Fancy a fast track to Wall Street trading? It’s easier, quicker, more immediate and more exciting than it sounds. It can also be a whole lot riskier. And that is part of the fun.

The hyper-tension, the adrenaline and the mega-rewards enjoyed by financial traders around the world require a particular type of personality. The high-octane intensity of the markets also requires a steely nerve and a calculating and decisive mind-set. What is more, in the established order of things, trading on the world’s stock and currency markets used to also require a king’s ransom.

The good news for anyone with the courage to back their judgement with cold, hard cash is that the historical bar to entry to that trading arena has been lifted. There is now a way for us all to take a position on a stock or a currency value and to turn a profit on that insight.

No entrance fee is charged, no qualifications are required, no old school tie is needed and no introductions are necessary. Times have most definitely changed. That gateway to the market is now formally recognised as Financial Spread Betting (FSB).

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The particular appeal of FSB is that it makes it possible to trade in the sort of volumes that most of us can actually put our hands on; the idea that we need a million in the bank before we can begin to contemplate playing the markets are long gone. FSB enables trading against the movement of stocks, shares and currencies in real time via a computer or smartphone app form as little as £50.

Companies such as Tradefair offer a trading desktop app that delivers real-time market information and analytics on more than 3,200 different markets around the world. Tradefair’s clients simply stake a position against the stock or the currency of their choice and watch the markets unfold.

What providers offer delivers precisely the same high-octane sense of excitement that Wall Street traders and their like thrive on. But this is no mere simulation. The lack of any trading fees and taxes make FSB a viable investment vehicle for full-time, private, derivative traders. FSB is a serious way to play.

What makes it so serious is that for all the potential to generate a profit, that opportunity is balanced by the corresponding risk of losses. The way it works is that for every point the market moves in the right direction, the player wins the equivalent of his stake: a ten-point move realises ten times the original stake. The risk that balances that potential reward is that losses are calculated on the same formula. If the markets start to run the wrong way, losses can be substantial.

That risk/reward equation makes for a scenario you simply cannot take your eyes off. Trades are typically enacted over a matter of minutes. Very few traders are brave (or foolish) enough to expose themselves for long. It’s a game of dare, with very real penalties and the possibility of very real returns. No wonder it is proving so popular.