Original Turtles Trading Rules

By | August 16, 2015

Original Turtles Trading Rules


I always say that you could publish trading rules in the newspaper and no one would follow them. The key is consistency and discipline. Almost anybody can make up a list of rules that are 80 percent as good as what we taught our people. What they couldn’t do is give them the confidence to stick to those rules even when things are going bad. – Richard Dennis in Market Wizards

The original turtles trading rules have been in the public domain for more than a decade. How this came to be, makes an interesting story in itself (which you can read about in the first few pages of the PDF). I believe these rules can be a real source of inspiration for any trader who is trying to develop or improve his own strategy. Unlike the dime a dozen trading systems to be found free on forums and for hundreds or thousands dollars from snake-oil salesmen, the turtle system has actually made millions in trading profits. Not only during the four years of the turtle experiment, but afterwards as well (albeit in a modified form). Just take a look at the performance of a couple of original turtles like Jerry Parker or Paul Rabar.

You can download the 38-pages PDF here: Original Turtles Rules

Now, some of you may think along the lines: they don’t work anymore, Richard Dennis himself had two blow ups, one during the late 1980s and the other some ten years later. They are useless, that’s why they are free. Well, I don’t share this view. First of all, Dennis’ own results, similar to Jesse Livermore’s experiences, are more a reflection on his ability to follow the rules than on the viability of the system.

Secondly, I haven’t seen a comprehensive backtest for the period 1989 – 2015 to be able to judge how much this ‘doesn’t work anymore’ is fact and how much of it is rumor. Even if it has been done and it shows under-performance compared to the 1984 – 1988 period when the experiment took place, the educational value of the turtle system remains intact. Until we get to see the precise trading rules of some other successful millionaire trader, closer to 2015,  the system developed by Richard Dennis and William Eckhardt is the next best thing.