Labouchère Strategy in Roulette

Labouchère Roulette Strategy

The Labouchère system, also called the cancellation system or the Martingale division system (split martingale), has been around for a long time and applies not only to roulette or other games of chance, but also to the stock market. The rules state that the size of the bet is determined according to a list previously made by the player. This list of numbers will be altered during gameplay and the bets should be made on simple odds that have a 1:1 payout.

How the Labouchère System Works

It should be noted that not all casinos allow their visitors to take notes at the table. It may therefore be easier to visit online casinos, who do not have these limitations, to play at their virtual roulette tables or at the live roulette tables with live dealers.

The Labouchère system is designed to work with bets that have an even chance (1:1) of winning. This means that you can place your bets on the odd/even, red/black, low/high bettings areas of the roulette table.

Before starting the game, the player must randomly choose 4-6 digits and use them to create a list. The bet is determined by adding together the first and last number on the list. If the bet wins, these two numbers are crossed off the list and the next bet is the sum of the new first and last numbers or the only number remaining in the series.

If the bet is lost, the amount of the bet is entered at the end of the list and the next bet is the sum of the first and last number (which is the amount of the previous bet) on the list. In this way, the game cycle with the Labouchère system continues until all the numbers on the list have been crossed out or the player's bankroll is empty.

Let's analyze an example of a game according to the Labouchère system. The player has a bankroll of 100 and a list of six figures: 10, 20, 30, 10, 20, 10 (which total 100).

Let's say that the player bets on red every time, although the Labouchère system does not require that you always bet on the same area of the roulette table. Only the result of the roll, whether positive or negative, can influence the modification of the list and the size of the bets, so the player can freely choose where to place their bet every round.

Labouchère Betting Strategy

The first bet, according to the rules of the system, must be equal to the sum of the first and last number of the list, therefore, 10 + 10 = 20. The following table shows the game process in roulette according to the Labouchère system:

ROUND BET RESULT BALANCE NUMBERS LEFT
1 10+10=20 Win 20 +20 20, 30, 10, 20
2 20+20=40 Win 40 +60 30, 10
3 30+10=40 Lose 40 +20 30, 10, 40
4 30+40=70 Lose 70 -50 30, 10, 40, 70
5 70+30=100 Win 100 +50 10, 40
6 10+40=50 Lose 50 0 10, 40, 50
7 10+50=60 Win 60 +60 40
8 40 Win 40 +100 None

When the player manages to cross out all the numbers on the list, they should have doubled their initial balance and can stop the game with a positive balance. Although they can also make another list and start a new game.

If a series of losing rounds occurs, the size of the bets grows progressively, so there is a possibility that the bet demanded by the Labouchère system does not suit the player's balance or, less frequently, the table limits established by the casino.

Suppose that the game started with the same conditions described in the previous table (an initial bank of 100 and the numbers 10, 20, 30, 10, 20 and 10), but the player has suffered a series of unfortunate rounds:

ROUND BET RESULT BALANCE NUMBERS LEFT
1 10+10=20 Lose 20 -20 10, 20, 30, 10, 20, 10, 20
2 10+20=30 Lose 30 -50 10, 20, 30, 10, 20, 10, 20, 30
3 30+10=40 Lose 40 -90 10, 20, 30, 10, 20, 10, 20, 30, 40

Obviously, already on the fourth roll the player would not have enough money in their bankroll (only 10 left) for the next bet that should be 50 (10 + 40) according to the rules of the system. Suppose, that the player decides to add the necessary sum to the bankroll and continue with the game according to the rules of the Labouchère system:

ROUND BET RESULT BALANCE NUMBERS LEFT
4 10+40=50 Lose 50 -140 10, 20, 30, 10, 20, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50
5 10+50=60 Lose 60 -200 10, 20, 30, 10, 20, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60
6 10+60=70 Lose 70 -270 10, 20, 30, 10, 20, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70
7 10+70=80 Lose 80 -350 10, 20, 30, 10, 20, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80
8 10+80=90 Lose 90 -440 10, 20, 30, 10, 20, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90

As we can see, with the Labouchère system the chances of hitting the maximum bet on the table are quite low. Bearing in mind that in most casinos the normal betting range for simple odds is between 10 and 200, it would be necessary to support 19 unsuccessful rolls to reach the maximum established, which very rarely happens in a real game.

However, the previous example shows that the game according to the Labouchère system presupposes a progressive growth of the bets that turns out to be very sensitive to small bankrolls. For this reason, the Labouchère system is usually recommended for the more experienced roulette players.

There is also the Reverse Labouchère system that applies the opposite principle of modification of the bets. If there is a win, the player adds the amount of the successful bet to the end of the list, and if they lose, they cross the first and last number off the list.

In this way, in the Reverse Labouchère system, the size of the bet decreases in the case of one or more consecutive lost rolls, which makes it a more suitable strategy for players who are new to roulette.

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