Butterfly Course Part 12 – Adjustments!

Options Trading 101 - The Ultimate Beginners Guide To Options

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As Seen On

Read Part 1 – The Basics
Read Part 2 – How To Set Profit Targets and Stop Losses
Read Part 3 – How To Successfully Leg Into A Butterfly
Read Part 4 – Trading Rules
Read Part 5 – Using Low Risk Directional Butterflies
Read Part 6 – The Greeks
Read Part 7 – Broken Wing Butterflies – One-Size Fits All
Read Part 8 – The Reverse Butterfly
Read Part 9 – Using Butterflies In A Combination Or As A Hedge
Read Part 10 – How To Protect Against Fast Moves
Read Part 11 – The Bearish Butterfly

The ability to adjust trades is what sets great traders apart from average traders. Some traders may prefer not to adjust and just stick to the standard profit target and stop loss. Adjusting can allow you to turn a losing trade into a profitable trade, but it does involve risk and can make your trade more complicated. More traders blow up their accounts through bad adjustments than through bad trade initiation, so keep that in mind.

When it comes to adjusting butterfly spreads, there are plenty of ways to go about it and I will introduce some of the more common methods.

For a neutral butterfly, some traders like to adjust once the breakeven point on the profit graph has been exceeded. As mentioned previously, if you want to be a little more cautious, you can adjust when the price moves into the outer third of the profit tent. The other method is to adjust the trade when losses hit 6-7%. Either method is fine, but keep in mind that when you adjust from a losing position, you will either decrease your profit potential or increase your risk.

For any trading strategy, it is a good idea to have at least 6 months of experience in a variety of market environments before allocating a significant amount of capital to the strategy.

One method of adjusting a butterfly is to add a second butterfly once the breakeven point on the profit graph is reached. The advantage of this is that it gives you a new profit zone near where the stock is currently trading and gives you a nice wide profit zone for the stock to land in. The disadvantage is that you are allocating more capital to the trade. Generally it is not a good idea to continue throwing more capital at a losing trade.

Here’s how it works.

On August 12th, 2013 with RUT trading around 1050, you enter a September 1030-1050-1070 call butterfly spread. Four days later RUT is trading at 1030 and you need to adjust.

Date: August 12th 2013

Current Price: $1050

Trade Details: RUT Call Butterfly Spread

Buy 5 RUT Sept 19th $1030 call @ $36.40
Sell 10 RUT Sept 19th $1050 calls @ $23.35
Buy 5 RUT Sept 19th $1070 call @ $12.95

Premium: $1,325 Net Debit

On August 16th, with RUT trading at 1030, we add a second butterfly centered at 1030

Date: August 16th 2013

Current Price: $1030

Trade Details: Second RUT Call Butterfly Spread

Buy 5 RUT Sept 19th $1010 call @ $31.95
Sell 10 RUT Sept 19th $1030 calls @ $19.40
Buy 5 RUT Sept 19th $1050 call @ $10.15

Premium: $1,650 Net Debit

By making the adjustment we have added another $1,650 in risk capital to the trade, and in effect created a profit diagram that looks like a mini iron condor. The new position looks like this:

Long 5 RUT Sept 19th 1010 calls
Short 5 RUT Sept 19th 1030 calls
Short 5 RUT Sept 19th 1050 calls
Long 5 RUT Sept 19th 1070 calls

Total Capital at Risk: $2,975

Maximum Profit: $7,025

With RUT at 1030, you don’t have a lot of room to move on the downside with the breakeven point being around 1015. Theoretically, if RUT continues down you can add a third butterfly, but this is again going to increase capital at risk and decrease potential profits.

Here are the Greeks before and after the adjustment:

Another adjustment you might choose to make is adding call credit spreads. You can do this in a couple of ways. Using the example above, with RUT at 1030 we could sell some additional 1050-1070 credit spreads to turn the trade into something that looks like a Broken Wing Butterfly. You could call it that, or you could call it a Credit Spread With Protection. Either way, this is how you do it.

Date: August 16th 2013

Current Price: $1030

Trade Details: Adding Call Credit Spreads

Sell 5 RUT Sept 19th $1050 calls @ $10.15
Buy 5 RUT Sept 19th $1070 call @ $4.60

Premium: $2,775 Net Credit

We are bringing a large credit in for this trade, meaning the total net credit received is now $1,450. The disadvantage is that we have significantly increased our capital at risk when compared with the previous adjustment of adding another butterfly. We now have $8,400 at risk in the trade as opposed to $2,975 in the previous example.

The other potential pitfall with this adjustment strategy is that you now have a significantly short delta. That may be ok if your market opinion has changed and you think the market is entering a new downtrend. But you may not want to take such a strong directional exposure. Here is how the greeks compare:

As you can see, you now have a very short Delta at -65. Delta is also higher than Theta whereas before the adjustment it was one third of Theta. The iron condor adjustment gave you a delta neutral position.

If you like the look of the Broken Wing Butterfly adjustment, but are concerned about the delta exposure, there is a way to cut delta without adding any extra risk capital to the trade. We do that by adding some put credit spreads. Here’s how:

Date: August 16th 2013

Current Price: $1030

Trade Details: Adding Put Credit Spreads to Reduce Delta

Sell 5 RUT Sept 19th $980 puts @ $7.70

Buy 5 RUT Sept 19th $960 puts @ $4.90

Premium: $1,400 Net Credit

Your profit diagram at expiry now looks like this:

This extra piece of the adjustment has the added benefit of bringing in more income, while not tying up any extra margin or capital. We have now received a total net credit of $2,850 and our delta has been cut to -30.

With this last adjustment you should keep in mind that you now have a pretty complex position that is going to be difficult to adjust if the trade gets into further trouble. You want to weigh whether it is worth making this adjustment, or if it’s better to just take your losses and close the trade. The other disadvantage of this adjustment is the number of trades you are making is increasing, so you are incurring more commission costs and more slippage through the bid/ask spreads.

Adjusting Profitable Trades – The Reverse Harvey

The Reverse Harvey is an adjustment strategy developed by Mark Sebastian and Dan Harvey. The idea behind the adjustment is that you want to lock in profits on a winning trade. With successful butterfly trades, once time passes, the sensitivity to movements in price increases. In other words, the slope of the current risk graph becomes more pronounced.

If the stock makes a large move, your profits can quickly disintegrate. Due to higher levels of short gamma the closer you get to expiry, your P&L will fluctuate more wildly.

You can see this in the 2 diagrams below. With the stock right at the short strike, a move of 30 points would result in a decrease in profit of roughly $1,500 for a trade with 40 days to expiry and $8,500 for a trade with 10 days to expiry, quite a significant difference!

Profitable Butterfly With 40 Days To Expiry

Profitable Butterfly With 10 Days To Expiry

The increase slope is caused by increased gamma as you approach expiry and the fact that the wings provide less protection. If the stock is right at the short strikes and there is not much time to expiry, the time premium of the outer wings will have almost evaporated and no longer provide much of a hedge. For this reason it makes sense to “tighten the noose” in order to protect profits as time passes. This is where the Reverse Harvey comes in.

The Reverse Harvey involves selling the outer wings and bringing them in closer to the short strikes. This provides more of a hedge for the short at-the-money options and reduces the overall short gamma of the trade. As a result the profit graph becomes more smoothed out again.

To watch the video by Mark Sebastian on the Reverse Harvey, visit this link. The example given in the video by Mark is this:

Date: Jan 4th 2011,

Current Price: $1274

Trade Details: SPX Iron Butterfly

Buy 10 SPX Jan 21st $1235 puts
Sell 10 SPX Jan 21st $1270 puts
Sell 10 SPX Jan 21st $1270 calls
Buy 10 SPX Jan 21st $1305 calls

After 3 days the trade is showing a decent profit, so Mark brings the wings in 10 points.

Date: Jan 7th 2011,

Current Price: $1275

Trade Details: Reverse Harvey Adjustment

Sell to close 10 SPX Jan 21st $1235 puts
Buy to open 10 SPX Jan 21st $1245 puts
Sell to close 10 SPX Jan 21st $1305 calls
Buy to open 10 SPX Jan 21st $1295 calls

This is the adjusted risk graph. The pink line is the adjusted position and the red line is the original position. You can see that the risk graph as of today (dotted line) is much smoother after the adjustment and the other added benefit is the capital at risk is greatly reduced. Mark suggests performing a Reverse Harvey adjustment once you are up about 5% on an Index butterfly.


What Are Adjustments In Butterfly Trading?

Adjustments in butterfly trading are techniques used to modify an existing butterfly trade in response to changes in the underlying asset’s price or volatility. Adjustments can help traders manage risk, improve the profitability of the trade, and reduce potential losses.

What Are Some Common Butterfly Adjustments?

Some common butterfly adjustments include adding or removing wings, adjusting the strike prices of the options, and rolling the trade forward in time. These adjustments can be made in response to changes in the underlying asset’s price or volatility, and can help traders manage risk and improve the profitability of the trade.

When Should I Make Adjustments To My Butterfly Trade?

Adjustments to a butterfly trade should be made when the underlying asset’s price or volatility moves outside of the range that was anticipated when the trade was initially established. Adjustments can help traders manage risk and improve the profitability of the trade.

What Are The Risks Of Making Adjustments To My Butterfly Trade?

There are some risks associated with making adjustments to a butterfly trade, including the possibility of increasing trading costs, reducing profitability, or increasing potential losses. It’s important to carefully consider the potential risks and benefits of any adjustment before making the trade.

How Can I Learn More About Butterfly Adjustments?

There are many resources available to help traders learn more about butterfly adjustments, including online courses, trading books, and forums or discussion groups. It’s important to carefully research and evaluate any educational resources before investing time or money in them.

  1. John Edwards says:

    Well, this is.. disappointing. Went through the entire course very excited only to find that adjustments, the most important part of any spread strategy, are not included. I don’t have a problem with buying the ebook – just wished I hadn’t spent all this time (and paper) printing out the first 11 parts!

  2. Gavin says:

    Hi John,

    Sorry to disappoint you with this. Unfortuntely Amazon are quite strict with their terms and do not allow authors to publish an entire book for free on the web if it is for sale through them. Otherwise they could ban me as an author.

    I’ve sent you an email separately that will hopefully please you.

    Thanks for your support. Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.

  3. Lewis says:


    May I know if the book covers part 1 to part 11 ?


  4. Lewis says:

    I realized it’s kindle version only….couls you publish the 4 books in pdf? I would like to get them.

    1. Gavin says:

      Hi Lewis, please email me and I can help you out.

      1. Saurabh says:

        Hi Gavin , thanks for such useful knowledge , how can I get the book ??

        1. Gavin says:

          I’ll email you a pdf copy.

  5. John Papadakis says:

    Hi Gavin.
    I’m studding options for the last few months.
    I’ve had difficulty following other people on options.
    With your book everything seams very logical
    and very very articulate.
    I’ve tried to buy it on Amazon just for the chapter thats
    missing on adjustments, but they only have it for kindle
    which I don’t have.
    Please advise me on that.
    Thank you very much

  6. RS says:

    I read your tutorials on how to setup/use the butterfly and they are really interesting. However, I would like to look at parts 12 & 13 on the adjustments scenarios. Similar to what other viewers have expressed, I don’t
    use kindle and hence cannot purchase from Amazon.
    Is there are any other alternative site which has regular PDFs that can be purchased.

    Thanks much


    1. Gavin says:

      Hi RS,

      I just sent you a free copy of the book. You don’t need a Kindle to read it, you can read it on any Apple device using the Kindle app or your desktop using a reader app. Let me know if you have any issues.


  7. Rajesh Tomar says:

    I have read the available chapters and have developed a lot of interest . Can I have the ebook also please

  8. Daniel Cuypers says:

    the explanation is very clear. I would like to get part 12 and 13 of your ebook. Can you send a link where I can find it. I looked to Amazon but I wans not able to find it.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Gavin says:

      Just sent them to you Daniel. Thanks for your feedback.

      1. Pavan says:

        Hello sir,
        Can you send me the free ebook ?

        1. Gavin says:

          Sent via email.

  9. bill Stone says:

    Hi, Not a kindle fan ,but is this book available in any other format from Amazon ?

    1. Gavin says:

      Hi Bill, send me an email and I will fix you up.

  10. marco says:

    Hi I try to buy the kindle versions but amazon won’t let me get the kindle versions in Italy can’t buy it can i buy direct from your website?

    1. Gavin says:

      Hi Marco, just sent you an email and a free copy of the book.

      Thanks for you support.

  11. ANISH MEHTA says:

    i like the whole concept of butterfly option strategy.I will be grateful if I get adjustment part 12 and 13 of your e book .

  12. plk says:

    Hi Gavin,
    For adjustments: adding the other butterfly and Mark Sebastian adjustment; which among these two adjustments is better? Notice that Mark Sebastian adjustment is for iron butterfly. You were talking about double weekly butterfly? Furthermore, I don’t see you examine iron butterfly from your blog. Could tell your readers more about this strategy? Thank you!

    1. Gavin says:

      It really depends on the situation. I haven’t talked about iron butterflies before, good point. Although they will perform very similar to a call or put butterfly centered at the same area.

  13. John says:

    I want to buy the book which has butterfly adjustments being referred above but not sure of the title of the book, could you please provide me the title of the book.

    I searched amazon and found multiple books should i be buying BULLSH*T FREE GUIDE TO BUTTERFLY SPREADS or is there any other book which has adjustments.
    Kindly help

    1. Gavin says:

      Hi John, All the content from the BS Free Guide To Butterflies is now available here, so no need to buy the book on Amazon.

  14. Sunil says:

    Hi Gavin,
    Great article on butterfly strategy adjustments. But still need some more clarity regarding iron butterfly, butterfly and iron fly. So if you can send me an e-book, it will be great to clear some of my doubts.

    1. Gavin says:

      Hi Sunil,

      I haven’t got much info on iron fly’s, but a butterfly is essentially the same whether you use calls, puts or a combination of both. Take a look at the payoff graphs and you will see what I mean, they are all almost identical.

  15. Darrin says:

    Hi Gavin,
    I loved the no Bull%^&* guide to Butterfly’s . I think the adjustment make sense in theory, but applying them to the broker platform from practical standpoint is an added step. Curious for the Reverse Harvey do you roll the wing from one date to the next. I am using TOS. I tried and it gave me a negative P&L for the day. Curious how you manage the adjustment. Thanks

    1. Gavin says:

      Thanks for the kind words Darrin. I usually stay in the same expiration period.

  16. Adrian says:

    I have read, and continue to explore your articles and chapters.
    Really helpful.
    I would appreciate if you can share the link to a Butterfly Adjustments.

    1. John says:

      Can you please provide me the free e book copy.
      Thanks in advance

      1. Gavin says:

        Just sent to you via email

  17. olufemi says:

    i can understand how this would work with an iron butterfly but how would you ‘reverse harvey’ a calendar or butterfly as their are no outer wings to buy back?

    1. Gavin says:

      You can reverse harvey a butterfly, but not a calendar.

  18. Uma Shankar says:

    Hi gavin,
    It was a nice article about butterfly.
    I am searching the adjustments over the internet sites.
    Could i get the pdf copy?
    Thanks well in advance.

    1. Gavin says:

      Hi Uma,

      You should be able to download pdf and kindle versions here:


      1. Anonymous says:

        Hi Gavin,
        Thanks a lot for your kindness.

  19. Div says:

    Hello Gavin,
    Are the adjustment on the next chapters different or expanded upon from the reading ” The Complete Guide to Adjusting Butterfly Spreads”? If so, can you assist in my understanding 🙂

    1. Gavin says:

      There will be some new stuff in that guide which will be of interest to you.

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Options Trading 101 - The Ultimate Beginners Guide To Options

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