So what is gambling anyway ? Gambling is simply the act of betting on the outcome of a given event without any true certainty about its result. Sounds familiar ? Forex trading is merely the betting of a certain amount of money on the outcome of price movement without any absolute knowledge of where price will head. Therefore, in accordance to the definition of gambling, forex trading and any other form of speculative investing is merely gambling. But if it is gambling by definition then why do proffesional traders find this comparison offensive ?
The problem arises because people often relate gambling with casinos and in casinos you are gambling on a game which has an outcome which will be statistically unfavorable to you in the long term. Casinos make money because they are NOT gambling, they know that the outcome of a large sample of events will always be in favor of the house. In practice, a player in a casino floor may feel like he or she is “gambling” (which is true for small samples which can effectively be totally random) but statistics do favor the casinos within a large number of events. What this means is that if someone plays in a casino for an infinite period of time, the casino will end up with all the money. The casino always wins since it has a statistical edge on all the games played.
Many traders are offended by the comparison because they believe that people are telling them that they trade like they would play in a casino, to inevitably lose money in the long run, which is why new traders are so often compared with casino floor players.
In reality, forex trading is gambling, but it is a “game” in which the odds are not set against you in a mandatory way. Forex trading resembles sports betting a lot more. In sports, a bet is made for a time with a lot of information which can be used to determine the winner with statistical significance. For example, if a horse has won the past 10 races, then it is bound to also win the next rase. Betting for this horse will give you a statistically higher chance of winning than betting against other horses. However, the outcome is never known so it might happen that your horse loses. However, within a large given number of events, you can be an overall winner if you know enough about the facts that affect the outcome of the events.
Forex trading is very similar, if you know enough about the facts which determine the outcome of price movements then you can statistically profit from the market even though you may lose in several events due to the true outcome of any event being unknown. The more educated gamblers make money while the less educated gamblers which have no capacity to determine the probabilities of certain price movements against others end up losing their money. Since every dollar is sold for every dollar bought, the best gamblers get in and out with money when the others get in and out to give their money.
So in the end the matter is pretty simple. If you trade like you would gamble in Vegas, without any edge, you will lose, however if you gamble with intelligence and with analysis over the outcome of events you will, in the end, become a profitable trader.
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