Labouchère System: A Comprehensive Guide

Aizat Chew
May 10, 2024
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Labouchère System

The Labouchère system, also known as the cancellation system or split martingale, is a popular gambling strategy primarily used in roulette. This system is named after Henry Labouchère, a British politician, writer, and avid gambler who popularized the system in the late 19th century.

The Labouchère System is a negative progression betting system that involves increasing bets after losses and decreasing bets after wins, with the goal of ultimately achieving a profit equal to the initial desired amount. The system is based on a sequence of numbers, where the player crosses out numbers after each bet, providing a structured approach to betting progression.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of the Labouchère System, exploring its history, mechanics, and practical applications in both online casinos and sports betting. We will also discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using this system and compare it to other popular betting systems.

How the Labouchère System Works

The Labouchère System is a negative progression betting system that involves creating a sequence of numbers and crossing out numbers after each bet. The sum of the first and last numbers in the sequence determines the size of the next bet. If the bet wins, the first and last numbers are crossed out, and the process continues with the remaining numbers. If the bet loses, the amount of the lost bet is added to the end of the sequence. The process continues until all numbers in the sequence have been crossed out, resulting in a profit equal to the sum of the original sequence.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to use the Labouchère system:

  1. Create a sequence of numbers, such as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
  2. Add the first and last numbers in the sequence to determine the bet amount. In this example, the bet would be 6 units (1 + 5).
  3. If the bet wins, cross out the first and last numbers, leaving 2, 3, 4. The next bet would be 6 units (2 + 4).
  4. If the bet loses, add the bet amount to the end of the sequence. The sequence would become 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and the next bet would be 7 units (1 + 6).
  5. Continue this process until all numbers in the sequence have been crossed out, resulting in a profit equal to the sum of the original sequence.

The formula to understand the Labouchère system is as follows:

(y + z) / 2 ≤ x

Where:

x = Number of wins

y = Number of losses

z = Sum of the original sequence

When the formula is satisfied, the player has completed the sequence and made a profit equal to the sum of the original sequence.

For example, if the original sequence is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (sum = 15), and the player has 4 wins and 3 losses, the formula would be:

(3 + 15) / 2 ≤ 4

18 / 2 ≤ 4

9 ≤ 4 (not satisfied)

In this case, the player would need to continue betting until the number of wins is greater than or equal to half the sum of the losses and the original sequence.

Applying the Labouchère System in Online Casinos

The Labouchère System can be effectively applied in online casinos, particularly in games with even-money bets such as roulette, baccarat, and blackjack.

In roulette, the Labouchère System is best applied to even-money bets such as red/black, odd/even, or 1-18/19-36. By focusing on these bets, players can maintain a balanced approach to their betting sequence and minimize the impact of the house edge, which is typically around 2.7% for European roulette and 5.26% for American roulette.

When using the Labouchère System in baccarat, players should focus on the banker or player bets, which have a house edge of 1.06% and 1.24%, respectively. Avoid the tie bet, as it has a significantly higher house edge of 14.36%.

In blackjack, the Labouchère system can be applied by betting on the player’s hand. However, it is crucial to use proper blackjack strategy to reduce the house edge to around 0.5%, depending on the specific rules of the game.

To effectively manage your bankroll while using the Labouchère system in online casinos, consider the following tips:

1. Set a budget for your betting session and stick to it, regardless of whether you are winning or losing.

2. Choose a betting sequence that is appropriate for your bankroll size. A sequence with smaller numbers will result in lower overall bets and less risk.

3. Avoid chasing losses by increasing your bets beyond your predetermined sequence, as this can lead to significant losses.

4. Take breaks between betting sessions to avoid making impulsive decisions and to maintain a clear perspective on your gambling activities.

Using the Labouchère System in Sports Betting

The Labouchère system can be adapted for use in sports betting, providing a structured approach to managing your betting bankroll. When applying the Labouchère system to sports betting, it is important to focus on bets with odds as close to even money as possible, such as point spreads or moneylines in evenly matched contests.

To adapt the Labouchère System for sports betting, follow these steps:

  1. Create a betting sequence, such as 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, based on your bankroll and risk tolerance.
  2. Select a bet with odds close to even money, such as -110 or +100.
  3. Determine your bet size by adding the first and last numbers in your sequence. For example, if your sequence is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, your first bet would be 6 units (1 + 5).
  4. If your bet wins, cross out the first and last numbers in your sequence. Your next bet would be based on the new first and last numbers.
  5. If your bet loses, add the bet amount to the end of your sequence. Your next bet would be based on the new sequence.
  6. Continue this process until all numbers in your sequence have been crossed out, resulting in a profit equal to the sum of the original sequence.

When selecting bets for the Labouchère system in sports betting, consider the following strategies:

  1. Focus on bets with a high probability of success, such as point spreads in evenly matched games or moneylines on strong favorites.
  2. Avoid bets with high odds, such as parlays or long-shot underdogs, as these bets have a lower probability of success and can quickly deplete your bankroll.
  3. Utilize a flat betting approach within the Labouchère System, risking the same percentage of your bankroll on each bet, rather than increasing your bet sizes based on a percentage of your bankroll.

Advantages of the Labouchère System

The Labouchère system offers several advantages for gamblers:

  1. Potential for profit: The Labouchère system is designed to generate a profit equal to the sum of the original betting sequence when the sequence is completed.
  2. Controlled betting progression: The Labouchère system provides a structured approach to increasing and decreasing bet sizes based on wins and losses, helping gamblers maintain a level of control over their betting progression.
  3. Flexibility: The Labouchère system allows gamblers to create custom betting sequences based on their bankroll and risk tolerance, providing flexibility in tailoring the system to their individual preferences.
  4. Applicable to multiple games: The Labouchère system can be used in various casino games, such as roulette, baccarat, and blackjack, as well as in sports betting, making it a versatile betting system.

Disadvantages and Risks

Despite its advantages, the Labouchère System also has several disadvantages and risks:

  1. House edge: The Labouchère System does not overcome the house edge in casino games, which means that the casino maintains a long-term advantage over the player. In roulette, the house edge is 2.7% for European roulette and 5.26% for American roulette.
  2. Potential for large losses: During extended losing streaks, the Labouchère System can lead to significant losses, as the bet sizes increase with each loss. This can result in depleting your bankroll quickly if a losing streak persists.
  3. No guaranteed profits: While the Labouchère System aims to generate a profit equal to the sum of the original betting sequence, there is no guarantee that a gambler will complete the sequence and achieve the desired profit.
  4. Requires discipline: The Labouchère system relies on strict adherence to the betting sequence and rules. Deviating from the system or chasing losses can negate its potential benefits and lead to increased risks.
  5. This system is based on the Gambler’s Fallacy, which is the mistaken belief that if a particular event occurs more frequently than normal during a given period, it will happen less frequently in the future, and vice versa.

Comparison with Other Betting Systems

The Labouchère system is just one of many betting systems used by gamblers. Here’s a comparison of the Labouchère system with three other popular betting systems:

1. Martingale System:

  • The Martingale system involves doubling the bet size after each loss until a win occurs, then returning to the original bet size.
  • Compared to the Labouchère system, the Martingale system has a higher potential for short-term profits but also a higher risk of significant losses due to the rapid increase in bet sizes during losing streaks.
  • The Labouchère system offers more control over the betting progression and potentially lower bet sizes compared to the Martingale system.

2. D’Alembert System:

  • The D’Alembert system involves increasing the bet size by one unit after a loss and decreasing it by one unit after a win.
  • Compared to the Labouchère System, the D’Alembert system has a more gradual betting progression, which may result in smaller losses during losing streaks but also smaller potential profits.
  • The Labouchère system allows for more customization of the betting sequence compared to the fixed progression of the D’Alembert system.

3. Fibonacci System:

  • The Fibonacci system is based on the Fibonacci sequence, where each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, etc.). Bets are increased according to this sequence after losses and decreased by two steps after wins.
  • Compared to the Labouchère System, the Fibonacci system has a more complex betting progression and may be more difficult for some gamblers to follow.
  • The Labouchère System offers more flexibility in creating the betting sequence compared to the fixed Fibonacci sequence.

Labouchère System is also similar to Due Column betting and Oscar’s grind.

What other betting systems are there?

There are many betting strategies and systems, among them the most popular are the Trixie SystemYankee SystemHeinz System. I described them all in separate articles. Just click on one of the links above and read more. You can also learn what Cash Out is in sports betting and what Handicap is.

Author Aizat Chew

My name is Aizat Chew. I specialize in sports betting and frequently share insights on my website regarding gambling companies, wagering strategies, and online casinos. I have prepared a guide to the world of gambling. Thanks to my enthusiasm and expertise, I strive to offer readers up-to-date details and top-notch recommendations.