Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Is Daytrading Gambling?

I thought this would be a fun poll question since it's a debate people often (foolishly) engage me in.

Go vote.


mOOm said...

Yes, like Poker or horse racing is gambling

newequity said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jawbreaker said...

For most it is. For a very few professionals its a good living. I really believe that too many people were involved at one time but now its almost all robots. I think its the worst its ever been right now. Just my 2 cents. -tony

Pete said...

of course it's gambling. but so is every time frame in trading/investing. gambling in vegas/track is for fun- let's play stock market is for real- show me a poker table w/ $billion dollar anties. another difference in gambling vs. trading u can take ur bet off the table anytime u want in trading. every profession is a form of gambling- for a 'real job' comparison - u gamble paying college and law school tuition that it will get u a job, a law firm takes a gamble that will do a suitable job to charge clients. if not-fired- just a long term trade to see if right or wrong.

Dinosaur Trader said...

I don't think it's gambling... in gambling there are almost always set odds (except in Poker) whereas in trading there are not. Also, there is no set timeframe.


Bubs said...

it's only gambling if you don't no what your doing and don't have a gameplan. To answer your question, yes daytrading is gambling for most people.

Stewie said...

That's a great question Dino.
Day trading brings out gambling habits in emotional people. The constant repetitive trading will bring out emotional sides in traders.
Small time frame traders are the most vulnerable of all traders b/c they are most likely to second guess their views b/c of the speed of the timeframe. Second guessing leads to overtrading, overtrading leads to churning of the account via commissions/slippage and the emotional aspects of trading(revenge trading, fear of missing out, fear of being wrong, stubborn/egotistical trading, catching up, frustration etc etc etc).
Trading small time frames is very risky to a trader who does not have a rock solid strategy he needs to stick with and tune out all the noise that interferes with the trader intra day.
If you are an obsessive person, then day trading is definitely not for you. trading will instigate and wake up all sorts of negative habits namely over trading which is a trading sin. That is still one of my worst traits. My brokers love me, but screw the brokers. If i set a daily limit of 3 trades everyday and after three trades i am completely done, then i'd beef up my long term PnL for sure. How many times have you made 1-2 trades and were up nicely on the day, only to piss away the nice gains by putting on 10-15 mediocre trades later in the session?
Over Trading brings out gambling like habits and makes a trader very obsessive.
Good night and thanks for bringing up this great topic.

Thanks Dino.


Joe said...


I get that question a lot too. Here is how I respond:
If your playing blackjack at a casino at $10 a hand and your first card is an Ace or 10, can you raise your $10 bet to $100? Of course not. But with trading, you can stay light and look for the prime spots to enter. There are always going to be bad beats when the dealer pulls a 5 on his 16 and you lose, but overall the odds are in your favor.

The traders that go in with their full position at one spot are gambling, in my opinion.

Gald to see you back and running the VO.

Dinosaur Trader said...

Some very thoughtful responses here. Another thing to think about is that when you gamble and lose, "the house" gets your money. When you trade and lose, "the market" gets your money. Very different.

Also, do you drink when you trade? Do you drink when you gamble?



Stewie said...

I actually trade better when i am hung over i have noticed.

note to self: get wasted every night ;-)

HPT said...

Stewie, I trade terrible after a late night.

DINO, in options trading there are set odds and max losses already calculated with certain strategies, it just takes some time to learn, and you normally have to have a big account to make a living writing different option strategies.

As far as day trading; yes, it is gambling. Taking an unknown risk is considered gambling. With stops, you can define how much you are willing to GAMBLE,,,you see. Everything in life is a gamble depending on how you look at it, what matters is how you have prepared yourself for the choices you make. Do you add to a loser and disregard a losing trade and wait for it to come back, this is gambling because it wasn't your plan. Trading becomes gambling when you don't follow your set plan.

ainkurn said...

only if you don't know what you're doing ;-)