Trading and Poker
I've been a trader/day trader for years. I recently took up poker at the suggestion of a friend, having long heard that trading and poker were similar in many ways. I've done suprisingly well in the few months I've been playing online (albeit play money.) I believe my trading experience has greatly helped my poker results.
Trading and poker are similar in the basic things essential to success, these being:
- taking sole responsibilty for your results
- money management
- emotional control
- being patient
- embracing risk
- playing percentages
- knowing the game
Taking responsibility is the most important and the foundation of all the others. Losing traders blame the market or their broker or their computer or the neighbor's dog barking when they were trying to place a trade. anything but themselves. Losing poker player blame bad beats, the "donks," their computer, the neighbor's dog, again anything but themselves.
Here's the bottom line though. If you blame anyone but yourself, you are a loser
and will remain one until you realize that all the unfair things that happen in poker (or life for that matter) are part of the game, and that winners don't blame, they take action, they adapt, they find a way to win. In the end, winners in these games learn how to embrace risk and make it work for them
I put "knowing the game" last because, if poker is anything like trading, the first six are actually more basic than the last two. Experience and knowing the game are really one thing, knowing the game including study and other ways of learning.
However, losing traders are always looking for the "secret," that secret trading system that will make them rich. But trading systems are a dime a dozen. A poor trader can take a good system and still lose money, and a good trader can take a poor system and make money with it. What the losing trader won't face up to is the problem isn't the system, it's him.
I have little doubt it's the same with poker.
Losing traders try to make back money they've "unfairly" lost by angrily doubling up. This is the stupidest thing they can do. Losing poker players move up a level to try to make back a bad beat, and end up losing five times more. What's the problem? Lack of self-control.
Basically 5 to 10 traders in 100 make money. The rest fund the winners. I assume the same is true in poker, though I've heard its closer to 1 in 99. This makes sense because of the "play" nature of poker. There are surely a lot more casual poker players than casual traders. Some traders trade "for fun" to "see what happens" but they don't do it for long. Besides, as a game, poker is much more fun than trading, although both have potential for unlimited income.
The stark success numbers should not scare you, however. You can become a winner.
You just have the realize that the essentials for success come down to dealing with demons in your life you probably never thought you had: laziness, denial, deflecting blame, unwillingness to admit weaknessess, etc. Stay with it and don't let go of your dream, but don't quit your day job either, until it's time.
Hope this helps in some small way. See you at the tables.