Mental Game Similarities Between Poker and Trading

brainI’m best known these days for my work helping world class poker players eliminate their mental game weaknesses. However, in recent years I have been working a lot more with financial traders to do the same thing. This was a natural addition to my portfolio. A lot of traders found my book The Mental Game of Poker very useful and they discovered it because a lot of traders play poker, and a lot of poker players have turned to trading.

The terminology may be different, but poker and trading are very similar fields. Not only do the same critical skillsets exist for both, the same mental game issues impact both sets of participants. Continue reading

The Mental Game of Trading

brainI wrote a blog recently debunking the idea that golf is 90% mental, and I want to expand that to where I believe the mental game fits in to your performance as a trader. Whether you are a golfer or a trader, your job is to execute. Whether that’s hitting the right shot, or making the right decision at the right time. The only difference is that a golfer uses their body to execute their strategy and a trader uses their mind.

So the question every trader has to answer is simple: what do I need to learn, what are the skills I need to train, and how can I best prepare myself to consistently execute the right shot or the right decision? First and foremost you need trading skill. The mental game can really only help you to become a better trader once you have a strategy based on your knowledge reading charts, technical analysis, and other skills.

In my last blog I said that if golf was 90% mental, then the Dali Lama would be an amazing golfer, but he isn’t. The mind is only so powerful. I say this, so you now I’m not one of those ‘gurus’ blowing smoke up your ass claiming that a positive mental attitude is what you need to be a successful trader. Bullshit. You need to know what the hell you’re doing. Without a trading strategy based on a foundation of knowledge, there is no way to prove your results aren’t just dumb luck. Continue reading