Basic Options Strategies

A Quick Guide to Learning Options Strategies

Although there are some more advanced strategies out there, you’ll find that these basic options strategies are quite effective and may be all that you need. You might not even need all the strategies provided here to get going. You can select which strategy to use depending on whether you are bullish, bearish or neutral on the stock. 

The simplest bullish strategies to implement are: 1) selling a put, 2) selling a put vertical spread and 3) buying a call vertical spread. Similarly, the simplest bearish strategies to implement are: 1) selling a call, 2) selling a call vertical spread and 3) buying a put vertical spread. Lastly, the simplest neutral strategies to implement are: 1) selling a strangle and 2) selling an iron condor.

Note that vertical spreads and iron condors are risk-defined strategies since there are no naked options involved. On the other hand, selling naked puts, naked calls, strangles and ratio spreads have undefined risk since they involve naked options. 

Strategies that start with the word “sell” enable you to receive a credit for entering the position, whereas strategies that begin with the word “buy” require you to pay a debit for entering the position. Each of the below strategies can be set up in a way such that probability and time decay works in your favor.

Bullish Strategies

Bearish Strategies

Neutral Strategies

Footnotes About Basic Options Strategies

Buying options positions like calls, puts and strangles can also be effective under certain circumstances. However, since they are very capital intensive and can prove costly if you’re wrong, we generally reserve these for rare occasions. Instead, if you’re expecting a large move in a stock/ETF that has low volatility, we recommend buying vertical spreads, as listed above. Click here to read our article about how to choose between buying and selling options.

Get Started With Options Trading

If you’re a beginner with options, click here to learn how to get started with options trading. Click here to learn more about why selling options to collect premium makes sense. Getting 1-on-1 options coaching from one of our pros will set you up for options trading success.

tastylive (a.k.a. tastytrade) also does a great job of explaining options concepts and strategies

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