NaughtyPines

ROLLING TESTED IRON CONDORS -- SOME TIPS (PART I)

AMEX:SPY   SPDR S&P 500
If you've got a few index ETF ( SPY             , IWM             , DIA             , or QQQ             ) iron condor trades on like I do, well, sadly, it is likely that your short call sides have been breached by this recent up move.

So, what do you do?

1. Don't panic. These were defined risk trades when you put them on, and they remain defined risk, which means that your max loss is limited on the call side even if SPY             keeps shooting to the moon.

2. Take off the untested side when it no longer provides any meaningful protection to the set up or roll it in the direction of the tested side. In this particular case (where the call side has been tested), look at your short put wing side. If it is now worth less than .20 ($20), consider locking in profit here and covering it or rolling it up toward the tested side, keeping the expiry the same, assuming there is sufficient time for the rolled up spread to work, and you can get sufficient credit to make it worthwhile. I generally will roll in the same expiry if the untested side is worth <.20 and there are 25 days or more until the expiration of the tested side. If you are at or near expiry (3-5 DTE             ), consider saving yourself some cash in commissions and fees and letting the untested side expire worthless.

3. Near expiry of the tested side (3-5 DTE             ), attempt to roll the tested side for duration and credit. If you can get a credit that is at least the cost of the roll and you can improve your strike prices, fantastic. Proceed to do that and sell an oppositional wing set up at or near the 1 SD             . I generally like to go another 45 DTE             or so with a roll or as close as possible to that to allow the trade additional time to work out.

4. If you cannot roll for duration and credit, it isn't ideal, but all is not lost. You can do one of several things: (1) close it out and take the loss; or (2) attempt to work the tested side back to scratch or profit. I generally choose the latter.

I have done quite a bit of reading and video watching regarding traders' various approaches to breached iron condor setups where you cannot roll the tested side for duration and credit (i.e., generally where the tested side is not "on the dance floor"). The best idea I have found comes courtesy of TastyTrade, which advises you to roll out the tested side for duration without changing the strikes and then proceeding to sell the oppositional side against the tested side such that the end result is an iron butterfly or "iron fly." I will post an example of that separately.
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