Stephen Bigalow and Candlestick Forum

Stephen Bigalow and Candlestick Forum
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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.

User Rating 3 (4 votes)
Comments Rating 4 (1 review)
Pros: Steven Bigalow is a great talker. Very entertaining speaker and writer. Has been pushing Japanese Candlestick educational products over 15 years and is well polished.
Cons: Absolutely no track record. None of his candlestick patterns, when programmed and tested using modern computers show any predictive attributes. Steven Bigalow refuses to verify any of his personal trading. Science has thoroughly debunked his assertions and interpretations.

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

Candlestick PatternsSteve 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.


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45 Comments on "Stephen Bigalow and Candlestick Forum"

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Hm, my first comment didn’t get through – so here’s another try. Thanks for the review – and the backtesting. Did you just scan for the “bullish harami” pattern (long candle followed by a small white candle, “inside day”) or did you take the other rules from Bigalow/Nison into account? (the position in the trend, stochastics, next day’s trading) Because it’s obvious that a candlestick formation alone is worthless for trading purposes and you have to have some more confirmations. I’m just curious because at first glance those candlestick trading systems look quite convincing and by visually checking a few… Read more »
Thanks for that interesting review! Finally somebody who critically looks at this candlestick chart thing. But I do have a question regarding the backtesting of the “bullish harami” you mentioned – did you just look at every “harami-like” formation (long body followed by a smaller body nested inside) or did you also took into account the other rules of the trading system, esp. where in a trend the candlestick formation occured, what/where the stochastics and the “T-line” were and what happend on the day after a signal occured (so if that signal was voided or not)? Because just an isolated… Read more »

As a pure “newbie”, may I ask a question? I first encountered the “candlestick method” (as opposed to the “bar”). About a year ago. It made sense to me (easy to understand, etc). Therefore, I don’t understand the beef you have with candlesticks. Could you explain a bit, what’s wrong with them. I’d appreciate it.

By the way, I’m glad I found your site. You seem like an honest guy. Which is quite remarkable in itself. Thanks, again.

Stray Dog
I believe that Emmett’s beef is that with candlesticks is that Bigalow and Nison sell their courses by saying that understanding candlestick patterns will give the trader an advantage in his or her trading. Statistically there is no advantage to these candlestick patterns. They work just as often as they don’t. Personally I like candlesticks and the knowledge of how to read them helps me understand what was going on in that trading period but I never base a trading decision solely in what candlesticks are saying. The best rules to follow are trade only good quality stocks and trade… Read more »

Thanks. By the way, what about the moving averages? Mr Bigalow is very “Big” on the moving averages, especially the 8 exp.


Amazing how these people get away this nonsense. You have the Fibonacci queen from John Carter’s simpler options site who sells 12 hour mentorships for 10k. Of course she doesn’t trade live with real money on this site. Even Steve Bigalow raised an eyebrow.

Hi Emmeett Nice two reviews on candlesticks. I guess you can say slicker the site, less real value it has. It has becoming more and more obvious that one can be real trader or just PR stunt selling useless “ideas”. Great traders are not very good in marketing; because they spend all the time trading and finding new ideas. Speaking of candles and bars. I personally use OHLC bars, because main flaw on candles is color. When on uptrend average trader sees red candle it goes to back of his brain yelling “sell; sell; sell”. It would be better to… Read more »
I think people have forgotten what candles actually do. They were never meant to be magic indicators. They show you internal price action and have to be used within a context. Simply running a backtest on a pin bar, for example, without any context whatsoever, is a waste of electricity and only serves to confuse people about the value of a pin bar. For example, I’m looking at a Daily chart of CAD/CHF. Just picked totally at random. I count 15 pin bars since January 2017 (today is 4 June 17). 11 of those would have resulted in theoretical gains… Read more »

Technical analysis is bull crap.It does not work most of the time and in the long run you lose money! Nobody earns a living trading with technical analysis.They make money by selling technical analysis methods that do not work long term.

Mike M.
I think what we agree on is: 1. Candlestick pattern recognition has relevancy 2. They need to be a “part” of a larger trading program that includes indicators, the type of security traded, time of year, accounting for economic / earnings reports, etc, to stack the odds in your favor. Exit criteria is based on experience/risk tolerance. 3. If an average trader wants to become a good trader, they need to conduct the back-testing themselves. Not only to determine what works best for them, but also, to determine the timeframe that works best for their schedule if they work a… Read more »

Enough with the back testing! LOL We’ve turned back testing into a religion. Back testing is only as good as the test set up . . . and I’d say 99% of people are unable to run a proper, scientific back test. “Back testing capability” is just another software gimmick sold to hopeful traders. Quite brilliant really.