Labouchere System: A Complete Strategy Guide

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Published: May 21, 2024

The Labouchere system is an extremely popular gambling strategy that is used by players worldwide and seen as a way to improve their betting fortunes.

Also known as the Cancellation System, or the Split Martingale, Labouchere is classed as a negative progression betting system and is commonly used in roulette and blackjack. This makes it comparable to the famous Martingale betting system and, in simple terms, you use a a sequence of numbers to try and gain a profit.

There is clearly much more to the tactic, though, so keep reading our complete Labouchere system guide to help you better comprehend it and see if it worth applying to your future games.

Labouchere system explained

How Does the Labouchere Betting System Work?

The Labouchere system is named after Henry Labouchere (1831 – 1912), a highly passionate roulette player. Primarily designed for roulette, and particularly for even-money outside bets such as red or black and odd or even, it can also be used for even-money propositions on other casino games such as blackjack and baccarat. Away from the casino, it can even be utilized for sports betting.

Using the Labouchere system requires patience, time, and self-control. Follow your plan closely, or else you may end up with an approach that does not suit you.

The first move in this strategy is forming a number sequence – let’s take a look at this in greater detail.

The Sequence

Central to the Labouchere betting system lies a customizable sequence of numbers, which can vary according to personal preference. The potential profit for each cycle of the system is equivalent to the sum of the numbers within the sequence, provided that the odds of every outcome you bet on are 1:1.

Let’s say, for example, that your sequence is 1-2-3-4-5-6-7.

To use the Labouchere strategy:

  1. Bet the total of the last and first numbers in the sequence. In our example, that would be 8.
  2. As you win a bet, you can cross off the last and first numbers and keep the rest of the numbers. In case there aren’t any, the cycle has come to an end, and you can start over or go home.
  3. If you lose a bet, add the previous total to end the sequence and continue.

In principle, the Labouchere strategy is simple to understand, bit in our experience it takes quite a few tries to truly get the hang of it. As with most things, practice will see you get quicker.

The Flexibility of the Labouchere Betting System

The Labouchere system offers excellent flexibility due to its adaptability to any sequence of numbers. Users can tailor it to their desired duration of play or preferred wager amount, making it a hugely popular option.

For extended gameplay, opting for a longer sequence like 1-2-3-4-5-6 would be suitable. Similarly, if you’re inclined to wager more, a sequence such as 10-20-30 might be preferred.

It’s prudent to test out a sequence on paper before employing it in real betting scenarios. Repeatedly flipping a coin to generate various result strings allows you to assess how your chosen sequence performs in different scenarios. Based on this experimentation, adjustments can be made to better align with your bankroll or desired cycle duration. There are also free tools and apps online that can speed things up and help with your calculations.

Good Things about the Labouchere System

The Labouchere system offers a sense of organisation and satisfaction as long as you adhere to its structure without errors. 

If you maintain a balance of wins and losses while correctly following the sequence, you could end up with a profit.

Unlike the Martingale, which often bets double the previous amount if they lose a round, the Labouchere ‘s tactic is not so extreme

Problems with the Labouchere System

It becomes progressively tougher to maintain your pace, and in order to eliminate all numbers in your round, you will likely need to hit a long winning streak.

With roulette, a major obstacle is the house edge, which is part of the calculable odds of the roulette, which are always against the player

Despite being a well-known system, ultimately success – or not – does come down to luck 

How to Set Up Your Labouchere System

The Labouchere betting system commences with specifying the goal profit amount to be earned and then constructing a sequence of numbers that adds up to the target figure. Likewise, the “1-2-4-5-8” sequence could be used to show your minimum and maximum bet amounts—in this case, they turn out to be $20.

Having already written down the numbers, you bet the sum of the numbers, being the one on the first and last positions. Here, this gives us the most straightforward instance of addition: 1 + 8 = 9, where the number 9 is obtained as the sum. If your betting wins, then you also remove the first and last numbers from your guiding place. Another thing is that even if you lose the bet, the amount lost is accrued from future bets.

Should you be a loser in the level 9 bet, then append the number 9 to the number sequence after this. Here, as a result of finishing the sequence, the following one will be formed: “1-2-4-5-8-9-10”. The sum of the outer numbers is going to be equal to 1+4, which is 10. When you win the bet, the value of the first number and the end number is subtracted from the list; for the sake of simplicity, let’s say that you get it right. After that, when you misread it, you add 10 to the row, hence “1-2-4-5-8-9-10”. Equivalently, the next bet of zero after success is equal to the sum of the ratio of numbers from the outside of the succession.

While the Labouchere system has potential on a theoretical level, in fact, it’s powerless because of the randomness of each spin for a roulette wheel. The process doesn’t change the odds for the better or neutralize the house’s edge, which is why, in the long run, casino’s profit. That being said, over the course of a short game, a profit is absolutely possible using this method.

What is a Reverse Labouchere System?

Although the strategy of Labouchere is quite similar to the negative progression systems like Martingale or Fibonacci system, wherein you keep on increasing the bets after each loss in order to recoup all the losses, the reverse strategy of Labouchere adopts the positive progression system almost like the reverse D’Alembert or the reverse Fibonacci methods.

In contrast to the Labouchere, the Reverse Labouchere system entails increasing bets following a win, aiming to amplify profits during a winning streak. It shares many similarities with the Labouchere system calculator, but the key distinction lies in adjusting bets after a win rather than a loss.

Tips to Use the Labouchere System

Before using these gambling systems, there are definitely some key tips to keep in mind.

As always, we always advise reading our responsible gambling page for tips on how to stay on top of your betting and to do so in a healthy manner.


This page has given a thorough overview of the Labouchere betting system and how it applies to multiple classic casino games, as well as sports betting. It is a strategy that has been shown to work for some players, though while it can result in a profit in the short-term, maintaining this over a larger number of bets is unsustainable and losing streaks are inevitable. So, if you do decide to try the system for yourself, it is massively important to set yourself a budget and not to deviate from it.

Ben Boland

Since: November 27, 2023

Ben Boland is an editor at EsportsBets and a massive fan of EA Sports FC. Ben has worked in the iGaming industry since 2016, holding various content positions. With a background in journalism and a sports journalism degree from Leeds Trinity University, Ben brings extensive experience to our team.

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