Read Robbie book and it was hilarious but also gave much serious information and many warnings against gambling.
On a serious note investing in shares hoping that they rise is like swimming with one hand tied behind your back.
Spreadbetting, CFDs or inverse ETFs if used with the same caution as "going long" give you a chance not only place down bets but to hedge against market falls without selling up your other investments.
As for getting burnt.....my friends dad was a loyal worker at a certain bank and spent years in the company sharescheme.....yes you know what is coming!
He arrived at retirement in 2008 with a fraction of his careful savings.