Labouchere Betting Explained

What Is the Labouchere Betting System?

Every punter worth his salt will stress the importance of a betting strategy.

Planning out how and when you are going to bet is crucial if you want to make a profit in the long run. Usually, these involve spotting value in bets and whatnot, but there are other ways.

The Labouchere system, also known as the cancellation system or the split Martingale strategy, has been around for quite a while. Not only is it a reliable way of making money with betting, but it’s also very easy to understand.

The Basics of the Labouchere System

The system was devised primarily for relatively low-risk wagers. What you’re looking for here is bets with around a 50% chance of winning.

To start with, write down a sequence of numbers. These will be determining your stakes, so make sure the amounts are well within your budget – and don’t forget to leave a lot of room for mistakes. As an example, we’ll use:

1 – 2 – 3

Per the Labouchere system, you need to add the first and last numbers of the sequence to determine your stake – in this case, that would be £4. This is the bet you start out with, and the combined sum of the whole sequence is the potential profit: £6.

If you win the bet, you remove the two numbers from the sequence and continue betting with the numbers left in it. If there is only one number left, like in this case, just use it as the stake without adding anything.

If you lose, you simply add your lost stake to the sequence, like so:

1 – 2 – 3 – 4

And then repeat the process until you go through all of the numbers. As you can see, the problem here arises if you go on a lengthy losing streak – which is the single biggest issue with the system. Without a sufficient bankroll to fund a long sequence, you could eventually run out of money.

The major positive here is that you could also make a profit by losing more bets than you win. As long as you can keep placing bets according to this strategy, you are guaranteed a profit.

How to Use the Labouchere System for Online Betting

Although it was originally developed for Roulette, the Labouchere system can be effectively used with online bookmakers as well. All you need are two-way markets with odds of roughly 2.00 (1/1). For football betting, these can be Asian Handicaps or two-way markets such as Over/Under and Both Teams to Score.

You also need a sufficient number of matches to bet on in order to keep going. This shouldn’t be too much of a problem, given the huge number of matches offered by the average betting site these days.

To end this simple guide to Labouchere betting, we’ll provide you with a few betting tips for using it:

  • You can add a few zeroes to the beginning of your sequence for increased safety. This ensures that numbers stay small and don’t spiral out of control.
  • Should the stakes get too high, a common method of mitigating them is to simply divide all of the numbers by 2. However, the percentage of wins you’ll need to break even will rise greatly.
  • Have discipline. As betting theory will tell you, any good strategy is focused on small long-term profits rather than one big win. Don’t change your betting strategy mid-way just because you got greedy.
  • Your available funds must always be way higher than the profits you’re hoping for.
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