How does video gaming relate to investing or gambling? Actually it doesn’t but video games have helped me become a better investor either by playing games related to finance or gambling, or by taking a break from a stressful investing session. Apart from being a relaxing experience that can help me blow off steam, I am also turning to video gaming whenever I feel the urge for a snack. Instead of gaining some unnecessary pounds, I burn a couple of calories driving a virtual sports car!

I have been a video gamer since I got my first gaming console, an Atari 2600 and even when I transitioned into a PC user with the help of a monochrome Amstrad 1512. After spending countless hours gaming on my favorite computer while growing up, winning my first money at the blackjack tables as a card counter, forced me to quit video gaming 10 years ago. From that moment on I considered video gaming a total waste of time and every time I felt nostalgic and fired up a game, I had the feeling that I should be making money instead of mindlessly shooting up virtual enemies on the screen. Until recently.

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Torchlight II is an RPG video game I purchased during Steam’s summer sale.

Blogging or investing for a living is a stressful business, no matter the numerous articles you’ll read that making money from home can be an easy task for everyone. Surely you don’t have deadlines, you don’t have a boss, you can take your work wherever you go and travel while working. Most importantly it sounds like you don’t have a tight daily schedule, you may work whenever you want. The truth is that although there is some kind of freedom that most would envy, you soon realize that your time isn’t really unlimited. If you want to be successful, you start spending time reading the news, catching up with the latest industry changes, studying new strategies, learning from other bloggers, investors or entrepreneurs and getting up to date in order to always have an edge against a worldwide market. And of course you still have to actually risk your money, pick the stocks that are hopefully going to pop, invest in forex, play online poker, write your next post and reply to the advertisers’ emails. Not to mention interacting with your community by replying to your blog’s comments, getting your social media accounts active by sharing useful news and tips that will attract more followers and keeping your computer and other tech gear in an operational status with top notch functionality. You end up being a boss, an author, an investor, a gambler, a student, a secretary, a technician and a marketing person all at the same time!

But since you love what you are doing, that doesn’t bother you.

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Scrooge McDuck by Don Rosa

Now one of the great things of being an investor/trader/gambler/blogger is that you can decide to take a break whenever you feel tired or fed up. Until now those breaks meant for myself visiting the kitchen and eating some snack while reading more news at a mobile device, such as a smartphone like my Samsung Note 2 or a tablet. So even when I took a break, it was like working in a more relaxed way. My mind was still set on the market’s news, searching for important bits of news I’d missed. That wasn’t the break I needed. So I gave video gaming a go and it turned out fantastic.

  • Keeping a close eye on the video gaming industry all those years but not actually playing a single game, I was always looking forward to killing some time there. Time is money and no one in their mid-30’s affords to spend time playing video games. However I found out that after an hour of video gaming, I returned to the markets rested, clear-minded and more enthusiastic to get back in! It was like I had found all the missing energy that was depleted from my mind and body the previous hours. I may have spent an hour that didn’t make a single dollar, but the winrate of the following hours more than made up for it!
  • The games I had my eyes on for several years ranged from strategy games like Civilization 5 or SimCity and Role-Playing games like XCOM Enemy Unknown or Torchlight II, to platform games like Mark of Ninja and (my all-time favorite games) adventures like Monkey Island series or Resonance. My word of advice is to go for games that don’t require hours just to learn how to play them! While we do kill time by playing those video games, that time is valuable and we shouldn’t spend it by reading manuals and how-to’s! I myself need a game that loads fast and puts me into the action in a matter of seconds. If I needed to spend more time studying, I wouldn’t close my stock broker’s trading platform, thank you very much! Although I do prefer not so challenging games, I occasionally go for some practice or qualifying sessions at iRacing. Yet, given the fierce competition of that online video game, I usually elect to drive the virtual circuits in weekends, when the markets are closed. Driving even at the virtual world sometimes can be more stressful than trading stocks or forex! I also stayed clear of Football Manager games.

  • The similarities between video games and gambling games may be overwhelming. Let’s consider Civilization or SimCity games for example. Those strategy games are based on mathematics, believe it or not. I would describe them as statistics battle games. Players need to find their edge over their opponents and target their weak stats. In poker terms that weak stats are known as leaks. So as a result, being a good player at strategy video games will likely make you a good poker player. It’s no coincidence that during their lives, famous poker players like Elky were top players at StarCraft or similar games. But the similarities don’t end there. 15 years ago I used to co-play Billionaire II, a more-than-average complex monopoly game that featured bond and stock buying! That was probably my first contact with stock markets! Despite the fact that eventually any money invested in the game’s financial markets would yield profits as long as you were patient, I was so excited that I’d rather play that “simple” game instead of popular games of that time.
  • Finally, video gaming kept me away from the occasional visit to the kitchen’s fridge. Staying healthy and fit is very important if you want to be successful in investing. It’s also quite difficult given that investors and traders are lured into sitting at their desks for hours. Personally I hit the gym early in the morning at about 8am, but staying at home during the day made those “snack raids” quite tempting, effectively ruining a part of my daily exercise. Thus, completing a quest at a Role-Playing game or solving a couple of adventure puzzles sounded more beneficial to me.

I am curious whether this post will mostly be read by video gamers or gamblers! Have you more experience as an investor or as a gamers? And do you spend time playing video games when taking a break from your work? Let me know in the comments below.