Where beginning traders run into trouble is becoming “convinced” that THIS setup is a winner; it just looks SO solid to them that they don’t see how it could possibly not work out. They then proceed to over-leverage because they are so convinced of the trade setup, the stage is now set for an account blow-out. The setup may indeed workout and the trader may clean up, but you can be assured it only takes ONE episode like this to lose a huge chunk of your trading account and kick off a cascade of emotional trading mistakes. This is how losing traders think about the market; they forget that each trade setup is simply another execution with about the same probability as any other similar setup; they do not have a thorough understanding of risk to reward scenarios or position sizing. This article will hopefully give you that understanding.
Thinking in Probabilities
Aspiring forex traders often spend countless hours searching for that perfect trading system which they think will make them rich by following a particular set of trading rules in a robotic manner. Unfortunately, most traders fail to realize that the real “secret” to successful forex trading lies in a thorough understanding and implementation of risk reward scenarios and position sizing. Forex trading is at its very core a game of probabilities, to become a consistently successful forex trader you will need to view each trade setup as a probability. When you learn to think in probabilities you will be on the path towards trading success, because you will be viewing the market from an objective and mathematical mindset instead of an emotional and illogical mindset.
What ultimately separates winning traders from losing traders is how they think about the market. Winning traders view each trade setup as just another execution of their trading edge, they then think about how to minimize their risk on the trade while simultaneously maximizing their reward. Through
the power of risk to reward scenarios and position sizing, professional traders know how to effectively manage their risk on each trade and as a side-effect of this knowledge they also manage their emotions. When you begin to view each trade setup as just another execution of your trading edge and effectively implement position sizing and risk to reward scenarios, you will also be managing your emotions because you know your possible risk and possible reward BEFORE you enter the trade, you then set and forget the trade and therefore there is nothing to become emotional about.
The Not SO Secret, Secret.
Anyone who has studied forex trading for any period of time has undoubtedly heard the old axiom “Cut your losers short and let your profits run”. The funny thing about this saying is that no one ever really expands on it by telling you HOW it is actually done or how it can be applied to today’s forex markets. Most traders hear this and they begin by setting really small stop losses with unrealistically huge targets on each trade. The problem with this is that the forex market does not move in a straight line, it ebbs and flows, sometimes having a large move and then an even larger correction before swinging back in the original direction. If you do not properly understand the power of risk to reward scenarios and position sizing, this volatility will end up killing you sooner rather than later.
Risk to Reward Scenarios
Let’s get right to the meat of this issue now, risk to reward scenarios are what you should be thinking about every time you find a trade setup.