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Nial Fuller

NIAL FULLER
Professional Trader, Author & Trading Coach

The ‘False Break’ Trading Strategy

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By in Forex Trading Strategies By Nial Fuller Last updated on | 91 Comments

false break trading strategyWhen was the last time you entered a trade and it immediately moved against you even though you felt confident the market was going to move in your favor? When was the last time you traded a breakout and got stopped out? I’m willing to bet you’ve experienced one or both of these things recently in your own trading, and I’m also willing to bet that me or one of my students probably took the opposite side of one of these trades that seemed to ‘fake you out’ of your position…

You see, false-breaks happen all the time in the markets; they are a result of the ‘herd mentality’ that causes people to buy the top of a move or sell the bottom. As price action traders, we are in a unique position to take advantage of false-breaks and of the weak ‘herd mentality’ that so many amateur traders possess.

I have made most of my money as a trader by using contrarian trading approaches like false-breaks and my proprietary fakey trading strategy. It is the power of contrarian trading and using false-break patterns and fakey setups that allows myself and other savvy price action traders to profit from other traders’ misfortunes. This may sound a little harsh, but it’s the reality of trading that the majority of traders lose money, informed and skilled traders make money, and the ‘pigs get slaughtered’, as the saying goes. I hope there are light bulbs going off in your head now, because this article is all about contrarian thinking, false-breaks, and how to take advantage of the ‘herd mentality’ that causes so many traders to enter right when the market is about to change direction…

So what exactly is a false-break?

I thought you’d never ask! Joking, I know you are probably thinking that right now, so here you go…

A false-break can be defined as a ‘deception’ by the market; a test of a level that results in a break of that level but the market then retracts and does not sustain itself above or below that level. In other words, the market does not close outside of the level being tested; rather it leaves behind a false-break of it. These false-breaks are huge pieces of evidence for impending market direction, and we need to learn to use them to our advantage instead of becoming their victim.

Here is a visual example of a false-break of a key market level:

Essentially, a false-break can be thought of as a contrarian move that ‘sucks’ the over-committed side of the market out. The concept is to wait for the price movement to clearly show that a market has committed to one side of a trade and that they would be ‘forced’ to liquidate their position(s) on a strong reversal in the other direction. Typically, we see these scenarios unfold as a trending market becomes extended and all the amateurs jump in right before the counter-trend retrace, or at key support and resistance levels or at consolidation breakout scenarios.

The herd mentality causes traders to enter the market typically only when it ‘feels’ safe. However, this is the deception; trading off feeling and emotion is exactly why most traders lose money in the markets. Many traders become deceived because the market looks very strong or very weak, so they think it’s a no-brainer to just jump in with that momentum. However, the truth of the matter is that markets ebb and flow and they never move in a straight line for very long. This is known as “reversion to the mean” and it’s something I expand on significantly in my advanced Forex trading course.

We really have to use logic and counter-intuitive or ‘contrarian’ thinking to profit off of the weak-minded herd mentality that dominates most traders’ minds. This is why it’s very important to remain disciplined in the area of trading false-breaks, rejections and failures, and why I love trading them so much.

Types of False Breaks

1. Classic Bull and Bear traps at key market levels

A bull or bar trap is typically a 1 to 4 bar pattern that is defined by a false-break of a key market level. These false-breaks occur after large directional moves and as a market approaches a key level. Most traders tend to think a level will break just because a market has approached it aggressively, they then buy or sell the breakout and then many times the market will ‘fake them out’ and form a bull or bear trap.

A bull trap forms after a move higher, the amateurs who were on the sidelines watching a recent strong move unfold cannot take the temptation anymore, and they jump in just above or at a key resistance level since they feel confident the market now has the momentum to break above it. The market then breaks slightly above the level and fills all breakout orders, and then falls lower as the big boys come in and push the market lower, leaving the amateurs ‘trapped’ in a losing long position.

2. False-break of consolidation

False breaks of consolidation or trading ranges are very common. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking a trading range is going to breakout, only to see it reverse back into the body of the range. The best way to avoid this trap is to simply wait until there is a clear close outside of the trading range on the daily chart, and then you can begin to look for price action trading signals in the direction of the breakout.

3. Fakey’s (inside bar false-breaks)

The Fakey setup is one of my all-time favorite price action setups and learning to trade it will do a lot for helping you to understand market dynamics. Essentially, the Fakey is a price action pattern that requires there to be a false-break of an inside bar setup. So, once you have an inside bar setup, you can watch for a false-break of the inside bar and the mother bar. Now, I am not going to get into all the different versions of the fakey trading strategy today or the different ways to trade it, but you can learn everything about my proprietary forex fakey trading strategy in my professional Forex trading course.

Here’s an image of two Fakey setups, note that one has a pin bar as the false-break and other does not, these are just two of the variations of the Fakey setup:

False-breaks can create long-term trend changes

As price action traders, we can use the price action of a market to anticipate false-breaks and look for them at key levels as they will often set off significant changes in price direction or even a change in trend from these key levels.

We need to pay attention to the ‘tails’ of candles that occur at or near key levels in the market. Ask yourself how prices reacted during each daily session…where did they close? The close is the most important level of the day, and often if a market fails to close beyond a key market level, it can signal a significant false-break. Often, prices will probe a level or attempt to break out, but by the close of the daily bar price has rejected that level and ‘tailed out’, showing a false-break or false-test of the level. A failure of the market to close beyond a key market level can lead to a large retracement or a change of trend. Thus, the close of a price bar is the most important level to watch, and the daily chart close is what I consider to be the most important.

Here’s an example of a false-break in the EURUSD daily chart that led to a top in the market and started a long-term downtrend:

History Teaches Us A Lesson

It’s worth noting that on the week famous trader George Soros shorted the British pound and ‘broke’ the Bank of England ( September 16, 1992) –  the chart had shown a massive false-break signal. The chart below shows the price breaking upwards to new highs and then crashing back down. To those who follow me regularly you will note that this was actually a classic fakey setup, and is clear evidence that this price action strategy has worked for decades.

Final word on false-breaks…

As traders, if we don’t learn to anticipate and identify deceptions or ‘false-breaks’ in the market, we will lose money to traders who do. If we pay attention to the price action at key levels on the daily chart time frame, the ‘writing’ is usually on the wall in regards to false-breaks.

If I had to leave you with one crucial piece of advice for your Forex trading career, it would be to drop everything right now and start studying false-breaks and contrarian trading approaches. By doing so, you will be ahead of 95% of traders who are stuck in a cycle of trading off mainstream misconceptions and ineffective trading methods. As a contrarian, I want to be trading when most other retail traders are committed to the wrong side of the market, and this is difficult to do if you don’t understand false-breaks and fakey patterns. Trading false-breaks and my proprietary ‘fakey setup’ is a core focus in my Forex price action trading course, and I expand on these topics in great detail in it. I teach my students a plethora of different price patterns to look out for when trading false-breaks and fakey setups. This ‘contrarian’ style of trading is something I strongly believe in, and it has proven itself time and time again. If you were to learn only one single trading strategy to apply in your Forex trading, false-breaks would be on top of the list.

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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.
  1. Yakawonya Rutson September 16, 2019 at 4:44 am

    Always out with a winner post A teacher to cherish Thanks many thanks over

    Reply
  2. Nour September 15, 2019 at 11:45 am

    Nial, you are the godfather of the Forex trading.

    Reply
  3. NKAMA September 15, 2019 at 12:55 am

    You are too much sir. By this you have solved most of my problems.

    Reply
  4. Medi September 14, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    You tha God sent!

    Reply
  5. NGUYEN QUOC THANG September 14, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    Pls support me to explain more about ” Event area ” in the line ” Retrace Entry Back to an Event Area or Prior PA signal.

    Thank you
    THANG

    Reply
  6. Mahmudul Hasan September 14, 2019 at 1:32 am

    Super Nial bro…..

    Reply
  7. Diário de um Poupador March 5, 2018 at 1:32 am

    Hi, i am a brazilian guy who trades for years. I pause my trades during some years, and i came back about 2 months ago. I’ve been trying a strategy with short take, and it has given to me a lot of profits. I am trying to make my mind strong to ignore the market’s movement after i book profit. You have said a very right thing here: the market always makes a retraction.

    This article was very good, thanks. Keep it that way. God bless you.

    Reply
  8. Solomon Olusegun Oyeniyi December 13, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Thank you for this article.

    Reply
    • Liton khan September 16, 2019 at 12:14 am

      Very nice Boos.ok go forawd.

      Reply
  9. GANDUS December 4, 2017 at 6:10 am

    Great always to hear you big brooother Nail. God bless you. timely article for me. love

    Reply
  10. Noor Azman Abd Aziz November 26, 2017 at 2:10 am

    Nice and very interesting. This article answer the questions why i always close trades with losses while actually I have been profitting during the trading session.

    Reply
  11. Sboniso Malambule November 24, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    ive bee reading your lessons im impressed

    Reply
  12. Azmi Yusoff October 17, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Interesting article. This happen everytime. The idea of wanting to wait a little more time may cause us to lose what is supposed to be a profit instead.

    Reply
  13. Ayanda Mabuza September 18, 2017 at 10:56 am

    reading such artecles really opens my mind.Thanks Nail

    Reply
  14. Roy Peters September 1, 2017 at 2:39 am

    This happened to me recently on Eurgbp. Up 200 pips and thought it’d go higher. Next day market came down and I booked only 40pips!
    I learn a big lesson.

    Reply
  15. Rafari July 31, 2017 at 1:29 am

    ok, its been almost 2 years since I start to learn how the market move. I can say most of your articles give me a vision about how to, what to do and don’t. It’s cool because I start move to learn draw some major snr, I got stuck on making it, but your articles show me some clever way to draw “a key level” and some short term. I’ll try my best to practice it everyday !!!

    Thanks Nial, You’re Awesome !

    Reply
  16. kgothatso July 28, 2017 at 6:00 pm

    U ar really a genus.sir u teached me that i should take a risk than to lose the chance **#great things come to those who hustle (lovely)$$$$$

    Reply
  17. Alan Gillanders June 25, 2017 at 3:25 am

    Hi Nial,
    Thanks for the lesson. This has been my problem for some time. Greed. Always waiting to take more with a small investment. My profits evaporate and majority of times end in a loss.
    In the last 6 weeks I have been taking the small profits. 100 – 200 points instead of trying to get 500-1000 points. seems to be working ok. Thanks again

    Reply
  18. oluwatosn Matthew June 23, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    That’s a good trading guide. Thanks nial.

    Reply
  19. Ages Justice June 22, 2017 at 5:40 am

    Keep it up Mentor. God bless you more!

    Reply
  20. Louis June 21, 2017 at 11:43 am

    This is exactly what was missing from my trading. Realistic exit plans. Thank you Nial.

    Reply
  21. endurance oki June 21, 2017 at 8:05 am

    thank you sir for your well prepared article. Im a victim of this very situation , i’ve almost hit my profit target then i said i should let the profit run but to my very face , the profits were evaporating until i closed the trade .

    Reply
  22. DAVID SHUBE June 20, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Thanks Nial, booking profits on-time is right, cos too much emotional traits is involved when one realized that the trade is going to retrace unexpectedly.

    Reply
  23. PEERALLY June 20, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Thank you, Nial.

    Reply
  24. Kate M June 20, 2017 at 6:49 am

    Thanks Nial, way to go. You keep writing evolving lessons like these, Ill always have something to learn. And again an opportune time to write this particular article, I think you are the Yoda of trading:)

    Reply
  25. Lucas Obiora June 19, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Thanks Nial, that’s an eye opener to me, I have that problem of letting profits run into losses, thank you very much for the article.

    Reply
  26. Kay June 19, 2017 at 8:49 am

    Thank you Nial, well explained and organized article. Definitively help me to prepare my Profit plan. Regards

    Reply
  27. smg June 19, 2017 at 3:17 am

    Thank you

    Reply
  28. richadi36 June 19, 2017 at 2:07 am

    Thanks Nial. I really got immense knowledge about booking profits.

    Reply
  29. Suleiman Bhadmus June 18, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    Amazing,am definitely going to include all this point in my trading plan. Though am still on demo, but what have learned from this article in very key to a successful trading.
    Thanks a lot Mr.Nail Fuller.

    Reply
  30. Matt June 18, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    This happened to me last week. Was up 700 proffit and closed with 700 loss because i had such an attachment to what i thought was a fullproof longterm move in one direction so i wanted to ride the waves but it looks like it wasnt the long term move in that direction i thouht it was.

    Reply
  31. akhtar butt June 18, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    Hi, Dear Nial Fuller, , excellent, well-explained with reality and experience. Thank, cheer

    Reply
    • Bebe April 30, 2019 at 7:57 pm

      Excellent article,Thanks Nail

      Reply
  32. Akpos June 17, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    Nice….this has been my bane in trading. Not booking profit….

    Reply
  33. John Promise June 17, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Thanks Nial. My mentor.
    Remain blessed.

    Reply
  34. Thendo June 17, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    Thanks Nial.. great advise. Am looking forward to not closing or closing when the trade goes against you but hasn’t hit your stop loss…

    Reply
  35. Luis June 17, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Thanks so much Neil as always, great article!, mm please i have a question, what about the case that all the other trading books and gurus says about let profits run until at least 1:2 Risk reward ratio? , because they say if i close before that 1:2 im cutting my profits and that can damage me in the long run! , but in the real life im bored to wait sometimes for a 1:2 and when im at 90% to achieve that profit target the markets turns down eliminating all my profits and making a loss for me, but when i book the profits i see my account growing, what you can reccomend me about that?.

    Reply
  36. Bruno June 17, 2017 at 10:48 am

    Before reading the whole article, I’m writing this! Just the header alone struck the cord. Toy, Nial, are a mind reading mentor! I’m at that stage in my trading where my edge is consistently delivering profits! But, yes, most times, these profits evaporate. Alot is happening around the political and business world and price is fluctuating between these events. Yes, price still does was it’ll do, but the whipsawing is alarming! I can’t say enough how soothing this article is to me because I make sizeable % of my Acct only to watch some diminish or disappear, even into losers.

    Thank you for this article.

    Reply
  37. Mavhungu Lufuno June 17, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Amen

    Reply
  38. Elpadrino June 17, 2017 at 4:54 am

    Thanks Nial #Legendary

    Reply
  39. Alin June 17, 2017 at 4:20 am

    I am one of those loosers who do not book much profits on the trades, because I’m setting
    way too large TPs. Thanks for the posting!

    Reply
  40. Shankara Motay June 17, 2017 at 3:59 am

    Thank you very much

    Reply
  41. Rongsquare June 17, 2017 at 12:44 am

    Amazing thank you Nail

    Reply
  42. Mike Coe June 16, 2017 at 11:27 pm

    Your articles just keep getting better and better, Nial! Great stuff! Thank you very much.

    Reply
  43. Siyabonga Mkhize June 16, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    Powerful thank you sir

    Reply
  44. KRISTOFA OKENTA June 16, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Good Teaching As Always.
    Thank you For Sharing Your
    Heart With Us.

    Reply

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