Reverse Iron Butterfly

Introduction to the Reverse Iron Butterfly

The Reverse Iron Butterfly is a significant strategy in the world of options trading, known for its unique approach to market volatility. This strategy, also referred to as a “long iron butterfly,” involves the combination of bullish and bearish spreads with the aim of profiting from large stock price movements.

Key Takeaways

  • The Reverse Iron Butterfly is used in volatile markets.
  • It involves buying and selling calls and puts.
  • Suitable for uncertain price movement directions.
  • Commissions and fees are higher due to multiple legs.
  • It impacts margin availability.
  • Neither bullish nor bearish, profit is made from large stock movements.

Reverse Iron Butterfly Profit and Loss Diagram

Reverse Iron Butterfly Diagram from IntraAlpha
Reverse Iron Butterfly Diagram from IntraAlpha

Understanding Reverse Iron Butterflies

At its core, the Reverse Iron Butterfly strategy is a combination of four different options contracts: buying and selling both a call and a put. This strategy is designed to be used when a trader expects significant price movement but is unsure of the direction.

Long Reverse Iron Butterfly Trades

Let’s consider an example with XYZ Corp, currently trading at $100. In a Long Reverse Iron Butterfly, a trader might buy a $100 call, sell a $105 call, buy a $100 put, and sell a $95 put, all expiring in 45 days. Suppose the premium collected totals $300, which is a significant portion of the maximum potential loss.

Commissions and Fees with Reverse Iron Butterflies

The Reverse Iron Butterfly can be more expensive in terms of commissions and fees compared to simpler strategies due to the number of legs involved. For our XYZ Corp example, assuming each leg incurs a $1 fee, the total round-trip trade cost would be $8. This cost represents a notable percentage of the total trade value, especially when compared to the collected premium of $300.

Margin Impact of Reverse Iron Butterflies

When trading a Reverse Iron Butterfly with XYZ Corp at $100, the margin requirement is typically the maximum potential loss minus the premium received. This can significantly impact the available margin, reducing a trader’s flexibility for other trades.

Benefits and Risks of Reverse Iron Butterflies

This strategy offers the benefit of profiting from large price swings, regardless of the direction. However, the risks include limited profit potential and the loss of the entire premium in case of minimal price movement.

Proven Tips for Success with Reverse Iron Butterflies

Success in trading Reverse Iron Butterflies involves careful market analysis and timing. Traders should look for periods of anticipated high volatility and have a clear exit strategy to minimize losses.

Real-Life Reverse Iron Butterfly Examples

Returning to our XYZ Corp example, imagine the stock surges to $110 or drops to $90 at expiration. In either scenario, the Reverse Iron Butterfly can yield substantial profits, demonstrating its effectiveness in volatile markets.

When and Why Traders Use Reverse Iron Butterflies

Traders often employ Reverse Iron Butterflies during periods of expected significant market events or earnings reports. The aim is to capitalize on the substantial price movement, irrespective of the direction.

How do Reverse Iron Butterflies Work?

This strategy involves balancing the purchase and sale of calls and puts with the same expiration date but different strike prices, creating a position that profits from large price movements.

Are Reverse Iron Butterflies Risky?

While the Reverse Iron Butterfly can offer substantial profits, its risk lies in the potential to lose the entire premium paid if the stock price remains stable.

Are Reverse Iron Butterflies Bearish or Bullish?

The Reverse Iron Butterfly is neither inherently bearish nor bullish. It is a market-neutral strategy that profits from significant price movements in either direction.


The Reverse Iron Butterfly is a sophisticated options trading strategy best suited for volatile markets. Mastery of this strategy requires understanding its mechanics, benefits, and risks. For further assistance in trading, don’t hesitate to message us on or Discord for more support.

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