How to Trade a Pin Bar FormationThe pin bar formation is a reversal setup, and we have a few different entry possibilities for it:
“At market entry” – This means you place a “market” order which gets filled immediately after you place it, at the best “market price”. A bullish pin would get a “buy market” order and a bearish pin a “sell market” order.
“On stop entry” – This means you place a stop entry at the level you want to enter the market. The market needs to move up into your buy stop or down into your sell stop to trigger it. It’s important to note that a sell stop order must be under the current market price, including the spread, and a buy stop order must be above the current market price, including the spread.
On a bullish pin bar formation, we will typically buy on a break of the high of the pin bar and set our stop loss 1 pip below the low of the tail of the pin bar. On a bearish pin bar formation, we will typically sell on a break of the low of the pin bar and place a stop loss 1 pip above the tail of the pin bar. There are other stop loss placements for my various setups .
“Limit entry” – This entry must be placed above the current market price for a sell and below the current market price for a buy. The basic idea is that some pin bars will retrace to around 50% of the tail, so we can look to enter there with a limit order. This provides a tight stop loss with our stop loss just above or below the pin bar high or low and a large potential risk reward on the trade as a result.
To effectively trade the pin bar formation you need to first make sure it is well-defined, (see pin bar characteristics listed at the top of this tutorial). Not all pin bar formations are created equal; it pays to only take the pin bar formations that meet the above characteristics.
Next, try to only take take pin bars that are displaying confluence with another factor. Generally, pin bars taken with the dominant daily chart trend are the most accurate. However, there are many profitable pin bars that often occur in range-bound markets or at major market turning points as well. Examples of “factors of confluence” include but are not limited to: strong support and resistance levels, Fibonacci 50% retracement levels, or moving averages.
Pin bar in range-bound market and at important market turning point (trend change):
In the chart example below, we can see a bearish pin bar sell signal that formed at a key level of resistance in the EURUSD. This was a good pin bar because it’s tail was clearly protruding up through the key resistance and from the surrounding price action, indicating that a strong rejection as well as false-break of an important resistance had taken place. Thus, there was a high probability of a move lower after that pin bar. Note the 50% limit sell entry that presented itself as the next bar retraced to about 50% of the pin bar’s length before the market fell significantly lower…
Pin bar in-line with trend with multiple factors of confluence:
In the chart example below, we are looking at a bearish pin bar sell signal that formed in the context of a down-trending market and from a confluent area in the market. The confluence between the 8 / 21 dynamic EMA resistance layer, the horizontal resistance at 1.3200 and the downtrend, gave a lot of “weight” to the pin bar signal. When we get a well-defined pin bar like this, that has formed at a confluent area or level in the market like this, it’s a very high-probability setup…
Other names you might find pin bars described by:
There are several different names used in ‘classic’ Japanese candlestick patterns
that refer to what are basically all pin bars, the terminology is just a
little different. The following all qualify as pin bars and can be
traded as I’ve described above:
• A bearish reversal or top reversal pin bar formation can be called a “long wicked inverted hammer”, “long wicked doji”, “long wicked gravestone”, or “shooting star”.
• A bullish reversal or bottom reversal pin bar formation can be called a “long wicked hammer”, “long wicked doji”, or “long wicked dragonfly”.
In SummaryThe pin bar formation is a very valuable tool in your arsenal of Forex price action trading strategies. The best pin bar strategies occur with a confluence of signals such as support and resistance levels, dominant trend confirmation, or other ‘confirming’ factors. Look for well formed pin bar setups that meet all the characteristics listed in this tutorial and don’t take any that you don’t feel particularly confident about.
Pin bars work on all time frames but are especially powerful on the 1 hour, 4hour and daily chart time frames. It is possible to make consistent profits by only trading the pin bar formation. Upon adding this powerful setup as one of your main Forex trading strategies, you will wonder how you ever traded without it.
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