 minute chart, and place my orders correctly. I believe that I am far more profitable when I only trade off the 5 minute chart in front of me and ignore all other input and opinions. I also don’t care where the market is going in the next year or even the next hour. All I want to know is whether I have an 80% chance of making a profit in the next 1 to 10 minutes with little risk
A note from CT -
Over the years I have conducted many interviews with many traders. This interview and the relationship I hope to develop with Dr. Al, I truly believe will become a life changing event for myself and the 850 orphans of New Hope Orphange and School.
Thank you Dr. Al!


  1. Anonymous10:43 AM

    What a great background. Experience is crucial in trading. Thanks for the article.


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