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Profiting with Iron Condor Options: Strategies from the Frontline for Trading in Up or Down Markets [Hardcover]

Michael Benklifa
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 19 2011

In a straightforward approach, Hanania Benklifa provides readers the practical knowledge needed to trade options conservatively in Profiting with Iron Condor Options: Strategies from the Frontline for Trading in Up or Down Markets. The objectives are simple: make 2%-4% a month staying in the market as little as possible. Market experts use option condors to consistently earn monthly returns while trading conservatively and staying in the market as little as possible. Benklifa--who manages $10+ million in condor trades each month--shows you exactly how to run these trades and earn these returns, delivering all the details you need to master every nuance of this remarkable strategy.

 

Benklifa shares option condors examples using market realities, not oversimplified abstractions. You’ll learn how to handle real-life market dynamics that can dramatically impact results, including rising and falling volatility, changing bid-ask spreads, and distorted call parity. You’ll learn how to profit in the sideways markets where condor options are most widely used--and also in extreme-trending markets that offer their own surprising opportunities.

 

Traders who focus on a specific type of trade have a history of outperforming stock pickers and directional investors. This book will give you that deep and usable level of knowledge about one of today’s most well-proven strategies: option condors.

 


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Product Description

Review

 

From the Back Cover

Use Iron Condor Options to Earn Consistent Returns Every Month with Surprisingly Modest Risk

 

“Benklifa has devised an elegant strategy to reduce risks while creating consistent profits. His strategic approach to options trading should be a part of every trader’s approach, especially in volatile markets.”

Michael C. Thomsett, author, Options Trading for the Conservative Investor

 

“Michael Benklifa is the real deal. His insights into the iron condor strategy stem from years of trading this approach with big money in various market environments. His experience will benefit both beginning and advanced options traders wanting to enhance their knowledge of perhaps the best strategy in options trading.”

Steve Lentz, DiscoverOptions

 

“Very few books explore a trading strategy in the kind of detail that Benklifa has applied to condors. It’s all here—trade timing, entry and exit rules, volatility effects, selection criteria, adjustments for sharp rallies and declines, and risk management, just to name a few. Unlike most trading books, this one was written by someone who has devoted years of effort to perfecting and trading the strategies illustrated in this book. That simple fact has driven Benklifa to dissect the complex dynamics of the condor trade into enough detail to fill an entire volume. Trading condors without reading this book is like going to war without a gun.”

Jeff Augen, author, Trading Options at Expiration

 

“Too many options books lose clarity in an attempt to explain every strategy for every market condition. Benklifa avoids this pitfall by focusing on one strategy, the iron condor. Benklifa combines his lucid explanation of the iron condor with guidelines of the trading discipline needed to make it successful. The emphasis is upon profit optimization, not profit maximization. Risk and reward are given their due. He does a superb job of reducing the equation to the lowest common denominators—time, price, and implied volatility. The book provides a rock solid foundation for the understanding and application of core trading concepts.”

—Frank Fahey, in the pits for 20 years at the CBOE

 

Right now, real traders are achieving consistent returns every month, through trades that strictly limit market risk. Michael Hanania Benklifa is one of them. In this book, he shares his secret: iron condor options. Benklifa personally manages millions of dollars in condor options trades each month. Now, drawing on his unsurpassed experience, he shows exactly how to run these trades and earn these returns.

 

No abstractions or oversimplifications here! Instead, you’ll find detailed, step-by-step instructions…examples based on real market dynamics...insights into the critical nuances that will dramatically impact your trading results. Benklifa shows how to handle rising and falling volatility, changing bid-ask spreads, distorted call parity, and more. You’ll learn how to earn attractive profits from condor options in sideways markets, rising markets, falling markets, every market!

 

Creating your “zone of profits”

Planning and controlling the source and timing of your profits

 

Understanding the underlying dynamics of condor trades

Uncovering the crucial details that increase profits and reduce market risk

 

When to get in–and when to get out

Mastering patience while avoiding greed

 

Adapting your trade for diverse market environments

Earning consistent profits no matter how the market moves


Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not advance traders Jan. 5 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
easy to read but mainly for beginner very profitable questions and answers for trading Iron Condor
as a Neutreul bias.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile Reading Dec 11 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have been trading Iron Condors for a couple of years. I was trying to make a profit from the quick erosion of the options value in the last month before expiration and I was often getting into trouble. This book showed me that it was possible to make a profit without being in the market for an entire month or more. The author uses his trading rules to trade Millions of dollars worth of IC while staying in the market for as short of time as possible. It is well worth the cost of the book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  64 reviews
70 of 73 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great strategy if you have time to monitor every day March 11 2011
By Big Daddy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Most books on options try to be all things to all people by starting off with a basic education in options and then proceeding to give the basics on many different trades. This book drills deeply into a strategy using condors that is largely rules-based and that gives you good methods for adjusting the trade and preserving capital if the trade isn't working out as planned. It is a fully detailed strategy for profitable condors.

While the book does spend some time on options basics, most of the focus in this area is on "the Greeks." The book rapidly moves into how to put on the trade, when to put on the trade, how much credit you should get for it, when to get out of the trade and how to adjust the trade if necessary. It reminds you that having a plan for exiting a trade is often as important as having a plan for making the trade to begin with.

I waited until I put on a few trades with this approach to see if my opinions would change. So far, my trades using this approach have worked out well.

If I had one minor complaint with the book it is that it should be a little more forceful in its admonitions that, in a single position, you are generally risking $2100 to $2200 to have a maximum profit $300-$400, assuming the position were held until it was closed. Since you're not holding until the close, your typical upside in the trade is more like $100-$150. The point is, if the market moves against you quickly with this trade, you can lose your shirt very quickly. That is a low probability event and the author shows how to mitigate these risks, but that doesn't change the fact that you may occasionally suffer a devastating loss (like with a quick drop in the market and a surge in volatility, both of which can work against you simultaneously). Accordingly, if you can't pay careful attention to the market to manage the position, this would not be the book for you.
61 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Take a ride on a condor! Jan. 31 2011
By D. Michael Elkins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product
The iron condor is basically an option trade that involves selling and buying two out-of-the money calls and two out-of-the money puts in the same month for one stock or index. Actually, you are really putting on two vertical spreads, one on each side of the current price of the stock or index.

The author favors trading the SPX, RUT, and NDX mainly for reasons of liquidity and the fact that as European-style options you do not have to worry about exercise prior to expiration date. Interestingly, the back cover stresses the ability to earn consistent returns very month with "surprisingly modest risk," but the author himself states early in the book that this should not be considered to be an income strategy and then he goes on to stress that there are a lot of risks with this strategy. In fact as he explains, those risks make it imperative that the trader keep a watchful eye on both "wings" of the condor so that adjustments can be made as needed. This is definitely not one of those trades that you can put on and then just check every week or so.

Although many traders who use spreads typically like to leave their trades on for as long as possible in the hopes of keeping most, if not all of the amounts that they were credited when the trade was opening, this author actually recommends against holding trades open for this long. He definitely is more in favor of going for singles rather than home runs. For example, he claims that "the exit strategy that works best is to give back almost all of the credit. If you take in an initial 16% credit and keep only 3%, 4% or 5%, you're giving back most of the potential profits. How many trades have you made that can consistently make profits of 3% in a few days regardless of the direction of the market?" I see his point, but if you are someone who has only previously traded options from the long side, be prepared to change your way of thinking.

Those who have been involved in other types of spreads may already be familiar with much of the material found in the book, but those who have not been involved in selling options or in spread trading of any type will find this book interesting. If you read the book and decide that you're really not that interested in this particular strategy or type of trading, you won't have to waste much of your time since the book can be finished in one sitting.
34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High praise! Feb. 7 2011
By bullseye - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'll give this book on options trading high praise. It's practical, and I have already begun putting the writer's trading philosophy to the test in the markets. Benklifa describes a philosophy and a set of rules or guidelines towards trading iron condors that is quite different from anything I had heard about previously. As I was reading, it kept occurring to me, "this can work..." which was really exciting. An iron condor is a non-directional trade seeking to make money either from a drop in volatility or from a lack of trend, or both. Yet the writer's trading philosophy can be implemented using directional vertical spreads also. For example, a trader could simply sell an out of the money vertical in the direction that the underlying is not expected to move. The "trading journal" in chapter 3 was especially valuable as it fleshed out the writer's thinking as he put trades on and adjusted them. The only part of the book that seemed to deserve more discussion was on adjustment methods. One method that was discussed towards the end of Chapter 3 was rolling farther out, the wing of the condor that is getting too close for comfort as shown by the deltas. However this will usually cost a debit to make the roll, thus reducing the credit on the whole trade, perhaps reducing the credit significantly. One adjustment that was not discussed in the text would be to follow this up by selling another wing in the "safe" direction. Although this adds more risk to the overall trade, it pulls in a credit, and possibly makes the rolling of one wing, farther out, less expensive. Also, there are other adjustments that are not covered in the text. However this book is astoundingly useful and practical. Five stars, and well deserved!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every dime to the tune of $40,000 July 28 2012
By Bobby Davenport - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have nothing but great things to say about this book. The author presents the topic of the iron condor in a way that is clear and easy to understand. He gives a very detailed explanation of the "Greeks" of option trading and gives a strong focus on volatility and how it affects your trades. After reading this book I will NEVER place a trade on RUT or NDX as the author favors only SPX because of the small skew in implied volatility verses historical volatility. The author also puts emphsis on trading the quarter strikes as many of the bigger players are at these levels. This is something I never realized until reading this book and now gives me confidence in my trades since I am at the same levels as the institutional players. After reading this book I literally felt like someone removed blinders from my eyes and I could now see the true power of the iron condor.

This book also provides many case studies which I was able to replicate on my Think or Swim platform that further reinforces the application of the techniques provided. Following the instructions in this book I was able to turn a 12% profit in my first month of trading. With the day trading method I was able to produce a 18% profit in one day with the Amazon earnings trade that occured on 7.26.2012. This equates to over 40,000 in profits in since I first applied his method on 4/10/2012. I also had the chance to actually speak with the Mr. Benklifa before I took these trades and I must say that I was very impressed with his knowledge in this subject as well as being very down to earth and easy to speak with for a person that manages "much more than 10 million dollars". When the book was written this was the amount of money he had under management which I assume has grown quite more than this by now.

The drawbacks I see in this book are that the illustrations are too small in the digital version of the book and you really need a basic foundation of options to understand and follow the flow of this book. Beginners may find this book a little advanced for their tastes.

I urge you to purchase this book and gain a true understanding of the iron condor which will literally install a ATM machine in your office. I would have easily paid 10 times the cost of this book to obtain the golden nuggets found in this book. There is nothing held back on the part of Michael Benklifa about the way he trades iron condors and this book is for sure a WINNER!!!!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crucial Reading April 17 2012
By Ron - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I read Michael Benklifa's "Profiting with Iron Condors" twice.

The book is so dense and robust with practical and meaningful information regarding selling iron condors that I dedicated a second read to fully consume and then harvest all his useful minutia.

I would highlight two areas where this book shines.

Pages ~74-79 which discuss volatility are very important. Selling Iron Condors is a function of Time and Volatility and no other book I have read breaks down Implied Volatility into its mathematical components which give the statistic a more telling meaning. For example, since there are 256 trading days in a year, volatility for one day is IV / 16 (256 / the square root of 256). This nugget alone helps me see, in a probability / statistical sense what a stock may do.

Further, Benklifa's iron rule of closing or buying back the iron condor before expiration is a money-lining strategy. Remember that greed never makes anyone rich - making the right decisions makes one rich- with a little help from Above.

I felt that the last chapter in the book about Daytrading Condors, although not applicable to my trading style, complemented the book's main thrust. In the short time I have been trading, this method has been profitable. When my Iron Condor is bought back before expiration, it feels like I am pulling money out of a very high probability of success" sky!
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