Did you ever play with lizards when you were a kid? 

Their agility and adaptability are much like what’s required in the options market. Here, investors need versatile strategies to adeptly navigate through the ever-shifting market conditions. One notable strategy embodying this flexibility is the jade lizard.

The jade lizard strategy, notable for its agility and resilience, is a blend of fundamental options strategies. Designed to be as adaptable as the reptilian inspiration behind its name, this strategy helps traders maximize gains in favorable markets and protect themselves during downturns.

We’ll explore the jade lizard strategy here more closely. We will dissect its crucial components, delve into its application, and discover how it can improve your trading techniques. Let’s get started. 

Unraveling the Jade Lizard Strategy

The jade lizard strategy distinguishes itself within the dynamic realm of options trading, thanks to its distinctive approach and potential advantages. Essentially, this strategy is a trio of options plays: a short put, a short call, and a long call. The goal here is straightforward – earn more from the premium of the sold options than what you pay for the purchased call, ultimately bringing a net credit to your account.

In practice, the jade lizard involves selling a put option and channeling those funds into a call spread sale. This unique combination differentiates the jade lizard from its peers, as it crafts a risk-free scenario if the market climbs while still offering impressive downside profit opportunities. Simply put, this strategy enables traders to gain whether the underlying asset’s price ascends, remains stable, or only moderately declines – a notable edge over strategies confined to fewer market movements.

This strategy’s distinctive features make it particularly attractive to traders with a bullish or neutral stance on the underlying asset. Selling a put indicates a readiness to purchase the asset at an agreed price, and the accompanying sold call spread helps cap any loss should the asset’s value surge. The initial net credit also acts as a buffer against minor dips in price, further boosting this strategy’s appeal.

Moreover, the jade lizard offers considerable flexibility, allowing traders to tweak strike prices or unwind certain components to either secure profits or curb losses. This versatility is another string to its bow, making the jade lizard a strategy of choice among discerning options traders. 

The Mechanics Behind the Jade Lizard Strategy

The jade lizard strategy offers a distinctive method in options trading by amalgamating three different positions. This blend results in a flexible strategy, capable of turning a profit under various market scenarios. Here’s a breakdown of how the jade lizard strategy works:

  1. Sell a Short Put Option: The initial action in this strategy involves selling a short put option with a strike price below the current market price of the underlying asset. This move signifies the trader’s willingness to buy the asset at this predetermined price, should the option be assigned. Executing this short put option grants an immediate credit to the trader’s account from the premium collected for selling the option.
  2. Sell a Call Option: Following that, the strategy calls for selling a call option, this time with a strike price that’s higher than the current market price of the underlying asset. This move further adds to the net credit in the trader’s account, pocketing the premium received from this option sale.
  3. Buy a Call Option: The final step of the jade lizard strategy is to buy a call option, selecting a strike price that is higher than that of the call option sold earlier. This action causes a debit from the trader’s account, as the premium paid for this call option offsets some of the net credit accumulated from the earlier sales. The role of this bought call option is crucial as it serves as a safeguard, capping potential losses if the price of the underlying asset escalates beyond the strike price of the sold call option.

Here’s how that all comes together: 

Understanding the jade lizard Payoff: A Visual Guide to Profits and Losses.

Payoff diagram of a jade lizard options strategy, illustrating areas of profit and loss based on varying stock prices at expiration.

The diagram above succinctly depicts the Jade Lizard strategy’s payoff, showing optimal profit in a specific range and highlighting potential losses if the stock price veers outside this zone. This structure effectively caps downside risk, favoring gains in a stable market. 

In practice, this strategy allows traders to potentially benefit when the underlying asset’s price increases, remains stable, or drops slightly. The initial net credit buffers minor price dips, while a selected call option mitigates risk during a price surge, making the jade lizard strategy appealing for traders with a bullish or neutral view on the underlying asset.

Crafting the Perfect Jade Lizard Setup

To perfect a jade lizard setup, a strategic approach is key in selecting suitable options and defining their strike prices. For traders to harness the full potential of this strategy, they should take these steps:

  1. Selecting the Right Options: The choice of options is pivotal in a jade lizard strategy. Traders need to pick options that reflect their market view accurately. Prioritize options with good liquidity and narrow bid-ask spreads to minimize trading costs. Furthermore, options with higher implied volatility are typically more profitable, as they tend to offer greater premiums.
  2. Choosing the Correct Strike Prices: The chosen strike prices are integral to the strategy’s effectiveness. For the sold put option, pick a strike price at a level where you’d be comfortable buying the underlying asset, ideally below its current market price. The strike price for the sold call option should exceed the asset’s current price, indicating a bullish or neutral bias. Finally, the purchased call’s strike price needs to be set higher than the sold call’s, serving as a protective cap on potential losses.
  3. Timing and Expiration: Selecting the right timing and expiration dates for your options is crucial. Assess both market conditions and your personal risk appetite to decide on the best expiration periods. Usually, choosing options with expirations between 30 to 45 days strikes a good balance, offering enough time for asset price movements while benefiting from time decay.
  4. Risk Management: Effective risk management cannot be overstated in a jade lizard setup. It’s crucial to keep your position size in check, making sure it’s congruent with your overall risk strategy. Also, establish a definite exit strategy, specifying when to close the position, either to realize profits or to cut losses. This planning helps in maintaining control over the trade and aligning it with your trading objectives.

In sum, mastering the jade lizard strategy requires thoughtful selection of options and strike prices, balanced timing and expiration choices, and stringent risk management. These steps, tailored to the trader’s market perspective and risk tolerance, can unlock the strategy’s potential to enhance profitability and control risk in options trading.

Real-World Application: A Jade Lizard Example

Let’s dive into a practical example where an investor employs the jade lizard strategy on Nomad Food’s stock (NOMD), presently valued at $14 per share. With a neutral to bullish stance on NOMD, and aiming to leverage its surging implied volatility, the investor initiates their strategy.

The investor begins by selling a put option at a $10 strike price, expiring in 45 days, for a $0.80 premium. Concurrently, they sell a call option at a $18 strike price, also expiring in 45 days, for a $0.70 premium. To safeguard their position, the investor buys a call option with a $22 strike price, expiring in the same period, at a $0.30 premium.

Consequently, the investor’s net premium income totals $1.20 ($0.80 + $0.70 – $0.30). This amount represents their maximum potential gain and provides a buffer against potential downturns. If NOMD’s price stays within the $10 to $18 range at expiration, the investor retains the full premium.

Let’s consider potential outcomes:

NOMD Ends Above $18 but Below $22:

The investor’s put option becomes null, bringing them a $0.80 gain. However, the in-the-money call option they sold results in a loss, mitigated by the premium collected and the worthless purchased call option.

NOMD Drops Below $10:

The put option sold by the investor goes in-the-money, obligating them to buy 100 shares of NOMD at $10 each. The income from the initial premiums softens the impact of this purchase. Their call options, in this case, expire with no value.

NOMD Ends Between $10 and $18:

This outcome is optimal for the investor. All options expire without value, allowing them to keep the full $1.20 premium.

Through this application of the jade lizard strategy, the investor effectively navigates NOMD’s high implied volatility. Their tactical use of option combinations hedges their bets and delineates their risks neatly. 

Navigating the Possible Outcomes

Exploring the jade lizard strategy reveals a variety of potential outcomes, each dependent on the interplay between the selected strike prices and the market price of the underlying asset at option expiration.

Within the realm of this strategy, profits are limited to the net premium received from the options sold. This premium acts as a cushion, softening the impact of market fluctuations on the trader’s position.

Yet, losses are a lurking possibility. Should the stock price fall below the sold put’s strike price, the trader faces potential losses. Thankfully, the net premium comes to the rescue, partially absorbing this financial setback. The breakeven point on the downside is the sold put’s strike price minus the net premium.

Conversely, if the stock price rises above the sold call’s strike price, the trader is at risk of losses again. However, these losses are capped by the purchased call option. In this scenario, there’s no upper break-even point because the losses from the sold call are counterbalanced by gains from the bought call, reduced by the net premium.

The optimal outcome for the trader occurs when the stock price stays within the bounds of the sold put and call strike prices. In this ideal scenario, all options expire worthless, allowing the trader to retain the entire premium, realizing their maximum profit. 

Optimizing the Jade Lizard Strategy

To get the most out of the jade lizard strategy, one must engage in careful risk management and seek opportunities to boost potential returns. This isn’t a set-and-forget operation; it requires constant vigilance and adjustment to keep in step with market changes and fluctuations in the price of the underlying asset.

A critical element of refining this strategy is choosing the right underlying asset. Target stocks with high implied volatility for increased premium income, which can lead to greater profits. However, remember that with higher volatility comes a heightened need for sharp risk management.

In selecting your option strike prices, your goal should be to establish a broad buffer zone between the sold put and call. This zone acts as your safety margin, allowing the stock price some leeway to move without jeopardizing your gains. A larger buffer zone improves the odds of your trade being successful.

Time also plays a vital role in honing the jade lizard strategy. The expiration dates of your options require thoughtful consideration. Options with longer expirations might yield higher premiums, but they also leave you open to market shifts for a longer time. Shorter expirations reduce this exposure, though at the cost of smaller premiums. Striking an optimal balance between risk and potential reward is key.

Crafting a solid exit strategy is crucial for success with the jade lizard strategy, especially when deciding the right time to exit positions for profit or to minimize losses. By using stock signals, you can receive real-time updates that precisely indicate the optimal moments to execute your exit strategy. This approach not only helps in making informed decisions but also ensures your trading plan remains robust against market volatility.

Pros and Cons

The jade lizard strategy, a nuanced approach to options trading, presents both opportunities and challenges that traders must consider.


  • Premium Collection: The strategy’s foremost benefit is generating immediate income through net credit, derived from selling a put and a call option.
  • Defined Risk: Unlike some other strategies, the jade lizard uniquely structures risk. If the stock price plunges, the trader might acquire the stock at a reduced rate. In contrast, if the price climbs, the risk is capped by the purchased call.
  • Flexibility: This strategy is highly adaptable. Traders can adjust strike prices and expiration dates, tailoring their positions according to market forecasts and risk appetite. Such flexibility allows for strategic positioning in varied market environments.


  • Complexity: Implementing the jade lizard strategy demands a strong grasp of options trading mechanics. Accurately setting strike prices and expirations to optimize the strategy’s benefits requires in-depth knowledge and experience, potentially deterring novice traders.
  • One-sided Risk Exposure: Despite offering protection on one side, the jade lizard exposes traders to considerable risk if the stock price shifts significantly in the unanticipated direction. The chosen strike prices greatly influence the extent of this risk.
  • Market Sensitivity: Given its reliance on stock price movements and volatility, the strategy’s success is closely linked to market behavior. Unforeseen market events or trends can impact the effectiveness of the strategy, necessitating ongoing market analysis and strategy adjustment.

In conclusion, the jade lizard strategy, with its distinctive blend of risk management and adaptability, can be an attractive option for seasoned traders. However, it demands a thorough understanding of options, careful strategic planning, and an acceptance of its inherent risks and limitations. 


The jade lizard strategy, artfully intertwining different options tactics, stands out in the trading landscape for its adeptness at turning market fluctuations to its advantage. Whether the stock soars or dips, this strategy’s crafted position is poised to harness profits. It’s the tactical flexibility and tailorability to individual market perspectives and risk tolerances that endow it with appeal among a spectrum of traders.

Nevertheless, harnessing the potential of the jade lizard isn’t without its complexities. It’s a strategy that hinges on a solid grasp of options trading nuances and precise calculations for its optimal execution. A trader’s success with this strategy also leans heavily on meticulous market analysis and an alertness to shifting market dynamics. Diligence in strategy management and an adherence to a disciplined approach are the keystones for not just tapping into the rewards that this intricate strategy promises but also in curtailing the associated risks.

Understanding the Jade Lizard Strategy: FAQs

How is the Jade Lizard Strategy Different from a Traditional Covered Call?

Unlike a traditional covered call, which involves holding the underlying stock while selling a call option, the jade lizard strategy merges a short put with a short (bear) call spread. The jade lizard is designed to generate more premium than the strike price of the put, creating a position with no downside risk. In contrast, a covered call presents limited upside potential and considerable downside risk.

What are the Ideal Conditions for Using a Jade Lizard Strategy in the Market?

The jade lizard strategy flourishes in conditions where implied volatility is high, enhancing the premium collection and potential profits. It’s most effective with a neutral to slightly bullish outlook on the underlying stock, capitalizing on time decay and modest stock price increases.

How Can Losses Be Minimized When Employing the Jade Lizard Strategy?

To reduce potential losses, careful selection of option strike prices is key, ensuring the premium from the call spread exceeds the strike of the put. This setup effectively eliminates downside risk. Additionally, adjusting the position in response to unfavorable stock movements, such as extending the put option’s expiration, can help manage losses.

Are There Certain Sectors or Asset Classes More Suitable for the Jade Lizard Strategy?

The jade lizard strategy can be applied across various sectors and asset classes. However, it’s particularly effective with stock options exhibiting high implied volatility, like spirit airlines recently, as this can lead to higher premium collection and enhanced profit potential.

In Terms of Risk and Reward, How Does the Jade Lizard Strategy Compare with Other Options Trading Methods?

The jade lizard strategy is seen as having a moderate risk level. It combines aspects of both defined and undefined risk strategies. The potential reward is confined to the premium received, while the downside risk is limited to the difference between the put strike price and the premium. This is generally more favorable than strategies like naked puts or calls, which carry unlimited risk. However, it may offer lower potential rewards compared to more aggressive strategies.