The Ultimate Options Trading Strategy - 26
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Buenos dias genius nation, como estas. How you doing?
This episode we're going to call it The Ultimate Options Trading Strategy. Really what I wanted to do is I want to talk about option strategies and which one is the best.
I got the idea for this episode thanks to a couple guys on the Options Traders Alliance Group which is our free Facebook group. If you want information about that just search on Facebook for Option Traders Alliance or look in the show notes, we'll have a link to it there.
Thanks to Dan Gibson and Ken Gilstrup for that. From what I could tell, these guys they were just, one of them asked a question, the other one responding, just a couple guys. They're on the lower end of the option continuum, a couple of lower traders just looking for some kind of direction. If you don't know what the option continuum is or where you are on the continuum, you can check out Episode 21 and hear all about it.
It's a great question, which is the best option strategy, because when it comes to selling options there are well over a dozen strategies that you can use. You've heard all the names, all the crazy names, some of them; the iron condor, the credit spread, the calendar spread which is also the time spread, the butterfly, then there's the iron butterfly, and then there's the broken wing butterfly, there's the covered claw which can also be called the buy right. There are naked options so there's naked puts, naked calls, the straddle, the strangle, the ratio, the back spread, the box, the bag, the double diagonal, on and on and on, and that's just to name a few.
Then, each of these strategies can be manipulated so that there are unlimited variations. You have, let's say the iron condor. You have the, some people call it the high probability iron condor and then there's the low probability iron condor. Then, there's the unbalanced condor, and then there's, some people have been calling it the weirdor which is like a mix of the iron condor and the butterfly together. There's so many different strategies out there.
The question becomes which one is the best, which one do I trade because you can't do all of them, you'd be crazy. It would take you decades and decades to actually learn all of them and become good at any of them really. If you're a new trader and you just want to quickly get up to speed which is the easiest, the fastest, the most money making, that's what we need to know. Before I tell you the answer I want to talk about Simon.
You see, Simon was a lot like you. He was trying to figure out all this trading stuff and he had tried all the different techniques, different types of trading, and he was pretty fed up. When you spend lots of money on courses, when you spend hours and hours learning about Greeks, and probabilities, and volatility, and all that stuff and you still cannot make it work you get pretty upset, am I right? You guys know what I'm talking about because you've probably done the same things; taking courses, watching videos, listening to podcasts like this one, I know there's a whole bunch of them out there because none of them give you the secret and then you get really, really upset about it.
You just want the answer, why don't they just give you the answer. Boy, I wish it was that easy. For Simon, by the time our paths had crossed he had spent close to three years learning about options. In fact, he was much more knowledgeable about certain aspects of options than I was.
To this day, honestly, maybe I shouldn't say this but to this day if you ask me to describe to you what Gamma is I don't think I could. I know it's important, I know it's one of the Greeks, and there's ... I know what it is, in my head I can, I just can't put it down on paper. I'd have to look it up and look for the ways to explain it, I'd have to show you on a screen. I couldn't just simply tell you what it is but Simon, he can do that.
Simon knows all the differences, what is implied vs historical volatility and what the numbers should be, and how to set up the different probabilities. He knows all about that stuff because he spent all that time learning about it because that's what he though was the answer. The more he learned the more complicated he made his trading, the more complicated he made his trades, the more intricate.
He added in different indicators, some that nobody's ever heard of before. He added in all these rules. He added all this other stuff to make his trading better, to give him a better edge. That makes sense, when you think about it. You take a strategy and you improve it, you put your own spin on it, you craft it so that it works better. Then when you come up with something that you think is awesome you back test it over and over and over again. If you can't do that then you do paper trading and you have to do it hundreds of times.
If you can't do that, if you don't want to do that, then you have to use real money to test it and hopefully it works. Usually though it doesn't and then you end up back on the drawing board. I remember when I first got started I wanted one simple trade that I could do month after month after month like the holy grail. I found ... I really like butterflies so I tried to do a butterfly on McDonald's, and I came up with some rules and then I started back testing it. I think I back tested it for four years, month after month after month after money after month, say about 40, 50 trades, whatever that is, 4 x 12, 48 trades.
It was profitable and I was ecstatic. "Oh man, this is awesome, this is going to be so awesome." Then I did it with real money and I ended up losing, I don't know how many, I think it was $8,000 really quickly.
That's what Simon was doing as well and for him it wasn't working, and that's when he came to me. That was his main question. He's like, "Allen, I know so much but I still can't make it work. Am I doing something wrong or does this stuff just not work? Please Allen, tell me that all my hours and years of trying to learn this stuff has not been in vain because my brain is just going to explode, I can't take it anymore. My self-confidence is in the gutter but I know so much about options, I know more about the people who write these option books, I could probably teach a college course on options. Allen, please help me."
Well I got to tell you, if this stuff didn't work, this job option stuff didn't work, I would be flat broke. I can say, for those of you who are still skeptical, that yes, yes it does, in fact, does work. I can point out to dozens, and hundreds, and even thousands of people who have made it work and who it's working for. The problem ... If it's not the trading then maybe the problem's with Simon. It's either the trading work or the person doesn't work. Well, the person was Simon and the problem was not Simon either.
The problem was all the nonsense that we as traders and learning traders get bombarded with every single day. We get bombarded on the financial media, we get bombarded in our emails. We get bombarded on Facebook, and Twitter, and all over social media. The ads are all over the place and all the ads are people pretending that they are amazing traders making oodles and oodles of money, and the only way to get the same results is to pay them to teach us what they're doing, that's the only way to do it.
It's the magic bullet, it's the new thing. There's this new trading system or this new indicator or there's this new chart pattern or this new whatever that we have to pay to learn how to use so that we can also become wonderfully rich and super successful. It's like everybody else out there is so smart, and rich, and successful but we are not. No matter what we try it doesn't work, am I right?
Do you feel that frustration? Have you been through this or am I by myself? I don't think, I'm not by myself because we get emails every day from people. Ken and Dan were talking about this same exact thing in the group today so you know what I'm talking about. Here is what you need to do, here is how you overcome this. You stop listening to the noise, stop believing all the crap. Go back to the basics, back to the fundamentals.
The truth is that every single strategy that I mentioned earlier works. There are people out there making money with each one so you can make money if you only trade covered calls. Yes you can, you can be profitable consistently if you only trade covered calls. You can do the same thing if you only do strangles. You can do the same thing if you only do ratio spreads, and on, and on, and on. You don't need to be a master in everything, you don't need to understand 14 different ways to adjust your trade, you only need one strategy and that's the answer, that is the ultimate strategy. That's the best strategy, it's the one that you choose, the one that makes the most sense to you.
There are lots of different strategies out there because they have different uses, that's true. Once you become a very advanced trader, once you are on the upper end of the continuum if you're on level nine or level 10 and you are already consistently making money then yes, go into the other strategies. Until then, you stick to the one strategy that makes the most sense to you, that's the one you start with or for many of you that's the one you re-start with.
That is the one you keep doing until you figure it out because that's what I had Simon do. We identified together out of all the different strategies he preferred to trade credit spreads so that is what he focused on. That's what his time on to figure out. He spent time on figuring out the best way to enter a credit spread, he tested dozens of ways to adjust, and then he tested exit strategies, a whole host of different exit strategies.
Eventually, he discovered the best way to trade credit spreads that worked for him. Now, maybe his way won't work for you but that's okay with him because it works for him. That is all he does now, he only does credit spreads. He doesn't bother with iron condors or naked puts, he only does the spreads, the credit spreads his way. He has molded the strategy so that now he calls them layup spreads. A layup spread basically is a credit spread but with Simon's special magic, his method to enter, to manage, and to exit.
If you want more information about the layup spread and why they work so amazingly well you can do so at simonsaysoptions.com. Now, I hope this makes sense to you. The best strategy is the one that makes the most sense to you and the best way to learn how to trade is to just focus on it until it works for you. Now, it might get boring, it might get repetitious, it might get monotonous, yes maybe but that's still what you need to do.
I know we think that trading is all sexy and high flying and buy this, sell that, do this, do that. The reality is, if you trade well most of it is extremely boring and then there are certain pockets of craziness but most of your trading should be boring. If you are consistently making money then you know what I'm talking about. If you're flying by the seat of your pants, and if you're putting on dozens and dozens of trades, all different types, all different strategies on all different stocks that you never even heard of before because the chart looks good, then you are in for a very wild ride and so is your account balance.
With our account balance what do we want? Do we want up and down roller coasters? No, we want slow and steady increase. In order to have that you have to be trading in a way that is actually boring because you know what you're doing, that's why it's boring. You've mastered it, because you've excelled at it. The alternative is to do what you're doing right now jumping around from strategy to strategy.
I know what you thinking. Say, "Hey Allen, what about diversification, don't I need to diversify? If I have maybe some earnings trades over here or maybe I have some naked calls over here or maybe I have some box spreads over here." Yeah, you should diversify if you have an account that is well over six figures and you are already consistent and profitable. That's it right there. If you are over six figures, and I'm talking about mid-six figures; $400,000, $500,000, more than that, and you are already consistent and profitable then you can diversify as much as you want.
If you're on the top end of the continuum, level's nine, level 10, then you are making money so you are going to stick with what you know automatically. You're going to go to the bread and butter and you're going to do those every month or every week or whatever your timeframe is. Then with a little bit of extra cash you're going to try other stuff. That's the smart way to do it. If you don't have over six figures, if you're not consistent, if you're not profitable already, then forget about diversification.
Until you can make money with one strategy month after month, trade after trade. You have to be consistently profitable before you add another strategy to your arsenal, are you getting this? Is this sinking in? Yes? Hope so. Anybody that tells you otherwise is full of it and probably just wants to sell you something, that's the truth.
Stop all the noise, stop listening, stop jumping around, because the noise is there, the offers will always be there. If it's not options it'll be Bitcoin. If it's not Bitcoin it's going to be marijuana stocks. If it's not marijuana stocks it's going to be sports betting, that's the newest thing that's going to come on, right? The Supreme Court just announced on Monday that states can now make it legal to bet on sports. Well, guess what? There's going to be stocks on sports betting and they might even have options on sports and betting and all this stuff. Who knows what they're going to come out with in future? That's going to be the new hottest thing.
If you keep jumping from one to another, to the another, to the another, you're never going to get good at anything, you're never going to be profitable, you're never going to be consistent. Go back to the basics, back to the fundamentals. Choose one strategy and work on it until you know it inside out and you are profitable because that is the name of the game, that is the goal. That is the only thing that matters. I don't care what strategy you use, I don't care how you do it, I don't care when you do it. If you are profitable you are winning.
That's the only way to know if you are winning, I don't care how much you know. I don't care if you know more than me, I don't know if you know more history than me, I don't care if you know more math than me, more about statistics, more about options, more about everything. If you are not profitable it doesn't matter so go back to the fundamentals, go back to the basics, one strategy. You focus on it, you work on it, you back test it, you paper trade it, you real money trade it until you are profitable. That's it, that's the answer.
Now, if you can't figure it out, if you already tried, you tried your best and you can't do it, then reach out to me, maybe I can point you in the right direction. Maybe I can work with you like I did with Simon and we can identify what it was that works best for you or that makes the most sense for you, and then how to actually implement it. In the beginning you don't need complicated stuff, you don't need complicated indicators. You don't need complicated chart patterns, you need a strategy that you understand, that makes sense to you and you need to do it in a way where you can explain it to the third grader.
Then if you can do that then you tweak it. Then you work on it. Then you look at, like Simon did, you look at the entrance of the trade, you look at the management of the trade, you look at the exit of the trade, and then you improve your percentages. That's how it works. Right now, Simon, like I said, he's only doing one strategy and, yes, he is well over six figures in his trading account.
That's okay, it doesn't matter. He doesn't need to be doing anything else. I know people who only do one iron condor every single month. They do it on the same underlying, they do it on an index, and they trade literally over $100,000 worth of one iron condor every month. That's the entire trade, that's the whole strategy, one iron condor, six figures in that condor, every month.
I hope this makes sense, I hope this is sinking in. I hope you got to this this. Then finally, no matter which strategy you choose, whether it's the condor, the credit spread, the ratio, the butterfly, I don't care what it is, whatever it is, no matter which one you choose make sure that the odds are in your favor. Peace.
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