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Betting with the Labouchere System

If you are looking for a basic progressive gambling system, the Labouchere system won’t help you much because of its complexity and the fact that you need a lot of time to become familiar with it. Even though it’s considered to be a difficult system to grasp, many gamblers still use it.

The Labouchere system is also called the Cancelation System, Split Martingale, and American Progression. It relies on betting bigger stakes when losing a bet, which makes it a negative progression. The main concept is recovering the money you lose by making smaller wins.

It has a lot of similarities to the Martingale system; however, instead of trying to recover the losses with a single big win, it relies on a couple of smaller wins.

Below you will find information on how to apply this betting system and will it help you increase your profit.

How to use the Labouchere system

The inventor of this system was the roulette player Henry Labouchere, so it was created for those who played roulette, but can be applied to blackjack, baccarat and even sports betting.

what is the principle of betting via the labouchere systemFirst, begin by writing a sequence of numbers which can be anything you like, but we’ll explain later why it is important to think before choosing. For now, let’s just go with the standard 1-2-3.

The sum of all numbers represents the potential profit of this system, and in our case, it’s 6. Every time you make a wager, your stake should equal the sum of the first and the last number of the sequence, so our stake is 4 (1+3).

When you win a bet, you strike out the first and the last number of the sequence. When you lose, you add the stake you wagered, in our case the sequence would look like 1-2-3-4.

These rules apply for each bet you make – if you win, remove the first and last number, if you lose, add them together and write the result at the end of the sequence. That doesn’t apply if you have one number left. In that case, you just have to bet that amount, and if you win, you start again with the original numbers. In our example with the 1-2-3 sequence, you only need to win twice for the sequence to end.

The labouchere system may look fairly simple so far, but when you lose a couple of bets, things get trickier.

First Example

Let’s say you lose the bet with a stake of 4, and then the sequence would look like 1-2-3-4. If you win the next wager with a stake of 5 (1+4), the first and last number are gone.

You are now left with 2-3, so the stake is 5 again. If you lose, you add the 5 at the end, and it becomes 2-3-5.

is the use of the labouchere betting system effective

The next stake is 7, if it wins, the only number is left in the sequence is 3, as you would have to cross out 2 and 5. If you win your bet with a stake of 3, the sequence is over, and you made a profit of 6 (lost 9 and won 15).

Second Example

  • Stake = $4 (1+3), lose. Sequence = 1-2-3-4
  • Stake = $5 (1+4), lose. Sequence 1-2-3-4-5
  • Stake = $6 (1+5), win. Sequence 2-3-4
  • Stake = Bet $6 (2+4), lose. Sequence 2-3-4-6
  • Stake = Bet $8 (2+6), lose. Sequence 2-3-4-6-8
  • Stake = Bet $10 (2+8), win. Sequence 3-4-6
  • Stake = Bet $9 (3+6), win. Sequence 4
  • Stake = Bet $4, lose. Sequence 4-4
  • Stake = Bet $8 (4+4), win. Sequence = no numbers left.

who is the inventor of the labouchere systemIn this hypothetical scenario, you made 9 bets, won 4 and lost 5. If you look at the balance, you won 33 and lost 27, making a 6 profit in the end, even though you had more losing bets than winning ones.

That’s what this system for betting is all about. If you win fewer bets than you lose, the stake of the winning bets will be bigger. So in theory, you should still come out of this with a profit.

The Labouchere system may seem complicated at first, but you just need to get familiar with it. It’s also extremely flexible because you can make adjustments to the risk levels, for example, if you decide to start with a longer sequence, the potential profit can be much bigger.

Unfortunately, if you enter a losing streak, the stakes will become high very quickly. You can add a safety layer by including a couple of zeros to your sequence.

Our Verdict

Many people think that the labouchere system is a successful one, mainly because you can still profit if you have more losing bets than winning ones. That is true, but you have to avoid long losing streaks, which is extremely hard to do, especially if you play for a long amount of time.

Each time you lose, the stake gets bigger, so in theory there comes a moment when it just gets too high for your bankroll, and you won’t be able to make a bet. When you reach this point, it’s very likely that you would have lost all the money you previously won, and probably even more than that.

how do you calculate odds at the labouchere systemThis system is very tempting because punters think that they will never reach this point where they don’t have enough funds to make the bet. When the roulette wheel lands on red a couple of times in a row, then people often think that it’s time for the black colour to appear. That’s a false misconception, because the chance of it landing on red is the same, and the wheel doesn’t remember what happened in the past. That way many gamblers can easily go into a downward spiral and lose a lot of money.

We think that the Labouchere isn’t a reliable system, mainly because you are very likely to reach a losing streak from which you can’t get out, and lose all your money.

Of course, there is always a chance that you will get lucky, and that’s the biggest temptation for many gamblers. If you can control yourself and not let the stakes go too high, then by all means have fun with it, but you will have to hope that the losing streaks aren’t too long for your bankroll to handle.