The Labouchere strategy, also referred to as the Cancellation system, Split Martingale, or American Progression, is a multifaceted betting approach employed in diverse gambling games, with its effectiveness notably evident in roulette. This strategy involves deliberately winning less than half of the bet amounts in order to progressively reach a predetermined betting objective. However, a downside is that during a losing streak, players might need to make large bets to keep using this strategy.
The Labouchere system requires a player to set a goal as to how much they would want to win. It is easy to express this in a specific number of units – the unit can be any desired amount. For example, if a player wishes to win $100, then they would need to set unit value at $10, which means that the target is to win ten units.
Once you have identified the number of units you would like to win, you should break it down into smaller numbers and note down in a line. For the above example, the following sequence could be used: 1 2 3 2 2. The aim is that the numbers you write down add up to ten. You will have reached your desired goal if you manage to cross off all the five numbers on your sheet. Just like in many other systems, the Labouchere will have you winning even money bets such as red/black or odd/even. So as to determine the size of the bet, your line’s first and last numbers should be added and the total number of units wagered.
For the Labouchere system example example above, the first and last numbers in the line are 1 and 2. The total adds up to three units, which means that the first bet should be $30. If the bet is won, both numbers used to make the bet can now be crossed out.
The line would then look like this: 2 3 2. The next bet in line would now be $40 which means add 2 and 2 giving you 4 units.
Just for the purposes of this example, let’s assume this bet is lost. Now, the unit number of the lost bet goes to the end of the line, which should now look like this: 2 3 2 4. The next bet now would have to be for six units, that is to say $60. So as to successfully use this system the whole way, you would have to continue betting until you have completely crossed out the line.
In this way, you will have completed the Labouchere and will have acquired your set goal.
The Labouchere strategy in gambling has a clear advantage: you don't need constant wins to reach your goal. Only one number is added to a line if you lose, but you cross out two numbers every time you win. This means that maintaining your line only needs you to win one-third of the time. Since in the long run you are bound to win more than the one-third of the time, you can be confident that eventually, you may tend to shrink the line and meet your desired goal. The Labouchere strategy has some similarity to other systems such as Martingale, whose rules state that you need to increase bets should you be on a losing streak. This rule is however, a lot less severe than it is in Martingale, where bets keep doubling. In Labouchere the bet size change is more gradual, making it a lot more manageable for many players.