Options trading can be a complete enigma to those who have never traded before. Even those who have taken courses and understand the basics run the risk of losing serious money if they dive right into the market without proper training. That's where the best options trading simulators come into play: By simulating market conditions and real-time analytics, traders can get their feet wet without putting actual money at stake. It's the ideal way to put your knowledge to work and see whether or not you're ready for the big leagues. Here are some of the best simulators online to help you get started. For more about some of these simulators, or for more great simulators, check out our profiles on other online stock trading simulators.

Wall Street Survivor
Part simulation and part game, Wall Street Survivor allows you to utilize option spreads as part of your trading strategy, setting it apart from other simulators. Wall Street Survivor offers free setup and an app so you can trade on the go using your mobile device, but the site also offers training and access to instructors if you need help or want to expand your knowledgebase. You can even browse investment topics on your own and then take quizzes to test your knowledge, helping you increase your grasp on options trading. Get more details here.

OTIS (Wharton School of Business)
OTIS, the Online Trading and Investment Simulator, was created by Wharton College for educational purposes, so while a popular simulator, it s only usable by classes or instructors. If you are an instructor, however, you can get a trial version, and if you like it, you can apply to purchase an access kit. OTIS provides real-time updates and analytics to help you better understand your trading strategy. It s a great platform for practical teaching and learning because it provides real-time feedback on how you or your students are doing.

Investopedia is one of the best-known and most comprehensive options trading simulators available. With Investopedia, you can open a virtual trading account and begin trading immediately. Investopedia allows you to view options chains while still offering an easy-to-use interface. You'll spend more time honing your trading skills and less time trying to figure out how the simulator works. Learn more here.

The Options Industry Council
The Options Industry Council, or OIC, offers an options trading simulator for free on its website. Armed with real-time analytics from current market conditions, it's one of the best ways to not only get a feel for options trading but to also get a better idea of trading in the current market climate. You can use sample data in the simulator or enter your own figures to see how your trading strategy would affect your bottom line   all without risking a cent of your own money. Get more details here.

Even if you've taken ample courses and read several books on options trading, you might not be as ready as you think you are, or maybe you aren t as confident as you d like to be. After all, trading in the real world is different than simply talking about it. By utilizing an options trading simulator, you get the benefit of real-world experience without taking any of the real-world risk. Once you're comfortable using the simulator and predicting results, you can more confidently apply your strategy with real funds.

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