Jesse Livermore's version of bitfinex flash crash.
The market fairly boiled, as I had expected. The transactions were enormous and the fluctuations unprecedented in extent. I put in a lot of selling orders at the market. When I saw the opening prices I had a fit, the breaks were so awful. My brokers were on the job. They were as competent and conscientious as any; but by the time they executed my orders the stocks had broken twenty points more. The tape was way behind the market and reports were slow in coming in by reason of the awful rush of business. When I found out that the stocks I had ordered sold when the tape said the price was, say, 100 and they got mine off at 80, making a total decline of thirty or forty points from the previous night's close, it seemed to me that I was putting out shorts at a level that made the stocks I sold the very bargains I had planned to buy. The market was not going to drop right through to China. So I decided instantly to cover my shorts and go long.
My brokers bought; not at the level that had made me turn, but at the prices prevailing in the Stock Exchange when their floor man got my orders. They paid an average of fifteen points more than I had figured on. A loss of thirty-five points in one day was more than anybody could stand. The ticker beat me by lagging so far behind the market. I was accustomed to regarding the tape as the best little friend I had because I bet according to what it told me. But this time the tape double-crossed me. The divergence between the printed and the actual prices undid me. It was the sublimation of my previous unsuccess, the selfsame thing that had beaten me before. It seems so obvious now that tape reading is not enough, irrespective of the brokers' execution, that I wonder why I didn't then see both my trouble and the remedy for it. I did worse than not see it; I kept on trading, in and out, regardless of the execution. You see, I never could trade with a limit. I must take my chances with the market. That is what I am trying to beat the market, not the particular price. When I think I should sell, I sell. When I think stocks will go up, I buy. My adherence to that general principle of speculation saved me. To have traded at limited prices simply would have been my old bucket-shop method inefficiently adapted for use in a reputable commission broker's office. I would never have learned to know what stock speculation is, but would have kept on betting on what a limited experience told me was a sure thing.
Whenever I did try to limit the prices in order to minimize the disadvantages of trading at the market when the ticker lagged, I simply found that the market got away from me. This happened so often that I stopped trying. I can't tell you how it came to take me so many years to learn that instead of placing piking bets on what the next few quotations were going to be, my game was to anticipate what was going to happen in a big way.