Paper Trading Options

Paper Trading Options Simulator

10 min read

As a rule, you should begin with paper trading options when entering the options world. This is not something you should dismiss and brush off as just a suggestion, as the meme above suggests. The reason you need to paper trade all of these options strategies first…is that they have many moving parts. It’s not a stock where you buy; it goes up or down, and price action is all you need to study. That being said, all these moving parts can affect your trade’s profit and loss potential.

Support and resistance are extremely important to paper trading options. These are levels that all traders pay close attention to. They are paying close attention to trend lines and the opening range. Volume at different support and resistance levels is key when using paper trading options.

Knowing how to find support and resistance will influence your options trading strategy and where you’ll take your entries and exits.

If you take a bullish option trade near resistance and it fails, you will most likely take a loss. You need to be able to find those levels. Everyone is looking for the magic formula to be a successful trader. It’s as simple as support and resistance.

  1. Open your account. You will need to fund an account, but you DON’T have to use real money to trade with.
  2. Practice paper trading options before trading with real money to learn the mechanics.
  3. Treat your paper options account exactly as you would a real account. Set the funding limits to a realistic amount.
  4. Paper trade options with a realistic size trade. You wouldn’t paper trade options with your full account size in every trade. Never risk more than 1-5% of your account in a trade. When in doubt, follow the 1% rule.
  5. Decide what options and strategies you want to learn. You can use day trade options or swing trade options. You can buy options LONG or sell options in things like credit or debit spreads. We give you all the free courses that teach you how.
  6. Practice these strategies until you can prove your understanding and consistently make money in a paper trading account.
  7. Don’t get discouraged. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Make sure you pace yourself.

Options Basics

An options contract gives you the right but not the obligation to buy 100 shares of a stock if you purchase a long call or if you buy a long put option; it gives you the right to put the stock to the person (100 shares) at a certain price within a certain time. Options are time-sensitive. Each one is a contract that has a birth date and an end date (death date). In other words, options are wasting assets because they expire on a given date.

So now you know, unlike a stock, you can’t hold an option forever. There is a time limit. If you hold till the last day, and your options expire “in the money,” you might be assigned stock for those 100 shares. However, that isn’t a bad thing if that is your intention. Some people trade options like a game of hot potato. You only hold it while it increases in value, with no intention of owning the shares. Others WANT to be assigned the shares and play the game that way. They like the stock, so they buy a call. The call moves up in value, and they make money and get the shares at a huge discount when the option expires worthless.

ThinkorSwim Paper Trading Options

This is an example of paper trading options in the ThinkorSwim platform.

Opening a Paper Trading Account

Options can be scary to people because of all the unknown factors involved when you begin. However, going live takes time, patience, and paper trade options. Before you know it, you’re trading smoothly and consistently.

There are many different ways to make money with options. Hence, there is a need for paper trading options so you can experiment. As a result, you should start with the basics. Let’s go over the basics of an option first. We’ll build up a strong foundation in options trading for you to conquer this challenging field.

So you understand the concept of options a little bit. Great. Now, you need to test the actual buying and selling of them and the different strategies. The best way to learn options is to trade them. SAFELY!

It’s time to open a simulated account. ThinkorSwim by TD Ameritrade has a great simulated account of paper trade options. You must fund them with real capital to open accounts, access real-time data, and begin paper trading. But it’s worth it. Don’t you dare use that real money yet, though! Resist the urge with every single fiber of your body.

You can research the best platforms to trade options within our site. Please look at our trading companies page for all the choices available to you that we have vetted. Ensure you can start paper trading options through them; not every broker lets you do this.

ThinkorSwim Paper Trading Account

Candlesticks Tell a Story

Candlesticks and patterns are the foundation of trading. Paper trading means you have to be able to spot the patterns.

They also form support and resistance. As you can see, trading has a lot of elements to practice. Candlestick alone tells a story. However, group them, and you get a clearer picture. You might not know what a head and shoulders pattern is today, but once you can spot them on a chart, you’ll never be able to un-see them.

Remember, picking the correct direction is important since options are wasting assets.

However, you do want to profit. So it’s good to pick the right direction if you’re day trading options. If you are trading one of the more advanced strategies, picking a direction isn’t as important as understanding the formula.

Paper Trading Options Example

What does that mean exactly? Let’s say you want to buy stock XYZ, which trades at $50 a share. If you were to buy 100 shares of stock XYZ at $50, you’d be paying $5,000.

Let’s say you believe that stock XYZ will reach $55 by March 31. As a result, you purchase the options contract that lines up with your projection at $2.50.

Multiply $2.50 by 100, and you’re paying $250 to control 100 shares. See how much money you save trading options as opposed to stocks? There’s more to options, however. Hence the need for practicing trading options. Take our options trading course to learn more.

Calls and Puts

I like trading basic calls and puts. That means I buy a call when I think a stock will rise in price. If I think a stock is going down, I buy a put. Also, I typically day trade these options. This is usually where most new options traders start. They don’t always stick around with this strategy; a lot of them go on to trade iron condors or bear call spreads. These strategies are usually used for swing trading and are higher probability trades versus just buying straight calls and puts.

Day Trading Course Options Trading Course Futures Trading Course
DESCRIPTION Learn how to read penny stock charts, premarket preparation, target buy and sell zones, scan for stocks to trade, and get ready for live day trading action
Learn how to buy and sell options, assignment options, implement vertical spreads, and the most popular strategies, and prepare for live options trading How to read futures charts, margin requirements, learn the COT report, indicators, and the most popular trading strategies, and prepare for live futures trading

Advanced Paper Trading Strategies for Options

Yes, paper trading options allow you to work on advanced strategies without making costly mistakes. Advanced options strategies allow you to make money whether the market is up, down, or moving sideways. Does the Stock Market seem like it’s not picking a direction? Is volatility exceptionally low? Well, options are a great way to capitalize on this.

That means you never have to sit out. No matter what the market is doing, there’s an options strategy to make money. You must start paper trading options when delving into the advanced strategies, or you’re just throwing money away. Don’t be careless!

The advanced strategies allow you to manage risk. When your risk is managed, your account is better protected.

The Greeks

The ancient Greeks gave the world a lot. Including what we call in the options world “The Greeks.” These terms play a huge role in profit and loss potential. Hence, it would be best to begin with paper trading to see how they all work together and study them for a deeper understanding. The great Greek philosopher once said, “The only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing.” – Socrates.

Truthfully, the Greeks can be overwhelming to new traders. Time decay, IV, intrinsic, and extrinsic value are unique to options trading, and knowing them will help you on paper trading…and ultimately help you more when you go live.

You must learn these instead of following trading services in and out of trades. Mirror trading has pros and cons, but here at the Bullish Bears, we are all about giving away the 1% secrets to the 99%. We are Main Street, giving away all the secrets Wall Street has kept to itself for far too long.

Final Thoughts: Paper Trading Options

In conclusion, trading options is all about practice. We can’t stress to you how important it is. We’d all like to be able to jump in right away and make money. However, that isn’t sustainable, and it’s just plain ignorant. Most of us do not have money to burn in the beginning stages.

If you paper trade options, you give yourself time to get it right. Working out the kinks is key to mastering a strategy. As a result, when you go live, you know what you’re doing and will be profitable, which is every trader’s dream. Don’t skip any steps, peeps!

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, you can paper trade options. Using a simulated platform allows traders to practice buying and selling stocks in a risk-free, and virtual enviornment.

Paper trading options is accurate when you add real-time data to your simulated. account. However, the fills aren't as precise as they would be in a live trading environment. It is sufficient enough to practice your trading style before risking real money.

Yes, you can paper trade options on the Webull platform. This feature allows traders to practice their trading style in a virtual enviornment.

ThinkorSwim has one of the best paper trading platforms in the industry. Users can add real-time data to their account and practice trading in a simulated platform which closely mirrors a real world environment.

How long should you paper trade options in a simulated account? Each person is different but many investors practice three to six months before trading with real money.

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