How to Roll Options in Just 3 Easy Steps


In the dynamic world of options trading, rolling options emerges as a pivotal strategy for traders. By moving from one call or put option to another with different strike prices or expiration dates, traders can strategically manage their positions. This practice allows them to adapt to changing market conditions while maintaining exposure to the underlying asset.

The concept of option contract rolling is gaining popularity due to its versatility. Traders use this strategy not only to avoid option expiration but also to manage liquidity, adjust deltas, and mitigate risks associated with time decay. Whether you’re looking to lock in profits, defer losses, or enhance returns through covered calls, rolling options offers a structured approach.

This article delves into the intricacies of rolling options and underscores its significance in risk management and return maximization. We will provide you with a straightforward 3-step guide to effectively roll your option positions.

For further insights into related topics, you might find these resources helpful:

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  3. What Is A Call Option?: Delve into the financial world with our comprehensive guide on Call Options. Understand its working, benefits, and how to use it effectively.
  4. Neutral Options Strategies: How You Can Win in Any Market!: Discover neutral options strategies to bolster your portfolio! Ideal for any market conditions, these strategies provide a winning edge in the world of trading.
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Dive in as we explore the world of rolling options and equip you with the knowledge to implement this powerful strategy effectively.

Understanding Rolling Options

Rolling an option refers to the process of closing an existing option contract and simultaneously opening a new one with a different strike price, expiration date, or both. This technique allows traders to adjust their positions in response to changing market conditions while maintaining their overall strategy.

Types of Roll Positions

Traders can utilize various types of roll positions, each with its own strategic advantage. Here are some common types:

Rolling Up

This involves moving the strike price of the option higher. Traders typically roll up when they believe the underlying asset’s price will continue to rise.

Rolling Down

This involves moving the strike price lower. Traders might roll down if they expect the asset’s price to decrease or want to lock in profits at a lower strike price.

Rolling Out

This strategy extends the expiration date further into the future. It is useful for traders who need more time for their trade thesis to play out.

Diagonal Roll

Combines rolling up/down with rolling out. It changes both the strike price and expiration date. This provides flexibility in adjusting both aspects of an existing position.

Practical Example

Imagine you hold a call option on Nvidia (NVDA) with a strike price of $300 that expires in one week. If Nvidia’s stock has risen significantly and you believe it will continue to do so, you might decide to roll up and out by closing your current position and opening a new call option with a $320 strike price and an expiration one month later.

Understanding why traders roll options can provide deeper insights into this strategy:

  • Managing Expiration Risk: By rolling an option, traders can avoid potential losses associated with options expiring worthless.
  • Adjusting for Market Conditions: Rolling allows traders to respond dynamically to market fluctuations by repositioning based on new information or trends.
  • Locking in Profits: When an option is already profitable, rolling can help lock in gains while still participating in future upside potential.
  • Deferring Losses: If an option is at risk of expiring out-of-the-money, rolling can defer potential losses by extending the position’s duration.

To fully grasp rolling options, it’s beneficial to understand related concepts such as:

  • Historical volatility vs implied volatility, which affect option pricing and trading decisions.
  • How options are settled, which can clarify execution details during rolling.

These resources provide valuable insights into market trends and investor sentiment, enhancing your ability to effectively implement rolling strategies and adapt your trades as market conditions evolve.

Benefits and Importance of Rolling Options

Rolling options is a versatile strategy in the realm of option trading that offers various advantages to traders. Here are some key reasons why traders opt to roll their options:

Reasons for Rolling Options

  • Managing Risk: By rolling an option, traders can mitigate potential losses or adjust positions to align with changing market conditions. This is crucial in maintaining a balanced risk-reward ratio.
  • Extending Time: Rolling allows traders to extend the life of their position beyond the initial expiration date. This can be particularly useful if the trader believes in the long-term prospects of the underlying asset but needs more time for the trade to materialize.
  • Adjusting Strike Prices: Traders can alter strike prices to better suit current market trends. For instance, if a stock price has significantly moved, adjusting the strike price can help maintain a favorable position.

Key Benefits

1. Maintaining Exposure: One primary benefit of rolling options is retaining exposure to an underlying asset while making necessary adjustments. This flexibility is invaluable when managing long-term investments or adapting to short-term market fluctuations.

2. Enhanced Profit Potential: Rolling options can also enhance profit potential by capitalizing on favorable market conditions. For example, if a stock price is expected to rise further, rolling up (moving to a higher strike price) can increase potential gains.

3. Risk Management: Rolling facilitates effective risk management by allowing traders to defer potential losses and reconfigure their strategy based on updated market analysis. These adjustments help in minimizing downside risks while aiming for profitable outcomes.

Real-Life Examples

A practical example involves Nvidia (NVDA), where a trader initially sold covered calls at a $500 strike price with an expiration date one month away. As the expiration date approached and Nvidia’s stock price hovered around $490, the trader decided to roll the covered call. By closing the current position and opening a new call option with a $520 strike price expiring two months later, the trader extended their time horizon and adjusted for increased volatility.

Another illustrative case involves Alphabet (GOOGL). Suppose a trader holds long puts on Alphabet with an imminent expiration date. With Alphabet’s stock trending downward but not yet hitting the desired strike price, rolling down (moving to a lower strike price) and extending the expiration could optimize returns while hedging against further declines.

TradeStation Securities provides another example where complex strategies like credit spreads are rolled to manage risk and enhance returns. Imagine holding a bullish credit spread on TradeStation Securities where the stock didn’t perform as anticipated. Rolling this spread involves closing the existing position and opening a new one with adjusted strike prices and expiration dates, effectively managing risk while maintaining strategic exposure.

These real-life examples demonstrate how rolling options can be employed in different scenarios, such as managing positions in dairy futures and options, to maximize profits, adjust strategies based on market conditions, and minimize risks.

Step-by-step Guide to Rolling Options

Rolling options involves a strategic three-step process that allows traders to manage risk, optimize returns, and maintain their desired market exposure. Here’s how you can do it effectively:

1. Identify the Need to Roll an Option

Before executing a roll, it’s crucial to recognize when rolling is necessary. Two primary considerations include:

  • Expiration Date: As an option approaches its expiration date, the time decay (theta) accelerates, diminishing its value. Rolling helps manage this time decay by extending the life of your position.
  • Price Movement: Significant price movements in the underlying asset can make your current option less effective. For instance, if you hold a call option and the stock price drops significantly, rolling down to a lower strike price can help realign your position with the new market conditions.

2. Determine the Desired Adjustment for the New Position

Once you’ve identified the need to roll, decide on the specifics of your new position. This step involves choosing new strike prices and expiration dates.

  • Strike Prices: Adjusting the strike price can help align your option with current market realities. For instance, if you’re rolling up a call option on a rising stock, selecting a higher strike price can lock in profits while retaining exposure.
  • Contract Durations: The new expiration date should reflect your updated market outlook. Extending the duration gives more time for your thesis to play out but may involve higher premiums.


Suppose you hold an Nvidia call option expiring in two weeks with a strike price of $300. The stock has surged to $320. You might roll up to a $320 strike price with a new expiration date six weeks out. This adjustment would lock in gains from the initial move while giving additional time for further appreciation.

3. Execute the Roll by Closing and Opening Positions

The final step involves executing the roll by closing your existing position and opening a new one.

  • Closing Position: This entails selling or buying back your current option position. Ensure you do this efficiently by analyzing bid-ask spreads and transaction costs.
  • Opening New Position: Simultaneously open your new position with different strike prices or expiration dates as determined in step two.

Practical Tip

Many brokers offer rolling options within a single trade ticket, reducing execution risk and potentially lowering commission costs. Always compare bid-ask spreads across different brokers to ensure cost efficiency. Be wary of broker scams as well.

Practical Example: Buying Puts

Suppose you are considering buying put options as part of your trading strategy. A comprehensive resource on this topic is available at TrendSpider’s Learning Center, which can provide valuable insights into implementing the long put options strategy effectively.

By understanding these steps and applying them strategically, you can better manage time decay with rolling options and adapt to changing market environments seamlessly.

Real-life Examples and Case Studies of Rolling Options

Nvidia (NVDA) Rolling Scenario

Let’s consider a trader who is currently holding a call option on Nvidia (NVDA) that is nearing its expiration date. The stock has shown significant bullish movement, and the trader wishes to maintain their position to capitalize on further gains.

  1. Current Position: Holding NVDA call options with a $500 strike price expiring in one week.
  2. Action Plan: Roll the option by closing the current position and opening a new call option with a later expiration date.
  3. Execution: Sell the existing call options and buy new ones with a $510 strike price expiring in one month.

This roll allows the trader to:

  • Extend the duration of their position,
  • Adjust for potential future price increases,
  • Maintain exposure to NVDA’s bullish trend.

Alphabet (GOOGL) Rolling Scenario

Now let’s look at another scenario where a trader holds put options on Alphabet (GOOGL) due to anticipated downward movement in the stock’s price. However, market conditions shift, and GOOGL begins to stabilize.

  1. Current Position: Holding GOOGL put options with an $1800 strike price expiring in two weeks.
  2. Action Plan: Mitigate risk by rolling the put options to a higher strike price with a longer expiration.
  3. Execution: Close existing $1800 puts and open new puts at a $1850 strike price, expiring in six weeks.

This roll helps the trader:

  • Adjust for changing market conditions,
  • Increase the potential for profitability if GOOGL declines,
  • Reduce immediate time decay risk.

TradeStation Securities Case Study

TradeStation Securities often advises clients on rolling options as part of their risk management strategy. Let’s consider a case where a client holding covered calls on Apple (AAPL) seeks to roll their position due to approaching expiration.

  1. Current Position: Covered calls on AAPL with a $145 strike price expiring in three days.
  2. Action Plan: Roll the covered calls to capture premium and extend time frame.
  3. Execution: Buy back existing calls and sell new ones at a $150 strike price with an expiration date one month out.

Benefits observed:

  • Captured additional premium,
  • Extended coverage period,
  • Managed potential assignment risk effectively.

In addition to these real-life examples, it’s crucial for traders to have a comprehensive understanding of various options trading strategies. For instance, understanding the differences between equity options and index options can help make informed investment decisions in the US market. Similarly, delving into the world of options trading and exploring the call vs put strategies can assist in finding the most suitable approach based on individual investment goals.

Rolling options is just one aspect of options trading, and it’s important to be aware of other factors that can influence trading outcomes. This includes understanding how trading halts can impact options trading and how to navigate those risks effectively. Additionally, mastering tools like the RSI indicator can provide traders with a strategic edge in the market, enabling them to trade more effectively and confidently.


Incorporating rolling options into your trading strategy provides essential benefits for risk management and profit generation. This technique allows you to:

  • Maintain exposure to the underlying asset
  • Adjust for market conditions
  • Optimize your risk-reward ratio

The ability to roll deep in the money options can be particularly advantageous, offering significant profit potential while mitigating losses.

Practicing the 3-step rolling process on virtual trading platforms is highly recommended before transitioning to live market situations. This practice helps build confidence and refine your skills without risking real capital.

For those interested in improving their broader trading techniques, consider exploring momentum trading, a strategy that unleashes your potential in the stock market by turning novices into experts.

Moreover, understanding why options might be better than stocks can provide valuable insights into the benefits of options trading such as flexibility, leverage, and risk management.

Integrating these strategies effectively could elevate your trading success, enabling you to navigate volatile markets with increased precision and profitability.

To further enhance your trading strategies, it’s important to explore various types of options brokers to find the perfect match for your trading goals. Comparing different broker types for options trading is essential in order to navigate options trading with confidence. You can start by reading our comprehensive guide on comparing different broker types for options trading which will help you find the right broker that suits your needs.

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