Gamblers lose money. A gambler might win for a week, or a month. A gambler might make an enormous amount of money once or twice, but in the end, if he or she keeps gambling, all gamblers lose money. They are playing against the casino. The casino has all the advantages and it wouldn’t be in business if it didn’t make money. Even professional poker and blackjack players lose money when they are playing against other professionals. They make their living by parting less skilled players from their money.
This is much the same way that many fund managers and big Wall Street players make their money. They have all the information, training, and capital, and when they move the market moves with them. If Wall Street is a casino then they are the house, and in the long run the house always wins. The small trader cannot out-gamble the big firms.
But thankfully, gambling and trading are not always the same thing. Successful traders must be willing to take risks, but they should not have the same mindset as a gamblers. Gambling is a game. It is schemes, and luck, and letting it ride on red. Many individual traders do make long term profits, because they are not gambling. They are engaging in intelligent risk management strategies. In the immortal words of Kenny Rogers, “You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, and know when to walk away.”
In order to move your trading away from gambling your trades must be part of a strategy. Traders must have a reasonable goal and a reasonable way to reach that goal. The possible risks should be analyzed, understood, and minimized. Every trade should be considered a possible total loss. If a trader cannot afford a total loss on that trade then he or she is gambling, because gambling is about hoping for the best, and trading is about management and making intelligent decisions. Each trade is a risk, and that risk must be managed. A successful strategy moves the trader from a person who is hoping to get lucky to a person who is choosing the path where failure is the least likely.
A key way to build your strategy is to incorporate investing into your trades. Investing is loaning your money to a business, country, or other enterprise because you believe in the sound fundamentals of that enterprise. The enterprise then uses your money to invest in itself and thus make greater profits which it can then pass on to you in the form of a higher stock value or dividends. An investment is not a sure thing. There is no guarantee that there won’t be a winter freeze that destroys a Florida orange crop, or that the government whose currency you’ve invested in won’t have an unexpected military coup. But an investment is an intelligent decision to support an endeavor that is more likely to succeed than to fail. Investing as part of your trading strategy helps to defeat the gambling mindset because it is no longer about ups and downs, candles, and charts, but the real world where all real wealth is created.