Master Option Trader Insights

Mark Ritchie – Master Option Trader Insights (God In The Pits)

Mark Ritchie is an American investor with over twenty years of experience in the financial industry. He was a Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile Exchange Commodities trader. He was one of the original co-founders of Chicago Research and Trading (CRT) — which was once the largest option firm in the industry.

Mark Ritchie was also interviewed by Jack Schwager in The New Market Wizards where he was labeled God in the pits.

Mark Ritchie’s life, education, and trading career:

He is the author of the books Spirit of the Rainforest, My trading Bible: Lose your shirt. Save your life. Keep trading, and God in the pit. The book details most of the things traders need to master in the art of trading.

Mr. Ritchie grew up in Afghanistan, an Oregon-coast logging town and the deep south of Texas. He graduated from Trinity University with a B.A. and M-Div in 1973 and 1980, respectively.

He was, at one point, a theology student and later became a member of the Board of Directors of Southern Evangelical Seminary and Bible College and Warm Blankets Orphan Care International. He had worked as a night-shift correctional officer before becoming one of the co-founders of Chicago Research and Trading.

Mark initially got exposure to trading when he accompanied his brother, Joe Ritchie, to visit the Chicago Board of Trade. He spent most of his trading career on the Chicago Board of Trade floor — specialized in trading soybean crushes. Although he recorded consistent success as a floor trader, he decided to trade from an office. He realized that this type of trading is different from the one he had known.

He spent hours researching various trading approaches. His first-year experience was challenging because his inexperience in the market led him down to many blind alleys. But despite these problems, his first trade off-floor showed remarkable success. Recalling his experience during those periods, he had these to say:

His trading account, which he started with a million dollars in 1987, registered an average annual return of 50% for four years.”

The five basic trading principles that Mark Ritchie described to be elemental to his success are summarized as follows:

  • Do your research
  • Keep position size small
  • Have the patience to stay with winning trade as long as it is working, even if it means keeping a single trade for years
  • View the risk of open profits differently from the risk of starting from the equity in a trade
  • Recognize and control greed

Besides trading, Mark has become extensively involved in Philanthropic activities aimed at assisting a primitive Amazonian tribe. His involvement was not confined to only monetary value but also included him living amongst the tribespeople.

He has recorded a series of documentaries told from the perspectives of the Indians titled Victims of Delusion.

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Mark Ritchie trading strategy quotes:

Most people come into the business without a willingness to lose money. They also enter the market with unrealistic expectations.


For novices to come in and try to generate profit in this incredibly complex industry is like me trying to do brain surgery on the weekends to pick up a little extra cash.


You have to be able to think clearly and act decisively in a panic market. The markets that go wild are the ones with the best opportunity. Traditionally, what happens in a market that goes berserk is that even veteran traders will tend to stand aside. That’s your opportunity to make money. As the saying goes, “If you can keep your head about you while others are losing theirs, you can make a fortune”.


I have always lost money faster than I have made it.


I think it’s generally a good idea that when you put on a trade, it should be so small that it seems a waste of your time.

What are the five basic trading principles described by Mark Ritchie for success?

Mark Ritchie outlines five fundamental trading principles, including doing research, keeping position size small, having patience with winning trades, viewing the risk of open profits differently, and recognizing and controlling greed.

How does Mark Ritchie view the opportunities in panic markets?

Mark Ritchie believes that markets going berserk present the best opportunities. He emphasizes the importance of clear thinking and decisive action in panic markets, quoting the saying, “If you can keep your head about you while others are losing theirs, you can make a fortune.”

What are Mark Ritchie’s thoughts on trade size and risk management?

Mark Ritchie suggests that when putting on a trade, it should be so small that it seems like a waste of time. He highlights the importance of managing risk and starting with small trade sizes.

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