It’s not easy to explain what I do. The word “trader” is vague enough as it is. People have overheard trainer on more than one occasion. The second question, seeking to clarify what I’ve just said, would bring me to answer: “sports trader”, which would then lead people to reply with another question – “so you are a gambler?”
And then I can start explaining what the differences between the two are. In my opinion the difference is huge. Another option would just be to agree. “Yeah, that’s a gamble, perhaps more calculated than others”. However, I am not happy with that term “gambling” and the prejudice it may come with.
So why is sports trading different than gambling? If you search this topic online you will find out many different ideas and opinions on the difference between the two. It is entirely up to one to decide how he feels about it. For me at least, and for other people who call themselves traders, I think it is safe to say the difference is in the mindset and discipline, the approach to the money and the thought on long term.
The trader uses team statistics (the most powerful tool I have come across for the purpose of trading football), like a stock market trader might use the history of shares, and news/information available to assess movement. This is where I feel I can compare to different career paths people chosen and why sometimes I will get into a discussion with people who fail to see the difference between trading and gambling.
Firstly, in gambling you choose the outcome (team/horse/result) and you wait for it to happen, that is it.
Sports’ trading is a lot more like financial trading. Preparation and hard work can reduce the reliance on luck – that’s why trading is not gambling.
However, financial trading does not appeal to me personally because I feel that as an average person I may not know of things brewing up in companies that may affect the share price. I have no interest in the financial markets. In sports, on the other hand, I feel that I have the understanding on how the game works. I also have a lot of information on how the sports trading markets work. I can see the starting points, the great entry points and the good exit points. The different scenarios are well known to me and well, I know that luck is also needed.
So if luck’s needed, then I am gambler, no? Well this will come down to another point of view about life in general.
Some don’t believe in luck, and that’s fine, you can call it whatever you want.
When comparing trading to an office job for example, which has potential to develop into a more meaningful, better paid position at well-structured company – of course many people would say you will climb up by graft and hard work. You work hard, you impress your superiors and you get promoted to a better job.
I believe that ‘luck’ or whatever people wish to call, is also required for developing inside the most structured of companies. You can work hard and not get the break. It happens to a lot of people around you.
If one considers a more risky career path, owning your own business is a perfect example. This is my own personal background; so I feel a lot more comfortable comparing it to trading.
I was a bar owner in London for 6 years. It was hard work and rewarding in many ways as well. And the risks involved in this business are very similar to the risks in trading. There are SO many variables! This would apply to almost any small business, privately owned in a capitalistic environment.
You have a risk reward and when it is analysed the financial rewards from trading can be much higher. The main things being financial investment and attachment, a business requires 100% attention whereas with the trading you can choose when you want to trade.
That last point is huge for me and the main reason I chose a different career path recently.
I am sure this is a topic of discussion to many traders, gamblers, people who are interested in sport and people who are against the whole idea of risking money! These are however my personal opinion and mean absolutely no disrespect to anyone who thinks otherwise.
Guest author: Jonny