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How to Learn Options Trading (The Right Way)

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Written by Timothy Sykes
Updated 4/20/2023 9 min read

The right way to learn options trading involves studying strategies and getting lots of screen time…

The options trading learning curve is steeper than penny stock trading. This just means you have to work harder!

There are no shortcuts in trading… But you can learn from the mistakes of others without making your own.

Read on for the best courses for learning options trading!

What Is Options Trading?

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Options trading is trading in financial instruments that give you the right to buy or sell the asset they’re attached to.

Options contracts are derivatives, so they don’t have value in themselves. They represent the right to trade assets at a certain price in a certain time period. This agreed-upon price is called the “strike price.”

Options aren’t just for the stock market — there are options for mutual funds, commodities, and more.

In the options market, you have two parties: the holder/buyer and the writer/seller. As a buyer, you pay the seller for an option on their assets. The money you pay the seller is called a “premium.”

Options contracts give you a right and not an obligation to exercise them. If you let your contract expire, you’ll only lose the premium.

Check out this article to learn more about the basics of options trading.

Why Is Trading Options a Valuable Skill?

Trading options is a valuable skill the same way every trading strategy can be valuable in the right hands. Take my former student Mark Croock — he’s made $3.9 million in career earnings mostly through trading options.

They suit his trading style because of the following qualities:

  • Options are flexible: You don’t have to buy or sell the asset written in your options contract. You can let a contract expire, trade it, or pull off a more complicated maneuver.
  • Options provide leverage: Options require a relatively small premium for the size of market exposure they provide.
  • Options are a good way to trade higher-priced stocks: I like penny stocks because of their volatility. If you prefer higher-priced stocks which move less randomly, options are a good way of profiting off their smaller price moves.

Check out this guide on how options trading works to learn more.

Basic Requirements for Learning to Trade Options

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What do you need to learn about options trading as a beginner? You’ll need these four things:

An Options Trading Account

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Many brokers provide access to the options market. Choose the one that best fits your trading style.

Most brokers have certain requirements that you need to fit before they’ll let you trade options. They’ll probably ask you questions about your experience and financial situation.

Here’s a guide to trading options on one broker — Robinhood.

A Trading Plan

A good trading plan determines your goals and risk. Always stick to this plan to ensure that you’re trading with your head, not your emotions.

A plan will also help you finetune your strategy. Record your trades so you have a clear picture of what’s working for you and what isn’t.

A Supportive Community

One of the best ways to grow as a trader is by learning from more experienced traders. A good options trading community will help you find and connect with these traders.

Educational resources will help you learn the basics, but feedback from experienced options traders can improve your options strategies. Don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions and pointers on how to improve your trading plans.

Experts to Learn From

Any trading community worth its salt will be led by an experienced mentor. I’m not talking about a trading “guru” here — I’m talking about a trader who’s figured out their trading edge so well that they can teach you how to find your own.

That’s what this next section is about…

Best Courses to Learn Options Trading

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My top options trading course picks are:

  • Evolved Trader
  • Investopedia’s Options for Beginners
  • Udemy’s Options Trading Basics
  • Benzinga Options School

There is no one-size-fits-all in trading. This is even more true for options trading.

These courses cover the full range of options education needs, starting with my top pick…

Course 1: Evolved Trader

My first options trading course pick is Evolved Trader.

I’ve already told you why Evolved Trader’s lead trainer, Mark Croock, has my trust. He has a proven track record — he’s made $3.9 million in profits mostly through trading options. I’ve taught with him, worked with him in my Trading Challenge, and learned from him.

Here’s what you will get in his Evolved Trader course:

  • Free weekly webinars and a back catalog of videos lessons
  • Two alert services tailored to different options strategies
  • Discord chat room
  • Options Bootcamp Course — this course gives you all the foundation the next two picks offer
  • Mark even pulls out his accounting experience for a tax strategy session!

Why We Like It

I can vouch for Mark more deeply than almost any trader in the world.

Not only can he do this…

He can explain it, too:

Mark’s Evolved Trader course manages to simplify options trading, instead of pulling you into a labyrinth of Greek symbols like most other options courses.

He stays focused on the big picture. And he keeps his trades — and his students — safer than nearly any other trader I know.

Sign up for Evolved Trader here!

Course 2: Investopedia’s Options for Beginners

My second options trading course pick is Investopedia’s Options for Beginners.

This course is designed to give traders a thorough foundation in options trading. It’s taught by options trader Lucas Downey, a former Wall Street trader who co-founded MAPsignals. MAPsignals is a unique platform that tracks institutional investment in the market.

The course covers all of the basics:

  • Understanding options
  • Puts and calls
  • Risk management
  • Technical analysis
  • Trade examples

Why We Like It

Think of this as an options textbook. It doesn’t get too heavy into strategy, and there is no individual consultation. But if you want a fast-start options course, this is a decent choice.

Check out Investopedia’s course here.

Course 3: Udemy’s Options Trading Basics

My third options trading course pick is Udemy’s Options Trading Basics.

The course is taught by Hari Swaminathan, founder of OptionTiger, which offers its own respected options curriculum. OptionTiger’s beginners’ course is almost 3 times as expensive as the Udemy course, giving budget-conscious traders a good point of reference.

This Udemy course covers the following:

  • Call and put options
  • Time, volatility, and Greeks
  • Options trading strategies
  • Live trades
  • Stock and options combo strategies
  • Adjusted options

Why We Like It

This course delivers a ton of content. It’s over 11 hours of video tutorials for under $100. You can find it on sale even cheaper.

If you’re curious about OptionTiger, this course is a great opportunity to test drive Swaminathan’s approach.

Check out Udemy’s course here.

Course 4: Benzinga Options School

My fourth options trading course pick is Benzinga Options School.

Course instructor Chris Capre is the founder of 2nd Skies Trading, a platform which has its own slate of trading courses. He’s a former hedge fund guy who has a solid profile.

Why We Like It

If you’re looking for a comprehensive alternative, Benzinga Options School hits most of the prerequisites. It gives traders access to:

  • Live webinars and a video lesson back catalog
  • Member chat room
  • Q-and-A with a trading mentor

Benzinga Options School also offers access to Benzinga Pro, a news-first trading platform.

Sign up to Benzinga’s course here.


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Timothy Sykes

Tim Sykes is a penny stock trader and teacher who became a self-made millionaire by the age of 22 by trading $12,415 of bar mitzvah money. After becoming disenchanted with the hedge fund world, he established the Tim Sykes Trading Challenge to teach aspiring traders how to follow his trading strategies. He’s been featured in a variety of media outlets including CNN, Larry King, Steve Harvey, Forbes, Men’s Journal, and more. He’s also an active philanthropist and environmental activist, a co-founder of Karmagawa, and has donated millions of dollars to charity. Read More

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* Results are not typical and will vary from person to person. Making money trading stocks takes time, dedication, and hard work. There are inherent risks involved with investing in the stock market, including the loss of your investment. Past performance in the market is not indicative of future results. Any investment is at your own risk. See Terms of Service here

The available research on day trading suggests that most active traders lose money. Fees and overtrading are major contributors to these losses.

A 2000 study called “Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors” evaluated 66,465 U.S. households that held stocks from 1991 to 1996. The households that traded most averaged an 11.4% annual return during a period where the overall market gained 17.9%. These lower returns were attributed to overconfidence.

A 2014 paper (revised 2019) titled “Learning Fast or Slow?” analyzed the complete transaction history of the Taiwan Stock Exchange between 1992 and 2006. It looked at the ongoing performance of day traders in this sample, and found that 97% of day traders can expect to lose money from trading, and more than 90% of all day trading volume can be traced to investors who predictably lose money. Additionally, it tied the behavior of gamblers and drivers who get more speeding tickets to overtrading, and cited studies showing that legalized gambling has an inverse effect on trading volume.

A 2019 research study (revised 2020) called “Day Trading for a Living?” observed 19,646 Brazilian futures contract traders who started day trading from 2013 to 2015, and recorded two years of their trading activity. The study authors found that 97% of traders with more than 300 days actively trading lost money, and only 1.1% earned more than the Brazilian minimum wage ($16 USD per day). They hypothesized that the greater returns shown in previous studies did not differentiate between frequent day traders and those who traded rarely, and that more frequent trading activity decreases the chance of profitability.

These studies show the wide variance of the available data on day trading profitability. One thing that seems clear from the research is that most day traders lose money .

Millionaire Media 66 W Flagler St. Ste. 900 Miami, FL 33130 United States (205) 851-0506 This is for information purposes only as Millionaire Media LLC nor Timothy Sykes is registered as a securities broker-dealer or an investment adviser. No information herein is intended as securities brokerage, investment, tax, accounting or legal advice, as an offer or solicitation of an offer to sell or buy, or as an endorsement, recommendation or sponsorship of any company, security or fund. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes cannot and does not assess, verify or guarantee the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, the suitability or profitability of any particular investment, or the potential value of any investment or informational source. The reader bears responsibility for his/her own investment research and decisions, should seek the advice of a qualified securities professional before making any investment, and investigate and fully understand any and all risks before investing. Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes in no way warrants the solvency, financial condition, or investment advisability of any of the securities mentioned in communications or websites. In addition, Millionaire Media LLC and Timothy Sykes accepts no liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this information. This information is not intended to be used as the sole basis of any investment decision, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the investment needs of any particular investor. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future returns.

Citations for Disclaimer

Barber, Brad M. and Odean, Terrance, Trading is Hazardous to Your Wealth: The Common Stock Investment Performance of Individual Investors. Available at SSRN: “Day Trading for a Living?”

Barber, Brad M. and Lee, Yi-Tsung and Liu, Yu-Jane and Odean, Terrance and Zhang, Ke, Learning Fast or Slow? (May 28, 2019). Forthcoming: Review of Asset Pricing Studies, Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=2535636”

Chague, Fernando and De-Losso, Rodrigo and Giovannetti, Bruno, Day Trading for a Living? (June 11, 2020). Available at SSRN: “https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423101”