How many credit spreads are opened for a certain dollar amount of maintenance held by the broker?

Question:  Can you tell me a rule of thumb as to how many option contracts is open per dollar per trade?  I”m trying to figure out for an accounts size of X, how many options contracts will be open for each trade. This will also help me understand how much commission I will be paying.

Answer:  We open credit spreads and iron condors on the SPY, RUT, IWM, NDX and MNX.

We open 10 point wide spreads on the NDX and RUT.  Thus, the broker will hold $1000 of maintenance for each NDX or RUT spread
We open 5 point wide spreads on the MNX.  The broker will hold $500 of maintenance for each MNX spread.
We open 2 point wide spreads on the SPY and IWM.  The broker will hold $200 of maintenance for each SPY or IWM spread

We open 5 spreads per month that take the cash.  (we actually open 10 spreads per month, but the first 5 take the cash and the final 5 complete the iron condors and don’t require any additional maintenance).  As an example, if you were to set your autotrade rule to $4000, you would be trading $20,000 for the month.  Let’s say that the first order that we send in is on the RUT; in this case you would get quantity 4 of the RUT spread.

Let’s say that the next trade we send in is a credit spread on the MNX; for this trade you would get quantity 8 of the MNX spread.

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