The forex market is often framed as something wholly unique. By comparison to other markets, this is fair enough. It’s international, it tracks assets that are in use every moment of every day, it’s open at all hours, and above all else, the value traded in forex is simply staggering. Because of all of this and more, trading in forex does work a little bit differently than in any other ordinary market or asset class.
As much as this is the case though, forex skills and strategies don’t all have to be learned from scratch (as is sometimes suggested). There are some real-world activities that provide a solid foundation for the kind of activity you’re getting into when you enter the forex market. And it may surprise some to learn that poker is one of these activities.
This does not mean that poker should be thought of as any sort of parallel market or form of investment. But it is a complex, intellectual game with real financial stakes, and there are actually a number of helpful ways in which it can prepare you for forex trading.
Making Decisions Without Emotion
Poker players learn that they have to play the game without emotion if they’re going to succeed. That means remaining grounded, rational, and analytical whether coming off of a big win or a difficult loss. It also means maintaining a level, patient state when a game simply drags on for a while (rather than becoming annoyed or apprehensive). Over time these skills become ingrained, and they can be of tremendous assistance in forex trading. Really, the idea of emotional control is one that stretches across all types of trading, and it’s one that poker players are almost uniquely prepared for.
Assessing the Big Picture
Another interesting thing a lot of poker players learn how to do is to gauge the big picture rather than any individual hand or game. A lot of more serious players spend most of their time online, and may at any given time be involved in several games or tournaments at once. And it’s the total result that matters. Forex traders could look at their own activity in much the same way. An individual transaction or single currency pair investment may not matter as much as the full portfolio, which can determine net gains or losses.
Learning Key Terms
On a simpler and more practical level, poker players also need to learn a sort of language of the game if they’re to play at high levels. The list of useful poker terms extends beyond the basics that everybody knows, and includes phrases like “backdoor draw,” “donk bet,” and “three-bet.” Good poker players learn to understand all of these terms without thinking, in the context of games and conversations, and while this is a small skill it’s another that does relate to forex. Most casual investors don’t know standard forex terms like “quote currency” or “pips,” and some have an easier time committing these things to memory than others. Those with experience learning the poker language can have the experience of having done something similar before.
Managing an Account
Poker players also gain practice at managing accounts specific to their gaming efforts. Particularly where online play is concerned, players will often deposit a given sum of money and then use it to buy into games and tournaments. Budgeting out this sum and factoring in money won or lost are effectively forms of financial management specific to the activity at hand. And they’re not so different from the practice of managing a forex account. There has to be consideration of how much money was initially put in, how much can be directed toward a given trade (or game), and what is won or lost.
On a more logistical level, poker also teaches players how to assess online platforms for reliability, security, and fairness. Some poker platforms are less reputable than others, and experienced players learn how to spot the difference. This is actually strong training for comparing forex brokers, and determining which among them are most trustworthy, or offer the most favorable conditions. It takes a discerning eye and a careful approach, and online poker trains players to have both.
None of this makes poker essential for forex trading, of course. But the game provides a foundation of experience that can be surprisingly helpful for those entering the forex market — unique as said market may be.