Risk-Reward Ratio – Definition and Calculation

Risk Reward Ratio

For those taking their first steps into the intricate trading world, grasping essential concepts is a cornerstone of success. One such concept that can be your compass in the vast sea of trading decisions is the “Risk-Reward Ratio.” 

This strategic tool is designed to empower traders by weighing potential gains against potential losses. This comprehensive guide will demystify the risk-reward ratio, unravel its calculation, and illustrate its significance in trading strategies.

What is a Risk-Reward Ratio?

At its core, the risk-reward ratio is a quantitative approach used to gauge the balance between potential profit and potential loss in a trade. By evaluating this ratio, traders can make more informed decisions, ensuring that the potential rewards justify the associated risks. 

This tool is a vital component of risk management, fostering a disciplined and strategic approach to trading.

Risk vs. Reward

The heart of the risk-reward ratio lies in the fundamental principle of managing the interplay between risk and reward. Every trade in the financial markets carries an inherent risk of losing invested capital. 

Yet, traders partake in trades with the anticipation of a reward – the potential profit they could earn. The risk-reward ratio acts as a compass, guiding traders to strike a balance between these two critical elements.

Who Can Benefit From Using It?

The versatility of the risk-reward ratio makes it an indispensable tool across trading styles and expertise levels. Whether you’re a day trader seizing quick opportunities, a swing trader aiming to capture trends, or a long-term investor holding for substantial growth, this ratio has something to offer. 

For newbie traders, it’s akin to a mentor who guards against impulsive decisions, providing a systematic framework for decision-making.

How to Calculate a Risk-Reward Ratio in Trading?

The calculation of the risk-reward ratio is a structured process that involves several steps:

  • Defining Entry and Stop-Loss Levels: Pinpoint the price at which you enter a trade and the price where you’ll exit if the trade moves against you (stop-loss level).
  • Setting Take-Profit Level: Determine the price where you’ll exit if the trade goes in your favor (take-profit level).
  • Calculating Potential Risk and Reward: Calculate the difference between your entry price and stop-loss level to determine the potential loss. Similarly, find the difference between your entry price and take-profit level to ascertain the potential reward.
  • Deriving the Ratio: Divide the potential reward by the potential risk to obtain the risk-reward ratio.

Examples of Risk-Reward Ratio

Imagine you’re trading currency pair EUR/USD. You enter at 1.2000, set a stop-loss at 1.1900, and a take-profit at 1.2200. This yields a potential loss of 100 pips and a potential reward of 200 pips. 

The resulting risk-reward ratio is 2:1, indicating that for every pip you are willing to risk, you anticipate gaining 2 pips in profit.


In the realm of trading, navigating the currents of risk is a skill that sets successful traders apart. As a trading newbie, integrating this tool into your strategy empowers you to approach trades with a comprehensive view of potential gains and possible losses. 

Remember, successful trading isn’t solely about celebrating big wins. It’s about making calculated choices that lead to consistent growth. By embracing the risk-reward ratio, you’re arming yourself with a cornerstone skill that will accompany you on your path to trading mastery.

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