I know the option you sell helps finance the one you bought, but you are also giving up a large chunk of your upside. Doing these w/ a week or two left has time value working vigorously against you. Doing them further out you get a pretty flat risk curve, so the delta is pretty low. Why would you leverage yourself and then un-leverage yourself? And giving up so much of your upside on a long-term trade seems almost criminal. You can look for implied vol. skew, but isn't that kind of like having the tail wag the dog? And a lot of times the vols are skewed for a good reason that has to do with the real world and not math. Sorry, but these seems like a way to stay flat or slowly go broke. My feelings are: 1) Use options to hedge assets already owned 2) Buy them un-hedged if you're a good directional trader (some trades will lose completely, but your big winners should more than over come the losers and break-evens) 3) Use calendar spreads for implied vol. trades. But placing hedged option directional trades seems counter intuitive in a number of ways. Do you agree? Do you guys use vertical spreads? Do you like them? Am I wrong?