EP 040: Bryan Wiener reflects on his years as a pit trader, and takes us to school on the subject of options

Aaron Fifield Podcast Leave a Comment

This week I’m joined by Bryan Wiener, to put it simply, he’s a man crazy about options. So options guys, this should be right up your alley. I have to admit there were a few moments where my lack of knowledge of options is probably quite obvious – but Bryan delivered well and truly.

So a little background on Bryan…

He’s been actively trading for just over 15 years – and what’s particularly interesting about Bryan is how he’s been involved with markets from a number of various angles. And what I mean by that is…

He originally started out as a market maker on the floor of the CME (and by the way, has some great stories which he shares during the interview). From there he later joined Haim Bodek for the rise and fall of Trade Machines, which was essentially a black-box startup which was ruined due to HFT manipulative orders.

And now days he’s the quantitative options specialist on the Sang Lucci team, as well as an independent trader.

During the interview we of course go right into Bryan’s journey of how he got to where he is now. As well as plenty of discussion about options markets, including; how options have evolved, the various types of options traders and where their edge exists, and a few things aspiring options traders need to be aware of.


If you have any questions about options (or even trading in general), leave a comment at the bottom of this page, and Bryan will respond with his best answer.

bryan wiener sang lucci

“When in doubt, get out of half.”

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“Not everything is going to be a home run.”

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Lessons learnt in this interview:

  • Bryan discusses his experience of trading in the pit, the initial training received during his first 9 months on the job, and his role as a market maker.
  • A few fun (and not so fun) stories from his time as a pit trader, including; snorting a line of cayenne pepper for a bet, trading during and after 9/11, and the introduction of GlobeX electronic trading.
  • Bryan shares what it was like to be a part of black-box startup, Trading Machines. And what he learnt about dark pools and market structure from working side-by-side with Haim Bodek (HFT whistle-blower).
  • Insight to how Bryan trades options in current times, and how he traded AAPL only as a market maker for two years straight.
  • Bryan explains how options were originally designed as a hedging product, and how they’ve evolved in stages.
  • The different types of participants involved with options markets, and which type is generally best suited to newer options traders. Plus the importance of having realistic goals during a trade, and doing the homework beforehand.
  • The areas that aspiring options traders often trip up, why you must have a strong focus on capital preservation and be fully aware of your max loss at any point.

Links and resources mentioned:

  • Option Volatility & Pricing by Sheldon Natenberg – During the interview, Brian referred to this book as the Bible of options trading, which will help you to understand the various types of trades, spreads, volatility, greeks and more.
option volatility and pricing sheldon natenberg
options futures and other derivatives john c hull
  • Options, Futures, and Other Derivatives by John Hull – This was the second book Bryan suggested for those traders who are keen to gain a deeper understanding of options.
  • SangLucci.com – To learn more about Bryan and the Sang Lucci team, you can visit their website here.
  • @DirtyAutomatik – To stay in touch with Bryan, be sure to follow him on Twitter.

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