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When comparing an underperform call to a true 'short' position, you are correct. An underperform call isn't a short position, however - and there is, indeed, a way in the real market to get all 30% you speak of when making an underperform call.

 

The way to do that is short sell the stock in question, and invest the proceeds from the short sale in an S&P index. This way one will, indeed, gain both the 10% 'down' and the 20% 'up'. This doesn't include margin interest, but there is a way to effectively do the same thing in the real market.

 

CAPS isn't a portfolio simulation game, and has never pretended to be. With that in mind, comparisons to real-world portfolio performance a highly problematic, for a number of reasons - but again, there is a way to mimic one's CAPS score for a pick in the real world.

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