Labouchere Betting System

Unlike the betting systems we have covered so far, the Labouchere system is more complex and requires more time to master. In fact, less experienced players often prefer to use a pen and a writing pad until they become better acquainted with how the Labouchere works because, in this way, it is easier for them to keep track of their betting lines. Players are likely to encounter this system under different names, more specifically, American Progression, Split Martingale, and the Cancellation System.

Who invented this betting system remains a mystery to this day. A certain connection has been made to a finance minister in the service of Queen Victoria. The minister’s name was Henry Labouchere, and supposedly, he was keen on playing roulette. However, there is no real evidence to indicate it was Queen Victoria’s minister who came up with the idea of the Labouchere betting system.

To a certain extent, the Labouchere resembles the Martingale betting method since it, too, is based on a negative betting progression. From this, it follows that players, who adopt the Labouchere system, are required to increase the size of their stakes after each loss and decrease it after each winning bet. One major difference between the two systems is that unlike the Martingale, the Labouchere aims at recovering consecutive losses through multiple winning bets.

How Does the Labouchere Betting System Work

In spite of the fact that the Labouchere betting system is slightly more intricate when compared to the other roulette betting methods players can resort to, this should not put them off as a bit of practice is needed so as to know it backward.

The first thing you need to know about the Labouchere system is that it is applicable to roulette bets that pay even money, such as High/Low, Red/Black, and Odd/Even. In order to use the system, you need to start by writing down an arbitrary line of numbers. For the sake of simplicity, we will use the following line as an example – 1-2-3-4.

The profit you can potentially generate is equal to the total sum of the numbers in the line or 10 betting units in this case. The first bet you will place should be equal to the sum of the first and the last numbers you have written down, or 5 units in this case.

If you happen to win with your first wager of 5 units, you need to cross out the first and the last number in the line, or 1 and 4 in this example. Then, your second wager will again amount to 5 units or the sum of the remaining numbers, 2 and 3. What should be mentioned, however, is that if you lose after the first spin, you will be required to add the number of units you have put on the line at the end of the sequence of numbers like so – 1-2-3-4-5.

This is basically how the Labouchere system works. Players remove two numbers after each winning wager and add the sum of the first and the last numbers to the sequence if they lose. The only exception to the general rule is when only one number remains in the sequence, in which case players wager that amount. Then, if the last bet is a winning one, this betting cycle is completed, and players start from scratch with their original line of numbers.

It is highly recommended for players to avoid long and aggressive lines of numbers, at least in the beginning, so that they can get used to the Labouchere system, as this will make them less likely to get mixed up while giving the betting method a tryout. Using a long line might also exhaust players’ bankrolls if they encounter a longer losing streak, in which case they will need to add more numbers to the sequence.

It goes without saying that long sequences work to the disadvantage of players because it is impossible to achieve the full profit potential until all numbers are crossed out, and the cycle has been completed. Obviously, completing a betting cycle with a longer number sequence will require more time than crossing out all the numbers in a shorter line. That is why experts recommend 1-1 and 1-2 as starting lines that are suitable for beginners. Sequences consisting of two numbers will require only one extra win to complete the betting cycle.

If players experience a longer losing streak, which requires them to add more and more numbers to the line, they can abandon the sequence altogether and choose another point, which might help them reduce their losses.

The Labouchere System
Spin Sequence Bet (units) Outcome Total Profit
1 1-2-3-4 5 LOSS -5
2 1-2-3-4-5 6 LOSS -11
3 1-2-3-4-5-6 7 WIN -4
4 2-3-4-5 7 WIN 3
5 3-4 7 LOSS -4
6 3-4-7 10 LOSS -14
7 3-4-7-10 13 WIN -1
8 4-7 11 LOSS -12
9 4-7-11 15 WIN 3
10 7 7 LOSS -4
11 7-7 14 LOSS -18
12 7-7-14 21 WIN 3
13 7 7 WIN 10

The Reverse Labouchere

The Reverse variation of the system was introduced in an attempt to remove one major downside of the Labouchere betting method, more specifically, the possibility of depleting your entire bankroll on a lengthy losing streak, in which case there is no guarantee you will be able to offset the losses.

Players are again required to choose an arbitrary sequence of numbers, like 1-2-3, for example. But this time, casino enthusiasts can choose any sequence they like as long as each number is either equal or higher than the previous one. Of course, shorter sequences are again recommendable, but it is also important to mention that if you opt for starting with higher numbers like 3-4-5-6, you will risk larger sums of money with each bet.

The first wager is again equal to the sum of the first and the last number, or 4 betting units in this example. If you win, you add the amount of the stake to the sequence like so – 1-2-3-4. Should you lose, you cross out the first and the last number, and the sequence will look like this – 2-3. Similarly to the original version of the Labouchere betting method, if only one number remains in the sequence, you will be required to lay a wager that is equivalent to that last number. When all the numbers are crossed out, you will be required to start with a new arbitrary line of numbers.

Many roulette players consider this variation of the Labouchere more appealing because it provides them with the opportunity to generate greater profits since the size of the bet increases after a win. If players succeed in winning several times in a row, this will enable them to balance out the losses they have sustained during the previous rounds of the game.

Another advantage of the Reverse Labouchere is that it enables players to put a ceiling on the amount they can lose at the end of each betting cycle. The losses of the betting cycle will be equal to the sum of all the numbers in the initial sequence. So, if you choose the sequence 1-2-3 from the above example, you will lose no more than 6 betting units in a single cycle if luck is not on your side that day. Needless to say, the shorter the line of numbers is, the smaller the losses you might sustain at the end of a bad betting cycle will be.

The Reverse Labouchere System
Spin Sequence Bet (units) Outcome Total Profit
1 1-2-3 4 LOSS -4
2 1-2-3-4 5 WIN 1
3 2-3 5 WIN 6
4 1-2-3 4 WIN 10
5 2 2 LOSS 8
6 2-2 4 LOSS 4
7 2-2-4 6 WIN 10
8 2 2 LOSS 8
9 2-2 4 WIN 12

Adjustments to the Labouchere System

It is possible to make the Labouchere system more profitable by making a few small adjustments. One way to achieve this is by starting the sequence after your first loss and adding an extra unit to each wager. In this way, roulette mavens will be able to cut out the losses and hopefully, turn a profit.

For example, if you lose the very first bet of 5 units, your next wager will amount to 6 units, so your sequence will run as follows 5-6. You hypothetically lose again, so the line will look like this 5-6-12 because of the extra betting unit. You experience a losing streak and lose one more time. At this point, your sequence will be 5-6-12-18, so your fourth bet is equal to 24 units. This time you win, so you cross out numbers 18 and 5 from the sequence. The line is now 6-12, so your next wager is equal to 19, with the additional betting unit. If you win once more, you will complete the full betting cycle, offset the losses and turn a profit.

Adjustments to The Labouchere System
Spin Sequence Bet (units) Outcome Total Profit
1 5 5 LOSS -5
2 5-6 12 LOSS -17
3 5-6-12 18 LOSS -35
4 5-6-12-18 24 WIN -11
5 6-12 19 WIN 8

Since the Labouchere betting system was designed so many years ago, it makes sense that several variations of the betting method have spawned since the time it first saw the light of the day.

In fact, one of the main reasons why roulette lovers tend to turn their eyes to the Labouchere betting system is that it is much more flexible when compared to the other betting methods. Gambling aficionados will enjoy much greater freedom due to the fact that they are permitted to tune the betting sequence up to their preferences and depending on the risk they are willing to take. Of course, they will also be able to adapt the betting sequence according to the rewards they are after.

As soon as roulette fans have already got a hang of the original Labouchere betting system, they are unlikely to have a hard time applying any of its modified versions.

Johnson Progression

In the event that you are keen on the idea to give the Labouchere betting system a shot, but at the same time, you prefer to play it safe, you might find the Johnson progression the way to go. This is one of the safest methods for betting on roulette, and the sequence players will be required to stick to looks like this: 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 1.

If you think that sticking to a sequence that consists of three numbers is excessively risky, then, the above-mentioned betting method might be right up to your alley.

This modified version of the Labouchere betting system works in an exceptionally straightforward manner as gambling enthusiasts will be required to start by placing a wager that is worth 1 betting unit. If this wager is resolved as a losing one, players will once again be required to stake 1 betting unit.

If we assume that this time your wager is a winning one, at this point, you will be required to cross out the first and the last numbers from the sequence, which in this case are 0 and 1. As you can see, in this way, the starting sequence will be made up of zeroes only, which might seem slightly bewildering to players.

When this happens, gambling enthusiasts will be required to keep on placing wagers that are equal to one betting unit until they succeed in removing all zeroes from the sequence. As soon as this happens, roulette lovers will be able to augment the staked amount, which will take them closer to more substantial wins.

In spite of the fact that the risk gambling aficionados will need to take will be exceptionally small, what they should take into account is that attaining a heftier profit will be much more time-consuming.

Still, if you wish to err on the side of caution while betting on roulette, taking advantage of the Johnson progression might help you attain the goals you have set.

Splitting after a Loss

As it was already mentioned, depending on the length of the starting line, the stakes gambling aficionados will be required to lay might increase rather steeply, especially when the last wagers they have made were losings ones.

Fortunately, gambling enthusiasts will have the opportunity to ensure that the amount they will be required to put on a stake will not climb that sharply and that ultimately, they will not turn out to be with a depleted bankroll. To attain this, roulette lovers should simply consider splitting the starting number sequence into several parts.

In the event that you have experienced several losses in a row, what you should consider doing is dividing the sequence into several smaller sequences that should be viewed independently. What roulette mavens should take into consideration while splitting the sequence is that when they put together the betting units, they will get the total profit they have initially had in mind.

Needless to say, by doing so, the risk casino enthusiasts will need to take will shrink dramatically. Players’ stakes will not grow that rapidly, but at the same time, they will still have the opportunity to reach their targets.

Once you break up the sequence into several pieces, you should start with the first smaller sequence you have got and when you complete it, you simply need to move on to the next one. The main reason why this approach appeals to roulette lovers is that the numbers that are included in each of the smaller sequences are nowhere as intimidating as with the original sequence.

More Aggressive Take on the Labouchere Betting System

The aggressive version of the Labouchere betting method is also hugely popular, but it is preferred by gambling aficionados who are not disinclined to assume greater risk with their wagers. If the mild version of the roulette betting method is not your scene, you should consider adding larger numbers to the starting sequence that exceed 20, for example.

It is vital to remember that if you decide to incorporate larger bet units into your starting sequence, there will be a good chance of hitting the upper table limits. Furthermore, roulette mavens should be mindful of the fact that trying this version of the Labouchere betting system for size will only be possible, provided that they have a rather substantial bankroll.

Obviously, this take on the Labouchere betting system poses as an exceptionally alluring option for casino enthusiasts because it carries the potential of bringing them the rewards they aim for within almost no time. Yet, instead of yielding the desired profit, sometimes, players can end up with drained bankroll, which in practice makes it impossible to offset the losses they have sustained so far.

In spite of the fact that gambling enthusiasts can abandon the Labouchere betting system at whichever point they wish as they might be unwilling to assume that huge risk, what they should not forget is that by doing so, they will not be able to yield the net gain they have originally settled on.

Advantages of the Labouchere Betting System

One of the advantages of using the Labouchere betting method stems from its flexibility. As was mentioned above, players will get to choose any arbitrary sequence of numbers they like. There is the option to go for a safer, shorter sequence or a longer, more aggressive one.

In addition, players can maintain their line by winning only one-third of the time since the sequence is reduced with two numbers after each winning bet and is increased by a single number after a loss. Then, there is the possibility of winning more often than that, in which case all numbers in the sequence will be crossed out more quickly and players will turn a greater profit. Finally, since the betting progression is not that steep, the chances of hitting the table limit are much smaller, which is not the case with some other roulette betting methods.

Disadvantages of the Labouchere Betting System

The trouble with the Labouchere system begins when players experience a lengthier losing streak interspersed with single winning bets. In this case, more and more numbers will be added at the end of the sequence. The more the line escalates, the bigger the size of the bets will get. If this happens, you may fail to cross out all the numbers in the sequence, unless you miraculously enter a longer winning streak. Unfortunately, there is no 100% guarantee this would happen.

Similarly to other betting systems, the Labouchere instills disciple in players and helps them to organise and manage their bankrolls more adequately. That being said, the Labouchere system cannot reduce the house edge in any way since it has zero effect on the outcome of the spins that are to follow.

Should You Use the Labouchere Betting System

As likely as not, now roulette mavens are faced with the dilemma of whether to give the Labouchere betting system a shot or not. As it was already mentioned, one of the biggest strong points of this roulette betting method is that players are enabled to adjust it in accordance with their bankroll and the goals they have set. Since the starting sequence can be easily customised, this comes to explain why the Labouchere betting system is suitable for casino enthusiasts with different styles of play.

Still, if you decide to implement the Labouchere betting method, you should make sure that you will be able to do the maths properly as this is of crucial importance.

Furthermore, there is always the probability of entering a long losing streak, meaning that you might have a hard time keeping up with the sequence. Although we do not want to persuade you against using the betting method, you should not overlook its faults.

As it was already indicated, if you think that the usage of the Labouchere betting system will tilt the scales in your favour when it comes to your chances of winning or decreasing the edge of the casino, you will be in for a disappointment.

As with the rest of the roulette betting methods, while using the Labouchere betting system, gambling enthusiasts should be disciplined enough in order to make sure that their betting session will not go out of hand and will not end with a huge loss, which on some occasions can turn out to be rather challenging.


Once all is said and done, the mild version of the Labouchere betting method might appeal to gambling enthusiasts who are looking to set up and organise their roulette betting session. As it seems, the thrill the crossing of the numbers from their starting sequence is what intrigues many roulette mavens as this means that they are getting closer to the wins they want to receive.

With this in mind, the Labouchere betting system does not provide a magic formula that guarantees consistent wins, which is the reason why players should weigh its pros and cons before they give it a shot.