Forex Trading: One Big gamble or Not?

This question, Forex trading is gambling has been asked more times than ever. Indeed, if you make a google trend analysis, you would notice a high interest in this topic. There are two sides to this debate, those who believe Forex trading is gambling, and those who know forex trading is not gambling.

Regardless of the side of the argument, you find yourself I encourage you to read this article with an open mind and draw your own conclusions, without any bias. Indeed, it does not matter your current mental state about Forex trading, knowing this simple truth could change your trading career for the best.

Forex Trading is Gambling

Forex trading is gambling without a doubt. However, there is a deliberate ploy to keep you from knowing this truth. This single truth which once accepted could change your trading style forever and make you a very successful trader is hidden in plain sight, often disguised. The burden of your trading losses and woes are rather put on you, the innocent trader.

A quick google trend search would display how popular this question is. Many are asking, and yet, there are not many quality answers to that. I will tell you in simple answers without wasting time and being as blunt as possible (with your permission). Indeed, Forex trading is a gamble and I would try as much as possible to bring you to this realization, to change your life for the better.

Truth off my chest and I know I would be roasted as much for saying this simple truth. But before we all go into roasting your beloved trading mentor, let’s find out the simple reasoning behind this conclusion he has drawn after trading the market for years.

What is Gambling?

By all acceptable standards, gambling can be defined as risking what you have in the hopes of getting rewarded. You gamble by risking to lose what you already have, in the hope’s of getting rewarded when you are right. Does these ring a bell?; risk for reward, losses or profits.

Forex falls directly into the domain of the definition of gambling above. You can not attempt to make profits without risking to lose some money and the words (risk, reward, loss, profits) are used in gambling as much as they are used in Forex. Indeed, these are the defining words. There is no Forex trader worth his sort, who does not know and understand these words.

Industry leaders would not let these secrets out, because they are busy selling you all sorts of crap trading strategies and methodologies that do not work. The truth is that, knowing forex trading is gambling changes your thought process completely and set you up in the right thinking to be profitable. But if all forex traders are successful, what do you think would happen to the brokers and other market players who benefit from your losses? This is why there is a huge conspiracy, a conspiracy to prevent you from knowing the truth.

Forex Trading is Gambling
Forex Trading is Gambling

Forex Trading is Gambling | Explanation from a 10 year Veteran Trader.

Paraphrasing from the words of Ziad “Here’s your likely situation as I see it: For the last few months, and possibly much longer, you’ve just been spinning your wheels while thinking that you are getting somewhere. The reason for this is that you are going about learning how to trade forex in the wrong way.”

You seem to be in an endless cycle in your bid to become a profitable Forex trader. You pay for a course and spend hours mastering the strategy. You backtest this strategy, it seems very profitable yet you apply it in the live market and face losses and often liquidation of your account. Something must be wrong, for the first few years, you probably think you are the reason.

If only you had been more disciplined with your position sizing. If only you had not expanded your stop loss. If only you had mastered the strategy well enough. Many years down, and you are probably broke and homeless due to trading forex. It now dawns on you; forex trading is gambling! You did nothing wrong, you just gambled away your fortunes! Yes, you did but the fact that trading Forex is gambling doesn’t mean you can not make money from it. It only means you need to change your thinking towards the forex market. Let me explain further.

“To try to put it as succinctly as possible, in my view traders that are focusing all their attention on “set-ups” and finding out which combinations of indicators work are never going to become profitable. They are trying to follow the advice of trading books that say trading is simple and psychology is everything. So they search for set-ups that ‘work’, and that can take the guesswork out of trading.” – Ziad

They want to be “disciplined” and have simple rules that guide all their actions, but according to E-mini Player there are a few problems with this;

  1. While psychology is HUGE, it’s not everything and
  2. While trading is all about simple principles, actually having an edge is NOT simple. It’s a myth that you can have a couple of simple price or indicator set-ups and make money consistently if only you are disciplined.

    That’s a load of crap. It keeps the dream alive for “wannabe” traders who never realize what it’s truly about. The truth is while most traders are waiting for setups, they are the ones being set up.

It is said that practice makes a man perfect but this is wrong on so many levels. Practicing the right things would not make you perfect, it would only make you improve. What is worse, practicing the wrong ways of doing things would never make you perfect, thus practice at the very best means improvement, at worse means chaos.

Most traders have the wrong education, the wrong mentorship and thus do not even know how to make money trading Forex profitably to begin with. With the blind leading the blind, it is no wonder that most people never make money trading the forex market.

You would soon find out that your trading rules are useless and meaningless. Indeed, they hold no value. Trading is that system whose laws are rapidly changing and shifting to new paradigms.

Holding on to a system of tools with strict principles would only work for a short while before the rules change. Thus leaving you in the dust. Trading is about being okay with this ambiguity. It’s about tolerating the confusion. It’s about sitting with discomfort and being at peace with it.

” It’s about not having an exact script of when to trade or not to trade, or what’s really a high odds trade and being okay with that. It’s about exceptions to the rules. It’s about contradiction. It’s about uncertainty. That is what trading is about.” – tfc-forum

And yet traders left and right want to make it simple. They want to reduce it to a few simple set-ups to trade with discipline, and yet the market is not simple. The market is all about uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Simple set-ups could never capture that and they can never give you a true lasting edge.

https://tradingecology.com/2018/08/

So what’s the solution? Is the problem in the simple set-ups themselves? No, it’s in how they’re being used. The bottom line is, every trader needs to learn to READ the markets. This means that simple rules will not do. There has to be a synthesis of different elements (whether they be price action, indicators, inter-market themes or whatever), and real-time interpretation must take place. It has to be all about CONTEXT.

http://www.eminiplayer.com/2009/06/learning-to-become-successful-trader.html

Once you can read and interpret the market, and don’t fool yourself, it is a very complex process. One that can take you years of learning to master. Do not worry, every good forex trader is learning and adapting to changes every single day. Then you can choose to employ “simple” set-ups to enter and exit. But the real work will be in interpreting the market to see when you should use which kind of set-up.

Seeing a hammer, a doji or whatever near support levels or resistance levels means nothing. Unless you’ve identified the broader picture and gotten a sense of the kind of tactics you should be using and what the odds are for different scenarios unfolding. Remember, it is a gamble.

This is the problem with most traders, they can identify support and resistance level and thus automatically think the market should just change direction at these price points. They forget that again, Forex trading is gambling. The market does what it wants. You can not put a very complex financial instrument like forex into walls of two or more rules, learn to adapt.

Now I know you and most traders do this to a certain extent, but your main focus is on the set-ups. It’s not on reading the market from minute to minute, hour to hour, figuring out the odds of it doing this or doing that, adapting dynamically and thinking of trade ideas from all your observation as the day unfolds. Rather, it’s waiting for some simple set-up to pop up and then taking it.

http://www.eminiplayer.com/2009/06/learning-to-become-successful-trader.html

You see Forex traders playing games, watching movies, and checking up on the market on an hourly or 4 hourly bases depending on their preferred time frame. This is wrong. You need to be in sync with the market to a certain degree.

You can not just jump (sure you could, but how is that working out for you so far?) into an hourly market without appreciating what made up the prior hour in the lower time frame. Was there a gab? how was the movement, how volatile is the market at this point? None of this seems to matter to you, all you care about is candlesticks. This is why you gamble in forex. You are not giving the market the respect it deserves to make enough profits from it.

Now is it easier emotionally to have clear set-ups to wait for and trade in this simple manner? Absolutely. But who said ‘easy’ would make you money. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that the market rewards what is hard to do. It’s hard to have ambiguity surrounding your market reads. It’s hard being uncertain. It’s hard dealing with competing and sometimes conflicting signs. And yet, this is what it’s all about. You have to stop trying to avoid this by needing things to be clear cut. And is it hard to be disciplined when there’s so much uncertainty about what is the right trade to make? Of course. But instead of trying to avoid the uncertainty by looking for simple set-ups or some straight-forward method, train your mind to be able to deal with the uncertainty.

http://www.eminiplayer.com/2009/06/learning-to-become-successful-trader.html

Now of course you might say that everyone has their own style, some discretionary and some not. Absolutely. But even the purely mechanical traders are very adept at reading markets, and are aware of all of the complexity and ambiguity inherent in it. Their system might end up being simple, but it will come about through a very deep and complex understanding of markets. And usually this system will take the market environment (i.e. context) into account. It won’t just be simple mindless set-ups.

http://www.niftygps.com/traders_mental_map.php

In the end, all that I am saying is meaningless unless you come to a very personal realization, you have done a poor job so far trading the Forex market, you have lost so much money trading the market such that you even feel forex trading is gambling.

Do you truly believe that if you just learn to focus and take all of your set-ups then your equity curve will reverse and you’ll be a consistently profitable trader? If that is the case, why would the world’s top institutions spend millions and billions on researching and developing new tools for the Forex market when a few simple set-ups could make them all of the money they want?

This doesn’t mean that to be a successful forex trader you need extremely complex mathematical models or algorithms trading for you. Far from it. What it does mean is that you need to change your thought process from a few if’s to include more complex problem-solving approaches to your trading business. This takes time and experience to develop, and that will never happen if you spent the whole day staring at a screen without actively immersing yourself in the details. The devil they say is in the details.

It might take you forever to become a profitable forex trader if you do not change your learning path. If you do not stop gambling in the market, you would waste your life watching it, sitting on the sidelines while the superstars make billions from the market. It is entirely up to you really, to change, to do the difficult or not to?.

If you find yourself gambling in forex trading, the first thing you should do is stop trading! you can not continue doing the same thing and expect different results, this is madness. If you find yourselves in a ditch, the first thing to do is to stop digging. Stop trading for a while, gather your thought process, clear off bad trading habits, and get a good forex trading mentor to guide you on your next noble quest to become a very successful forex trader.

This would re-align your faulty thought processes and set you on the right path to becoming a truly successful forex trader. One that won’t be asking if forex trading is gambling but rather one making money from trading forex.

Why Nobody want you to know Forex trading is gambling

The religious folks among us would exit the market, no questions asked, as soon as they realize this is gambling and are unable to reconcile it with their religious beliefs. Thus it is in the interest of trader educators, brokers, big hedge funds, etc to keep you in the industry and make you feel like you are on some noble cause. You are not into any noble cause, you are just fueled by greed and trade addiction to keep coming back to gift the market your money over and over again.

Forex trading is the worse gambling addiction there is, the fact is, no one believes this is gambling, even the professionals who are supposed to help you do not believe it is gambling either. So you are left on your own, to figure things out, until you become homeless, after years of gifting the market your hard-earned money.

In short, there are so many big players who derive profits from your ignorance of this simple fact.

How did my trading change after accepting that forex trading is gambling.

  1. I stopped putting so much faith in my strategy; As naive as this might sound, too much faith in a trading strategy is one reason people over trade, take too much risk with a single trade and end up crashing out of the market. Indeed all of the negative things that you do with forex trading come from faith in your strategy.
  2. I started understanding the market in a new way; In gambling, the only true winner is the house right? I started to hedge! I write about hedging in detail here
  3. I reduced my risk drastically; If I won’t spend a thousand dollars betting on a football match, I won’t spend it on a single trade either. In essence, I started to take a risk that I am comfortable with. I started to risk only money I am comfortable to lose.

These are all basic stuffs that you think one should know, but if you are introduced to the Forex market like it is a get rich quick business, like there is some right methodology that you must have, you end spending your life in a never ending quest for the right forex strategy. The right forex strategy does not exist. The right mindset exist and you can do this if you think right.

We teach this and more in our Forex mentorship program where you have one on one access to our professional traders who manage funds for the organisation and it’s investors.

If Forex Trading is Gambling, Why do we trade, and why do we make money from it.

If you take a good look at the definition of gambling, you see similarities with Forex, it is so glare that you can’t but admit that Forex trading is gambling.

Truth though is that, with every gambling, in the casino for instance, the winner is often the house, but does this mean people do not win? People do win big, once a while. No matter how mad it looks, there is always a method to it.

Winning in a gamble could be due to mere luck, but if you take a good look, you soon realise it is more than luck it is a game of probabilities. What we do at Dorla is an over simplication of a rather complex Forex strategy and mentality to win in the Forex market.

How to beat the market and win even if Forex trading is Gambling

  • Identify the probability of you winning any single trade. Take the last 100 trades you took, divide the wins by the total. Assuming you won 40 out of 100. You have a probability of 0.4 or 40%.
  • Analyze and identify the dollar value of your wins, and losses, and attempt to adjust your wins to be higher than the losses. Truth is Forex Trading like all forms of gambling you lose more than you win, but the secret is to make sure your 1 win can cover up to 3 losses or more. This way, even if you lose 60% of your trades you still are profitable.
  • Adjust your risk to reward; Only take the trade if the value of the win is at least two or three times the value of your loss. If you want to win at Forex, you need to get this right. It doesn’t matter if it is a perfect set up if it doesn’t give you more value in profits than in losses, kindly sit it out.

So while Forex trading is gambling, gambling come’s with probabilities, and there is a method to it.

How has your journey as a forex trader been? Let us know in the comments.

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Mathew Wright Lead Forex Market Researcher

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