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Nial Fuller

Professional Trader, Author & Trading Coach

Adopting A Contrarian Trading Method

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By in Forex Trading Strategies By Nial Fuller Last updated on August 22nd, 2014 | 27 Comments

transformToday’s lesson is going to be about changing how you think about trading. Instead of acting on your first impulse in the market, I want you to stop and think about what’s REALLY going on…

I want you to look at trading as two dimensional; somebody wins and somebody loses. When a market is moving one way, most retail traders jump on board somewhere in the middle or near the end of that move when it feels and looks the ‘safest’. However, often when it’s at these times when it looks ‘safe’ to enter, that the market is about ready to reverse. Do you ever stop to think “Who’s taking the other side of my trades?”

It is the professional trader who takes on the risk of the retail trader (the other side of your trades), after all, somebody has to sell you something or buy something from you when you want to place a trade. The professional therefore needs the market to move in the opposite direction to what you want it to move in, in order to profit. Thus, if you can learn to anticipate and think like a professional trader, you can begin improving your trading results…

Taking on market risk

Who is taking on the risk when you place a trade? The person who wants you to lose, that’s who, because if you lose, they win. Therefore, they are your opponent, and since the majority of retail traders lose, that means the person taking their risk and turning into profit, are the professional traders.

You obviously want to move yourself from the struggling / losing trader camp into the successful / professional trader camp. Thus, you need to start thinking like a professional trader and stop thinking and behaving like an amateur when you trade.

Again, looking at this two dimensionally: somebody is going to win and somebody is going to lose in this game.

The trading strategy of the professional, no matter how complex one wants to make it, is simply to take on the retail trader and to take on other professionals (opponents). They make large sums of money when the bets / speculative positions of the others traders go wrong and those traders ultimately end up losing as prices reverse in the opposite direction

The AUDUSD chart example below shows us a clear example of professionals taking on the risk of the amateurs. The uptrend was intact for quite a while before establishing a key resistance level / horizontal level up near 0.9450. As the market came back up and re-tested that key resistance near 0.9450 and tried to push above it, it was mostly a ‘desperation move’ by all the amateurs who were entering near the top of the move and hoping for a breakout…even though the trend had already run higher for months.

If you look closely, you’ll see the uptrend was already quite stale as it ran from about mid-January to mid-April. The professional traders were already on-board and had already made their money by the time price started reversing up near 0.9450. We can then see price failed to push back above key resistance on two occasions. This was caused by amateur traders thinking the uptrend would continue and a breakout was imminent. The professionals could sense that the up move was coming to an end and they gladly took on the risk of the more emotion-fueled, impulsive amateur traders….


The next example is the DAX30 – German Stock Index daily chart. Note the false break of the recent high in June, followed by another test and failure at that level, then the market just sold-off hard. This is another clear of example of watching key levels closely for possible price action reversals, as it’s at these key levels that the professionals are usually stepping in to take on the amateurs…


Here’s another good example of trading like a professional…

The S&P 500 had a false-break / failure at key resistance up near 1977.50 back in late July of this year. The market then fell away dramatically, netting anyone who shorted a significant gain. Again, watching for false-breaks of key levels like this is very important as they often lead to huge moves in the other direction, which means quick profits to you, if you know how to spot the moves before they happen.

The S&P 500 then created a false-break of key support down near 1900.00 following the huge sell-off. As a perfect real-world example, checkout our call on the S&P in our July 31st market commentary, we were clearly anticipating a potential buy entry down near 1900.00 key support. Successful traders know that trading is a game of anticipation.


The strategy is contrarian, it might be with or against the trend, it may be inside a trading range, it can take on many forms. The key is that you understand the concept clearly. That concept could be simply said as ‘professionals doing the opposite to what the herd is doing’.

That does not mean that every time markets go up, the pros are selling, and it does not mean every time the market goes down, the pros are buying, it does not suggest that at all. Once again, the concept I am trying to explain is a situation where one trader is taking on the risk of another trader, i.e. taking on his opponent.

How to think like a professional trader

Professional traders are always thinking something along the lines of, “What are the amateurs doing?” or “What is the most obvious trade that a losing trader who’s operating on emotion instead of logic and planning would take?”

Asking yourself simple questions like these, before entering a trade, can significantly increase your chances of success in the market. After all, we all know about 90% of traders lose money in the long-run, so it only make sense to try and do the opposite of what they are doing.

If a trend has already run for months, chances are the professionals have already made their money on it or at least have a lot of profit locked in. Thus, if a market has been trending for months and is nearing a key support level or resistance level, you need to ask yourself if “entering here is what the pros are doing or what the amateurs are doing?”

Similarly, if a fresh trend has recently begun, and the market pulls back a little bit to a support or resistance level, the professionals are probably looking for an entry with that fresh / near-term momentum.

Amateur traders often ignore changing market dynamics until it’s too late and the move is already over. Professional traders get on new trends early, they don’t wait until the trend is almost over, as amateurs do.

How to trade like a professional trader

A strategy is always the underlying reasoning behind the savvy professional’s entry in the market, he is not just entering randomly, not at all. He (or she) is calculated, he is reading the chart and he is reading the emotion of all market participants in that chart (price action), he sees and feels the clues being printed day by day. He pounces with precision, striking his prey (the herd) with ice in his veins.

You’re probably wondering what strategies one can employ to trade in this manner.

Some of the greatest traders have said you only need a simple horizontal line to trade the market successfully.

I take that one step further and add price action confirmation signals, e.g., pin bars, false breaks, fakeys and so on, that occur at these horizontal lines.

By trading at and around these key chart levels, we can also apply stricter risk control. It’s often as simple as saying, if below this level, we expect it to fall, or if above this level we expect it to bounce. As can be seen, key horizontal levels allow for ideal risk management. It’s often why markets reverse on a dime on these levels and round numbers and so on. Try drawing them in on your charts each day and week and you will see their effectiveness for yourself.

When you combine price action with key levels, you’re now starting to see the market like a professional and you’re gaining the ‘unfair edge’ over your competition in the market.


If you think of the market as a sea of competitors, and within this sea of competitors is a school of traders much like a school of fish. They will stick together, follow each other in a comfort zone, most don’t know who is leading who. If you can imagine each short-term daily swing in the market as a school of lost fish following one another, you can shape the reality in your favor. “What are most people doing today?” If they are likely to be wrong (more often than not), then I need to think logically and consider doing the opposite / being a contrarian. How can I use price action signals and key market levels to guide me in taking on my opponents and taking an opposing view to the herd, the school, and the masses?

If you start employing this logic from time to time, taking a step back and looking at the market from the opposite side of the fence (the professionals side) you may not only find some great trading opportunities, you may start avoiding some bad trades as well. To learn more about trading like a professional by using simple price action strategies and key chart levels, checkout my trading course.

To your success – Nial Fuller

About Nial Fuller

is a Professional Trader & Author who is considered ‘The Authority’ on Price Action Trading. He has a monthly readership of 250,000+ traders and has taught 20,000+ students since 2008. In 2016, Nial won the Million Dollar Trader Competition. Checkout Nial's Professional Trading Course here.
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  1. Andi Edsapada February 6, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    Great article, nial…making me more confident in the market

    many thanks

    • Kingsley Chibuzo January 18, 2019 at 3:07 am

      Sir, nice piece there. Thank you very much.

  2. ANDY TIMMANGO October 7, 2015 at 1:16 am

    Thanks again Nial for that BEST TRADING ADVICE . . .
    It help me improve the way I THINK and TRADE the MARKET…

  3. Ronald August 3, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    Thanks for the enlightenment, this is best knowledge i hve ever got and its increasing my capital greatly

  4. Alex September 17, 2014 at 2:27 am

    Hello, Nial.
    Great article Nial, I’m really enjoying being part of this trading site. With each of your article, I’m a successful professional trader. It’s really giving me the boost and better understanding of forex trading…
    Thank you very much.

  5. Lloyd M August 31, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    Great article .Thanks Nial

  6. neeraj nayak August 30, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    nial you are the best mentor in the world. i pray to my god that he always take care of you

  7. NorahP August 28, 2014 at 11:27 am

    Thanks Nial for this article.
    It has reminded me of all I used to use before I got sick over 2 years ago and stopped trading. I am feeling so much better and have been looking at charts again but was wondering where to start !!

    now I have a starting point again.
    Happy trading

  8. Gehan Manuranga August 26, 2014 at 11:23 pm

    I have no words Nial,

    You are great

  9. Amos August 26, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    Another life saver in the jungle of Forex trading-this is my way of describing your brilliant articles. Following your teachings has produced the transition from the 90% failure to the successful 10% for me in my trading career. This is why i recommend your website to my trader friends here in Nigeria.

    You are doing a great job in helping struggling traders find their bearing and locate the path to success. Your priceless contribution to the global trading community is highly commendable and your place as a worthy mentor can not be overemphasized.

    Keep the good job on my coach.

    Many thanks!

  10. Arun August 24, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    Thanks a lot Nial, it is a great article.

  11. Gilbert August 24, 2014 at 3:38 am

    Once again you have clarified my trading approach. I felt there was an underlying cause to my trades and you have helped me tremendously. I suspected as such on my own but you confirmed it. Thank you Nial.

  12. forex trader August 23, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Hi Nial that a great article. I love the way you teach. It is what makes you unique from other mentors. Happy pips.

  13. Les Pearse August 23, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Great article, Its all about finding an in balance in the market.

    Thanks Nial

  14. Greg August 23, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Absolutely brilliant article!! Love your basic approach to trading. Keep up the great teaching! Thanks heaps. Greg

  15. Celestine Ihejirika August 23, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    Thank you for a great lesson

  16. Abdulhakeem August 23, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Great job Nial

  17. jotex August 23, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    You’re probably wondering what
    strategies one can employ to trade in this
    Some of the greatest traders have said
    you only need a simple horizontal line to
    trade the market successfully.
    I take that one step further and add price
    action confirmation signals , e.g., pin bars,
    false breaks, fakeys and so on, that occur
    at these horizontal lines.

    i love this part.thanks Nial

  18. Anita August 23, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Brilliant…:-))…I always come here and read new stuff and very often stay a little longer and re-read past pieces…they all so so good….Thank you for sharing Nial..:-)

    ps I will draw my support/resistance lines from now on on my charts..:-)

  19. Geoffrey Irwin August 23, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Hi Nial
    One of the best posts. This comparison really hits home when I look back at my trades.

  20. hira August 23, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    thanks nial love your work . (infamous)

  21. Wajdi August 23, 2014 at 5:38 am

    so true, drawing levels on the charts help you see the direction the market is taking, coupled with price action and your chances of being on the profitable side increases

  22. Henry E Rodríguez C August 23, 2014 at 4:19 am

    Buenas tardes NIAL, gracias por esos aportes estrátegicos,que me han servido de herramienta interpretativa y de aplicación técnica todos estos años.Te deseo muchas bendiciones y que DIOS, te colme de éxitos.


    Henry E Rodríguez C

  23. Michele August 23, 2014 at 3:05 am

    I wan’t to trade like a Professional!
    …in the winner side..
    Thnks for all Nial

  24. Mystery_Mike August 23, 2014 at 1:54 am

    I really like this article, Nial. This is the nature of a zero-sum market… money literally changes hands. A great question that you ask: “Who is the loser, and what is he/she doing right now?” Seeing as some 90% of retail traders are losers, we need to be on the OTHER side of their trades. I believe most of this 90% are trading lower time frames and are not seeing the larger trends. This is why weekly and monthly s/r is so important, because the big orders are waiting there to eat up the little guys, either through profit taking or new positions, or both. Similar to the way Jankovsky describes order flow in the market.

  25. John VIc August 23, 2014 at 1:26 am


  26. shah August 23, 2014 at 12:56 am

    Excellent writing, black and white, easy to see why so hard to do.

    Nial your website is the best, so much to learn

    many thank


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