It’s often said that life is a gamble and whatever the situation, there seems to be some element of gambling involved. Blackjack continually sees players faced with important decisions that can determine whether a profit or loss is made. The same can be applied to the skills of a trader working on the financial markets; let us explain why.
The Next Move
There you are on the high-stakes blackjack table, the kind you find at highstakesblackjack.co.uk and you have been dealt two cards that total 16. Now it’s time for a big decision to be made. Do you ask for another card, one that could get you 21, or close to it, but could also see you go over 21 and bust? Or do you take a gamble and stick with what you have, hoping the dealer has a bad day. Whatever your decision, it’s going to affect your account balance.
Over to the trader and they have a similar decision to make despite there being no playing cards in sight. Will the share price go up or is it going to fall? Do they decide to call it a day and keep what they have, or carry on and possibly make losses?
Keeping a Profit
It’s not just one decision that comes into play here. The blackjack player can be playing hand-after-hand in one night. What happens if they get off to a good start and make a handy profit? Do they decide to take their profits and run or carry on playing?
It’s a difficult decision because it’s easy to believe your luck is in and the winning streak is going to continue. If they decide to keep playing, then it’s possible that profit could be reduced or disappear altogether. Nothing is worse than ending the night losing money after being in profit earlier on. Similarly, a trader might be making a good profit on one trade. Should he close his position now and lock in the profit, or keep it open hoping for more gains, but risk a downturn catching him out?
Don’t Chase Losses
In both blackjack and trading, it’s not all about profit. Of course, losses do come along and again there are similarities in what happens in that situation. You must accept that sometimes you’ll lose. The blackjack player must decide whether to stop playing, accept the loss and hopefully do better the next time they play. Alternatively, they can take the dangerous decision to chase their losses, which is never a great idea. Their luck may change, and they’ll get their money back or continue losing and dig themselves into an even deeper hole.
It’s the same for the trader on the financial markets. If a trade is making a loss, do they quit or decide that the situation may change? The decision they make could lead to an improved financial situation if the price reverses in their favour, or it could cause them to incur even more losses.
The Long Term
Another area in which there are similarities is the length of time in which you are going to be playing/working. If you are going to build a substantial bankroll, it’s not going to happen overnight. To be successful, whether you are playing blackjack or the financial markets, you need to be in it for the long term.
One key area that is applicable to both blackjack and trading is how much you wager/invest. In trading, this could be perhaps no more than 1% of your account size on any one trade. You can read lots of advice about optimal position sizing to reduce risk. With blackjack, simply ensure that you don’t wager sums that will cause you financial problems if lost.
An Analytical Mind is Needed
There’s a lot of thought that needs to be put into both fields, and an analytical mind is a major asset. Blackjack players need to look at areas such as probability. What are the chances that the next card drawn could be a 10, an Ace or a picture card? In trading, you need experience in spotting price movement patterns. You can trade profitably on up or down price movements, but you need to be able to spot when they are likely to occur.
As you can see, there are plenty of similarities between playing blackjack and trading on the financial markets. Both need an analytical mind, a strong and stable psychological approach to losses, the ability to know when to quit, how much to risk and to realize when a gamble is just too risky to take.