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The Labouchere System

The Labouchere system is slightly more complicated than our other gambling systems, but we will do our best to explain it on this page. The Labouchere system is a "negative progression system", meaning that you increase your bet when you lose and chase your losses until you recoup them (similar to the Martingale). The system requires a big bankroll, and can lead to some enormous losses if you have really bad luck. Let's get into it...

How to Use the Labouchere System

To use the Labouchere system, you have to decide on a bet increment and a set of numbers. Most bettors use 1-2-3-4-5-6 for their set of numbers, as it keeps the system as simple as possible. For the rest of this article we're going to assume your bet increment is $10, and that you have a bankroll large enough to handle this.

To use the system you need to find an even money bet such as red/black at the roulette table or the pass line at the craps table. Once you have decided on a bet increment and your type of bet, you can start to use your set of numbers.

Every time you make a bet, it is going to be the first and last number in your sequence added together, and multiplied by your bet increment. In the example above, your first bet would be $70 because you would add the 1 and 6 together, then multiply by $10.

Whenever you win a bet you cross off the numbers you used and then bet the outside numbers again. Whenever you lose a bet you don't cross off any numbers; instead you add your previous bet's number to the end of the line. For example, if you lost your first bet in the situation above, your new line would be 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 and you would bet the 1 and 7.

If your bankroll is big enough you will eventually win enough hands to cross off the entire set of numbers, leaving you with a profit and allowing you to start the sequence over again.

Example of the Labouchere System

If you still do not understand the Labouchere system, check out this example session to get a better grasp on the concept:

Spin Original Line Bet Size Result New Line Net Win/Loss
First 1-2-3-4-5-6 $70 Win 2-3-4-5 $70
Second 2-3-4-5 $70 Lose 2-3-4-5-7 $0
Third 2-3-4-5-7 $90 Lose 2-3-4-5-7-9 -$90
Fourth 2-3-4-5-7-9 $110 Win 3-4-5-7 $20
Fifth 3-4-5-7 $100 Lose 3-4-5-10 -$80
Sixth 3-4-5-7-10 $130 Win 4-5-7 $50
Seventh 4-5-7 $110 Lose 4-5-7-10 -$60
Eighth 4-5-7-10 $140 Win 5-7 $80
Ninth 5-7 $120 Win n/a $200

As you can see, at the end of the sequence you have won $200 total. That sounds great, but often times you won't have enough money to cover the larger bets ($140 in this sequence while being down $60 overall), and once in a while you will suffer such a long losing streak that you will go broke.

Problems with Labouchere Betting

The Labouchere sounds like a certain winner, but there are a few problems that cause it to be a certain loser in the long run.

Table Limits

The real issue with the Labouchere system is that when you have a long losing streak, you will run into the table limits. Most casino tables have limits such as $5-$100 per game. In the example above, after a few losses you would need to bet more than $100 which would be impossible without switching tables.

Casinos have caught on to betting schemes like his, and crafted the table limits to ensure that players cannot successfully run the Labouchere or the Martingale in the long run.

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