# How to Calculate Risk/Reward Ratios

Risk to reward ratios. If there is a cornerstone to any trading philosophy, it starts at the risk to reward table. Although identifying good risk/reward trades does not guarantee success, not identifying good risk/reward trades almost always guarantees failure. Let’s explore yet another important subject in the life of a trader and look at a trade setup we took late Friday in the context of this subject matter.

### Determining a Good Risk/Reward Trade

In previous chapters we have talked about the need to identify potential trades based on chart patterns. The idea is that you collect a set of candidate charts, charts that have positive prospects for immediate or reasonably near term trading time frames. It is with these candidate charts that one can dig deeper into the possibility of trading that particular issue. The identification of a probable trade centers around the proper identification of realistic entry and exit positions based primarily on support and resistance. Once you have properly identified the support and resistance points you can take those numbers, plug them into a simple spreadsheet and calculate the risk reward. The simplest form of calculation involves nothing more than the following
• Entry Price
• Stop Loss Target
• Stop Profit Target
• The resulting Risk/Reward Ratio
Now, let’s apply this to a particular trade. The following graph shows NEM as it looked on May 17th, 2002. Gold is enjoying a significant run up and this trade actually goes against the prevailing trend, attempting to time a quick short trade based on chart patterns. On the fundamental side, there is concern that gold could continue to rise as the dollar continues to weaken and as world events dictate increased fear on the terrorism front. On the other side of the coin, the technical picture shows a potential short candidate given the annotations provided below. View image here Given the chart above, here’s an example of the most simplistic risk/reward ratio calculation. In the end, it turns out that world events and the spot price of gold ended up making this trade a losing trade, but risk to reward calculation remains the same … regardless if the trade wins or loses.