Poker Vs. Trading - Time to switch sides?

Written by Trader Maker

It seems like popularity of poker and especially online poker is unstoppable. According to the WSP (World Series of Poker) there are currently 60 million US players bringing the world poker playing population to around 100 million people. This means as a hobby it is more popular than golf, tennis and snooker! Like most people I have played Texas Hold'em on a boys poker night, also online for fun and for real money. Unlike most people however I have also been a professional day trader and risk analyst.

Whilst spending time in Gibraltar where a lot of the large poker operators like Party Poker and are based. I started speaking to people and understanding the complexities involved in running these companies and just how huge the gaming industry had become. Although there had been the usual streamlining that comes with any down turn in the economy , these companies still employed huge numbers of people and operated without fail 24/7 365 days a week.

From a financial analysis perspective I started look at one of the gaming industry leaders, and focused my attention on Party Poker. They had recently been in the press with their high profile merger with It has been four years since the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 was announced in the USA. This legislation effectively stopped its citizens from playing poker rooms outside of the USA by making it a criminal offence for most betting companies and operators accepting funds and credit card transactions from this jurisdiction. The direct affect on Party's share price was clear to see. You did not have to be any kind of finical expert to analyze this graph.

For companies like Poker Stars, Full Tilt there have been obvious advantages and by being allowed to operate despite this legislation they have seen massive numbers of US players shift to their tables. These companies are now some of the most well known in the industry and have a massive online presence. With noises now being made in the US that this act will be reversed I was analysing what would happen to the gaming industry, the market leaders, and especially what would happen to Party's shares.

While doing this and researching more on poker I started to see a lot of similarities between playing poker and trading the financial markets. The same terminology and phrases kept coming up, strategy, risk reward, conserving capital were all terms I had heard of. The whole mentality of poker players is to get the edge, find the fish, and calculate possible risk and success in percentages terms. This translates directly into the kind of attitude and plan you needed to trade any financial product, from FX, to stocks, CFDs and futures.

Poker Vs Trading: Time to switch sides?

Other major appeals of poker is the ability to play 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, there always seems to be a table to play at. Also the money involved is the biggest it has ever been with games to suit the biggest of budgets. Again this is translates directly to the financial markets and trading. The FX markets for example allow anyone to trade currency 24 hours a day 5 days a week. The amount of money in the financial markets is also clear for anyone to see, $3.7 trillion dollars is traded on the currency FX markets every single day!

There were also other terms that had direct parallels.

Strategy – The systems and rules you put in place to minimise risk and maximise profits
Analysis – Fundamental and technical analysis of information to trade and make profits
Rake – The amount taken out of every pot by the game provider
Spread – The amount taken by the market provider to pay for each trade
Rake back – The amount offered to players for loyalty and turnover
Rebates – The amount offered back to traders for volume of business
Bot - Short for "robot". A program that plays poker online with no (or minimal) human intervention
Black box – A computer algorithm that trades in the markets for profit
Bad beat - To have a hand that is a large underdog beat a heavily favored hand
Swings – To go with the market trend and still lose money
Table - Where you see and play your opponents
Platform – Where you see the market and the prices you wish to trade

The internet is becoming ever more the choice place to communicate, have fun and interact with the world. There are now more and more ways than ever of sharing and obtaining information. If you play poker and have a desire to win, play your strategy, be the best and make real financial gains, there is really only one place to do this and that in the in the world financial markets.

You do not have to make the transition alone. There is help available: is designed to allow with anyone with an opinion or any level of strategy, to get ahead and make money in the financial markets.

There has been a real growth in the number of companies who provide FX and the ability to trade stocks and shares online. A few years ago these 'platforms' were quite crude and only allowed people to trade poor spreads and a limited variety of products. Today the choice of both provider and products is almost overwhelming. Companies like IG Index and FX Pro (sponsors of Fulham FC) are well now as known and as mainstream as any gaming company or poker operator.

Even bonus and sign up deals:

  • Poker Room
  • Bonus
  • Rake back
  • Poker Room
  • Bonus
  • Rake back

With the sheer fact that the FX and stock markets dwarf poker in terms of turnover there must be a clear crossover of people who want to make money from having an opinion and a statistical edge. People can still play poker can and trade there is no doubt about that. However with great introductory offer bonuses and rebates to be had, maybe the crowded poker arena may have to give way to strategic, intelligent, professional players making money on the financial markets.




Recommended Platforms

Your strategy can be as simple or as complicated as you like, but like most things in life the simplest way is usually the best way. If you are considering trading then your main aim will be to make a profit, the amount of profit will generally dictate how you will trade and what products you should choose.



Up to $10,000 deposit bonus!
  • Open Book – Facebook of trading
  • Up to 400:1 leverage, Open an account with $50
For people new to trading we recommend because it is designed to be as user friendly as possible. It has many innovative features including 'Open Book' which allows you to follow real traders and see what they buy and sell in real time, it is the Facebook equivalent of the trading world. › Read more