Forex Risk:Reward and Win Rates

Forex Risk:Reward and Win Rates

In this forex education section we will discuss risk:reward ratios, win rates and the relationship between the two. Having a sound understanding of this relationship is essential if you want to make money trading Forex. When trading a forex currency pair, one of two things could happen – price could either go up or down. Your job as a trader is to be on the right side of this move. That is predict it correctly. Alright, so we have two possibilities, that’s essentially a 50/50 chance either way. Here lies the problem: If you win one, lose one, win one, lose one, etc how do you make money? Simple, all else equal, you won’t!

To make money trading Forex you need to have some form of edge. You either need to be able to pick the market correctly more than half the time (this is known as a positive win rate) or, win more than you lose on each trade (known as a positive risk to reward ratio). The best forex traders will do both and achieve great success – not only do they pick markets right more often than not (this comes with experience), but they win more than they lose on each trade as well.

Imagine this: You place four trades, winning two and losing two. On each trade you have a stop loss of 10 pips and a take profit level of 20 pips. What’s your net result? +20, +20, -10, -10 = +20. You haven’t got any better at picking forex markets since the first paragraph, but you are now trading with a positive risk:reward ratio. Instead of breaking even, you are now profitable! Your breakeven level falls from 50% to 33.33%. This is a 1:2 risk to reward ratio – your average losses are half the size of your average wins.

This is an example of a 1:2 trade – we are long EUR/USD, risking 80 pips to potentially make 160:

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Note we could actually squeeze 1:3 out of this range:

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If making 1:3 trades, you only have to be right 25% of the time in order to break even.
If you want to make money trading Forex you have to have some form of edge. Find your trading edge with Vantage FX.

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