Examining the Labouchere Betting System

Labouchere Betting System Logo

Continuing our look at betting systems, this week we are looking at the Labouchere betting system. This is often known as either the Cancellation System or the Split Martingale. Today, you’ll learn the basics of this betting system and how to use it when playing online casino games like blackjack or roulette.

What is the Labouchere Betting System

The Labouchere Betting System is a negative progression system that is similar to the Martingale. The big difference is that the system is a bit less risky. There is a couple of different ways you can use this system and we will show you both ways.

The system is quite easy to use as all you need is a piece of paper and a pencil to get started. Let’s look at the simplest way to use this system. Let’s assume you’re looking to play online roulette and willing to risk $50. You want to double your money. The Labouchere system can help you attempt this.

Labouchere Betting System

First, let’s divide your $50 stake into wager units. Let’s assume the minimum wager is $5. This gives you ten units. Write down tens 1s on the piece of paper. This is your betting string. To start using the system, add the first number and the last number in the string together. For your first bet, you’re wagering two units. Let’s assume you win this bet. You can now cross the first and last number off the string.

For your next bet, add the first and last number for the remaining numbers. Again, you’re betting 2. This time you lose. Write down a 2 at the end of the string to represent the wager you lost. For the next bet, you will add the first and last numbers on the string. In this case, you’ll bet 3 units.

You will continue this system until you are able to cross off all of the numbers on your string or you run out of money. Let’s look at another way this system works.

Alternative Method of System

The other way you can use the Labouchere system is by deciding on how much profit you are looking to make in the game. Let’s say you want to make a 20 unit profit in blackjack ($100). You will then make a string with bet units that will equal 20 units. Note that the string does not need to be 10 numbers long. You can use a 7 digit string.

In this case, you can use the string 2-3-3-3-3-3-3. For your first bet, you will bet 5 units. If you win, cross the end numbers off and this leaves you with all three unit bets. Your next bet will be 6 units. If you lose the next bet, add the 6 to the end of the current string. This will make your next bet a 9 unit bet.

Advantages of Using the Labouchere System

As you can see from the above examples, there are a couple of distinct advantages to using the Labouchere system. The first is that you have a set goal in mind for your system. You’re looking to eliminate the string of numbers. If you eliminate the string, your session is successful.

Next, you have a bit more control over how much you are wagering. You can adjust how much you want to risk or how much you wish to win to allow for less variance. The same can be done for the numbers on the string. The first example of all single unit bets looks less intimidating than the doubling nature of the Martingale.

Disadvantages of Using the Labouchere System

The biggest disadvantage of using the Labouchere system is when you run into losing steaks. You’re adding the losing number to the end of the string, and after a few bets, that can significantly increase the number of units you’re betting.

Granted, you will not constantly double your bets like in the Martingale. A flat unit wagering string will not be as crippling to a bankroll as a variable one. Regardless of the system, extended losing streaks can be costly.

Stake Method a Bit Better Than Profit Method

When using this method, the stake method will be a bit less swingy over the long term. That’s because you can flatten the number of units wagered in the string. You can do the same using the profit method, but it may require you to use a longer string or to go for a smaller profit.

Overall, a long losing streak in this method can be just as costly as other systems. However, over the long-term, you’ll lose a bit less with this system than you will with the Martingale.