Labouchere Betting System Or Cancellation: How It Works

The Labouchere is a system very similar to many other betting methods in which the compromise is to suffer a few significant losses in exchange for a high number of small winnings. The goal of this system is to be able to win a certain number of “units of money” by betting on “even odds,” such as the red-black or even-odd number of Roulette, i.e., bets with a theoretical probability of winning 50% paid in case of winning double the stake (you play 1 $, you win 2 $, you pocket 1 $). It is the player who chooses the value and the number of “units of money” to put into play.

Before going into details, let’s clarify our position regarding the betting systems: in the long term, the casino always has the most favorable odds, no matter what method or trick the player can implement. Even the Labouchere method that we present in this article is no exception, so in case you decide to try to put it into practice, you must be aware that the risk of losing the entire amount played is a situation that could occur concretely.

So let’s see how the Labouchere system works, bearing in mind that we will call the amount of money that the player decides to put at risk as a “bankroll.” In our example, the goal is to win 10 units of money. The number and value of these units are chosen by the player, as well as the amount of the bankroll (the higher they are, the greater the risk):

  • You start by writing on a sheet of paper a line containing ten one (1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1). Each number represents a betting unit. When all the numbers are cleared, the player will have won 10 units.
  • For each bet, you must bet the sum of the leftmost and rightmost numbers. If there is only one number left, you must bet the sum of that number with zero.
  • If you won, delete both numbers left and right from the row.
  • If you have lost, add the sum of the two numbers to the right of the lines.
  • If your bankroll isn’t high enough to cover the sum of the two numbers on the left and right of the row, do the following: if your bankroll can cover the value of the left number, bet this way. If you win, remove the left number; if you lose, add the number of lost units to the first number. If, on the other hand, your bankroll does not cover the value of the number on the left, you bet all that is left. If you win, subtract the number of betting units from the leftmost number. If you lost, you ran out of money.
  • Repeat steps 2 through 5 until you have cleared all the numbers (in this case, you have won 10 units) or run out of bankroll.