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November 30, 2019
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show169 This week we're very excited to share our exclusive interview with Kevin Davitt, a special guest with tons of experience not only as a former market maker, but as the Senior Instructor for The Options Institute at CBOE. As many long time listener's know, we are highly selective with people we choose to bring on as guests for interview and Kevin raises the bar yet again for us with an amazing discussion. During the show we'll touch on everything from his time as a market maker, transitioning to the retail side of trading, though processes on managing positions and controlling risk, and so much more. You're going to love this candid and wide-ranging discussion as much as we enjoyed the time with Kevin.
November 1, 2019
Show notes: https://optionalpha.com/show168 Did you know that fear has nothing to do with logical or cognitive reasoning? It's actually a completely physical response that originates in our body. We fear to be wrong because that might mean we will be alone and people will leave us, which means that we won't be part of a tribe or community, which means it'll be dangerous and we might die. Okay, that's extreme but taken to its logical conclusion we fear because of conditioning we've had as humans for thousands of years to survive on a physical level.   As options traders, we have fears about trading that manifest in dozens and dozens of ways. Today, as we circle the Halloween season, I wanted to tackle the 27 biggest options trading fears that we hear in our community. And, more importantly, how to overcome and conquer these fears. Just saying them out loud and talking through them together might just be what you need to set yourself free and on the right path as a trader. 
October 24, 2019
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show167 Oh, profit targets. The double edge sword of confusion for many traders. Take profits too early and you feel like you left money on the table. Too late and you kick yourself because the trade could have moved against you. And because we've been getting so many questions on when and why we've let positions go beyond traditional profit targets, we wanted to record today's show to talk about the top 3 market setups that would lead us to break profit-taking rules. Yes, you heard me right, and longtime members have known this for years, but we don't always take profits at 25% and 50%. Shocking? Shouldn't be because our Profit Matrix research 2 years ago laid the foundation for holding positions generally longer towards expiration.  
October 18, 2019
Show notes: https://optionalpha.com/show166 When it comes to market signals and timing indicators, the Put Call Ratio is one that naturally jumps to the top of many lists. Because the indicator looks at volume in both put and call options, the logical conclusion is that we can interpret the ratio to signal us from an impending top or possible market bottom. But, is that really the case, and if so, how should we use Put Call Ratios moving forward in our analysis. All this and more on this week's podcast episode.
October 7, 2019
Show notes: https://optionalpha.com/show165 Personally, I don't like rules. Mostly because I value freedom and flexibility so when someone says that I have to follow the rules I naturally push back. Things that confine me or tell me what to do don't fly well with me. But that only applies to things outside of trading and investing. In the world of investing, and specifically trading options, you need to live by certain rules. Rules that keep you safe and protected from the unknown of the market.   I imagine that the 11 "Golden Rules" I'm going to present in this podcast will cause many of you to push back and challenge their usefulness. Mostly because they'll cause you to trade different than you have in the past, and being different means being uncomfortable. I'm okay with that and I welcome the discussion around them. But don't misinterpret this level of understanding in adoption to also represent flexibility when it comes to these rules. These are "unbreakable" rules for me and should be for you as well.
September 30, 2019
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show164 Since we are option sellers and our edge comes from selling overpriced options out into maturity it's natural to assume that if we want to sell options when IV is high that buying options during low IV markets is a way to make money in the other direction. We get it and understand the rationale argument. When IV is low, and option premiums are cheap, you can and should buy options because they are cheap right? Not so fast bargain-buyer.   This type of thought process and strategy, low IV option buying, has two major problems. And we don't use the word "major" lightly here. Each problem with option buying systems is so important that the probability of getting both problems right or solved is for all intensive purposes, impossible on a long timeline. Curious to know what these major issues are? Let's dive into today's show and find out.
September 27, 2019
This was a long trade. Maybe not the longest trade we've been involved in, but certainly one of the top ones as this short put option assignment lasted over 5 months. For most options traders looking to make a quick buck, this trade stretches their patience and conviction far beyond a reasonable level. Still, I think that today's case study is important to hear because it proves critical concepts to how we think about trading here at Option Alpha.
August 29, 2019
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show162 It might seem that the markets are a game of price, and while that might be mostly true, what they are is really a game of emotions. With enough self-awareness, the "average" investor can do incredibly well. Better than many sophisticated investors.   There's so much to be said about controlling your emotions and recognizing biases that we could spend hours upon hours dissecting each one. I prefer a more optimized approach which is why I decided to do a podcast specifically on the top 8 biases that investors fall victim to. Once you learn to recognize them, you can then process the emotions behind the scenes so that it doesn't interfere with your trading.
July 22, 2019
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show161 As many of our long-time listeners know, over the years I've become increasingly protective and selective with the guests that I invite to come on the show. Truth be told, we get pitched weekly for people looking to expand their reach. Somethings it's just so off the wall and disconnected to trading that I have to laugh. But this isn't the case with today's guests which I'm super excited to bring on for an interview.   Kevin Smith and Tavi Costa both generously gave their time to join me for an incredible look inside their philosophy and macro models at Crescat Capital, a hedge fund based in Denver Colorado. This is an episode you won't want to miss. In fact, I encourage you to listen to it at least twice to make sure you pick up on all the little details you might have skipped the first time around.
July 16, 2019
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show160 Newest platform updates.
June 24, 2019
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show159 This podcast is a long-time coming but one that needed to be done because we get a lot of questions from newbie traders about how to build an options portfolio with a small amount of starting capital. And while we openly suggest that you really start trading with at least $5,000 or more, as you'll hear me say a bunch in this show, we realize that a good majority of new traders want to start with less. That's why in today's show we'll play "pretend" and assume you absolutely want to start trading with just $3,000.   Inside I'll walk through my though process on building out a portfolio that gives you the highest possible chance of success. We'll cover everything from position sizing, ticker selection, strategies to use, what ranges or targets for setting them up, profit taking and stop losses, and much more. The concepts we'll cover are applicable to any portfolio size so don't think or one second that this show is just for small account traders. If you trade a larger account size you can also pick up a lot of great nuggets of information.
June 21, 2019
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show158 Somewhere, possibly from another planet, this notion of trading options with a high probability of success transformed into a subconscious greed for 100% probability of success trades. And if you think that this mentality doesn't exist in the modern market we are in, you should see the emails we get at Option Alpha on a weekly basis. The truth is that you are going to have losing trades, a lot of them over the course of your career. Sometimes they'll come in groups and bunches that make you question everything you are doing or the strategy/system you are choosing to use. But, the first step on your road to elevating yourself is to ask yourself, "Can I trust the process?".
April 19, 2019
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show157 A couple of weeks ago I was reading the story of the three little pigs to my daughters. And for some reason, I couldn't help but think about the untold story of the three little pigs who traded options? Yes, it's true, many people don't know this but the three little pigs were actually given a large chunk of money from their mother and each decided to trade wildly different options portfolios when they set out on their own. In today's podcast, I'll walk through each of the different portfolios they used and how volatility and variance can impact long-term performance and why it's important that we know the story of the three little pigs that traded options.
April 6, 2019
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show156 Many of our members understand the best times to trade options (i.e. higher IV setups when option premiums are expensive), but should we avoid trading during other market situations? Today's podcast walks through the four general market situations I avoid aggressively trading in and explain why each type requires that you either sit on the sidelines or dramatically scale back your position size.
March 17, 2019
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show155 Everyone loves a good options trading checklist right? Well, here are the 7 questions you should ask yourself before you put on an options trade. Answer each one over the next week and you'll build a strong habit that will keep your positions and portfolio in check before you put your hard earned money at risk.
February 13, 2019
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show154 We get a lot of emails each day - I'm talking hundreds of emails. Naturally, seeing so many questions and comments come through the system, we found that these 17 top questions keep coming up again and again. So, in an effort to help you, and our team reduce the support inquiries, I'm recording answers to each of these questions in today's show.
February 7, 2019
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show153 Assignment for some traders can be scary and cause them to freeze up or throw in the towel. On today's podcast, we'll walk-thru another case study in which we got assigned on our iron butterfly position in TLT not once, but twice. Inside I'll move slowly as we look back at each stage in the trade from the original order entry, adjustments, assignment, and ultimately the covered calls we sold after being assigned stock. This podcast is worth listening to twice!
January 21, 2019
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show152 You're looking at a great setup for a neutral trade, but which neutral strategy do you use? Short straddle or short iron butterfly? It's a question we get all the time and today's podcast focuses exclusively on the trade-offs of using one strategy over the other. And while both strategies are built using the same core short straddle position, the choice of adding protection or not using long OTM options can sometimes lead to analysis paralysis. So, let's clear this hurdle together.
January 16, 2019
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show151 All over the internet, you'll hear stories of why short straddles and short strangles should be avoided at all costs. Stories of how trading "undefined" risk positions can blow up your account when the market moves against you quickly. And while position sizing still needs to be managed appropriately, the fact remains that properly adjusting short straddles and rolling for duration and premium can help turn so-called losers into profitable positions. In today's show, we'll focus on our most recent case study in EWZ in which we turned this losing set of straddles into a $540 winner with a little patience and some mechanical adjusting.
December 21, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show150 As much as I love options trading and following the financial markets, I enjoy the challenge and process of building wealth. I think about wealth building as a 3-step process in broad terms, possibly in the shape of a pyramid even. And since it's our 150th show, I figured I would take a slightly new angle in today's podcast and discuss what I believe are the most valuable insights I can offer from my own experiences and research on how to manage your money and generate wealth. Plus, we'll use this 3-step or 3-part approach to help frame the conversation as best we can.
December 10, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show149 For some reason, many traders fear being assigned option contracts as part of an option strategy. Maybe it's the large capital requirement to hold the shares or just the "unknown" around how to manage the position. But, like most things in life, when you slow down and take the time to walk through the position and the mechanics it becomes much easier.   On today's show, I want to once again provide another case study on how we managed a recent assignment on our GLD iron butterfly position. If was fun for me to go back through my own comments and remarks during this 4-month trade and I have no doubt that you'll also find it extremely helpful. We'll take you through each and every step from the initial trade entry, adjusting and inversion, being assigned shares, selling covered calls, etc. No details will be left out and we'll walk through the P&L calculations together step by step. Let's begin, shall we?
November 28, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show148 No system is perfect. No trader is perfect. You will have losing trades. But it's how you react to those losing trades, or even false positive trades, that defines how long you'll survive in this business. Today's show focuses on what I'm calling the 5x2 "Victim Matrix" in which there are 2 paths you can take follow each and every trading event. Each path has 5 stages or steps. Which path should you choose? Well, it's all inside our latest podcast episode.
November 8, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show147 Did you ever wonder what an options market maker is thinking or how they see the markets and regular traders like us? After all, these guys are the ones that are making markets in different securities each week. So, I invited one on the podcast to ask him questions and learn more about the “other side” of the business we rarely see. On today show, I have the opportunity to interview former CBOE options market maker and volatility trader David Lincoln. During our time together we discussed everything from how he went from making $100,000 in a day to losing $300,000 in one session to the lessons retail traders like us can learn from the his decades of trading experience. We also dove deep into volatility trading and pricing structures for VXX and UVXY and the strategies you can use to profit following a rise in market volatility. This is an episode you won’t want to miss!
October 17, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show146 If you trade options and are struggling to find consistency or profitability it's likely because you are breaking, knowingly or unknowingly, some important rules. Rules that are designed to keep you safe, protect your portfolio, and cater to the math and probabilities that drive any options selling system. On this episode, I'll walk thru the 11 common options strategy mistakes you might be making right now. Plus, we'll talk about the core principle or rule associated with each of the mistakes, which will help you quickly correct your trading system and ultimately find success sooner.
October 13, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show145 Is less more? Often we hear this phrase thrown about with the assumption that when investing you should do less, sit on your hands or trade further out, in order to generate higher profits and better returns. But is this really the case and does the math and data prove this to be the point? We wanted to put this assumption to the test with a couple backtested short straddles in IWM and EFA. No filters, no profit targets, no stop-loss orders; pure option selling strategies. Our goal was to see if trading options 60 days out was more effective or profitable than trading options more actively 30 days out from expiration.
September 24, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show144 On today's podcast, we bring in a very special interview guest, Larry Connors, and discuss his new book Buy the Fear, Sell the Greed. Larry is an established author in the trading and equities space and I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation about market dynamics, trading psychology, VXX pricing structures, and the future of the industry with regards to automation. As you listen to this podcast interview, notice the very similar structure and thought process that both Larry and I share about creating mechanical data-driven event signals that can be replicated in any market environment. This I believe is why traders who use a more systematic approach end up performing better than those who are driven by their emotions and psychology of the environment.
September 21, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show143 Choosing which ticker symbols and option strategies to use when entering new option trades can sometimes seem overwhelming. In fact, many of our pro and elite members continually ask about the rationale behind why we choose one ticker symbol over another or use one strategy over another when building our portfolio. Today's podcast will help you understand the four-step process we use for evaluating how we choose ticker symbols and strategies when creating our options trading portfolio for each expiration. This framework should help guide you into understanding why IV rank is at the heart of our selection process but also why portfolio diversification becomes the true mechanics that govern which tickers ultimately get selected.
September 3, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show142 Many new options traders worry about what might happen to their portfolio during a short put option assignment scenario. They wonder how they can recover or if they have enough capital to hold onto the stock position.  just a few weeks ago we were assigned on one of our short put options in EWZ and were forced to buy stock well above where the stock price was trading at the time. In today's podcast, I want to walk through the entire trade, including the short put option assignment and help you understand how being assigned options impacts your account and how you can still trade around these events by using a couple key strategies.
August 29, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show141 In the futures trading world, there are two words that sound cool to say but also might be very confusing for new traders; contango and backwardation. Yet, both of these future pricing concepts are very easy to understand once you know the relationship between three key items. In today's podcast, I want to slowly walk through the concept of contango and backwardation while offering a couple different examples to show you how it works in real life and how we might be able to use the awareness of futures pricing as part of an options strategy in our portfolio.
August 20, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show140 Have you ever gotten the feeling that some of your trades just end up exploding in your face and turn into "massive" losing positions? They just never seem to go the way you thought it would and always demand or steal your attention right? Well, there's likely a couple reasons why this happens and it gets back down to some of the most basic principles of options trading. In today's podcast, I'll walk through the psychology behind many of these "bad trades" and help offer a strategy to help manage them.
August 15, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show139 We all fear losing money, it's a natural human emotion. Myself included, I fear losing money just as much as the next person. But today I want to try to walk through a rational and logic sequence of questions that I believe, if follow the series, will help you uncover the only true risk in the market to your portfolio - and more importantly how to avoid blowing up your trading account in the process. I'd even dare to say that if you follow my 4 question logic sequence in the beginning of this show, you cannot help but come to the same conclusion about trading options including why the "staying alive" framework all but ensures you'll find success in any market.
August 6, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show138 I'm going to go out on a limb and publicly declare that this podcast will be one of our top 3 to 5 shows we ever recorded. Aggressive and overly confident, maybe - but I have absolutely no doubt this podcast episode will be a game-changer for hundreds of thousands of options traders. The expected probability paradox for options traders, as I have coined this problem, is one of the most understood aspects of option selling and premium strategies. The root of this problem starts with the misunderstanding of initial strike price probabilities, perfect pricing of option spreads, and the impact of implied volatility on when rates and drawdowns. On today's show, we are going to dive deep into the three main areas of the expected probability paradox to help you understand why option selling, even in its purest form, even if you cannot find perfect pricing, still outperforms the market. We'll also talk about why laddering in some additional active management strategies such as profit-taking and making adjustments or rolling trades helps stabilize portfolios and increase returns. Put simply, skip this show at your own risk.
August 1, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show137 Implied volatility in option pricing is one of the most critical and yet least understood aspects of this business. Today show focuses on a deep dive into options skew and the volatility smile for both inter-month and intra-month option contracts.  in addition, we'll talk very specifically about the impact of skew as expiration approaches and how Vega for near-term option contracts increases dramatically which can make it seem like option skew is predicting a huge move right before expiration - but is it really the case, and does this "predictive power" work in reality? 
July 18, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show136 Are you new to options trading? Do you have a small account and want to start trading iron condors and iron butterflies? Today's podcast will be very important as we help you understand how to calculate breakeven prices on iron condors and other risk defined strategies the correct way. Plus, we'll walk through a multi-month adjustment to an existing IWM iron butterfly in which we nearly doubled the credit received by rolling contracts to the next expiration period.
June 20, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show135 Today we'll condense potentially an entire semester of financial engineering into a single podcast episode. The goal being to help completely understand how implied volatility works, why we need it, where it comes from, and how we can profit from it as option sellers. This show is a little longer than normal but I think the time spent walking through the foundational elements of implied volatility and it's impact on option pricing are critical for anyone interested in generating long-term income as an option seller. I encourage you also to listen to this episode multiple times if needed. Enjoy!
June 11, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show134 Nobody's trading or investing journey is a straight road or easy path. We never just magically trip into a perfect system or investing philosophy without a couple bumps along the way. Today's podcast focuses heavily on overcoming the stigma attached to being "wrong" and having the humility and grace to learn from trading mistakes and transition into new habits.  In addition, I want to describe in more detail the two major mistakes that I've made over the last couple years with regard to trading that have changed the way I look at positions and my portfolio. Both of these have been discussed before in various formats but never in one place under this topic. I hope that by sharing my story, it helps give you the courage to make changes or alterations to your own options strategy for the better.
June 4, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show133 With the rising popularity of weekly option contracts, many investors are choosing to trade weekly bull call spread option strategies as opposed to simply going long stock. The thought process is that by trading the weekly contracts you are able to more quickly adjust and profit from moves in the overall market. On today's show, we use our backtesting software to analyze the results of a weekly bull call spread in DIA and its performance compared to a monthly bull call spread in DIA. Naturally, this options buying case study will be very interesting for those investors who feel they have some sort of directional edge when markets are trending higher. 
May 28, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show132 Some traders wrongly assume that if they can't trade unlimited risk option strategies, such as straddles and strangles, that they should just avoid trading altogether. Today however, I want to present four great alternative trades to some of the more common unlimited risk options strategies and help you learn how to convert these trades into their synthetic counterparts. The goal of all conversions is to turn a trade from unlimited risk to defined risk so that the broker will allow it in your account or based on your options approval level.  I think that you'll find after you listen to today show it's much easier to trade unlimited risk strategies using a synthetic, risk-defined alternative than  you might have otherwise thought.
May 21, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show131 One of the more advanced techniques options traders use to reduce risk and increase the probability of success of the trade, is to roll contracts from one month to the next. Today's show focuses exclusively on rolling options forward, by showing you two different case studies in TLT and IWM. Both trades took multiple months to turn a profit and multiple rolls of our contracts.  I'm going to also go out on a limb and say that this podcast is potentially one of the most favorite ones I've recorded because I truly believe this concept can help change trades that go against you for the better - and turn losers into winners.
May 14, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show130 Seems most traders constantly struggle with getting option trades filled. And since we never suggest using "market orders" as a quick fix for entry problems, today I'm offering five quick tips for smoother option order execution. It's a simple framework you can walk through the next time you're having trouble getting a trade filled in the market. Hint: #2 is the most common mistake and easiest one to fix right away.
May 7, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show129 As options traders focused on income generation, it's important that we consistently work towards maintaining a diversified options portfolio. But are there any "earning warning signs" that we are starting to lose our grip and balance? In today's podcast, I've put together four things you can monitor so you don't wake up tomorrow and realize you've got a non-diversified portfolio that's in need of major repairs. These early warning signals can help you adapt more quickly to an ever changing market by making smarter trades and adjustments.
April 30, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show128 How important is picking the right stock market direction when trading options? Depending on how you trade, it can be either vitally important or not important at all. Today's podcast offers some insight and examples of why higher trading frequency and why averaging down (or up) around the market creates an environment in which market direction becomes more irrelevant the longer you trade. As retail traders, we want to try to replicate more and more frequent "resets" of our overall break-evens which in turn lead to less dependence on the market direction for profits.
April 23, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show127 You're ready to place an option trade and you're confident the stock is a good candidate. Now what? With dozens of contract months and hundreds of option strike prices to choose from - which ones do you select? In today's podcast, we'll help bring some more light to the "dynamic approach" we now use at Option Alpha for each and every trade we place. The framework and concepts around dynamic contract month and option strike price selection can help dramatically improve your long-term performance and reduce portfolio volatility.
April 18, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show126 We're all busy; with work, family, school, kids, etc. And although many people might lead you to believe you have to be in front of the screen all day in order to manage multiple option positions, the reality it's not true. Yes, you do need to have access to the markets in order to trade right now (not in the future though), but you don't have to be glued to the computer screen all day. You can use some simple triggers and alerts to keep tabs on your portfolio while you are away or at work and be just as effective, if not more, than working at the trading desk all day. Inside today's show, we'll break down some of the best resources and tips on managing your portfolio with limited time.
April 9, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show125 Want to learn how to trade options the right way but feeling overwhelmed? It's like this big giant elephant is standing in front of you and you have to figure out a way to consume it. And the best way to do anything in like, like eating the proverbial elephant, is to tackle it one bite at a time. So today, I want to introduce two ways of learning how to trade options; the first using frameworks, and the second using concepts. Both are effective ways to quickly process information, and more importantly, retain the information so you continue to build your knowledge base for trading. Plus, either one I feel could be done start to finish, including coverage of all options trading topics, in less than 90 days.
April 3, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show124 Selling cheap options with very high probabilities of success makes rationale sense on the outside. I mean, why sell options with a 70% chance of success when you can sell options further out that have a 90% chance of success. No brainer right? Well, not so fast. The options market is fair and efficient - and selling these far out-of-the-money options might look good from a win rate perspective, the total dollar profits you'll generate far under-perform the stock market. Today, we'll use our Options Backtesting software to run two option selling strategies on TLT. The first selling options at the 0.25 delta and the second selling options at the 0.05 delta. Inside we present the results and our analysis as to why selling cheap options could be less beneficial to your portfolio.
March 26, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show123 At Option Alpha we believe (and the research confirms) that the options trading possibilities for retail investors are nearly endless. Higher returns and better performance for your portfolio, but only if, you cross this one trading bridge first. So many newbie traders learn about options and the stock market and experience a rush of energy and motivation to jump in with both feet and start trading. Naturally, this jolt comes from the expectation of huge returns. But without the proper framework and understanding of how portfolios evolve, all that excitement can quickly turn into burnout and failure. My goal today is to help you cross this proverbial "trading bridge" and learn how to confidently analyze option strategies before putting money at risk.
March 22, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show122 As options traders we need to focus on the levers that really move the needle in terms of generating income and cash flow for our portfolio. There's no point in doing something if it doesn't contribute to the overall profitability of the portfolio right? It'd be like shoveling your driveway before a huge snow storm. Or washing your car before it rains. The wrong activity for the sake of being active serves no purpose. Today's show resets the foundation for options traders by focusing on the "big rocks" that should take priority. Get this right and you'll set yourself up for success.
March 15, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show121 Trade long enough and save enough money and eventually, you'll need to make a couple small tweaks to your options strategy as you start managing larger trading accounts. Today's show is all about transitioning your options strategy in a way that optimizes the increased capital you have to invest. If you're not yet at the "large account" level we talk about, don't worry. One, you'll get there over time if you stay committed. Two, the concepts are important for all traders to understand so that you can start planning ahead as your account grows and as you add more funds in the future.
February 26, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show120 Over the last 10+ years I've seen thousands, and coached hundreds, of traders navigate the markets. And if you study option trader success long enough (and geek out about it as much as I do) then you'll quickly come to realize that success is nothing more than a persistent person with great habits and a clear mind. Today's show focusing on why I believe some traders are frankly always more profitable than others while re-visiting six key areas that differentiate them. I encourage you to take a close look at this list we present today and see what areas you might be able to improve on moving forward. Honestly, the perspective I get from running Option Alpha continues to be one of the driving forces for me to keep pushing forward on all fronts with this platform and community because I can quickly learn and adapt what works and what doesn't to my own trading style by watching and listening to other people. My hope is that today's show does the same for you and helps encourage you to keep pushing forward.
February 23, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show119 The last couple weeks of trading for many newbie investors was quite the learning experience. The market fell from all time highs quickly and then recovered nearly half of that move in a single week. Still, we got a flood of emails from people who were not well positioned for the drop in equity prices and learned the hard way why you can't practice trading options with large, one-sided trades. One unfortunately person placed a single $6,000 trade in a $10,000 account and felt the full wrath of Murphy's Law. In today's show, I want to get back to basics here for a couple minutes and re-visit some important concepts or frameworks you can use when trading that will help you navigate the next move down in stocks. 
February 10, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show118 It's always good to look back and analyze what happened in the past. Often times it can help shape the future (good or bad) and how you trade moving forward. In today's show, I want to take some time to share my top five options trading psychology lessons I learned over the last 18 months. Many of these I scripted out well before the recent mini-crash we saw in equities so it's fitting to talk about now because my comments might not have hit home without the recent market volatility. Still, I encourage you to share your own lessons in the comments below as I'd love to hear the shifts and progress you are making as a trader.
January 22, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show117 One of the most popular and widely used options greek is Delta. And while I believe that you can't necessarily learn about option pricing and option greeks in a vacuum as they all work together to represent potential price action for changing market conditions, having a solid understanding of how Delta works is important both in entering new positions and managing your basket of trades in a portfolio. Today's show dives a little deeper into the lead greek and covers both a basic understanding of what Delta is and how it works, plus some more high level insights into how I used Delta to enter our recent trade in XLE.
January 15, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show116 You've targeted a stock or ETF setup you like and want to make a directional trade. Maybe some technical indicator alerted you to a possible turn in the underlying or you just needed to hedge your portfolio with a new trade. Whatever the case, you are now left wondering why type of options strategy to pick. How do you decide between trading debit spreads vs. credit spreads and when should you use each style? In today's podcast, I'll walk through the different market environments and setups that might work best for each.
January 8, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show115   As with many things in life the 80/20 principle can help guide and focus our attention on the most important aspects of options trading. In particular, trade entry and executing an options order correctly is critical to your success. I've often said that great entries save you from having to be good at everything else, like adjustments and rolling contracts. Today, I want to help you avoid five of the big mistakes you can fall subject to when placing a new trade. Some a small fixes while others will require a little more work on your part, but ultimately help you reduce risk (hint: it's the last tip in the show).
January 1, 2018
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show114 Short straddles and short iron butterflies are some of our most profitable option strategies, and a consistent staple when trading in our PRO and ELITE membership levels. However, when it comes adjusting these positions and going "inverted" it can cause even the most experienced traders to freeze up. In today's podcast I wanted to walk through the process of managing inverted option positions and help you understand what numbers to track and how the pricing, profits, and risks work so you can confidently go inverted on your next challenged trade.
December 30, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/robinhood Often times people ask me why I continue to run Option Alpha and give away so much free content, courses and training when we could easily charge for it? And the simple answer is that I'm in it for the relationships I build, the people I meet, and the investors lives we change by teaching them how to have more confidence and place smarter trades. Today's guest needs no introduction in the investing world as the company he co-founded is the fastest growing, and quickly becoming the largest, online brokerage in the US - Robinhood. I was fortunate enough to finally get an interview with Baiju Bhatt and talk about their latest announcements, of which include free options trading and a whole new web-based platform. Plus, we talked about the future of online trading, blockchain technology and Robinhood's overall mission for the average investor. It's an exclusive interview you can't miss and I hope you enjoy it!
December 25, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show113 Often times when new traders go through their first couple earnings cycles and experience large moves in the underlying stock, it can feel almost natural to want to buy contracts via a long straddle earnings option strategy as opposed to selling options the way we teach here at Option Alpha. In today's show, I'll preview some of the new research we've been doing in the field of earnings trading and cover the results from three major companies we backtested; Apple, Chipotle, and Facebook. I think you'll find as you listen this episode that your confidence in sticking with these trades for many earnings cycles will go up dramatically.
December 18, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show112 Depending on where you started your options education, trade frequency was either glossed over or talked about in-depth. Here at Option Alpha, we've suggested for almost a decade now that to find success you need to be placing trades almost daily. But does this frequent trading activity classify us as "day traders" in the options market? If so, what are the implications that could impact your account? If not, how do we increase our trade frequency if we are not day trading options? In today's show, I present my overall framework as to why we feel, and our research confirms, that consistently averaging around the market price through move active trading ends up being more consistent and reliable long-term.
December 9, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show111 You made an options trade and the position has gone well, leaving you with a nice fat profit as expiration approaches. Now the question becomes, what do you do with these cheap out of the money option contracts you sold? Do you buy back your penny options or let them expire worthless? Are there risks to do one over the other and when should you lean one way or not? On today's show I'll talk through what our research shows about exiting trades early, when to just leave them on to expire worthless, and who it all impacts your bottom line profit and loss.
November 21, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show110 Why do we still believe that magically someday we'll have some inside scoop or tip that alerts us to market tops and bottoms? As hopefully rationale adults we often get lured into a false sense of understanding in the financial markets brought on mainly by the media and talking heads. Today I want to help you become a better options trader by not watching the market, focusing and more systematic trading setups, and providing the single most important case study in market prediction in the last two decades. If you pay attention closely I think you'll come to the realization that not knowing what's going on in the markets, and simply adjusting quickly along the way, is much more profitable.
November 7, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show109 Unlimited risk option strategies get a bad rap in the investing community among newbie traders. And while our backtesting research has shown that unlimited risk positions like short straddles and short strangles generate the best overall returns, you might be restricted in trading them because of your account type or just fear the big potential drawdowns. In either case, on today's podcast I want to conceptually walk through how you could covert these strategies into their risk-defined counterparts and limit your exposure. As always, there's no free lunch in the market so if you limit your risk you have to give up something else and we'll discuss the trade-offs on the show together.
November 3, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show108 If you trade options longer than ten days you'll undoubtedly run into a scenario where you get challenged by a stock moving either higher or lower against your position. When this happens the first question many people ask is "Do I start rolling up strike prices and adjust the position or work on closing out the trade completely at a loss?" Naturally, we are in the camp where we believe, and our backtesting confirms, that rolling your strike prices closer to where the stock is trading and taking in additional net credits ultimately gives you the best opportunity to either profit or reduce risk on the position. On today's podcast we'll explore this topic more deeply with a very detailed example and walk through so you understand conceptually how it all works moving forward.
October 10, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show107 Today I've very excited to bring one of our very own Option Alpha family members on the show, MACDDaddy aka Robert. He's been a member for many years and someone I continue to seek advice from in many areas. During the show we'll dig deeper into the "Wheel Selling" option strategy which has created some fairly long and in-depth forum threads lately and warrants a little more attention from our weekly podcast.
October 6, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show106 As some point or another new option traders worry about their option contracts being assigned. Namely short call options getting short stock assignment. But it's never as bad or horrifying as it may seem and in today's latest show I want to walk through our TLT iron butterfly trade in which we ended up getting assigned 200 shares of short stock just days before expiration.
September 19, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show105 The further the markets continue to run higher, the greater the risk that another major market correction or market crash will happen in the near future. After all, as we pointed out in Show #15, the stock market has fallen 9 times at least 30% which is once every 10 years. Right now we're riding a 10-year bull rally that's losing steam fast. So, how do you protect your portfolio in a down market? That's the question and today's show will give you the answer.
September 15, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show104 On today's newest podcast I want to turn the conversation a bit and focus on pairs trading with options. And this isn't the traditional pairs trading that you might have heard about before where you short one stock and buy another related stock to profit from any trending differences or divergences in the underlying price. Instead, I want to talk about how you can use some very basic portfolio and stock beta concepts to make smarter, more efficient decisions about which securities you use for options trading. Moreover, I want to give you the knowledge to feel comfortable taking directional trades so long as you know how to create "paired trades" that still give you an overall neutral stance relative to some benchmark index. This show is a little more advanced but I think you'll find it helpful.
September 2, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show103 Even after discussing and outlining the general process for how to pick the right stock options strategy in previous podcast and videos, I continue to get members who are confused how it should work and the steps one might take. I ultimately believe that in most cases you might be over-thinking it especially when it comes to choosing tickers and market direction. Today's podcast should help clear the air while also giving you concrete examples using a simple Iron Condor strategy. Finally, we'll talk in-depth about the new requirement to have a dynamic approach to your trading via our Trade Optimization Software to tweak and perfect your entries.
August 26, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show102 When selling options, often I get a question or inquiry from members of our community with regard to how far out of the money we should sell our options and set our positions. Now, I typically target around the 70% probability of success area for my short option selling trades, but others have often wondered that if given the choice why we don't just sell options at the 90% probability of success level? I mean if 70% is good, 90% has to be better right?   Well, it's clearly not that easy. As you go further and further out of the money selling options, the premiums you receive erode quickly. This begs the question, are you selling options too cheap or do you actually need to take more risk and come a little close in when selling? In today's show we'll dive deep into this question and present two different case studies which might help shed light on the topic. 
August 2, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show101 I believe that on some level every new trader dreams of trading options full time and not working a regular job. The reality is however, that you're need a lot of capital before you make the leap to full time trading and that means you'll have to learn how to effectively trading options while working your day job. Hard as it may seem at first, working full time and trading options is not that complicated nor is it impossible if you're smart about your time and the strategies you focus on. In today's show I want to cover 10 questions that our community members asked with my answers as to how I suggest working options trading into your busy work schedule. Note also that I also work a full time job as a stay at home dad to two little girls while running our massive community of 60,000+ traders. I've also had to learn to be incredibly efficient with my time actually making trades just like you.
June 16, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show100   Not only is today special because we're releasing our newest research report called The Profit Matrix but also because as soon as this show goes live we'll have crossed more than 1,000,000 downloads on the podcast. Crazy coincidence but it's true and very humbling, so thank you to all of you who have supported and listened over the last couple years. In this special show, we're going to talk in-depth about our new game-changing research report in which we analyzed and compiled results from more than 21 million backtested options strategies. Plus, I'll answer the biggest question that came out of this body of work on how we should (or shouldn't) change the way we trade options in the future.
June 14, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show99 The investing world in the next 5-10 years is going to look dramatically different. In fact, the shift to automated trading is already happening at the highest levels and with the biggest hedge funds. So, why is this happening? Why can't we just ignore it? And what can we do now to position ourselves to take advantage of automated trading systems now? Today's show is very high level but I think you'll enjoy the topic but it's a big wave of change that's coming our way and if you don't recognize the shift happening now you'll get washed up on the shore.
June 10, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show98 The markets are evolving faster and faster as the introduction and use of computer-driven or data-driven trading systems start to hit exponential growth rates. So, the question becomes, is this the end of systematic risk and market uncertainty? To put it bluntly, no - in fact, never will we reach a point at which there isn't some sort of systematic risk that we have to price into our options trading. And these future expectancy models are where the opportunity will be. I believe that markets will eventually become flatter and more volatile which means that the traders and investors who can harness these sideways markets will ultimately outperform everyone else. Those who can manage risk, not eliminate it, through the use of data-driven software tools and technology will be the ones left standing and in today's show, I want to dive deeper into these higher level concepts you need to recognize.
June 8, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show97 Today we're going to use our new Trader's Toolbox and options backtesting software to test win rates when selling options. Because the truth is many people have this huge "rub" with options trading and expected vs. actual win rates. They assume that if we place a new trade with an initial probability of success of 70% that the trade will win at exactly 70% over the long-term. As you'll see today, that's just not the case when you account for the implied volatility premium inherent in the options market. So tune in as we look at two different SPY short strangle backtests.
June 7, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show96 Today we wanted to use our new options backtesting software under our Trader's Toolbox to run some credit spread backtests on DIA. Namely, we were trying to determine if selling options during higher implied volatility markets actually generates a higher net credit for the position or not? Plus, we tweaked the allocations just a bit as well to see how different positions sizes impacted returns, drawdowns, and sharpe ratios.
June 1, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show95 It's finally here! After years of research, development, and testing the doors are open to purchase access to our incredible new options backtesting and trade optimization software we're calling the "Trader's Toolbox". Given that we've now got a whole suite of tools and scanners for you to use we have to consolidate it under one roof which is why we believe having a Toolbox is the clearest and logical route. You can learn more about the new software release including demos for by clicking here.
May 29, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show94 Apple (AAPL) is by far one of the most loved and favorite stocks to trade for investors. Often times people will email me asking how they can use option buying strategies to go long AAPL stock. So, in today's show, I wanted to reveal the results from our call bull spread backtest we ran on AAPL and how changing the long strike prices impacted the overall returns and drawdowns of a bullish strategy like this. If you've ever thought of buying options, you need to hear this show.
May 26, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show93 How far out should you go when entering a new option trade? 10 day, 30 days, 60 days? Does it change based on the strategy you are using or the market situation you are in? All great questions we aim to answer and in today's newest case study we'll look at how options trading timelines and duration impacted the returns of this EEM straddle backtest. Plus, we'll cover some of the overall performance and variance metrics we ran on both strategy setups using our backtesting software that launches next week.
May 25, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show92 I've said it for years, position sizing matters in a high probability system. Much more so that you would believe and today's show is the first in a new mini-series we are doing leading up to the launch of our new backtesting software. Inside we'll cover a case study using and iron condor backtest we ran on TLT including the impact on returns that altering the position size had on the portfolio.
May 19, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show91   In today's show, I wanted to take a step back and give everyone an overview of what we've been working on here at Option Alpha and what we have planned over the next couple months. More specifically I wanted to officially announce that our new options backtesting software will be released publicly on June 1st. And as mentioned before too many people, as soon as the new software goes live the cost of the Lifetime Membership will go up by $1,000.   Options backtesting software is something that has been terribly done in our industry and we've worked really hard (and invested a ton of money) to make sure it's done right. After many months of development, I'm proud to say that we've made it not only powerful but simplistic and intuitive enough that anyone can use it. More importantly, it allows you to stress test option strategies before putting real capital at risk.   I'll dive more into the details and everything it includes a little more during today's show. Plus, I'll hint at some new research reports we've already been working on that will be released in the next couple months.
April 24, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show90   We're now in the heart of earnings season for the current quarter and with hundreds of companies set to announce their performance, we're presented as options traders with tons of opportunities to profit from the volatility crush that occurs after an announcement. But these fast (and often violent) moves in the underlying stock in the session following the announcement can often scare and confuse investors trading options.   In today's show, I want to walk through my strategy for filtering and finding good stocks to trades, strategies we like to use and how to set them up, as well as my thoughts on exiting trades shortly after the market open. If you've ever wanted to jump in and make some earnings trades, you'll want to tune in and take lots of notes. Don't forget, we've also got a free course and PDF guide to earnings trades available for members inside our education platform.
April 17, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show89 It's been over a year since we released our game-changing report on technical analysis indicators called SIGNALS, and since then I haven't talked more about how we are using technical analysis in conjunction with our options trading. So, I wanted to revisit this topic on the podcast today because I still see a lot of simple, easy to correct, mistakes being made by both new and experienced traders when it comes to ready signals generated from technical analysis.
April 10, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show88 Newbie traders and investors who make the transition over from stocks to options often become overly confident and excited that magically they've discovered the "Holy Grail Of Investing" in a high probability option trading system. Surely no system or investing methodology is perfect and options trading has its own challenges. The goal for me today in this new show is to present both the benefits and drawbacks of a high probability investing system like the one we teach (and execute personally) here at Option Alpha.
March 20, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show87 Losing trades are part of the game - they are going to happen and it’s a reality we must all face. And I believe what sets really great traders apart from those who are average at best is the ability to cut a loss by making smart adjustments. Adjustments that reduce risk and extend the trading timeline.   In today’s show, I’ll cover the 3 option adjustment principles you should follow if you’re considering adjusting a short premium, option selling strategy like an iron condor, iron butterfly, strangle, straddle, etc. These guidelines will help make sure you’re always focusing on the most important aspect of trades adjustments which isn’t to make money, it’s to cut the size and magnitude of the loss down as much as possible.
March 13, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show86 Trading inverse ETFs and leveraged ETFs are becoming more and more popular with retail traders. Maybe it’s the appeal of quick profits with 2X and 3X leveraged securities like FAZ (Ultra Bear 3X Financials) but the should we adjust our options strategy for these unique products? I think we should for good reason.   In today’s newest podcast I’ll cover the three different ways you should adjust your options strategy when trading these products to take advantage of their mostly negative pricing structure and hedging potential. While we don’t trade these often by any stretch here as part of our income strategy, there are instances where they become useful and we’ll cover that specific setups in the show. Enjoy!
March 11, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show85 Legging into spread trades and complex option strategies is a popular way for traders to get quicker fills. However, is this legging technique really the best approach or should we be doing things a little different when entering or exiting trades? In today’s show I’ll discuss my thoughts on approaching legging into and out of spreads and the benefits and risks of doing it or not as part of your trading system.
February 25, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show84 For years we’ve talked about the need for increasing your trading frequency. In today’s podcast, we want to re-introduce the concept of stacking or laddering option trades over time and price. More importantly, we’ll talk about why our extensive backtesting (and current experience) proves that when you break down your trade entry into smaller and smaller chunks, the overall performance of the trading system increases dramatically.
February 13, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show83 A casino's edge ranges from 0.5% for blackjack to as high as 17% for some slot machine games. Now, of course, this edge may or may not play out on the first, second, or tenth roll of the dice. But they are not in it for the short-term game. You see, the casino doesn't have to beat every player every time. They just know that they'll win their mathematical edge so long as enough bets are placed each year.   It's precisely why casinos offer huge incentives to get you to come back with free show tickets, free meals or even free hotel rooms. It's why the force table limits on how much you can bet on each hand and why they give you free drinks for playing. While you might think it's just them being nice, it's not. It's an investment they know pays huge dividends. In fact, on average casinos spend up to $45 each hour to keep you sitting in your seat and betting money.   Now, I frankly don't care if you like or hate casinos because the reality is that it's an insanely profitable business model based on simple math and expected outcomes. As options traders, we can learn a lot about how we should run our own trading business from casinos. In today's show, I want to walk through some of the most important takeaways that you can apply right now to your trading system and invite you to open your mind and try to see the big picture strategy.
February 6, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show82 We can't control the stock market - yet many of you try to will or hope stocks to move up or down as needed for your position to make money. Eventually, you'll come to realize that it's an impossible dream and the harsh reality of transiting from novice to professional investor requires a more consistent and systematic approach. The question then becomes, "What can I control?" and "How can I adjust or hedge a position that moves against me?"   In today's show, we'll look at one of our recent bear call credit spread trades in which we still lost money, but was able to cut the loss by 37% making some simple trade adjustments. Yes, you heard me right, we're going to do yet another case study on the lessons learned from an options trade that overall, net-net lost money. Unlike many other traders who are afraid to show you losing trades, I'm completely open to them because I know it offers an excellent opportunity to learn and grow from my experience.
January 30, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show81 Fundamental investors are like the wooly mammoth; big, strong, powerful, yet destined to become extinct in the future. And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with the core beliefs and activities of fundamental investors, I just personally believe that the same passion and hard work could be applied to the options market with much better results and less risk. Besides, even Warren Buffett, the biggest advocate for fundamental investing and long-term investment strategy is by many standards the single largest options seller in the market today.   Nobody asks him about his $5 billion dollar short option trades, do they? Not yet anyway since we'd love to have him on the podcast.   In today's latest show, I want to present the case as to why I believe that more "old school" fundamental investors should become professional options traders instead. In fact, you'll see that there are many similarities between options trading and a long-term, buy and hold stock investor. Plus, I'll quickly rant about the "Netflix Effect" and how technology and social media is rapidly changing the landscape for all businesses in the future.
January 23, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show80 Your option strategy payoff diagram is an ever evolving and changing animal. Unlike stocks which have one-dimensional payoff graphs, either upward or downward sloping, and theoretically unlimited holding periods, option strategies are impacted by cubic pricing events. Namely, time decay (Theta), implied volatility (Vega) and interest rates (Rho) which can cause your payoff diagram to shift, mold, and bend as these additional pricing elements change with the market.   In today's podcast, I want to help you understand how these three Option Greeks could have a significant impact on the way your payoff diagram looks now vs. at options expiration. In the end, I think it'll help give you more confidence and patience if you understand how option pricing works when holding positions that initially move against you but ultimately will turn out to be profitable.
January 16, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show79 Today's podcast is all about learning how to trade calendar spreads. And while newbie traders might find them a little difficult to understand conceptually at first, I think you'll find our talk today to be incredibly helpful as we break down these time spreads from start to finish. During the show, I'll walk through setting up and building calendar spreads, the impact of implied volatility and time decay, how to adjust and exit as well as the best market setups for these low IV option strategies.
January 9, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show78 I know one of the key elements to successful options trading long-term is maintaining an investment portfolio that is consistently balanced. And when I talk about balance, I'm not talking about 80% stocks and 20% bonds - that's portfolio diversification. Unlike traditional investment strategies that favor 99% of the portfolio invested in long equities and bonds with minimal short exposure, what I'm specifically referring to here is the concept of trading a mix of bullish, bearish and neutral positions all the time which gives us a much smoother and solid equity curve.   One of the best ways to measure overall portfolio balance is to beta-weight the portfolio to a benchmark index like the S&P 500 (SPX or SPY). This metric gives us an apples to apples look at how the portfolio as a whole would perform when the market moves higher or lower. And once you start monitoring the beta-weighted portfolio you'll notice that sometimes your positions can become unbalanced and lopsided.   In today's podcast, we'll give you four option strategies or techniques we use to help re-balance a portfolio that's gone out of wack. Of course, having a completely delta neutral portfolio is always the goal, but never the destination, and our talk about maintaining balance and neutrality should help as you continue adding and adjusting your option trades this year.
January 4, 2017
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show77 Options expiration week can be a scary time for some traders as they struggle with fears about short option contract assignment. And while the reality is that most options are not assigned, it still creates anxiety and confusion about what to do with short positions that are in-the-money. On today's podcast, I'll walk through the most recent OCC stats on options expiration including the #1 reason why you shouldn't be afraid to hold positions that go in-the-money even during expiration week.
December 26, 2016
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show76 Our #1 core value here at Option Alpha is that options trading education comes first before anything else. I believe that you have to crawl before you can walk in this business and it's why all of our trading courses, guides, and checklists, podcasts, webinars, etc. are completely open and free. Still, I understand that options trading can be overwhelming and confusing at times with so much to review and consume. Recently, I found myself in the same situation with a development project for the website, and I thought that it would be a great discussion for the podcast and potentially help you in your options education journey.   About a month ago I was hitting a brick wall in rolling out some improvements and changes to the Option Alpha platform. There was so much to do, and I didn't know where to start first. We needed to update SEO stuff, website navigation menus, page layouts, servers, etc. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with the workload and assumed it would take months to finish. On the recommendation of one of my coaches (yes I have coaches too!) I implemented a couple of deadline and phase strategies that I cover in the show.   The result is that my team and I finished all of our updates and enhancements much faster than I expected and are off to the next project for you all. And as simple as these strategies might sound during the show, I promise you that they made the world of difference for me in quickly educating myself and organizing my time and activities and I know it'll help you if you take action today.
December 20, 2016
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show75 I've been trading publicly on Option Alpha for more than eight years now, and I'm still baffled by the number of investors who get absolutely shocked when option trading portfolio drawdowns occur. I'm talking ALL CAPS emails, mind blown, ripping their hair out shocked that a trading system wasn't a 100% probability of success. And while losing money is by no means "fun" or "exciting," it is, however, part of high probability trading systems.   In fact, you are guaranteed at some point to have a drawdown or streak of losing trades. It shouldn't come as a surprise, and it's why we are so big on balancing portfolios and trading small positions to minimize the impact on your account. Even though we know we'll have portfolio drawdowns from time to time, we also know that we'll end up generating above average returns if we stick with it long enough.    The concept of trading in a positive expected outcome system and being persistent through drawdowns isn't based on my opinion or assumptions; it's backed by math and the 44,801 backtested option strategies I'm going to cover in today's show.   Many of you know that over the last year we've been building and developing options backtesting and optimizing software that is going to be a complete game changer for traders just like you. In this show, you'll finally start to see just a small glimpse of the power behind backtesting and modeling hundreds of thousands of option strategies. It was by far one of the most anticipated shows for me to record and I hope you find incredible value in listening.
December 17, 2016
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show74 Most newbie option investors start trading with small brokerage accounts. Whether by choice or necessity, the average investor opens up their account with approx $10,000 according to most brokers. And while this isn't a small amount of money by any means, it does limit your ability to trade more aggressive options strategies like straddles and strangles.   In today's podcast, I want to help you understand how you can still trade these more aggressive and profitable options strategies (synthetically with small tweaks) even if you've got a small account or are trading in and IRA. Specifically, I'll answer a bunch of common questions I get from new PRO members including; What if I can't trade straddles and strangles? How do I adjust the trading alerts to fit my portfolio? Should I scale position sizes down or up (# contracts)? What about spread width - go wider or more narrow? What if the commissions are eating too much into the profit after closing at 50%?   Sure, it might take a little more time to grow and mature an account but don't jump ahead or try to "game" the system. Eventually, the math and probabilities always play out the way they should, and you've got to learn how to build profitable strategies today if you plan on still being around in five or ten years from now.
December 5, 2016
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show73 What does great pricing look like when trading short strangles? Is it collecting a certain raw dollar amount? Or a certain percentage of the stock price? Without a doubt, these are tough questions to answer for newbie options traders and hard to answer without some context. And while comparing pricing on different risk defined option trades, like credit spreads and iron condors, is pretty straight-forward and easy, it can become difficult to recognize great pricing with undefined risk option strategies like short strangles.   In today's podcast, I examined eight different short strangles across a mix of ETFs and individual stocks. I recorded everything from the current stock price and implied volatility ranking to the premium collected and the margin required for each one lot strangle. My goal? Discover which option trades had the best pricing on a relative basis given that every short strangle we analyzed had the same 70% probability of success.
November 28, 2016
Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show72 You've entered a new option trade with a high probability of success - but you also know that a 70% chance of success doesn't mean it's a sure thing. As soon as your order fills the stock starts to move against your position - just your luck right? And each subsequent day the stock continues to trend closer and closer to your strike prices, threatening your position. At this point, you're starting to get pretty emotional about the whole thing and don't know what to do or how to adjust it.   When do you pull the trigger and make an adjustment? Do you do it now or is it too soon? If you wait, what if you miss an opportunity? How much time is left until expiration? Are you taking in enough of a credit to reduce the overall risk? Is it worth it to even adjust at all right now?   Believe me; I get it, and I know that these are just some of the questions circling in your head when presented with this situation. That's why in today's podcast episode I'm going to take you through three specific triggers you can implement right now to help you start making smarter, more unemotional option trade adjustments when a stock starts moving against you. You'll also hear why I favor trigger #1 over the others as it's a more mechanical and systematic.
November 21, 2016
  Show notes: http://optionalpha.com/show71 For years now I've talked about the concept of exiting option trades early and taking money off the table as a way to both improve your win rates and increase overall profitability. Still, I'll often get emails and questions about the legitimacy of exiting trades early vs. letting profitable trades go all the way to expiration and "milking it for all its worth" as some members have put it. Honestly, I can't blame anyone for questioning it because on paper it sounds crazy. Close a trade early for half the potential profit, and you'll make more money - who would believe that right?   Today, we'll present another case study that proves why the two biggest misconceptions about exiting trades early are completely wrong. Not only will you see why taking profits before expiration increases your win rate but you'll also hear how it helps reduce the magnitude of drawdowns and increase your average profit per trade. Once you see the results of these four backtested short strangles in TLT, a major bond ETF, I'm confident you'll quickly change your opinion and start implementing some of the automatic profit targets we suggest in your own portfolio.
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