Henry Gambell was comfortable gambling in Texas Hold’em tournaments, but placing bets in the options market? Not so much. That is, until he answered a routine in-house service call while working as a member of Best Buy's Geek Squad in Austin, Texas. Thanks to that call, he found his calling as a day trader.
On that fortuitous day in 2010, Gambell met John Carter, an active trader and author of the book “Mastering the Trade: Proven Techniques for Profiting From Intraday and Swing Trading Setups.”
The two men quickly discovered some shared interests, Gambell recalls. He told Carter about his affinity for probability and statistics, key elements to playing poker and trading equities — two ways he was supplementing his income at the time.
That initial conversation led to a mentoring partnership between Carter and Gambell, which ultimately led to the creation of the company Simpler Trading, a platform for interactive financial trading education.
In less than a decade, Gambell has gone from student to teacher: Today, the 31-year-old is vice president and lead content provider at Simpler Trading and has contributed to subsequent editions of Carter’s book.
Learning by doing
Gambell received no formal education; rather, he read Carter's book, immersed himself in the options market, “got beat up,” lost the $3,000 he started with, then eventually started making money.
“I went in headfirst and, like with anything, that means you learn things the hard way," he says.
In those early times, one particular day sticks out that caused Gambell to question this new vocation. He was trading options strategies on Amazon when he found himself in a “painful spot,” grappling with bigger losses than he'd anticipated.
“You have these moments when you truly realize you’re on your own and you have to make your way," he says.
But he kept at it, and today, Gambell’s trading serves as a means to educate others. (The Simpler Trading team trades with its own funds, but shares strategies with members.)
Whether day trading is right for you is a personal decision.
“Trading is something you have to want to pursue; it’s a special kind of hell,” he says, laughing.
When he’s not immersed in the market, Gambell prioritizes self-care. He relies on some morning rituals — yoga, meditation, and a liter of water infused with lemon, salt or electrolytes — to keep the emotional extremes of trading in check.
“Trading can make you crazy, and at the very least it can be stressful,” he says, adding that sticking to a well-thought-out plan ensures each day is “just another day at the office.”
Another day at the office
If you’re learning how to day trade, seeing how other people spend their time can be eye-opening. Here’s how Gambell spends a typical day, in his words:
6 a.m. When I’m not working where I wake up, I’m fortunate to have an apartment that’s two minutes door-to-door from our office, and that makes for a nice commute. Once I’m awake, there are three primary things I focus on: hydration, movement and meditation.
“Trading can make you crazy, and at the very least it can be stressful.”Henry Gambell, day trader
7 a.m. I start thinking about nutrition. I don’t get too carried away here, but your brain has to have fuel, and I find that a High Brew Coffee “Black & Bold” and an Rxbar do the trick when I don’t have a lot of extra time. When I do, avocado toast with scrambled eggs is a brain-friendly meal that doesn’t take long to prepare.
7:30 a.m. I’m usually up, fed and ready to embrace what the markets have to offer. I’ve got my typical swing setups [a strategy to hold trades overnight at a minimum — typically three to five days] I'll be looking to manage, but I also like to know if anything is setting up that I might be able to day trade, or capitalize on with a short-term setup. Something I'll enter and exit in the same day.
I find that I’m not scouring headlines, but instead looking for stocks with at least a $600 million market cap, trading above $20, and that have also traded at least 50,000 shares before the market opens at 8:30 a.m. Central time. These names generally have something going on, and I’ll be looking for support and resistance [technical terms describing price levels] to make my decisions.
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8:30 a.m. U.S. markets open. I focus on sharing everything I have up to that point with our members in the Simpler Trading chat room. I focus primarily on equity options, and we’ll spend the next 90 minutes reviewing these tickers, levels and any positions we’d like to establish against them. When we reach the top of the hour, I mute my mic, take a breath and get a short text update together that goes out to members through our mobile app.
10:30 a.m. I’ve traded anything I wanted to during the open, sent out a summary of how the morning went, and now I force myself to go get some exercise. After an hour of Crossfit, pilates or yoga (if I missed it that morning), I’m ready to head back to the office and check on the current state of affairs.
Noon. Lunch is catered to our office three days out of the week. It’s a nice perk that helps me not have to venture too far from my screens, but still takes care of that midday nutrition, a spot I find all too easy to skip out on if markets are busy.
12:30 p.m. I devote part of these hours to client emails, creating content for Simpler Trading and possibly taking my dog Lucy for a walk. She’s a great companion during the day and helps keep stress low around the office.
2 p.m. The last hour of the cash markets tends to be one of the most important hours of the day, next to the cash open. This is when you’ll typically find more volume, and I’ll scan my favorite names looking for potential opportunities.
3 p.m. I start diving into the evening analysis. Two days out of the week, I create a video newsletter for our clients and a shorter video that’s posted to sites like YouTube. These videos focus on current trades and their performance, then a look ahead to what setups may be forming and how we can try to take advantage of them.
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5 p.m. The standard workday has come to a close, and the rest of the evening has some variables — the first of which is, do we have a webinar? Generally we’ll have at least three free webinars a month, if not more, and we typically have an all-hands-on-deck approach to these events.
If there’s not a webinar, I’ll make the short trip back to the apartment, where I’ll spend the evening with my soon-to-be wife around the pool.
10 p.m. I try to be in bed at a decent hour most nights. My life is much better with adequate sleep, and I just can’t operate on five hours.