chips-29Binary options trading has something of a dodgy reputation thanks to a whole lot of outsiders assuming it is the equivalent of mindless gambling. Is binary options trading gambling? Yes, to some degree. Each time you play the markets, luck is involved in the outcome. But that does not mean that your skill is not equally important, and that you cannot win reliably if you work hard at it.

In that sense, binary options trading is not just like any form of gambling; it is most like poker. And that is not necessarily a bad thing. Many people make a living playing cards. They certainly are a tiny percentage of the whole, but they do exist. You too can make a living gambling if you learn to do it well! Here are 5 ways in which binary options trading is similar to poker.

1. Both are games that require skill to win.

Poker is very different from roulettes or slot machines. They are all forms of gambling because all rely at least in part on luck, but poker differentiates itself from the other two by requiring skill. Poker players have some control over what happens at the table, and can influence the outcome of the game by using techniques they have mastered. Binary options traders, like poker players, can use their skills to influence the outcomes of their trades. They can choose only to get into trades which are actually likely to win—just as the poker player can choose to play a good hand and fold on a bad one.

2. Both are games that require practice.

Nobody becomes an expert poker player overnight. Likewise, nobody becomes a binary options trader overnight—not a successful one anyway. Both require a lot of practice. Many poker players who eventually go pro spend years as amateurs first doing their best to learn as much as they can while conserving their money. You will likewise be doing a lot of testing and practicing before you go live and trade with real money, because you too will want to conserve your bankroll. It takes time and experience to build up a real understanding of the markets and become successful.

If you are a poker player, practice means sitting down for a lot of home games and choosing to participate regularly in online games and local games with small buy-ins. You also might join a pub poker league which does not require a buy-in. What does “practice” mean in a binary options context? It means backtesting trades to come up with a great working strategy, and then honing that strategy to perfection in real time using a demo account.

Your demo account is a little like those home games where you play with chips, but not for money. You have no chance to make money at those games, but you build the experience you need to compete for real later. With your demo account, you can save money and become the trader who is ultimately going to win when it is time to play for real.

3. Both offer you the chance to make it big with a small buy-in.

Winners of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) can walk away with millions of dollars in winnings. The buy-in for the WSOP is only $10,000, and players can actually compete for that buy-in at less expensive games that require only $100 or $1,000 to play. Imagine starting out with $100 and ending up with $1 million! With binary options trading, you can also get started with $100 (or $200 or $250, depending on the broker), and gradually work your way up to larger and larger amounts of money.

Will you become a millionaire? Not overnight, and you will need plenty of the aforementioned practice, but in theory it is possible! Binary options trading gives you a chance to make exponential returns over time. Assuming you are currently working a nine to five job, you are not in that position now. Right now you can only make the same amount every hour. And any raises you do get will be relatively uniform.

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4. Both offer many variations.

While Texas Hold’em has become the most popular and most standardized game of poker, it is hardly the only one out there. There are many variations on the rules and many different ways you can play the game. That is true with binary options trading, too. No longer are you confined to High/Low trades only. You can also try One Touch, No Touch, Range trades, and other fun variations. You may find that you excel more at one type of trading than you do at another, just as you might learn to favor a particular poker game.

5. Trading, like poker, can become a full-time profession.

While 99% of poker players are never going to be able to play poker for a living, it is not because it is impossible. It is because it is a challenge, and most people who play poker are not up for that kind of challenge. They are in it to have fun and maybe make a little money on the side. As a binary options trader, you can also choose to play the markets for fun, and maybe make a little extra income. But you have the option of becoming a fulltime professional trader. As with poker, not many traders are ever going to make it to this level. The one percent or so that do really well are the cream of the crop. It is certainly possible, though, and if you are determined, you may get there.

6. Both are self-employed professions.

Do you dream about being in control of your life, and spending your time the way you want to? Would you like to be done with your nine to five job and the boss that always hovers over you, making demands? Binary options trading is not just a profession, it is a self-employed profession. A trader, like a poker player, is responsible for his or her own business. You can become your own boss, and make the calls as far as your day-to-day schedule and responsibilities.

Self-employment is not for everyone. Some people work much better when they are under someone else’s direction. But some people really blossom when they are given a chance to direct themselves and choose their own path each day. Odds are if you have the self-discipline to actually make it as a binary options trader, you already have the perfect disposition to work for yourself!

Whether you choose to trade binary options for fun or for serious money, you can be sure that trading has much more in common with poker than it does with roulette or slot machines. The next time someone you know accuses you of being “just a gambler” because you trade binary options, agree with them—but only partially. “I am a gambler,” you can respond. “But I am not an addictive gambler, and nor am I a roulette player. I am here to win strategically, just like a poker player. And like a poker player, I have a real chance of doing this for a living.”