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The Strategy

You can think of put condor spread as simultaneously running an in-the-money short put spread and an out-of-the-money long put spread. Ideally, you want the short put spread to expire worthless, while the long put spread achieves its maximum value with strikes C and D in-the-money.

Typically, the stock will be halfway between strike B and strike C when you construct your spread. If the stock is not in the center at initiation, the strategy will be either bullish or bearish.

The distance between strikes A and B is usually the same as the distance between strikes C and D. However, the distance between strikes B and C may vary to give you a wider sweet spot (see Options Guy’s Tips).

You want the stock price to end up somewhere between strike B and strike C at expiration. Condor spreads have a wider sweet spot than the butterflies. But (as always) there’s a tradeoff. In this case, it’s that your potential profit is lower.

Options Guy’s Tips

You may wish to consider ensuring that strike B and strike C are around one standard deviation away from the stock price at initiation. That will increase your probability of success. However, the further these strike prices are from the current stock price, the lower the potential profit will be from this strategy.

Some investors may wish to run this strategy using index options rather than options on individual stocks. That’s because historically, indexes have not been as volatile as individual stocks. Fluctuations in an index’s component stock prices tend to cancel one another out, lessening the volatility of the index as a whole.

As a general rule of thumb, you may wish to consider running this strategy approximately 30-45 days from expiration to take advantage of accelerating time decay as expiration approaches. Of course, this depends on the underlying stock and market conditions such as implied volatility.

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