Stephen Bigalow and Candlestick Forum
Stephen Bigalow is yet another Japanese candlestick hustler. Has been pushing candlestick courses and books for over 15 years. He refuses to verify whether he even trades, or whether he even has a trading account. Japanese candlestick patterns have been thoroughly debunked by modern computer testing, and yet suckers still flock to spend $4900 to listen to this guy talk about a concept with more harmful than helpful attributes. Save your money, time and frustration by investing in yourself…learn to backtest and verify the validity of these tired old ideas.
Today’s Review is Stephen Bigalow and Candlestick Forum
Who is Stephen Bigalow and what is the Candlestick Forum? About once a month, I get a request to review a company or person this offering a specialized training course on Japanese Candlestick trading. The largest volume educator, in terms of web traffic, would be Steve Nison. He likes to call himself the godfather of western candlestick trading because he was the first to write a book back in 1991. At that time, the nation was culturally enthralled with everything Japanese. Steve had excellent timing and has had a 25 year run of selling courses, and educational materials. You can read Steve Nison’s review here, much of my Steve Nison review also applies to Stephen Bigalow as they are essentially selling the same thing. So lets now talk about Stephen Bigalow and the Candlestick Forum.
Back in the mid 1990’s, Stephen Bigalow was a student of Steve Nison. Stephen read Steve’s books and became a big believer in Japanese Candlesticks. In speaking with Steve Nison, he would describe Stephen Bigalow as, “Yet another pretender copying my original work”. In fact, over the past 25 years there have been literally hundreds of people that have published books and courses on Japanese Candlestick charting. A quick search on Amazon proves the popularity.
So who in the heck is Stephen Bigalow? He is just another educator. He has been battling Steven Nison for the candlestick audience for the past 15 years. In fact, both seem to crank out books and educational materials in some sort of perverted attempt to beat the other to the punch. And they fight over speaking engagements as well. Go to a trading seminar and they will introduce Steve Nison as the original and still the best person in the trading universe at interpreting Japanese candlesticks. Go to another trading seminar and they will introduce Steven Bigalow as the ultimate authority on candlestick investing.
To date, Stephen Bigalow has written three books on candlestick trading; (1) Profitable Candlestick Trading: Pinpointing Market Opportunities to Maximize Profits, (2) High Profit Candlestick Patterns: Turning Investor Sentiment into High Profits, and (3) Candlestick Profits: Eliminating Emotions With Candlestick Analysis.
What is Stephen Bigalow Selling?
In addition to the books that are listed above, Steven also has a forum and a day trading room (no track record of live trades) that can be subscribed at $97 per month. In addition to the books and forum, a person can also be immersed in the full Bigalow educational experience by attending a two day day event located in upstate New York. This 48 hour event comes at a price tag of $4900. The $4900 price tag also comes with a autographed copy of one of Steve’s book.
This educational event really piqued my interest. And so I emailed Steve and explained that I was interested in sending my $4900, and booking my $700 flight from San Diego, Ca, and reserving a room for two nights at $120 a night….but before I opened my wallet and sent my money, I just needed to verify a few things.
The first thing I wanted to know before I spent several thousands of dollars is the trading track record of Steve Bigalow. And so I asked him. I just wanted a one year worth of brokerage statements that verifies that he actually trades. I simply asked, Steve please show me your trades. I just want to see if over your 20 years of trading and educating if you have ever had a winning year. I don’t even want to see more than a year, just send me one year. Of course, as with the vast majority of these trading educators, when you start asking questions about trading performance…the excuses start flowing like water over Niagara Falls. In short, you wont find any proof that Steven Bigalow even has a trading account. The excuses that he uses are very similar to Steve Nison’s excuses, “oh I don’t need to prove anything to anyone anymore, my reputation speaks for itself”, or “if I show statements than I am considered to be an investment adviser”, or “you should speak with my thousands of successful students, they are all the proof that one needs”.
Where is the Proof?
Not only will Steve not verify any of his personal trading, but you will find absolutely zero reference to any trading performance on his websites. I find it amazing that this guy has spent the past 15 years selling books, seminars, dvd’s, subscriptions, etc. And nobody has taken the time to ask, “Do you trade Steve?”. How could anyone just wire this guy $4900 and get on a plane to upstate New York on nothing more than his word? How could anyone risk their hard earned savings on some Japanese scribbles? If a person spotted a Long Legged DoJi, or a Gravestone Doji, or a Hammer, then why not go the extra 5 minutes and simply back test these simple patterns for authenticity. Amazing that people believe this nonsense. Its like making investment decisions based upon the daily horoscope.
Candlesticks Are Random
Steve likes to offer a free .pdf download of his “12 Signals to Master any Market”. You can get a copy of it here. These are the exact same patterns that Steve Nison is offering in his free download. I challenge Steven Bigalow to show me how these patterns are predictable. For instance, one of Steve’s favorite patterns is the Bullish Harami which is ridiculously easy to program and test. Which I did, it has absolutely no predictive value. In fact, after testing the pattern on every stock in the NYSE over the lifetime of available data….it shows a win rate of 49%. No better than buying on any random day, and then selling at the close. How is this predictive? And this is the problem that I have with all of these Japanese candlestick salesman, not a single one exists that can make show a profit from these mystical Japanese interpretations.
I also find it frustrating that people love to put these candlesticks on charts without doing even the minimal amount of research and testing whether Japanese candlesticks have any value.
Its the Newbies
I think that part of the reason that Japanese candlesticks have been able to cling to relevancy is because all of the platform providers include them as an alternative to a standard bar chart. So what typically happens is that the newbie trader starts putting up his first bar charts and then accidentally bumps into candlestick charts. They put it on the screen and it looks interesting. And since it is included in the charting package, then it must be important. Why would esignal, tradestation, ninjatrader, put this on the platform unless it held some sort of value. A value that they do not understand. And since it has the word “Japanese” then it must be extra valuable, like their car. And so this person goes onto Google and searches for Japanese candlestick chart. Once they hit that search button, then they are introduced to the wonderful world of Steven Bigalow and Steve Nison, both fighting over market share, and to lure the next sucker into paying $3,000 for a load of crap.
A Personal Note To Steven Bigalow
Steven, you have been pushing this candlestick nonsense for over 15 years. You know what I think? I think you are a complete and total sham. I would love for you to shut me up! Open the kimono and show the trading world your personal trading. Isn’t it time? We have been watching you and Steve Nison lecture us on how these Japanese candlestick charts are the holy grail to trading. And that wealth is only an education course away. That your mystical interpretations of these ancient symbols will unlock all the wealth that the financial markets hold.
Well that’s it for today. Hopefully I don’t have to spend another day researching and writing a review about yet another salesman offering the latest and greatest interpretation of Japanese candlesticks. I am sure that many readers are going to totally disagree with me on this candlesticks stuff. But I would encourage everyone to grab their back testing platform and run the numbers. Candlesticks are ridiculously easy to program and back test. Science and math are absolutes and they don’t lie. Candlestick patterns are just mystical mumbo jumbo, no more or less predictive than reading a daily horoscope.