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Labouchere betting system for roulette: A beginner’s guide

Profile Picture: Simon Young

September 8th, 2020

The Labouchere strategy is as difficult to grasp as it is to spell. It seems illogical at first, too. Much like the name, which sounds French, but is actually named after a Brit.

But let’s not get too cynical about a betting system that, once you understand the basics, is straightforward enough to use. And that’s why it is one of the most common strategies in play at the roulette tables.

What is the Labouchere system?

Designed to work with 50/50 bets, like red or black, or odd or even on roulette, the Labouchere system is a progressive betting strategy, meaning that when you lose a bet, your next one will be bigger.

And it all begins with a random series of numbers that you should write down. You should keep these numbers relatively low at first, for reasons that will soon become apparent.

Let’s choose a sequence of 1-2-3-4-5. Your sequence can be longer or shorter if you wish.

The first bet we make is the sum of the far-left number together with the far-right number. In this case, the bet will be $6 (1+5).

If we win the bet, then we remove those two outer numbers and play again. Our remaining numbers are 2-3-4, so our bet will be $6 again (2+4).

If we win again, we remove the 2 and 4 and are left with 3, which becomes are next bet. If we win that, we finish, having pocketed $15 profit.

But it’s unlikely we will win every hand.

Let’s start the sequence again, but look at what happens when we lose a round.

We have 1-2-3-4-5 and bet the first wager of $6. Unfortunately, we lose. When this happens, we add a new number to the right of the sequence, and that number should be the total of the previous bet, which in this instance was 6.

Now our sequence is 1-2-3-4-5-6, and so our next bet must be $7 (1+6). Let’s assume we win the second bet, so remove the outer two numbers, leaving us with 2-3-4-5, meaning our third bet is $7 (2+5).

You keep playing in this fashion, adding or taking away numbers from your sequence as you win or lose your even money bets. And you keep going until all your sequence numbers are gone.

Hopefully, by now, you have a good idea of how the Labouchere system for roulette works. Perhaps it’s not that difficult, after all?

But hang on. It can’t be that easy to win with the Labouchere strategy, surely? If it were, we’d all be millionaires thanks to BetAmerica Casino.

The problem with the Labouchere betting system

You have spotted the flaw in this (and any other) betting strategy. You cannot be guaranteed to win. In theory, you could be a nailed-on certainty – but only if you had deep enough pockets.

Because after a losing bet, you must add a number to the sequence, one that is higher than the previous bet, your stakes will increase every round you lose. Soon, on a losing run, those stakes will become too high for most, and they have to give up, cursing a British man with a funny French name.

Maybe, however, you do have super deep pockets and can afford to ride an unlikely run of bad luck. Unfortunately, you will run into another problem. Every casino table, whether it be in a live casino or an online casino, will have stake limits. If you lose hand after hand, you might soon butt against that limit and be unable to raise your stakes. In which case, you break the system sequence and cannot return a profit if you win the next hand.

Beware the gambler’s fallacy

Betting repeatedly on 50/50 bets requires some common sense. You must avoid the gambler’s fallacy, which is that in a game of heads and tails, if there are three heads in a row, then there is a considerably higher probability that the next will be tails. The truth is the next flip of the coin is always 50/50, as previous flips can in no way influence what happens next.

The same is true in roulette. Just because the last three numbers have been black, it doesn’t mean the next one is likely to be red.

So, when you come to place your even money bets, it doesn’t matter if it’s red or black, or odd or even – just stick with the Labouchere betting system.

Try the Labouchere strategy for yourself

Although it's tailor-made for roulette, you can also use the Labouchere betting on any game that offers 50/50 bets, like baccarat or blackjack.

You can try the system for yourself by playing at BetAmerica Casino. Happily, you can test the Labouchere system with play money at first, but really, where’s the fun in that? Make a real money deposit, making sure to claim your new player welcome bonus, and see if you can make a profit with Labouchere.

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