What is the Labouchere betting system?

Posted by Daniel Strum on May 13, 2016 in

The Labouchere betting system, also known as the cancellation system or split martingale system, is a progressive online sports betting strategy that entails staking on given events until a targeted winning amount is reached. Traditionally, the Labouchere staking method was used by Roulette players, but over the recent times, we’ve seen its application in a wide variety of gambling endeavors, including (but not limited to) sports betting.

How the Labouchere betting system Works

Before putting the cancellation betting system into work, the bettor usually has to decide on a predetermined amount of money he/she wants to win, and then writes down a list of positive numbers to sum up the preset amount. Once that is done, each bet placed is tailored such that the bettor stakes an amount equal to the sum of the first and last numbers on his list. If we only have one number remaining on his list, that number becomes the amount of the stake.

If bet is successful from a previous use of the Labouchere betting system, the two amounts are removed from the list. However, if the wager is unsuccessful, the amount lost is appended to the end of the list. This process is continued until the bettor either wins as had been anticipated with the cancellation of all the numbers on his list, or until the bettor runs out of money to wager.

Example of Using the Labouchere Betting System in Sports Betting

1. Decide on how much money you want to win over a given period. In this instance, let’s say the aim is to win $1000.

2. Determine how you would like to split this money, say up to five values of: $100, $200, $400, $200, and $100.

3. Place a wager that would win the sum of the first and last numbers in the list. If, for example, the Decimal/ European odds of the bet is 3 (equivalent to +200 in the American/MoneyLine), you would have to stake $100, so as to win $200 back (which is the sum of the first and last number).

4. Now, if you win the bet, you will tick off the first and last number. If not, you will need to add the amount of the stake you made in order for you to win this back.

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you win the amount you had aimed for, or until you run out of money to wager in the betting lines.

Risk vs. Reward in the Labouchere Betting System

As per the explanation and example given above, the Cancellation betting system seems fun to work with and it can particularly be a good technique in your betting arsenal if you are on winning run. The problem, however, is that winning is never guaranteed on a consistent basis, even for the best of gamblers. This is because the betting system encourages you to continually bet until you win the desired amount, without taking into account the size of your portfolio or heeding the amount you afford to bet. And if you do that, you can easily end up with big losses when you are on a bad streak. For example, if you are betting on even odds and have a run of four straight losses using our earlier example, your next bet would then be $500, even if you had already lost $1000, plunging you into huge losses.

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Like other progressive betting systems such as the Kelly Betting System, the Fibonacci Strategy or the Martingale System; it is therefore important to consider the Labouchere Betting System with all the caution it deserves. At the end of the day, the key deciding factor in any sports betting system is whether or not the odds represent value and how much you stand to win. If neither of these elements are true, you are better off keeping away from the bet, no matter what the Labouchere System, or any other progressive staking methods for that matter, tell you to do.