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Mastering the short straddle: A trader’s guide

Are you an investor searching for fresh approaches to market trading? Then the short straddle strategy may be worth taking a look at. In this strategy, investors may make a profit if the asset’s price remains relatively stable until expiration.

Continue reading to learn more about the short straddle strategy and the ideal time to apply it.

What is a straddle?

A straddle is when you buy both a put option and a call option for an identical investment at the same moment. The options have the same strike price and end date.

The profit potential is unlimited here, if the underlying security’s price experiences a significant movement.

A trader will typically employ the straddle method when they are unsure of the direction in which the price will go. A straddle’s outcome is dependent on the degree of price fluctuation rather than the direction of the price.

What is a short straddle?

An options trader uses a short straddle when they sell a put and a call option with an identical expiration date and striking price. By using this method, the trader anticipates that there will be minimal price fluctuations for the underlying asset during the options contract.

The highest profit an investor might expect is represented by the premium he obtains when selling options. Their commitment is based on the net credit the trader hopes to gain or the total payments for the call and put.

Below is a short straddle graph for you to grasp the concept better: 

Due to the potential for infinite losses, this strategy may be unfavourable and should be used by seasoned traders.

On the other hand, the covered short straddle is an alternative trading technique that combines the short straddle with an additional long underlying position. This approach can mitigate some risks, as it comes with limited losses.

Short straddle strategy example

Assume that the current price of stock ABC is ₹500. Options traders tend to favour at-the-money options. To align with the present value of the stock, the strike price for both the call and put options will be fixed at ₹500.

Consider the following hypothetical market premiums for these options:

  • The premium for the ABC 500 CE (Call Option) is ₹50.
  • The premium for the ABC 500 PE (Put Option) is ₹45.

You may profit from the short straddle approach by collecting a total premium of ₹95 (₹50 from the call option and ₹45 from the put option) if the underlying stock stays within a restricted range. The maximum profit here is the total of these premiums. 

The best time to exercise the short straddle option strategy

When it comes to using options trading methods successfully, timing is everything. You must attempt to minimise risks and increase possible earnings using the short straddle method.

  • Market view

The optimal conditions for a short straddle to be profitable are range-bound markets with little chance of a significant move. Traders believe that throughout the options’ lifespan, the asset’s price will be comparatively steady in this strategy.

  • Steer clear of overvalued options

If the options seem overvalued, avoid using the short straddle approach. The possible profits from selling options may not outweigh the associated risks when they are overvalued. 

Thus, an in-depth analysis of the expected volatility and option pricing is necessary. Remember to look into alternative tactics if the options are noticeably overpriced.

  • Thinking about a longer expiry

When deciding whether to execute a short straddle, the option contract expiration date is another significant aspect to consider. Choosing a longer expiration term gives you more time to adjust for any unanticipated events or changes in the market that can affect the underlying asset’s price. 

A longer expiration date maximises earnings by providing more flexibility and raising the possibility that the options may expire worthless.

  • Taking advantage of higher contract value

The most appropriate time to think about putting the short straddle method into action is when the contract’s value has grown since it was first initiated. By keeping an eye out on the contract’s value, traders can determine if the possible profits from exiting the position exceed the related trading expenses, such as transaction charges and the premium paid. 

It is possible to balance these expenses and make a profit if the contract value has increased sufficiently. 

Long straddle vs short straddle

AspectLong straddleShort straddle
PositionBuying both a call and a put optionSelling both a call and a put option
Market viewNeutral, expecting high volatilityNeutral, expecting low volatility
RiskLimited to the premiums paidUnlimited potential loss
RewardUnlimited profit potentialLimited to the premiums received


Without question, the short straddle is a complex options strategy best suited to seasoned traders. Although this approach offers chances for experienced traders to make money during times of low volatility, there is still a chance for unrestricted losses. For investors who are prepared to accept measured risks, the short straddle may be an effective strategy.


What is the risk of a short straddle? 

The risk associated with a short straddle is indeed potentially unlimited. This strategy involves simultaneously selling a call and a put option at the same strike price and expiration date. If the underlying asset experiences significant volatility, the losses can surpass the initial premiums collected. The short straddle is considered a market-neutral approach, ideal for when minimal movement in the underlying asset’s price is expected. Traders must be vigilant, as any substantial price change can lead to significant financial exposure.

Is a short straddle bullish? 

A short straddle is not a bullish strategy; it is inherently neutral. By selling a call option, the trader expresses a bearish outlook, while selling a put option suggests a bullish stance. The combination of these positions in a short straddle aims to profit from the underlying asset’s stability rather than its upward movement. The trader profits if the asset remains relatively stable, close to the strike price, until the options expire.

Which is better short strangle or straddle? 

The choice between a short strangle and a straddle depends on the trader’s market expectations and risk appetite. A short straddle, which involves selling at-the-money options, typically offers a higher potential return due to the higher premiums but comes with a lower probability of profit. In contrast, a short strangle, which involves selling out-of-the-money options, provides a higher probability of profit but usually yields lower returns due to the lower premiums of the options sold.

Which is safer straddle or strangle? 

Safety in options trading is relative and depends on the specific market conditions and the trader’s strategy. A straddle is generally considered safer than a strangle because it involves at-the-money options, which require a larger move in the underlying asset’s price to incur losses. However, this safety comes at a cost, as at-the-money options are more expensive due to their higher premiums.

Is a short straddle good for intraday? 

Short straddles can be suitable for intraday trading, particularly when leveraging the rapid time decay of weekly options. This strategy can capitalise on small movements in the underlying asset’s price within a single trading day. However, it requires close monitoring and management due to the inherent risks. A sudden significant move in the asset’s price can result in substantial losses, so traders must be prepared to act swiftly to mitigate potential risks.

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