Great Trader: Larry Williams Trading Advice

Larry is possibly best known as the all-time winner of the Robbins World Cup Championship of Futures Trading. In 1987, Larry won the championship by trading a $10,000 account to more than $1,100,000 within 12 months, an achievement that no other trader has come close to. Ten years later his daughter, actress Michelle Williams,at the age of 16, won the same competition with 1,000% return, trading to his father’s teaching. She managed to trade her $10,000 account up to more than $100,000 by the end of the year. She did everything independently, according to the rules Larry taught her.

Williams has created numerous market indicators including Williams %R, Ultimate Oscillator, COT indices, accumulation/distribution indicators, cycle forecasts, market sentiment and value measurements for commodity prices. He primarily focuses on trading futures. He trades off daily bars. His preference is to attack those market that are ready for a substantial moves and it may mean he will not trade a particular market for a long time. He isn’t interested in any individual markets, but rather in finding markets with good trading idea and setups.

His advice on trading based on years of his experience:

  • If there is only one thing I could tell a beginning trader, it would be that to be successful, you have to have control.


  • Control is more important than the system you are trading, or the money management approach you are using. Some people confuse focus with control; there is a difference. Focus is about putting your attention on a particular thing, while control goes beyond that. Control means not only being in a high state of attention, but also following through with specific action.


  • Control needs to include many aspects of this trading business. You need to have total control of whatever form of money management you choose to use. In other words, it is not enough to have a money management strategy or approach to your trading. This is a bit like having snow tires for your car, but not putting them on in the winter, so you slide on the ice, totaling out your car.


  • It is quite one thing to have an approach to money management knowing you should do such and such, that’s focus, but not being in control to have application of the process is what really gets trader off track, sliding on the ice into crackups.


  • While the beginner is looking for a simple answer…. the truth is everyone is looking for such an answer. However, there are answers as such and truth is not going to come from somebody else’s answer nearly as much as questions you ask to salt your particular issues.


  • Questions, not answers, make for better traders.


  • This business of trading is a combination of art and science, a combination of mathematics and emotions. What works for one person may not fit comfortably for another person. So then, the answer is not here is an indicator, here is some mathematical formula that will make money for you for the rest of your life. The answer is that this business is full of questions that you need to answer for yourself.


  • Without risk, there is not reward. Without work, there is no reward. Without dedication and perseverance, it’s the same thing; there is no reward.

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