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Effective Day Trading Options Strategies

Uncategorized Oct 26, 2023


In the world of day trading, options open the door to a realm brimming with opportunities for traders eager to amplify profits and curtail risks. To the novice trader, options trading might seem complex with its specialized terminologies and array of strategies. However, once demystified, it can be a valuable tool in a trader's arsenal. In this extended guide, we'll delve deeper into three favored day trading options strategies: long calls and puts, credit spreads, and butterflies. If you're keen on enhancing your trading repertoire, this article is tailor-made for you!

Understanding Options: A Quick Primer

An option empowers the buyer with the right, without obligation, to buy (call) or sell (put) an underlying asset at a predetermined price within a set timeframe. This predetermined price is known as the strike price. The date is known as the expiration.

1. Long Calls and Puts

What are they?

Purchasing a call or put option is essentially a speculation on the directionality of an asset's price.

  • Long Call: Buying a call option signifies a prediction that the asset's price will surge beyond the strike price before the option's expiration.

  • Long Put: Conversely, buying a put option is an anticipation of the asset's price dipping below the strike price before expiration.

Strategic Advantages

  • Leverage: Options provide control over a significant chunk of stock for a mere fraction of its price. Consequently, even marginal movements in the stock can result in notable percentage gains on the option.

  • Capped Risk: The maximum loss is always confined to what you paid for the option.


  • Market Analysis: Employ technical analysis tools to pinpoint potential upward (calls) or downward (puts) price trajectories.

  • Option Selection: Prioritize options with substantial liquidity, minimal spreads, and relevant expiration durations.

  • Risk Management: Set a rigid stop loss and recognize the optimal time to reap profits.

2. Credit Spreads

What are they?

A credit spread is the simultaneous act of selling one option and buying another, resulting in a net credit.

  • Bull Put Spread: Involves selling a put option (higher strike) and buying another put option (lower strike) on the same stock, predicting that the stock will maintain above the higher strike price.

  • Bear Call Spread: Here, you offload a call option and acquire another with a higher strike, speculating that the stock will linger below the lower strike.

Strategic Advantages

  • Limited Exposure: Maximum loss is restricted to the difference between the two strike prices, less the credit acquired.

  • Versatility: Strategy alterations based on bullish or bearish market sentiments are feasible.


  • Stock Selection: Align your choices with your market forecast.

  • Strike Determination: Opt for strikes that reflect your risk appetite and anticipated credit.

  • Monitor & Adapt: Stay vigilant and recalibrate if the stock trends counter to your position.

3. Butterflies

What are they?

A butterfly spread, typically, is structured using three strike prices. It involves being long on 1 call, short on 2 calls, and then long on another call. It can be used with calls or puts and can be neutral, bullish or bearish.

An Illustrative Example

Imagine stock XYZ is trading at $50. A trader believes that the stock will not move significantly over the next month. The trader could:

  • Buy 1 $45 call for $6.
  • Sell 2 $50 calls for $3 each (totaling $6).
  • Buy 1 $55 call for $1.

The net cost (or debit) for this trade would be $1 ($6 - $6 + $1). The maximum profit would be realized if the stock closes at $50 (the strike of the short calls) at expiration.

Strategic Advantages

  • High Reward, Minimal Risk: Offers the potential for remarkable profits, risking only the initial debit expended.

  • Adaptability: Designed to profit from static or marginally bullish/bearish scenarios.


  • Central Strike Choice: This should be your estimate of where the stock will stand at expiration.

  • Peripheral Strikes Selection: These should encompass your central strike, one being above and the other below.

  • Trade Management: Monitor stock movements and be ready to modify if the stock strays too far from the central strike.

4. Iron Condors

What are they?

The iron condor is a neutral options strategy constructed by selling an out-of-the-money (OTM) call and an OTM put, while simultaneously buying a further OTM call and a further OTM put. Essentially, it combines two credit spreads: a call credit spread and a put credit spread on the same underlying asset. It's designed to profit from low volatility in the asset's price, making it an ideal strategy when you anticipate little price movement.

An Illustrative Example

Let's say stock XYZ is trading at $100:

  • Sell 1 $105 call (short call)
  • Buy 1 $110 call (long call)
  • Sell 1 $95 put (short put)
  • Buy 1 $90 put (long put)

In this example, the inner strikes ($105 call and $95 put) are your short positions and are closest to the current stock price. The outer strikes ($110 call and $90 put) are your protection in case the stock makes a significant move in either direction.

Strategic Advantages

  • Limited Risk, Defined Profit: The maximum potential gain is the net premium received after establishing the two credit spreads, minus any trading costs. The maximum potential loss is the difference between the strike prices of the long and short calls (or puts), minus the net premium received.

  • Neutral Strategy: Best employed in markets that exhibit minimal price movement, as it benefits from a lack of significant price changes.


  • Selection: Choose assets that are expected to exhibit minimal price movement over the duration of the options.

  • Strike Determination: The short strikes should bracket the current asset price, reflecting where you believe the asset won't move beyond by expiration. The long strikes act as protection and should be set based on your risk tolerance.

  • Adjustments: Should the asset's price drift close to one of your short strikes, you might need to adjust the position to mitigate potential losses.

Important Information

When you're trading option spreads like credit spreads, butterflies and iron condors, it is extremely important to not hold these into expiration as you could face assignment on your options and risk unlimited losses. I highly recommend paper trading these until you know how they work. These types of spreads are never meant to capture max PNL.


The arena of day trading options is replete with strategies catering to various market moods and risk preferences of traders. Whether you're steering with long calls and puts, chasing premiums with credit spreads, or navigating the price range with butterflies, there's a strategic fit for your needs. The cornerstone to mastering these is a robust understanding, staying abreast of market shifts, and unwavering risk management. Here's to informed and lucrative trading endeavors!

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