Labouchere Roulette Strategy
  • Roulette Strategy Labouchere

Labouchere Roulette Strategy

Learn how to use the Labouchere Roulette betting system (sometimes referred to as cancellation system or split Martingale) successfully.

The basic idea of the Labouchere betting system is to use a series of arbitrary numbers (any figures in any order) to determine the betting amount following a win or a loss. This strategy sometimes is also refered to as the 'Cancellation' system. In its simplest form you write down a set of numbers, for example 1 2 3 4 5 6 (the series can be short or long and not necessarily sequential). These numbers represent the amount in units or chips to bet. The choice of a particular series depends on the type of game you want to apply it to and the odds of the bet.

How to play with the Labouchere system?

The sum of the two outside numbers is the amount for your next bet. In this example 1 and 6, which totals 7 units.
If you win, you cross out the two numbers and proceed to use the shorter line by betting the sum of the next two outside numbers. In this instance 2 and 5 = 7.
If you lose this time, then you add that number 7 from your previous bet to the end of the series. Your next bet would be 9 units (2 + 7).
If you win again you bet on the next two remaining outside numbers 3 and 4.
If you win this bet you bet on the remaining last number, in this case 4.
If you win that too, you would have made a 'coup' or completed one game.

Then you start all over again.

If you work it out, you will see that when the series is completed or when you make a 'coup', there is always a profit. The negative side of this system is that you could end up betting large sums of money even if your initial bet is small.

Finishing such a sequence actually can be quite satisfying and fun, especially when there has been quite a struggle back and forth. It adds a further element of fun to your roulette game.

Things to keep in mind when designing your own Labouchere Line

1. Lenght of line and size of numbers

Provided you win every single bet, then the sum of the line is the amount of money you profit when you finish it. In our example of 1 2 3 4 5 6 you profit would be 21 units.

The more bets you lose within a given line, the longer you have to play and the more you have to wager, hence the bigger the profit in the end (if you can sustain enough bets).

When working out the balance you need to bear in mind that a shorter line with large numbers is quicker to finish (since you only need a relatively small winning streak), but requires you to wager larger bets. Let's say you are playing for a profit of 19 units. A short line might look like this:

5 + 10 + 4 = 19

A long line with small numbers, however, will take a longer time to finish, but your bets will be smaller too. This line might look like this:

1 + 3 + 2 + 3 + 2 + 1 + 2 + 5 = 19

So you need to come up with your own balance of line length and size of numbers against how much profit you want to aim for.

2. Minimum bets and table limits

Before designing your Labouchere line you need to familiarize yourself with the table limits (minimum and maximum bet allowed at a gaming table). You need to account for the attempts it may take to actually finish a line, as you don't want to hit the table limit before that.

Therefore, when deciding on a Labouchere line try to make the numbers not too big, as the sum of the outside numbers must not exceed the table limit. For example, the following Labouchere line would exceed a table limit of $1000 after your first wager already.

1st bet (Win): 200 + 100 = 300 --> below table limit
2nd bet: 750 + 450 = 1200 --> above table limit
3. Splitting the Labouchere Line

If you are playing an aggressive Labouchere line (where your bets are higher) then it can prove very useful to know how to split your line. You may either choose to do this to reduce the size of your bets (you may not want to finish your line and quit earlier, but are waiting for a winning bet and spread the risk) or you might have a long streak of losing bets getting you closer to the table limit every time you lose. This not only makes your Labouchere line longer, but also increases your next bet more than you may have anticipated. Hence, you are bound to reach the table limit at some point and would not be able to continue this line.

These big numbers are only used to demonstrate the splitting technique in conjunction with reaching the table limit. In real life you probably would use smaller amounts.

Splitting the Labouchere line simply means to break a number, preferably a big one, into a sub-line and then working on that line before moving back to the original line.

So, instead of the next bet being 1200 units ( 750 + 450, from the main line) you only need to bet 250 units ( 50 + 200, from the sub-line). The next bet would be 300 (100 + 200) and so on. Once you finish the sub-line you can cross out the corresponding number in the main line.

Now that you are back to the main line, all you are left to do is place a bet of 750 units (300 + 450), unless you decide to split the line again. In this case the sub-line would only need to total either 300 or 450 units, depending on what number you choose. If you find yourself on a freak bad run the Labouchere sub-line technique is something to keep in mind, as you can create sub-lines to sub-lines. You can also continue your Labouchere lines over multi sessions, this will help you stay below the table limit and also help control the bet amounts to a level you are comfortable at.

Unlike the Martingale strategy the Labouchere System does not require you to risk your stake as quickly with dramatic double ups. In this respect the Labouchere is a much more flexible progression betting system. There is much room to design your initial line to your own playing preferences.

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