From what I've done, it seems the best way to learn speculation on Bitcoinica is just to plug-in 1 BTC and start playing. Consider any losses as just a cost of education.
Spreadsheets and blank-guesses are not worth much: They have no monetary-value behind them and the stress and emotion that comes with real trading is gone. You need to work with real money to be prepared for reality.
Just my 2 cents.
Very good advice. Start with an amount of money that does not cause significant emotion to win or lose, and figure out what works. Increase until you find out how you work. Decrease to a nice stable comfortable pace, and you will make money.
I don't believe you can truly learn to trade without learning to cope with the emotions you experience (win or lose) - and you can't get that
without some level of real risk.
trading with leverage is risky, and riskier if you're inexperienced. Most ForEx traders lose all their money. (Most poker players, too, I'm sure!).
I learned to trade conservatively, w/o leverage - there's no good way to describe the emotions of watching $50,000 of your own cash wash away on a bad trade (especially when it's bad because you're inexperienced!) The experience of loss with leverage can be shocking if you don't understand how to use it.
Learn how that experience works for you with money you could just give away ( 15FfWqzTvyhdLewyptAyoVpy7o7ipfDjGF ) or spend on frivolous stuff like this http://www.businessinsider.com/these-are-the-most-ridiculous-gifts-you-can-buy-at-wireds-awesome-times-square-store-2011-11#sonic-the-gold-bug-6
I learned to trade better
when I learned
as I continue to learn to follow these rules http://www.silverbearcafe.com/private/rules.html
and these http://stockcharts.com/school/doku.php?id=chart_school:trading_strategies:richard_rhodes_tradi
- and use the wisdom in here http://www.forexfactory.com/showthread.php?t=155431
In the end, there's almost nothing easier than trading, especially currency trading. Buy high, sell higher. Not complex. Emotions are complex, and your biggest obstacle to success. If you can become comfortable with these, you will trade well.