Million Dollar Traders

Million Dollar Traders

Ratings: 8.17/10 from 66 users.

Million Dollar TradersEight ordinary people are given a million dollars, a fortnight of intensive training and two months to run their own hedge fund. Can they make a killing?

The experiment reveals the inner workings of a City trading floor. The money is supplied by hedge fund manager Lex van Dam: he wants to see if ordinary people can beat the professionals, and he expects a return on his investment too. Yet no-one foresees the financial crisis that lies ahead.

The traders were selected in spring 2008, before the US credit crisis gathered pace. The successful candidates were chosen, trained and dispatched to their specially created trading room in the heart of the Square Mile. Among them are an environmentalist, a soldier, a boxing promoter, an entrepreneur, a retired IT consultant, a vet, a student and a shopkeeper.

As the novices learn the dark art of trading stocks and shares, the financial markets start to buckle. Making money takes second place to basic survival as the brutal realities of global economics take their toll on the traders. How do they cope? Will they secure themselves a bonus, or walk away with nothing?

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50 Comments / User Reviews

  1. DustUp

    "Reminiscences Of A Stock Operator" is a very old book that is worth every penny about the stock market, especially the back chapters to give you a taste of the snake pit you are jumping into if you decide to try trading short term.

    Actually Cleo, the young emotional gal had a good head of logic when she stated that it doesn't make sense to be putting on trades when the stocks are at levels where it doesn't makes sense to trade them. If you look at the end results, which even the two pros running the thing stated was the end all, if they would have followed her logic, they wouldn't have lost. People who trade their own dough get out when the market is too volatile to make sense of. To me she seemed like a natural longer term investor. She had immense difficulty in forcing herself to do something that didn't make good logic to her. Plus she hated losing and saw that to be highly likely, which proved out. Hating losing is a very good trait. It keeps you from just jumping in like Simon the older gent. Hats off to the mom for putting her kids first and not going with the stress. She never really saw adversity, and that happens in such a group. Some see it at different times. Down the road she may have had some tough bumps that come sooner or later.

    What they don't tell you is a lot. When 70 percent or more of trading for the day is High Frequency trading, much of it designed by Goldman Sachs and similar firms. Goldman Sachs runs theirs on their huge computer co-located next to the NYSE house computer only bigger and faster. It see the same inputs and more but faster so it has the advantage. This is only one of the ways the markets are rigged against the average joe trying to day trade or shorter term trade. They get to see your orders and trade against you with larger dough on auto pilot. The flash crash some years ago... I'd bet money on GS computer not programmed for the particular set of circumstances which occurred. You can tell who runs the show when if you had a bad trade because of that auto pilot manipulation, you had to eat the loss. If you gained from it, you had your trade busted by the regulatory agency and didn't get to keep it. GS wins again when they cause the problem. Heard that before? Yes, the mortgage crisis of 2008-9 etc. They can easily estimate where your stops will be and often take them out and then reverse back to the former trend that caused you to get in. They were giving their cronies the ability to trade mutual funds overnight when no one else could. Hand slaps instead of jail time. A person could go on and on about the corruption and market manipulations the big boys are allowed to do but you and I would be behind bars for doing. Has any of that really stopped? Or has it gotten worse? Most financial news is designed to get you to do the wrong thing so they can take your dough. In reality either direction can be the wrong thing because they regularly whipsaw the market grabbing the day traders dough.

    Make no mistake, if you lose, it is your fault because you chose to play a game rigged against you ... and they have had quite a number of years to figure out what most people will do in any given situation.

    To give a prime example, not so long ago when the world had and oversupply of oil and the glut was bound to grow while the economy was tanking under the "obama miracle" an short oil ETN (exchange traded note) shot up, traders took profits. When it settled back down and many got back in again for good reason. After a bit, just as it was starting to climb they decided to cancel the fund(note) rather than have to pay. The weasel brokers didn't even notify their clients of the date when it was supposed to close so they could get out, even though the date was known and on their website, no reason to go there unless notified. So after that cancel date the fund price dropped significantly and many people got shafted. Actually most got shafted by the outfit who didn't mind raking money in for years as crude rose, just didn't want to pay when it fell. Where are the regulators? Crickets.

    Never let people talk you into going against your instincts. If you don't know the price you are going to get out at, profit or loss, then you should never get in; be it short term or long.

    A great trade rationale means nothing if there are other factors at play that you cannot know ...and there is always something that you cannot know, like the largest oil futures run up in history from 2003 to 2008 which exceeded all measures of supply/demand, war premium, inflation measured by gold, etc. It was pure manipulation when the banksters leased oil tankers, filled and parked them to keep oil off the market. When they built several new tank farms to hold oil off the market. That in the face of oversupply and oil should have been falling; but instead they ran it up to new highs. A great way to steal and where are the regulators? Crickets.

    Just realize that it is not the smart who win, it is the market riggers who win. If you can find a method of beating the market manipulators, great. Just don't have any illusions about "trading the free markets" that is not even close to the situation.

  2. What do I Know

    This was an interesting documentary - aside from the journey of the individuals it gets you thinking about how everything in the world is connected these days and if you know what your looking at you can exploit the happenings in the world to make a quick buck. It's just a shame that most traders seem unethical and are a large contributing factor to the problems of this world.

  3. Odd Sigve Tendenes Tengesdal

    Infomercial for telling us how hard it is to be among the 1%.

  4. smartguy12

    the introduction of technical analysis was not mention with people ask when to buy and sell i mean come on

  5. Sébastien Talbot-Vachon

    this show is like The Office, but not funny and real.

  6. Hugo Medrano

    I love this documentairy. I hope people understand the psychology of trading as business. I started learning just like the guys. I saw myself making those mistakes. They should have been told to focus on the chart. In trading, there is one big statement: EVERY THING THAT IS KNOWNED AND KNOWNABLE IS REFLECTED IN THE PRICE.
    News just push price from one level to another level. Those novice should have be taught to just trade extreme price point from level to level.
    I beleive all of them can be execellent trader with proper discipline and money management.
    Hope to see another run. everybody deserves a second chance.

  7. MrT

    black dude won :0)

    1. timmeh12

      lmao.. ok? What the hell are you trying to say? I can't stand you FOOS that are so ignorant. You think if a Caucasian won.. someone would comment.. "white dude won"? :0) ... no! Just a ridiculous comment from a nuga

    2. SenatorJohnMcCain

      Let your racism show brother! WHITE POWA!!!

    3. Tyson Poulos

      gos to show how ignorent your race is, when you have to announce that a black person won. Do you think we would be writing "a white guy won!!!!!" if such was the case? Your just pathetic.

    4. SenatorJohnMcCain

      Yeah "gos" to show a lot doesn't it? "Your" right. It's pathetic.

    5. Rampage

      Black people in North America, and Europe are generally considered a minority, if white people in say japan had won, and they were the minority it should be fine had someone mentioned a white guy won, or white American/German/Eskimo etc..

      Now you stereotyping a "race" as more or less ignorant than another "race" is as ignorant as it gets, which is very much pathetic. Furthermore, race is subjective(look that up), and consider not addressing racial issues until you reach at least adult hood.

  8. Thunderb0lt

    Typical that the woman in the group crumbles and bursts into tears. And the feminists moan that there aren't enough women in the upper rungs of banking/finance? It's because they don't have balls. Nothing wrong in saying that, it's just the way we are made.

    1. Mintsz

      Your comment is incorrect. I see you've ignored the fact that there were two women in the documentary; one was called the 'best trader of the group' and described as 'calm and collected'.

    2. SenatorJohnMcCain

      Right. That's why a woman was there in the top 3. But go on with your predetermined conclusion.

  9. Liebewitz

    diagnosis infra -after 1 or 2 episodes.

  10. Liebewitz

    Mike -has a psychopathology!

    1. Captian America

      Thats a good thing in business...

    2. Liebewitz

      I agree CA

      I knew -as I was writing the comment -but I just hoped 'he=Mike'
      would read it-n get a gut check-rethink.

      He probably is 'doing' well!

    3. Liebewitz

      I agree CA

      I knew -as I was writing the comment -but I just hoped 'he=Mike'
      would read it-n get a gut check-rethink.

      He probably is 'doing' well!

  11. Liebewitz

    -could waste time here -doing a personality assessment-but not doing so

    just to say Mike---is a Mike Foxtrot.

  12. Rainmaker

    It's funny and sad at the same time that during the training they did not learn THE MOST important in investment banking: DIVERSIFY YOUR PORTFOLIO! How difficult is that?!

    1. Will Lentjes

      Yes but they aren't running an investment bank!


      I don't think it is wise to teach people to be short-termist sheep like the rest of the investment industry.

      I think the show would have been very different if these people were trading their own money they'd had to put up to be on the show!

      I trade... as a hobby and I beat the pros almost all the time.
      I've been playing my family's, and now my own, money since the mid-1980s... so what do I know!

      The big gains are predictable... 700% is easy as is total losses. The hard part is WHEN. Timing is everything and I'm NOT talking minutes or hours, people... I trade perhaps once or twice every few months. You know something's going up but when? Maybe sometime in the next three years! Can't wait to see THAT tv show!!!

      Most of the 'normal standard' investment 'rules' are nothing of the sort and are things that are done only by people with no patiience and massive greed playing with someone else's cash.

      I ONLY trade what I understand... I like small cap oil and pre-production mining. Everything else... like tech, is garbage, slow-to-zero-growth or a froth-and-wind.

      Best way of LOSING money is diversification!
      Why? Let me explain the logic...
      Because you diversify to protect yourself against market falls BUT WHEN THE MARKETS FALLS IT IS LIKE THE TIDE GOING OUT AND ALL THINGS GO DOWN!
      Diversification is simply a form of insurance that when you come to need it, it screws you. It is the expectation of a disconnected market of discrete sectors and stocks (one falls but rest don't), when the opposite is true.
      You wanna protect against a market fall? Get out of the market into cash... that is diversification... into CASH!

      The traders WON'T tell you that because they don't make any money out of you if you pick up your chips and head out the door... they want you to stick around so they can steal some more from you!

      Traders do not win if you win! You win alone!

      But what do I know... I only trade next month's food on table, petrol for car and roof over head... so it's not like I know anything about it! All praise to the professional who is successful/lucky (*delete as appropriate)!

      Read "The Black Swan" and "Fooled by Randomness" by N N Taleb for more details!
      Also "When Money Dies" by Adam Fergusson re. the German Hyperinflation is well worth a read right now... coming to a usa near you soon! LOL eg. Doctor in 1924 Germany became a barber... doctors get paid slowly since they issue bills to patients BUT a barber is paid immediately! Handy when money is worth less daily! Read. Be informed! Smile more!

      As for trading, when the market works, one can stay in a tight sp growth sector that you understand, like and have experience sufficient to allow you to know the things that are red-flags or blue-flags to the sp (share price)... and you make decent money.
      What do you think puts food on my table?

      I bet my own money so I am more careful than some bank gimp who is betting somebody else's life savings on froth and wind that he calls a controlled risk... if he had to live in a cardboard box in a storm-drain if he got it wrong or they towed away his limo, he'd be a tad more careful with 'his' account.

      Greed has lost me money. Having fun has made me money.

      But what do I know... Only been doing it since I was a kid!

      Just my two bits...

  13. Far Spam

    As others have said its an advert for a trading school and not a real hedge fund/trading desk.

    Also you can see that it was a bit of a setup. All the people made the most basic trading against trend ..... trading into News.... blah blah blah....

    However the whole thing was very interesting as it reaffirms what attitude types can and cant trade.

  14. silkop

    (Spoilers ahead)

    This film is not about trading. It is not about psychology of the participants either. It is not even about questionable morality of guys from the City. What is it then? A cleverly (!) disguised advertisement for the producer's new business. If you look up the guy, you will find out that he's founded a "trading school" and is making a reliable buck from it, much unlike the vast majority of traders (there are hard statistics to confirm that).

    I love his final tongue-in-cheek remark that he's going to rethink his career. Oh yes, but not for the reasons he misled his viewers to believe! The whole setup is an admirable piece of misdirection. The message that he wants you to take away is that certain traits of character, like discipline, are important, and that professional training is only secondary; that in essence you, like everyone, can do it ("it" meaning become his customer rather than a successful trader, but that's not being told, of course). Note the not so subtle means of persuasion. The characters who are "kicked out" are portrayed as inadequate, yet lovable, suckers. An over-emotional lady, a softie environmentalist, an impulsive simpleton, a colored loser, an impatient too-old-for-this grandpa. On the other hand, the characters who stay are portrayed to look as "just like you": an ambitious student, a tough-it-out passionate yet cool-minded soldier, and (most notably) an average housewife. As with any well-arranged confidence scam, the point is for you believe you have identified the sucker and are smarter, while in reality you are the sucker being taken advantage of by the scammer. Obviously the TV reality show format with its infinite possibilities for editing is an excellent tool for Mr. van Dam. Most of the remaining comments here so far also hint at a job well done.

  15. Rich M

    That 32*32 is an interesting trick question that is actually easy--especially if you are versed in computers.

    32 is 2^5 (2-4-8-16-32). If you double from 32 five more times you can get the answer in your head......64-128-256-512-1024

  16. Matt Kukowski

    The most imp rule of gambling is that the 'House always wins... Excellent and true.

    The stock market was invented to price discover. But, now they do not care about price discovering and ONLY about selfish money making. This is why inequality rules. These stock traders on the planet need to be retrained or gotten rid of.

    1. William Ivan Po Lim

      mate! getting rid off somebody cause they just done things that aren't comfortable for you isn't a quite pleasent

  17. Rocky Racoon

    What this show tells me is there is nothing special about the people who work in the stock market and that practically anyone with the least amount of training can do it, which is a far cry from the nonesense you hear coming from Wall Street and the specialized knowledge that traders have and the other crap they spout in order to justify their outrageous bonuses. And now with these computerized trading gizmos' they use to manipulate the market at the speed of light.....We need to get rid of this political economy. All of the extraneous damage done to the environment and the level of damage done to people physically and emotionally-like war profiteer's- which used to be illegal....the corruption from top to bottom is ruining our world. What was done on 9/11 we do everday somewhere in the world. How much longer are we going to let it continue? Another day is one day to many as far as I am concerned.

  18. henrymart81

    i love trading :)

  19. anuragawasthi

    The most imp rule of gambling is that the 'House always wins'...........not matter how clever you are in day trading and FnO you are always shown
    'snake eyes' most of the time sooner than later

  20. John Gros

    Amazing how much you can learn from listening to both the winners and the losers, and also the managers.

  21. His Forever

    I don't handle stress all that well. Just reading the summary made me anxious! I want to know what happens in the end without watching 3 hours of stress and pressure!

  22. capriciouz

    Also, a very bad documentary to put on to fall asleep to. Damn, now it's almost 4 AM! hahaha

  23. capriciouz

    Awesome series. 3 episodes long, and once you get through the first one I highly doubt you can stop watching until the end :)

    1. His Forever

      Really? Sounds stressful!

    2. Guest

      by 4am even stress is about to go to sleep!

  24. Tyler Partridge

    In my personal opinion this doc belongs in the physhology section. I guess it depends how you interpret it.

    1. Rainmaker

      This doc is at the right place. It was organized and shot by a hedge fund owner, who, first of all, wanted to see what it takes for down-to-earht people to run a hedge fund. At the same time, elements of psychology are all around us in our daily life.

  25. Petar Vitanovich

    Austrian Free Market System... that's all I have to say. Ron Paul in 2003 told people what was exactly going to happen because of the Keynesian, neo-socialist system we implement today. And you know what??? He was exactly right. The problem with Wall Street is that it is all about winning, they don't care about the foundations of their system, all they care about is ways to abuse it to make profit. Since profit is the goal, they are blind by design to the cracks in the base structure of the market... Now that is what a true proffesor not involved in the market should teach about economics.

    1. supbra

      This seems a little contradictory. Do you trust in free markets in all circumstances because you support Ron Paul? Or do you think speculators are substantially harming the stock markets like Keynes?

      Hopefully, it reassures you to know that criticism of stock markets were common place in my economics classes

    2. Josh Christian

      Free Markets...Like Chile? Like Argentina? Like the Russian Federation...Poland etcetcetc Free Marketism leads to military regimes. The shock of extreme poverty as wealth is created is too much for a society to bare. The only way to make it work is to force it on the people... this I believe is the direction we are headed Globally. And while Social Darwinsim makes the winners in the system feel like macho warriors, the fact is they need standing armies and their technologies to defend them... So ironic that Free Marketeers rely on the nanny state for protection. Because if we are all to be as ruthless as we need to be to survive, then its back to jungle law and these banker types will not fare well in that environment.. people with skinny bodies and big heads die fast in the trenches...

  26. Guest

    "Yet no-one foresees the financial crisis that lies ahead."
    When u are taught only lies in todays mainstream economic schools, what else do u expect? Followers of other economic schools rather than mainstream neoliberalists, not only predicted the financial crisis many years ahead, they successfully projected loosers and gainers of the crisis in an extreme way of accuracy. Google: Peter Schiff was right. :D

    Ironically, when crisis hit and all those "false" economists get caught sleeping in bed with the banksters, the monopoly kingdom of FED and the Wall Street gets together and create the ultimate conspiracy of all time: Privatize all corporate profits, sosialize all corporate losses. The bailout package (legalized robbery) made up with trillions of dollars of crap loan, mortgage and other fantacy financial products were given to government as hostage, while the perpetrators of this economic crime of the century go back to sleep with their Swiss accounts once again hoarding all the nations wealth in their private hands :D

  27. Lucy Saw

    "The US is over for a generation." Indeed!

  28. manohar sullad

    No one can make money without a trading plan (and sticking to it )and money management rules.
    The non professional traders who get instant success to the trading are the people from army and navy. WHY?? Because they have a discipline to follow it unlike others from other professional.
    This experiment in this doc should have considered taking these army into this experiment.
    Let's see what the Doc says

  29. Guest

    This reminds me of a reality show. Can't get into it!

  30. Achems_Razor

    Years past I took many courses and training in commodities, not day trading though, studied commodities graphs, charts, all the nuances of trading in such, that was when gold was peaked at 300$ per troy ounce... If I had the money then to buy into gold, would be a millionaire many times over.

  31. Tony Chung

    Gold, silver, US index what's next?

  32. MatarD

    Once I made a ghost portfolio (fake money) on a site for fun, of 10 000$, and this amount became 18 000$. Most of the profit came from a company that speculated that it had found a large gold deposit in Sweden, and I emphasize speculated.

    Naturally this was before the crisis, and I have not checked the account since. Much due to that many of the stocks were split. However, it opened my eyes and ill defiantly go back once i get funds. Now lets see what the doc has. to say about it.