Is there a newbie guide for this stuff and what is a good entry point?
There are many newbie guides. I used to have many links to them but alas I no longer have them bookmarked.
is a fun place to start but be warned that 90% of the crowd there are hacks looking to make a quick buck from any "holy grail" system anyone is prepared to share online.
The rake's progress in Forex trading is usually along these lines though:
Hey... look Ma.. I can make money easy with this here forex... LOOK.. I just made an easy $500...on ONE trade
Oh noes... i lost my $500 the next day..the market hates me...waaaaaaaah!
Phase 3. (if the rake persists)
I will read and learn charts! *studies candlesticks, heads and shoulders, trend lines etc*
This is called discretionary trading, that is, reading meaning into patterns on historical data.
Phase 4. (if the rake is still not disillusioned)
Bah. I'm still losing money. Indicators are what I need!*searches for the holy grain indicator combination that will lead to boundless wealth*
Indicators suck! I will backtest my system now so that I know my trades will make money in the future...
Blah... backtesting sucks because it makes money in the past but not in the future. Why does my winning system fail when I trade it in real time?
Phase 7. (if not completely disgusted with the whole racket)
My backtesting must be statistically testable to see what the probability is of it making money in the future...
*tries neural networks, genetic optimisation, entry/exit systems*
Finally, with careful optimization and a well matched indicator/instrument I'm starting to make a bit of money.
Was it worth the effort? Only time will tell....