If you’re looking for a nice and easy system to guide your betting pattern, the Labouchere isn’t for you. However, despite being one of the more complex betting strategies, it remains quite popular amongst gamblers.
The Labouchere betting system is also known as the Cancellation System, the Split Martingale or American Progression. It’s a negative progression system, much like the Martingale system. This simply means you increase your stakes following a losing bet. The aim here is to recoup your previous losses. Where the Martingale system aims to do this with one single win, the Labouchere system recovers your losses with a number of wins. Let’s delve deeper and find out if this system is worth giving a go.
How the Labouchere system works
To begin, you should probably grab a pen and paper. Trying to keep track of this system in your head is no easy feat. It was designed to be used on even money outside bets such as red or black at the roulette table, but can also be used when playing blackjack or placing even money sports bets.
Here’s how to use the Labouchere system at the roulette table:
|On your paper, write down how much you want to win from the session spread across how many wagers you would like to take to achieve this. In this instance, let’s say you want to win $15 from 5 wagers. You would consequently write down this sequence||2 – 3 – 5 – 3 – 2|
|From the sequence of numbers, take those on either end and add them together – this will give you the amount you are required to bet.||2 + 2 = 4|
|If your bet wins, cross those numbers off from the sequence.||2 – 3 – 5 – 3 – 2|
|This win would give you the following sequence.||3 – 5 – 3|
|Repeat the process by adding the end numbers together.||3 + 3 = 6|
|Let’s say your next bet loses. The Labouchere system would require you to now add that number to the right end of your number sequence.||3 – 5 – 3 – 6|
|Continue the same process of adding the two end numbers to work out how much you need to bet. The system ends when you eventually remove all the numbers.||3 + 6 = 9|
That’s pretty much all there is to the Labouchere system. While it might seem a little complicated at first, once you’ve got the hang of it, it should be fairly straightforward. If you follow the sequence carefully and manage to remove all the numbers, you’ll make a profit equal to the total value of your original number sequence. The great thing about this system is that you can achieve this even after losing more bets than you’ve won, due to the negative progression rules.
Does the Labouchere system work?
A clear advantage of using the Labouchere strategy is that you don’t need to win on every bet to meet your target number. In fact, you can lose more bets than you win and still come out with a profit. This gives players a confidence boost – placing even money bets means you’d expect to win just about as frequently as you lose. If it’s your lucky day you could be onto a winner with this strategy.
Additionally, like all other betting systems, the Labouchere strategy provides players with an accurate way to determine and manage stake sizes. You’ll know exactly how much to wager each time you bet, whether you’re spinning the roulette wheel or playing a game of blackjack. This organization means if you follow the sequence to its conclusion, you could walk away with exactly as much as you initially wanted.
There are downsides to every betting strategy and the Labouchere is no exception. Whilst negative progression systems are designed to recoup any losses by winning with a larger stake, you’re never guaranteed to win eventually. It’s entirely possible that you could go on an extended losing streak. If you don’t have a bankroll that can sustain this run, you could end up losing a large amount of money.
This means that the Labouchere system isn’t practical for players with a small bankroll. So if you’re a novice or simply a player who doesn’t fancy breaking the bank, it’s probably best to steer clear of the Labouchere system.
Much like any other betting system, the Labouchere is flawed. While it’s great that you can lose more bets than you win and still manage to come out with a profit, the possibility of decimating your bankroll due to a long losing streak is too great to ignore. Sure you might get lucky a few times, but you’re likely to end up losing to the house eventually – the house edge is unavoidable, especially over longer periods of play. If you’re prepared to deal with the consequences of a long losing streak when using the Labouchere system, it can be a fun strategy to guide your betting pattern.
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Can you use the Labouchere betting system on any other games?
For sure! You are not restricted to roulette with this betting system. It can also be applied to even-money bets in craps – such as pass/don’t pass the line. It also works with blackjack and baccarat as well as sports betting.
Can you use zeros in the sequence of numbers?
Yes, you can. In fact, many players do this to even out the wagering. It’s a good system due to its flexibility.
What happens if I bet the wrong amount?
It will just mean that the cancellation won’t return to zero at the end (when all the numbers are crossed off). So if you were meant to bet $15 but only bet $12, your figures would be wrong by $3 at the end.