Butterfly Options Strategy & Secrets to Success

If you follow the options trading strategy and advice shared here, you will experience a pinned trade about 10-15% of the time. The ideas here do not guarantee a pinned trade. However, they do describe a way to increase the probability that you will get to a pin.

This post will provide tips, techniques, and knowledge that will help you achieve a greater profit with the 0-DTE strategy. Each of these tips are valuable, but in the absence of developing your skill around these things, they are pretty much useless information. These tips aren’t some kind of magic butterfly option trading secrets that transform your results with little or no time invested on your part.

In other words, if you think you are going to achieve a lasting performance boost, without taking the time to test, build routines, and truly make this information part of your trading playbook, then there’s really no need to read the following…

If you can truly and thoughtfully incorporate this aspect of options butterfly strategy into your own approach, however, it can support better outcomes.


The number one thing that will increase the probability of getting a pinned trade is the width of your butterfly trading strategy. A 15 wide fly has a much greater chance at a pin than a 10 wide, and a 20 wide a better chance than a 15.

Your return on capital will improve if you set your target area in the leading 1/2 of your fly, instead of the short strikes. So, your analysis should reflect this. In other words, you have a greater degree of confidence that this is where the price is destined by the end of the session.

You also can increase your odds dramatically by getting a good price, and risk to reward. Your 15 wide spread that only costs $1 will have a greater probability of profit than one that has a cost of $2.50. The former risk to reward is 14, while the latter is 5. The sweet spot for me is 6-8.

I call this the Higher and Wider principle of the butterfly option trading strategy.

Higher-Wider Graphic

When placing your short strikes, you shouldn’t be placing them based on where you think price will end up. Because quite frankly, it is unknowable where the price will end up.

Trying to guess a specific strike price as the landing area will eventually create negative feedback. Think more in terms of overlapping areas, using the area from your short strikes all the way out to the break-even point nearest to your current price as your target (yes, it is a big target — the bigger the better). And try to position that so it overlaps where you think the price will end up.

Higher-Wider Target

Higher is Better Given the Same Width

If you can get a better price on your spread, it is going to sit higher relative to the zero profit line. Therefore, it can provide both a bigger reward to risk, but also a wider range of prices between your break evens. This will increase your probability of profiting from your butterfly strategy for options. And this is why I often hang limit orders for the price I want, rather than the price that is available when I input the strategy parameters.

In this example, both of these have a 15 wide spread, but the bottom one has a much better risk to reward (5 vs 9). Consequently, the profitable range is bigger, a greater range in prices will work, AND the overall potential profit is greater.

This is why I try to get the best price I can. It is also why I try to reduce my cost basis sometimes by adding an additional position if the price of the spread drops significantly, but is still a viable trade.

Higher is Better Give Same Width

Gamma Risk Favors Wider Fly

The gamma risk of a narrow fly, or slope of the profit curve, is much steeper on narrow spreads compared to wider spreads. The wider fly has a smaller risk due to the flatter profit curve with lower gamma.

Basically, this means that changes in market price on small gamma does not affect the change in price of the value of your fly spread. Therefore, wider flies are better and more stable from a profit management view.

Gamma Risk Favors Wider Fly

Probability of Touch (PoT)

I found that the ideal probability of touch measure when entering a fly, is that the nearest strike is > 67% Probability of Touch (PoT). At this distance, you will have about a 10-15% chance of a pinned trade. 70-80% seems ideal, but only if you can get a good risk to reward.

Most platforms will show you the PoT of a strike, some do not or it is hard to find. In general, the PoT is approximately 2X the delta of a strike.

Day trading options strategies are complex and nuanced. Even so, you have the power to study and incorporate effective processes into your trading playbook. This advice to boost the possibility of a pinned trade is just one part of a much larger process for truly taking control of your trading efforts.

Partner with expert coaches, evaluate your trading behaviors and learn how to continually optimize your strategy. Try 0-DTE today.

Probability of Touch (PoT)



4 thoughts on “Butterfly Options Strategy & Secrets to Success
  1. Pingback: What Is the 0 DTE Strategy? - Zero Days to Expiration - 0DTE

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  3. Mike Cleveland says:

    Greetings, you state in the FAQ that Iron Condor and Iron Butterflies (or any butterflies) are very popular but very poor trades for 0 DTE. Yet the above trades all look like some form of butterflies. Is this, or some form of it, what you are trading in the 0 DTE?

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