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3 Best Virtual Options Trading Simulators in 2020 • Benzinga

While it may be possible to jump right into the options market with no experience, it’s a much better idea to gain some experience trading before you risk your money. A virtual options trading simulator can help you practice using varying order types and develop your trading strategy without risking your trading capital. If you’ve…

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While it may be possible to jump right into the options market with no experience, it’s a much better idea to gain some experience trading before you risk your money. A virtual options trading simulator can help you practice using varying order types and develop your trading strategy without risking your trading capital. If you’ve never traded options before, we highly recommend starting with one of our recommended virtual options simulators before you enter the market. 

Why Use an Options Trading Simulator?

The options market is dynamic — just like the stock market shifts and changes every day, the same options trading strategy might not work every day. A virtual options trading simulator mimics real market conditions, allowing you to test your trading strategy and practice executing orders before you risk any of your capital. Virtual trading simulators also often include virtual fees and commissions, which helps you get a better understanding of the actual transaction costs involved in options trading.  

Virtual options trading simulators are particularly useful for traders who have no experience with options. Even if you’ve traded stocks before, options trading has its own unique methods and vocabulary — you can benefit from learning these before you start to trade. Trading virtually lets you practice in a simulated environment without risking your trading capital to help you learn to avoid pitfalls.

Best Options Trading Simulators

There are dozens of virtual options trading simulators available on the market. If you aren’t sure where you’d like to begin your trading, consider a few of our top choices below.  

Best for Real Broker Practice: Power E*TRADE 

If you plan to trade with E*TRADE, you’ll find plenty of value in the broker’s Power E*TRADE platform. The Power E*TRADE platform provides you with a robust set of trading and charting tools. Practice using these tools, then transfer your strategy back to E*TRADE’s standard options trading platform when you’re ready to invest. 

Test your trading strategy and E*TRADE’s tools with no money at stake. 

Power E*TRADE also offers a comprehensive education section to help you learn more about the options market and how to use E*TRADE’s tools. The platform even offers a Snapshot Analysis tool to assist in visualizing maximum potential profits and losses, trading opportunities and exit plans without risking trading capital.  

Best for Mobile: TD Ameritrade “thinkorswim” paperMoney

TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim platform is renowned in the investment industry as the forerunner of trading platform analysis software. But did you know that thinkorswim also extends to mobile? A thinkorswim paperMoney account allows you to access TD Ameritrade’s groundbreaking mobile trading tools and platform using $100,000 in virtual funds. 

TD Ameritrade’s thinkorswim paperMoney platform allows you to practice trading options on-the-go. 

PaperMoney accounts offer you full access to TD Ameritrade’s massive range of tools and features — and the mobile platform allows you to perform any trade available on the desktop platform. Work on your trading strategy without impacting your trading capital and master thinkorswim’s platform with a paperMoney account. 

Best for “Gamification:” Investopedia Stock Market Game

Does competition motivate you to learn? If so, you might enjoy Investopedia’s Stock Market Game, which also allows options trading. Compete with over 700,000 other investors in a fun, interactive environment while you explore the market and trade with $100,000 in virtual money. You can invite your friends to play along with you and compete to see who can make the most profitable trades.

Compete with your friends in a fun, educational environment with Investopedia’s Stock Market Game. 

Investopedia’s robust community and variety of trading tools can make learning how to trade significantly more motivating — and fun.

What is Virtual Options Trading?

Virtual options trading allows you to practice trading options without risking money. When you sign up with a simulator, you’ll receive an account prefunded with a set amount of trading funds and access to a mock options market. Most options simulators attempt to mimic the real NASDAQ, New York Stock Exchange and other stock markets as closely as possible.

Using your virtual trading platform, you’ll practice reading options chains and placing options orders without the possibility of losing money. You can practice buying, selling and executing orders during regular market hours, which can allow you to explore platform features and strategies without the possibility of losing your capital. 

Pros and Cons of Options Trading

Understanding both the pros and cons of options trading is important. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of options. 

Pros

  • Limited risk: As the buyer, you can choose to execute an options contract or allow it to expire if fulfilling the contract would mean a financial loss.

If you choose to allow an options contract to expire, you’ll only lose the money you put down in a deposit. If you execute the contract, there’s no limit to the amount of profit that you can take if you go on to sell the asset.

  • Less upfront financial commitment: When you purchase an options contract, you’ll only need to pay a premium upfront. If you exercise the option, then you will have to put up the money required to buy the stock at the strike price of the option. You can also sell the option back before expiration to avoid this. You only pay a fraction of the stock’s price to hold the option and participate in favorable market moves. You’ll tie up less trading capital using an option position instead of holding a position in the underlying stock.
  • Ability to ensure a stock’s price: Options allow you to speculate on a stock’s future without investing in the full price of the stock. For example, imagine that you want to purchase shares of Company X’s stock, but you aren’t sure if their stock will increase or decrease in the future. Buying an options contract on a stock lets you purchase the stock at its strike price at or before the expiration, although you also need to factor in the initial premium paid to get your overall purchase price for the stock.

Con

  • Potential for more loss as a seller: If you sell a call options contract and the price of the stock you hold goes up, you generally lose money if the stock price ends above the strike price (plus the premium you received at expiration) and you are still holding the short position. This can mean very high losses in exchange for a relatively small reward.

How Virtual Trading Platforms Work

Virtual options trading is similar to real options trading. Your virtual options simulator will provide you with a virtual wallet preloaded with a set amount of virtual currency. Your simulator will then mimic the actual circumstances of the current options market as closely as possible, allowing you to practice your trading strategy as the market changes. As you practice “buying” and “selling” puts and calls, you’ll track how well you’re doing by monitoring your demo account movements.

If you choose a simulator associated with a brokerage that offers options trading, you’ll also get to practice using your broker’s charting and analysis software. These simulators also include standard fees and commission along with your trades so you can better estimate what you’ll pay in fees.

Even the best simulator cannot perfectly mimic market conditions. Your options simulator won’t be able to account for your personal risk tolerance, trading horizon, taxation needs and more. You also cannot perfectly mimic the market psychology that comes with real options trading, as actual cash is never at risk. However, this relatively stress-free environment is the ideal place for a beginning trader to start learning

Benzinga Options Newsletter

Though market simulators can be helpful to beginners, up-to-the-minute market knowledge is the most powerful tool that you can have at your disposal. Do you have time to spend hours a day researching the morning’s most profitable trades — and the skill to analyze the markets accordingly?

If you prefer to leave your research to the professionals, subscribe to Benzinga Stocks To Watch today. You’ll receive daily recommendations and breaking news from the industry’s top analysts, researchers and news correspondents delivered straight to your inbox before the market opens each day. Trade-ready and easy for even total beginners to understand, you can’t afford to trade without Benzinga Stocks To Watch in your email list.

Making Your Way Into the Options Market

If you’ve traded stocks before, you might assume that you’ll have no problem entering the options market. However, options trading is completely different than stock trading — and you may even find yourself overwhelmed when reading your first options chain. Even the most experienced stock trader can learn from a virtual options simulator or a paper trading account. And in an industry where knowledge is power, you’ll want to get as much practice as possible before you risk any of your trading capital.

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Demo Trading

Don’t Have Money to Open a Reasonable Forex Live Account? Don’t Worry

Don’t Have Money to Open a Reasonable Forex Live Account? Don’t Worry

This is one of the questions I am usually asked. There are so many traders who have been learning and practising for several months or even years. Now, they are ready to open a live account and start trading with real money. But the problem is, they don’t have enough money to open a live account with a true ECN/STP broker.

As you know, 0.1 lot is the minimum lot size that true ECN/STP brokerssupport. The reason is that the true and real liquidity providers don’t support smaller lot sizes (micro lots), and, as true ECN/STP brokers are directly connected to liquidity providers, they transfer the orders directly to them, and if the orders lots sizes are lower than what liquidity providers support, they reject the orders.

Therefore, when you want to open a live account with a true ECN/STP broker, your account size has to be large enough to handle the minimum of 0.1 position. For example, if you open a $1000 account, and you locate a trade setup that needs a 100 pips stop loss, then the risk of taking this trade setup will be about $100 which is 10% of your account. Taking a 10% risk is too much, specially when you are a new live Forex trader. If you want to take a 3% risk with this trade setup, then your account balance has to be about $3,400 at least. But the problem is, some traders cannot afford to open a $3,400 account. I know some good and serious traders who have learned and practised enough and are now ready to start live trading, but cannot open even a $500 account.

Before talking about the real solution, I’d like to explain why you should not open a small live account with a true ECN/STP broker. Many of them allow you to open even a $500 account. But as 0.1 lot is the minimum lot size you can take, then you will have to take too much risk, and so, you can easily wipe out your account. Not only you will not be able to grow your small account, but you will easily lose that money. So, it is wasting of money to open a too small account that cannot handle the risk.

This is true that I always say you should start with an as small as possible live account, but I don’t mean a too small account that cannot handle the minimum risk you have to take. Your account has to be as small as possible, but it has to be big enough to handle the minimum possible risk.

The other thing is that, if you see a broker claims to be a true ECN/STP broker, but it offers micro-lots (0.01) too, it can have two meanings:

  1. It is not a true ECN/STP broker and it is market maker.
  2. It has ECN/STP and market maker system at the same time, and they put the small accounts in market maker system, and large accounts on ECN/STP, because it is usually the novice traders who open small accounts and most of them wipe out their accounts very easily. So, the broker wants to earn all the money that small account holders lose.

So, opening a too small account with a false ECN/STP broker, or a true ECN/STP that offers micro-lots is not the solution.

The last thing I’d like to tell you before talking about the real solution is that when you see you cannot open a live account with a reasonable account size with a true ECN/STP broker, you may decide to open a small account with a true ECN/STP, but instead of trading the long time frames that usually need wide stop loss orders, you decided to trade short time frames to have tighter stop losses to risk less. For example, while a 100 pips stop loss equals a 10% risk for a $1000 account, a trade setup with a 30 pips stop loss will have a 3% risk for such an account. And you can locate such trade setups on shorter time frames only. You can never take a position with a 30 pips stop loss on the daily or weekly chart.

Theoretically, trading the shorter time frames looks like a good solution. But it is terrible in reality. Trading the shorter time frames will be nothing but wasting of a lot of time and money. Before you come to this conclusion, you will waste and wipe out several accounts. You will stop trading short time frames after having a terrible back and neck pain (because you have to sit at the computer for several hours per day to trade the short time frames).

So, trading the short time frames is not a good solution. Forget about it: Forex Scalping Facts And Fictions

What if you borrow money from the others, trade with it, and pay it back when you made some profit? What if you ask the others like family members and friends to invest with you and allow you to manage their funds, so that you can open a big account with their money?

That is the most stupid thing a trader can do. Never even think about it. Even if someone, like your wife or parents offered you some money to help you open a big enough live account, you must refuse it immediately. The reason is that trading with the others’ funds creates some different kinds of emotions that prevent you from thinking and deciding properly. Therefore, you will make terrible mistakes and you will lose the money definitely. What will be left for you is the shame that will remain forever. You will feel guilty because of losing the others’ money. Never even think about it. It needs several years of successful and professional live trading to be able to manage the others funds and account. You will have a long way to reach that level. Even, 99.99% of the too professional and experienced traders don’t agree to trade with the others’ funds.

So, forget about this terrible solution too.

What Is the Real Solution?

There is a great and hassle free solution for this small problem. Yes, this is a very small problem from my point of view. It is not even a problem. It is an opportunity. Indeed, you are lucky if you don’t have enough money to open a reasonable live account with a true ECN/STP broker. It is a chance for you to keep on demo trading and mastering your trading system even more.

As long as you don’t have enough money to open a reasonable live account, you should keep on demo trading and practising your trading system, and saving money at the same time. No matter how long it takes. There is no rush. Keep on demo trading and saving money. When you have enough money, you can open a reasonable live account while you have already banked a lot of experience through demo trading. You are much luckier than the others, because you start live trading when you have already mastered your trading system perfectly, whereas many others who have enough money, start live trading when they are not ready for it. So they lose a lot and usually many of them give up on Forex trading.

As you see, sometimes having money is bad luck. Sometimes it is lucky to have no enough money.

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Demo Trading

Use Demo, Do NOT Over Abuse It

Use Demo, Do NOT Over Abuse It

All  psychologists say that every person needs to know itself and to know his or her own level of patience and anxiety levels, and that practice is a good way to do. But do not abuse it. I think it works in the same way with the Forex demo accounts. Too much demo really sucks and will never prepare you for the real trading. Trading demo too much time won’t make you a better trader but a better loser. Once you know how to use the tools on your trading platform and you have the basis of the trading, close the demo and get on real money. You don’t need six months for that. Think it in this way: if an average human life is 70 years, no one needs more than one single year to learn how to walk. Here are a few tips for you:

  • Even if you are on real money now, you can still use the demo to test a new strategy (strongly recommend to be your own strategy and not someone else’s) or you can use the demo to test how a new instrument acts. For example when Bitcoin was launched, the demo account was a better choice than the real money account, to see how BTCUSD is trading.
  • If you like the automatic trading, you can use the demo to test the EA you just bought or maybe build one yourself.
  • When you start to trade on demo, at least ask your broker to make the demo as big as your future real money account. Is really useful to trade 50000$ on demo while you will only deposit 1000$ when opening the real account.
  • Even if you trade on a demo account, – meaning simulated market conditions – I suggest making realistic assumptions. Use a margin of one up to five pips when you place your entry, stop losses or take profit orders as in the real market conditions quite often happens to see them executed at a different value than what your set ups – especially for entry orders.
  • The simulated trading environment does provide a trader with the opportunity to get used to the software he will be using or with his broker’s trading conditions. Use the demo account only for this purpose and do not try to build a reputation by linking the account on websites as www.myfxbook.com or www.fxstats.com because no one cares how good you are on demo.
  • Least but not the last, try to avoid the demo accounts with unlimited use. If you can’t stop to trade on demo your broker will, by denying you the access to the demo and inviting you to open the real money account.

the Demo accounts are there for you to get started and actually understand if the broker you have chosen is the right one for you. but it is also like when you play a game on your mobile and you play against someone who bought his levels , no matter how good you are his tools will kick your ass every time. forex works much in the same way . in the end you can simulate only so much before it becomes redundant.

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Demo Trading

The Importance of Demo Trading and Your Demo Account

The Importance of Demo Trading and Your Demo Account

I see that some traders believe that demo trading is not a good practice because you know that you are trading with the demo money, and so you don’t trade with discipline. They believe demo trading causes the novice traders not to learn to trade with discipline, and this will be ended to failure finally. When you know you are not trading with your real money, then you don’t care to lose, and so you can make all the possible mistakes, like taking positions with any trade setup (either weak or strong) you see, taking positions while there is no trade setup, over-trading and… . It will be a disaster if these bad actions become a habit in you.

This is true only when you are not a serious learner and you are practicing Forex just to see what it is. So you open a demo account and you take some positions to see how it works. You don’t care if you lose.

However, when you are serious to become a professional and full time-trader, and when you want to make a living through trading, then you should behave completely different.

Before you open a demo account and start demo trading, first you should learn everything you need to know. I have explained this in details here: Do You Think You Are on The Right Track to Become a Profitable Trader?

First complete your knowledge and then start demo trading. Spend enough time to follow the videos and articles I have listed in the above article. If you start demo trading while you are not ready yet, you will only make yourself confused, frustrated and disappointed. Forex makes money. Do not let your mistakes make you think that you can not make money through Forex.

Now let’s say you have learned everything you need to learn, and now you are ready to gain experience through demo-trading. This is a very important stage that if you don’t pass properly, you will not become successful with live trading.

Aren’t you here to make money through forex trading finally? If the answer is yes, then you should pass all the stages very carefully and patiently, otherwise you will not get any good result. I can not emphasize on this more. It is very important.

Make sure to read the below articles carefully:

  1. How To Become a Successful Forex Trader
  2. Are You Still Looking for the Forex Holy Grail?
  3. Do You Think You Are on The Right Track to Become a Profitable Trader?

There are a few things about demo-trading I have to emphasize on:

1. Take the demo trading as serious as possible. Forget that it is the demo money and nothing happens if you lose. You can blow up your live account as easy as you blow up a demo account. So, when you open a demo account, forget that it is a “demo” account. Treat it as a live account and your real money. Do you like to lose money with your live account so easily? If not, then do not lose with your demo account so easily too.

The discipline you need for Forex trading is something that you have to “build” in yourself. You have to “build” it on your own. And demo-trading is the foundation of your “Discipline Building”. If you trade carelessly with your demo account, you will do the same with your live account too. If you take positions with your demo account while there is no strong trade setup, you will do the same with your live account too. If you over-trade with your demo account, it becomes a habit, and you will do the same with your live account too. If you…

Conversely, if you forget that you are “demo” trading, and you take your demo account as serious as your live account and real money, and you wait for the strong setups only, and you do not over-trade and you don’t take too much risk, and you set the stop loss and target properly, and you care about the losses as you care about losing with your real money, then the discipline you need to have to make money through Forex trading, will be built and matured in you, and you will be successful with your live account definitely.

2. Make sure to keep on demo trading and not to open a live account, as long as you have not been able to repeat your success with your demo account.

Does it make sense to open a live account and trade with the real money while you have not become able to make money with the demo account yet? If it doesn’t make sense, why are you trading with a live account then? You think live trading is different? It is not. When you lose with the demo account, you lose with the live account too. If you are not knowledgeable, experienced and disciplined enough to make profit with the demo account, you will not make profit with the live account too.

You will always have time to open a live account and start live trading. Don’t do it when you are not ready yet.

3. Your demo account size has to be the same as your live account size. I mean if you are supposed to open a $1000 live account in future, then practice with a $1000 demo account too, and do not open a $100,000 demo account for example. This helps you behave with your demo account exactly as your live account. This helps you take your demo account serious.

Keep in your mind that your demo account has to be treated exactly as your live account. Although you open a demo account for free, but it is not “free” in reality. You are spending your time on it. You are building your experience and discipline with it. So not only it is not free, but it is too expensive and valuable. It is the “foundation” of your business.

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