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How to Trade Zero DTE Options

By:The tastylive Team

Is it Dumb Money gambling or is it calculated risk taking?

  • Zero DTE trading performs well when volatility is high, and the trades are cheap.
  • The options provide a great sandbox to test different strategies.
  • Trading offers profitable opportunities, especially in times of high and declining implied volatility.

Zero days-to-expiration (zero DTE) options—those that that expire on the same day they are traded—are an exceedingly popular trading strategy. The trading volume of the zero DTE index surpasses all other option volumes.

This has led some to assert that these options are just another vehicle for gambling. However, it's important to understand the fundamental differences between gambling and trading, especially when it comes to zero DTE options. 

Why zero DTE trading isn't gambling

Gambling is characterized by risking money with a negative edge, where the expected loss doesn't change. Trading, on the other hand, can offer profitable opportunities, especially in times of high and declining implied volatility. The markets are inherently different, with distinct mechanics and odds. 

In trading zero DTE options, it has been observed that the strategy performs well when volatility is high, and the trades are cheap. Conversely, performance tends to dip when volatility is low and the trades are expensive. Despite the fluctuations, zero DTE options have been profitable, with about two-thirds of the trades resulting in wins. 

Another key advantage of zero DTE options is that they offer a great sandbox to test different strategies. You can set your risk, your reward, and your probability of profit, depending on what you want. This is very similar to how earnings announcements are traded. Moreover, with zero DTEs, you can learn more about trading dynamics, as they provide fast feedback. 

More flexibility than gambling

Unlike gambling, trading zero DTE options allows you to choose when and what you want to trade based on market volatility. This flexibility is not present in typical gambling games. Furthermore, you can trade both sides of a zero DTE option, which means there is no edge to either party. The cost to trade them is lower than ever, making them an attractive option for traders. 

However, one limitation of zero DTE options is the lack of time to make strategic adjustments to turn a bad trade into a winning one. This is a constraint that traders need to be aware of and factor into their strategy. 

A unique opportunity

Zero DTE options offer a unique trading opportunity with their own set of advantages and constraints. They are not a form of gambling, but a legitimate trading strategy that can yield profitable results when used judiciously.

As with any trading strategy, it's crucial to understand the mechanics and risks involved, and to continually learn and adapt based on market conditions. 

Options involve risk and are not suitable for all investors. Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before deciding to invest in options.

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