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7 Types of Option Strategies Beginners Should Know

Snap Innovations > News & Articles > Financial > 7 Types of Option Strategies Beginners Should Know
Posted by: Kriss Jefferson
Category: Financial

Option strategies is a vital component of the dynamic and ever-evolving landscape of financial markets. They provide investors and traders with powerful tools to manage risk, enhance returns, and navigate the complexities of the global economy. 

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of options strategies, unraveling their intricacies, and shedding light on the various techniques that can help you make informed decisions in your investment journey.

What are Option Strategies?

What are Option Strategies?Options strategies is a diverse set of technique and approache used by market participants to leverage options contracts for various purposes. At their core, options are financial derivatives that grant the holder the right, but not the obligation, to buy or sell an underlying asset at a specified price, known as the strike price, before a predetermined expiration date. Options strategies involve the use of these contracts in combination or isolation to achieve specific financial goals. Whether you are seeking to protect your portfolio from adverse price movements, generate income, or speculate on market trends, options strategies offer a plethora of possibilities.

Options strategies encompass a wide spectrum, ranging from relatively straightforward approaches like covered calls and protective puts to more complex strategies such as straddles, strangles, and iron condors. The choice of strategy depends on your risk tolerance, market outlook, and investment objectives. With options, you can tailor your portfolio management to suit your specific needs, whether you are a conservative investor aiming for steady income or an aggressive trader seeking high-risk, high-reward opportunities.

Options strategies can be further diversified into advanced techniques that cater to seasoned traders. These include spreads, such as credit and debit spreads, where traders simultaneously buy and sell options of the same class (calls or puts) but with different strike prices or expiration dates. This creates a net position that can be used to exploit expected movements in the underlying asset’s price, or to limit potential losses while maintaining a position in the market.

Why Options Strategies are Important?

Options strategies play a pivotal role in modern financial markets for several compelling reasons. First and foremost, they provide risk management tools that allow investors to protect their portfolios from adverse price movements. For instance, an investor holding a significant position in a particular stock may use a protective put option to hedge against potential losses if the stock’s price declines. This hedging strategy acts as a form of insurance, limiting downside risk while preserving the opportunity for gains.

Additionally, options strategies offer opportunities for income generation. Many investors engage in covered call writing, a strategy where they sell call options on stocks they already own. In return for selling these options, investors receive premiums, thereby increasing their overall returns. Similarly, those seeking to enhance income may also employ cash-secured puts, which involves selling put options on a stock they are willing to buy at a lower price.

Moreover, options strategies open the door to speculative trading, allowing traders to capitalize on their market predictions. By taking bullish or bearish positions through strategies like straddles or strangles, traders can aim for profits based on their expectations of price volatility. These strategies offer the potential for substantial gains, especially during times of market turbulence or significant news events.

7 Types of Option Strategies Beginners Should Know

7 Types of Option Strategies Beginners Should KnowOptions strategies can be broadly categorized into four main groups: bullish, bearish, neutral, and volatility-based strategies. Each category encompasses multiple specific strategies, each with its own characteristics and applications. Let’s delve deeper into each type of options strategy:

1. Directional Strategies

Directional options strategies are designed for investors and traders who have a specific market outlook. These strategies involve taking a bullish or bearish stance on the underlying asset’s price movement. For example, buying call options is a bullish strategy that profits from anticipated price increases, while buying put options is bearish, designed to profit from expected price declines. 

Spreads like bull spreads and bear spreads combine the purchase and sale of call or put options to manage the cost of the trade and potential losses. Covered calls, a popular income-generating strategy, involve holding a long position in an asset while simultaneously writing (selling) call options against it. Protective puts are similar but aim to safeguard a long position by purchasing put options.

2. Income-Generating Strategies

Income-generating options strategies focus on generating consistent income while managing risk. Covered call writing is a popular income-generating strategy where investors sell call options on stocks they already own, earning premiums as income. Cash-secured puts involve selling put options with cash reserves set aside to purchase the underlying asset if the options are exercised. 

Covered puts, on the other hand, require investors to maintain a short position in the underlying asset and sell put options. These strategies leverage the time decay of options to generate regular income.

Also Read: What is Cap Rate: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Capitalization Rates

3. Volatility Strategies

Volatility-based options strategies aim to profit from price volatility and changing market conditions. Traders employ strategies like straddles and strangles, which involve buying both call and put options with the same strike price and expiration date. Straddles are used when traders expect significant price movement but are uncertain about the direction. 

Strangles are similar but involve out-of-the-money options, offering a potentially lower cost of entry. Calendar spreads, on the other hand, profit from changes in implied volatility by simultaneously buying and selling options with different expiration dates.

4. Arbitrage Strategies

Arbitrage options strategies exploit price discrepancies in the options market or between the options and the underlying asset. Conversion and reversal arbitrage are examples of strategies where traders simultaneously buy and sell options and the underlying asset to capture risk-free profits. 

For instance, conversion arbitrage involves buying a call option, selling a put option, and shorting the underlying asset. Reversal arbitrage is the reverse, involving buying the underlying asset, selling a call option, and buying a put option. These strategies require precise execution and may involve complex calculations but aim to capitalize on market inefficiencies.

5. Hedging Strategies

Hedging strategies are used to protect an existing portfolio from adverse price movements. Protective puts involve purchasing put options to limit potential losses on an existing long position. Covered calls, also known as buy-write strategies, involve selling call options on a long position to generate income and provide downside protection. 

Collars are constructed by simultaneously buying protective puts and selling covered calls to create a range where potential losses are limited. These strategies help limit potential losses while allowing investors to maintain their positions in the underlying assets.

6. Combination Strategies

Combination strategies involve combining multiple options contracts to create a customized approach to trading. Examples include iron condors, butterflies, and iron butterflies. Iron condors, for instance, combine bull and bear spreads, allowing traders to profit from range-bound markets. 

Butterflies and iron butterflies involve a combination of call and put options with different strike prices to capitalize on specific market scenarios. These strategies offer flexibility by incorporating both calls and puts to optimize risk and reward.

7. Speculative Strategies

Speculative options strategies are for traders seeking high-risk, high-reward opportunities. Long straddles and long strangles involve buying call and put options with the anticipation of significant price movements. 

These strategies can lead to substantial gains in volatile markets but also carry a higher risk of loss. Traders typically employ speculative strategies when they expect a significant event or announcement to cause substantial price fluctuations in the underlying asset.

Understanding these types of options strategies empowers investors and traders to make informed decisions based on their market outlook, risk tolerance, and financial goals. Each strategy has its unique characteristics and applications, allowing you to tailor your approach to meet your specific needs in the world of financial derivatives.

Neutral Options Strategies

Neutral options strategies are used when investors expect the underlying asset’s price to remain relatively stable. These strategies aim to profit from limited price movements or heightened price stability. Here are some common neutral options strategies:

1. Covered Call Strategy

A covered call is a popular income-generating strategy employed by investors who hold a long position in an underlying asset, typically a stock. In this strategy, the investor sells (writes) call options on the same asset, often with a strike price above the current market price. By doing so, they collect premium income from the call options, which can offset potential losses if the asset’s price declines. 

The covered call strategy is neutral to mildly bullish, as it allows investors to generate income while capping their potential gains if the asset’s price rises significantly. However, it’s essential to choose the strike price and expiration date carefully to align with your market outlook and risk tolerance.

2. Iron Condor Strategy

The iron condor is a versatile strategy suitable for range-bound markets with low volatility expectations. It involves simultaneously selling an out-of-the-money (OTM) call option and an OTM put option, while also buying a further OTM call and put option. 

The goal is to profit from time decay as the options expire, as long as the underlying asset remains within a defined price range known as the “profit zone.” Iron condors are a neutral strategy as they aim to capitalize on sideways price movement. Traders often adjust the width of the profit zone and strike prices to manage risk and potential rewards.

3. Iron Butterfly Strategy

Similar to the iron condor, the iron butterfly strategy is designed for neutral markets with low volatility expectations. It involves selling an at-the-money (ATM) call option and an ATM put option while simultaneously buying an OTM call and an OTM put option. 

This strategy creates a profit zone where the underlying asset’s price should ideally remain until expiration. Iron butterflies are considered neutral strategies, as they seek to benefit from price stability within a specified range. Traders can adjust the strike prices to fine-tune their risk-reward profile.

4. Calendar Spread Strategy

Calendar spreads, also known as time spreads or horizontal spreads, capitalize on differences in options’ time decay rates. This strategy involves buying a longer-term call or put option while simultaneously selling a shorter-term call or put option with the same strike price. 

Calendar spreads are neutral to mildly bullish or bearish, depending on whether they involve call or put options. They aim to profit from the faster time decay of the short-term option relative to the longer-term option. Traders often adjust the strike prices and expiration dates to align with their market expectations.

5. Ratio Spread Strategy

Ratio spreads involve an unequal number of long and short options contracts. These strategies can be tailored to be either bullish, bearish, or neutral. A common example is the ratio call spread, where an investor sells more call options than they buy. 

This generates a credit but also exposes them to potentially unlimited losses if the underlying asset’s price rises significantly. Ratio spreads are versatile and can be adjusted to suit an investor’s market outlook. Traders carefully manage the ratio and strike prices to control risk and reward.

6. Short Straddle Strategy

The short straddle is a neutral strategy used when an investor expects minimal price movement in the underlying asset. In this strategy, the investor simultaneously sells an ATM call option and an ATM put option with the same strike price and expiration date. 

By collecting premium income from both options, they aim to profit from time decay. However, the short straddle carries unlimited risk if the asset’s price makes a significant move in either direction. Traders often consider implied volatility levels and potential adjustments to mitigate risk.

7. Short Strangle Strategy

Similar to the short straddle, the short strangle is used in low-volatility environments where an investor anticipates limited price movement. This strategy involves selling an OTM call option and an OTM put option with different strike prices but the same expiration date. 

It generates premium income from both options but allows for more flexibility than the short straddle. While the short strangle offers potentially higher profits compared to the straddle, it still carries unlimited risk if the asset’s price makes a significant move. Traders manage this strategy by adjusting strike prices and monitoring market conditions closely.

Each of these neutral options strategies offers unique opportunities and challenges, allowing investors to navigate various market conditions and tailor their approach to meet specific financial objectives. Understanding these strategies empowers traders to make informed decisions based on their market outlook and risk tolerance, while adjustments and risk management techniques play a crucial role in optimizing outcomes.

Volatility-Based Options Strategies

Volatility-Based Options StrategiesVolatility-based options strategies are a sophisticated set of trading techniques primarily utilized by experienced investors to capitalize on or hedge against the expected volatility in the price of an underlying asset. These strategies often involve the use of various options combinations, like straddles, strangles, iron condors, and butterflies, each offering distinct risk-reward profiles tailored to different market views and volatility expectations. 

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The key idea behind these strategies is to profit from changes in an asset’s volatility rather than its price direction. Traders employing these methods need to have a keen understanding of options pricing, particularly the Greeks (Delta, Gamma, Theta, Vega), as these metrics provide crucial insights into how options prices might change with movements in the underlying asset and shifts in market volatility. 

Additionally, market timing and a solid grasp of technical and fundamental analysis are vital, as these strategies can be complex and require precise execution. Volatility-based options strategies are particularly popular in markets undergoing significant uncertainty or when major events are anticipated to cause substantial price swings, allowing traders to either take advantage of heightened volatility or protect their portfolios from potential losses.


In the realm of financial derivatives, options strategies stand as powerful tools that empower investors and traders to navigate the complexities of modern markets. Whether you seek to manage risk, generate income, or speculate on price movements, options strategies offer a diverse array of possibilities. It is essential to remember that options trading involves risks and requires a solid understanding of the underlying assets and market dynamics. 

Therefore, continuous education, sound analysis, and prudent risk management are crucial elements for success in the world of options strategies. By integrating these strategies into your investment toolbox, you can enhance your ability to achieve your financial goals and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of the global economy.

Disclaimer: The information provided by Snap Innovations in this article is intended for general informational purposes and does not reflect the company’s opinion. It is not intended as investment advice or recommendations. Readers are strongly advised to conduct their own thorough research and consult with a qualified financial advisor before making any financial decisions.

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I'm Kris, a fintech writer with three years of experience. I've been on a mission to simplify the intricacies of trading through my words, bridging the gap between technology and finance. Join me on this journey as I empower traders and investors with clear, engaging content in the dynamic world of fintech.