Sunday, February 27, 2011

Best free options trading simulators on the web

And the winner is... If you are interested in stock trading simulators you probably already scouted out some of the following familiar names; "Wall Street Survivor", "How The Market Works", "Investopedia" etc. But what if you want to try out a good options simulator? Those can be hard to find because most trading simulators focus on just plain stock trading. There are however a few options trading simulators on the web that might be worth checking out if you are interested in trading this instrument. I tried all of them I could find on the internet.
Honestly, there are just two clear 'winners' and I don't even think I should list all that I tried out since that would be just a waste of your time. Investopedia's Options simulator is one of the best options simulator around. Once you open a virtual trading account with them, you are able to trade options right away. They make it quite easy to put in orders and let you view the options chain for the underlying security in an instant.

example of trading options with Investopedia, to begin you enter the underlying symbol...

then you pick your option from the options chain, preview and submit, unfortunately they don't offer options spreads like Wall Street Survivor (next).

Wall Street Survivor is another big player in the options trading simulator field mainly because of its ability to utilize options spreads, but it's a big pain. First you need to know exactly what the option you would like to trade is called in their system. Simply putting the stock symbol in their 'trade now' search bar will result in an error, and for some reason you can not trade ETF options like Investopedia.
However what I DO like about Wall Street Survivor is the fact that you can experiment with options spreads (example below); just make sure you know what your option is called before you enter it in the simulator, that may take some time.

in the example above (Wall Street Survivor) you can enter options spreads in the simulator. Their covered call and protective put sections are 'coming soon...'

In both simulators, be prepared to get bombarded with ads and commercials. Each new page reloads so that new ads can show, but I guess that's their reward for implementing a simulator on their site.

The bottom line is; if you are interested in just trading simple options (call/put) I recommend Investopdia, they are excellent for just that.
However, if you want to experiment with options spreads, bear put, bull call etc I recommend to open a virtual trading account with Wall Street Survivor.

Happy trading, and let me know (comment) on this subject if you have found any other (maybe better) trading simulators on the web.

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