Labouchère gambling system explained

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Labouchère system

The Labouchère gambling system (also known as the Cancellation System) seeks to make a predetermined profit and continues until this profit is made.

The Labouchère system is unusual in that it isn't fixed in any way. Decisions have to be made by the gambler before any bets are placed. It's this element of personal choice that makes the Labouchère so popular with experienced systems gamblers.

Sequence of bets

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The Labouchère system works as follows: The gambler writes down a sequence of numbers e.g. to make a profit of 15 units, without betting more than 10, you might write down:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

The first bet is the sum of the two numbers at either end - in this case 6 (5 + 1).

If this bet wins, cancel out the 1 and 5. The series is now:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

The next bet is again 6 (4 + 2)

If the first bet loses, you'd add the 6 to the end of the sequence so the sequence would then be:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

The next bet would then be 7 (1+6).

Continue until cancelled

The series continues until all the numbers in the sequence have been cancelled and the set profit has been made.

The variable factors in the Labouchère gambling system mean that it's difficult to recommend any one set pattern. Indeed, many gamblers use different sequences at the same time, some consecutive, some alternating, picking up each sequence as the conditions change. This makes it especially popular with experienced Roulette players, who are able to read the nature of the results.

The Labouchère - tested

The table below shows how the Labouchère fared in our systems tests.

For the purpose of these tests, we're trying to make a profit of 16, with a maximum bet of 10, so the sequence is

1, 2, 3, 4, 6

For a reminder of the tests we use, check out our systems summary page…


1. Alternating win
2. Alternating loss
3. Consecutive win
4. Consecutive loss
5. Good win
6. Bad loss

Overall result for all 6 tests


26 units profit
4 units profit
33 units profit
39 units loss
48 units profit
123 units loss

51 units loss

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Great for winning streaks

In alternating conditions, where wins and losses come equally, it performs very well, returning a profit in both tests, and a substantial profit in the 'alternating win' test.

On a winning streak, it performs excellently, returning the biggest profit of any of our tested systems in any test.

So, if the conditions favour alternating results, or you latch on to a winning streak, the Labouchère gambling system can be very successful for you.

Not so great for losing streaks!

But when results give a consecutive loss situation i.e. a losing streak, the Labouchère can result in huge losses. In that situation, our successful gambling strategy becomes paramount: limit the amount you'll allow yourself to lose and quit as soon as this amount is reached i.e. take a moderate loss rather than a massive one.

The Labouchère system struggles most when you start with a number of losses. In that case, it may be wise to quit even before you have a win - strange as that may seem!

The system for high rollers

These betting decisions can only be made by the punter. Without prior knowledge, no 'expert' can recommend a particular sequence that will be successful in every case. For this reason we recommend the Labouchère gambling system only for high rollers - those who are able to absorb a few heavy losses in pursuit of higher profits. Or those who simply enjoy the thrill of casino gambling, without worrying too much about the cost.

Where to use the Labouchère system

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