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How the Labouchere Betting System Works

best labouchere betting system guide for us players

The Labouchere betting system is a popular negative progression betting strategy that is associated mainly with roulette. It gained worldwide acclaim after it was featured in a James Bond film, but it has been around since the 17th century.

Also known as the cancellation system or split Martingale, the strategy tries to create a situation where you win more than you lose by following a sequence. Despite being one of the more complex betting systems to track, many players are still interested in the Labouchere system. Find out more about this system below!

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Labouchere Betting System Contents

labouchere strategy explained

What is the Labouchere System?

The Labouchere strategy is a negative progression betting system. This means players follow a sequence to increase their bet size after a loss and decrease it after a win.

The system requires you to make even money bets, which is easy to do in roulette; hence, the strategy’s association with the game. However, it can be used in any game with even money bets and even sports betting.

Unlike the Fibonacci system, you can create your own sequence of numbers. It can be any sequence, but you need to ensure the chain doesn’t lead to a quick bust should things begin to go awry. You aim to use every number in the sequence. The sequence’s total potential profit is all of the numbers added together multiplied by your set betting unit.

Every time you bet, your total wager needs to be equal to the sum of the first and last numbers in the sequence. So, let’s say that you have created a series that goes 2-3-4, and your betting unit is $10; you will need to bet $60.

If you win the wager, you cross off the numbers in the sequence. However, if you lose the bet, add another number at the end of the chain and add the new number to the first number.

So, with the example above, you will need to bet $70 if you lost the previous wager because 5+2 is equal to 7.

You continue like this until you have a single number, after which you bet that amount. When you have crossed off all numbers, you begin the sequence again.
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How the Labouchere Betting System Works

The basic principles of the Labouchere system seem a little complex. If the explanation provided above still has you scratching your head, we have created a more straightforward four-step guide below.

  1. Set a betting unit – set up a betting amount. A unit refers to your minimum bet amount. For example, if your betting unit is set at $10, betting six units means betting $60.
  2. Create a sequence – before you begin your game session, you need to create a sequence you would like to follow. There are many examples available on the internet if you don’t trust in your own knowledge to create a mathematically sound pattern. A critical part of this step is deciding how high your wagers go.
  3. Place your first bet – start the sequence with your first game. Remember that with the Labouchere system, you need to stick to even money bets. For example, red or black on a roulette wheel or other real money outside bets.
  4. Next bet – If you win, you cross off the two numbers in the sequence and bet the next two. However, if you lose, you add another number to the end of the sequence and bet the new combination.
  5. Restart the sequence – if you go on a winning streak and cross off all the numbers on your list, begin the series again.
labouchere system advantages

Advantages of Using the Labouchere Strategy

Some advantages come with using the Labouchere system, including:

  • Bets follow a formulaic structure – many players don’t follow a betting structure, which leads them to make crazy, random bets that leads to going bust quicker. Following a structure means that you know how much you need to bet all the time.
  • Losing streaks more manageable – you don’t double your bet every time you lose, which means you don’t expend as much of your bankroll on losing streaks.
disadvanatges labouchere betting system

Disadvantages of Using the Labouchere System

Here are some issues that come with using the Labouchere system:

  • Bets could reach insane heights on losing streaks – as with many negative progression systems, if you hit a losing streak, you could find yourself betting a lot of money quickly. While you will win a lot of your bankroll back if you suddenly hit a win, there is no guaranteeing you will not go bust before then.
  • It doesn’t affect odds – the Labouchere system is a betting strategy that involves adjusting bet sizes. Unlike strategies like basic strategy in blackjack, it does not reduce odds.
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Should You Use the Labouchere Betting System?

We’ve said this before, and we’ll repeat it; we don’t recommend using strategies with negative progression. Betting more when you’re on a losing streak is a good way to quickly end your gaming session. Even if a single win could earn you a lot. While the Labouchere system will provide structure to your bets, it will not lead to surprise wins.

If you would like to try out the Labouchere system, we suggest you don’t use too much of your bankroll on the experiment. Also, remember that several positive progression betting systems can also provide structure to your bets.

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