Spread betting offers a tax free alternative to buying and selling stocks and shares, while the volatility of the markets that can be traded means that there is huge scope for profits, too. This same volatility also means that there is equally high potential for loss, but it is possible to become a successful spread better without risking everything you have. Start small, use the tools and information that you are provided with, overcome the difficult psychological battle, and always know when to exit a trade as well as when to enter a trade.

Start Small

If you are new to spread betting, realise that it will take time before you fully understand the system and how it works. It will also take time for you to develop a system of sorts, hone it to profitability, and determine exactly when you should be exiting trades. If you start learning this process by investing large sums, then you will inevitably lose some simply because you didn’t fully understand what you were doing. Start small, even investing £1 per point, until you are confident that you have a deep understanding of spread betting.


Always Use Stop Losses

Stop losses can greatly minimise losses, and if you don’t use them then over a lifetime of trading, it is highly likely that you will have at least one or two trades that devastate your investment bank.

Stop losses can also help you overcome the urge to hold on to a trade in the hope of recovering losses and closing when you break even. Knowing when to exit a trade is vital, and utilising stop losses can ensure that you stick to your own plan. Trading platforms like ETX Capital offer stop losses so use them.

Consider Using Setups

A setup does not necessarily mean that you have to trade, but it means that when certain criteria are met, which could be as simple as a market reaching a certain spread, you will be alerted. Use this opportunity to further investigate, and use setups as a means of identifying when a trade is possible.

Exercise Patience


Patience and discipline are key to successful long-term spread betting. If you go into spread betting hoping for one massive payday that will earn you millions, then you are likely to be disappointed every day. While these kinds of payoffs are possible, they are the exception rather than the rule.

Expect to make reasonable profits, rather than exceptional ones, and aim to make regular and steady profits. Be patient, stick to your plan, and don’t force trades that aren’t viable.

Specialise Before Expanding

There are many, many markets and positions that can be traded in spread betting, ranging from currencies and penny stocks to horse racing and even political outcomes. This means there is plenty of opportunity, but you can very easily spread yourself too thinly if you attempt to trade too many at once.

Specialise in a few markets that you already have good knowledge of, and once you have mastered these, then you can consider learning about other markets and expanding.

Know When To Exit Before You Enter

Jumping into a trade is really very easy, but knowing when to exit can be considerably more difficult. Novice traders are often too concerned over losing out on profits, or overly concerned with losing money every time they trade. Some losses are inevitable, and before you even consider entering a trade, you absolutely must know when you will exit it.

Don’t Risk Everything

There is no such thing as a sure thing, so don’t bet as though you are onto one. Exercise caution when deciding how much of your bank to place on a point, and make sure that you don’t out everything on a single trade. You should also ensure that you have some capital in your account, in case of margin calls.

It is sensible to have different trading sizes according to risk and potential returns, but you should never consider investing everything you have in one go or on a single trade.


Be Disciplined

It is all too easy to hold on to a losing trade, in the hope that it will recover, and you will be able to exit the trade having broken even again. Understand that losses and gains will both happen, have a clear plan in mind, and be disciplined enough to stick to your entry and exit points, and to invest the amount that fits with the risk and possible returns. Overcoming the psychological element of spread betting can be one of the most difficult aspects, and this is where tools like stop losses can prove especially beneficial.

Be Confident

Conversely, it can be very easy to close a trade as soon as it returns a slight profit, even if your system dictates that it should return a greater profit. In the same way that you should avoid holding on to a losing position too long, you should avoid closing a winning position too soon. Have confidence in your trading and be prepared for losses and gains throughout.

Study Charts

There are many different ways to trade and techniques to use in order to help determine what to trade and when. Consult company charts to look for trends and patterns, to identify entry and exit points, and to help setup viable and beneficial alerts and stop losses.

Study Markets

You should also study the markets in which a stock is trading. No matter the performance of a stock, if the market is hit by some huge story or some shock headline, then there is still the potential for that stock to increase or decrease differently to your expectations.

Study Businesses

Learn as much as possible about any particular trade you intend to target. Look at internal and external business news stories, new appointments, and the publication or expectation of results. The more information and the more data you have, the better informed you are, and the more likely you will be able to make a positive move, whether that is buying or selling. By specialising, rather than trying to learn a little about every market, you can concentrate on learning more about a handful of markets and, therefore, improve your chances of a profit.