Gravestone Doji Explained & Backtested (2024)

The gravestone doji, also known as the tombstone doji, is a frequently-occurring, one-bar indecision Japanese candlestick pattern that is best traded using a bullish continuation strategy in all markets.

If you’re a technical candlestick trader, you might be surprised to learn that you can profit from this indecision candle. The data shows you can capitalize on a future bullish move.

Keep reading if you want to know the best gravestone doji trading strategy.

What Is a Gravestone Doji Candlestick Pattern?

Gravestone Doji Candlestick Pattern Illustration © Analyzing Alpha
Gravestone Doji Candlestick Pattern Illustration

The gravestone doji is a frequently occurring one-bar candlestick that’s typically thought of as an indecision candle or a reversal candle in a bull market.

The gravestone candle gets its name from how it looks on a candlestick chart–a tombstone.

The name may suggest despair for the bulls, but the data shows us the opposite. Before we dig into the best tombstone doji trading strategies, let’s look at identifying gravestone doji on our candlestick charts. 

How to Identify the Gravestone Doji Candlestick Pattern

The following are the requirements for a valid gravestone doji candlestick pattern:

  • The open and close must be equal or near equal.
  • There must be little to no lower shadow.

We see the gravestone doji candlestick pattern on the Amazon (AMZN) April 13th, 2021, daily chart.

We see a single red candle whose open and close prices are almost identical, with little to no lower shadow and a longer upper wick. We don’t need to concern ourselves with the trend.

Now that we can identify the gravestone doji candle,  let’s learn how best to trade it.

How to Trade the Gravestone Doji Pattern

The gravestone or tombstone doji should be traded bullishly in all markets going long at a break of the close with a stop loss below the low expecting a more extended risk-to-reward trade.

Since traditional technical lore believes this to be an indecision candle and does not recommend a trading strategy, we’ll jump right to the best gravestone doji trading strategy according to history.

Gravestone Doji Bullish Candlestick Trade Setup

We see a single green candle whose open and close is almost identical, and no lower wick and a significant upper wick. With the pattern identified, data-driven traders enter long when the price moves above the close with a stop loss below the tombstone doji’s low.

Let’s use the Bitcoin (BTCUSD) October 8th, 2021, daily chart to validate this.

Price moves above our close, triggering an entry the next day at 53965.18. The stop loss is set below the low of the gravestone doji, giving us excellent risk-reward dynamics on this trade.

Speaking of profits, what does history tell us about the best gravestone doji trading strategy?

Does the Gravestone Doji Candlestick Pattern Work? (Backtest Results)

I backtested the gravestone doji pattern on the daily timeframe in the crypto, forex, and stock markets using the following rules:

  • A close above the 50-day SMA constitutes an uptrend.
  • I tested risk-reward ranges from 1 to 5. 
  • The optimal risk-reward ratio is selected using profit per bar.
  • Entry and exits are discussed in the how-to trade section above.
  • Confirmation must occur within three days of the pattern signal.

Other Doji Candlestick Patterns

Multiple types of doji lead to confusion for many technical analysts. Understanding these critical differences is essential when trading doji candles.

The four types of doji are:

  1. Gravestone Doji
  2. Dragonfly Doji
  3. Long-legged Doji
  4. Common Doji

As we just saw, the gravestone doji is a doji that closes near the low. The dragonfly doji is a doji that closes near the high. The long-legged doji is a doji that has a more extensive range than prior candles, and the common doji is a doji that doesn’t fit any previous doji categorizations.

The Bottom Line

The gravestone doji is a frequently occurring candlestick pattern that opens and closes near the low, traditionally thought to represent indecision. Intelligent traders can profitably trade these patterns by listening to the data and learning other bullish candlestick patterns.

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