Labouchere strategy

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Labouchere is a very exciting, but a bit complicated strategy to use as it requires one to frequently write down and edit numbers. In spite of this, Labouchere is one of the most popular roulette strategies being used as the chances of having a profitable session with it are high. This great advantage of the strategy does however also come with a downside. Every detail about how Labouchere is able to give us a profit on the majority of sessions that we have and what this is at the cost of, we’ll take a closer look at in the following article, as well as covering what the background of the strategy is and how it’s being used at the tables.

The background of Labouchere

The Labouchere strategy is named after Henry Labouchere who lived in the 19th century. This man was a very wealthy British politician and journalist with a huge interest in gambling, where roulette was his favourite choice of game. He became well renowned for having invented and using a very interesting and special roulette strategy, which is the one that we nowadays know as the Labouchere strategy.

How Labouchere works

Labouchere is a strategy that can be applied on all bet alternatives, but is best used on those that give double the stake back, such as red and black colour. It requires the possibility to regularly write down and edit numbers, such as using pen and paper or a text document on a computer or mobile device.

When using the strategy, the first thing you need to do is deciding how much you would like to bet by writing down a sequence of numbers. You can choose any numbers you like and decide just how long you would like the sequence to be, but it’s important to know that you’ll always be placing a bet that is equal to the sum of the most left and right numbers. The higher the numbers you choose, the higher the stake will be.

Every time you have a winning bet, the two numbers that formed your stake needs to be removed from the sequence, whereas you on every loss have to add the amount you bet as a new number to the right of it. Let’s illustrate this with an example of a relatively simple sequence of six numbers:
2-1-3-2-1-1
You should always bet the sum of the numbers to the far left and far right of the sequence, which means that you in this example will place a bet of €3 as 2 + 1 = 3. Should you win this bet, you then have to remove these two numbers from the sequence, which would result in only having the following four numbers left:
1-3-2-1

Your next bet would then be with a stake of €2 as the sum of 1 + 1 = 2, which are the two numbers to the left and right of the sequence. Should you lose this bet, you would then have to add the amount that you bet to the right of the sequence, which would be the number 2. This would give you the following new sequence:
1-3-2-1-2
The goal with the Labouchere strategy is to have all of the numbers on the sequence removed, which would then result in a net profit that is equal to the sum of the numbers that were picked out on the original sequence. In our example where 2-1-3-2-1-1 was the original sequence, the net profit would be €10 if we would manage to remove all of the numbers. Should you at any point find yourself with only one number left, this number will be the amount of your stake.

Pros and cons

The huge benefit of using the Labouchere strategy is that it actually doesn’t require more than about 33% of the bets being won to reach a profit. The exact number required is 33% + 2 bets, which means that if you for instance would play a total of 75 rounds, you would only need 25 + 2 of these to be won to reach a profit. This is a very low amount, which means that most of your sessions will end in a profit.

Perhaps this got you thinking that the strategy must be flawless as it only requires about a third of the rounds to be won, whereas the probability of hitting a win on a round on average is about one in two (18 out of 37 numbers if we’re betting on an alternative giving double the stake back). What you’re forgetting about, which is very common, is that every round is unique and it’s inevitable not to hit long losing streaks at some point.

As the stake is getting higher for every loss, this will eventually result in a huge stake that needs to be placed, which either gets to a point where you can’t afford to place it or where it isn’t possible as it has become higher than what the table limit allows. Let’s say that you started off with a sequence of 1-1, which would result in a profit of €2 if successfully ended. If you hit a losing streak of 20 rounds in a row, you would get the following sequence:
1-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13-14-15-16-17-18-19-20-21
During the time this sequence was formed you have lost a total of €231 and you would now have to win many times in a row just to be able to reach a net profit of €2. To experience 20 losses in a row is of course rare, but at some point it will in fact happen and the losses you then face will most likely consume the profits made on previously won sessions.

Should I use Labouchere?

If Labouchere is the best choice of strategy for you or not depends on what you’re looking for in a roulette experience. There is no magic behind it that will get you an edge over the house, but there are indeed several good things about it.

As a session can end in a net profit with only 33% + 2 won rounds, this means that many of your sessions will be profitable even though you’re hitting many losing rounds. By choosing low or high numbers in your sequence you’re also able to decide the risk of the strategy yourself. The higher the numbers, the higher the risk will be as the stake will increase more rapidly on a losing streak. Higher numbers does however also mean that the potential profits become higher.

Labouchere is therefore a great choice if you don’t mind constantly writing down and editing numbers, would like to be able to choose the risk yourself and end most of your sessions in a profit. It is however also important to be prepared to reach big losses when a long losing streak does occur as even if the numbers you pick are low, the stakes will eventually get high.

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Conclusion

Labouchere is not a strategy that will guarantee a profit in the long run, but then again no strategy ever will. It is however a great choice for anyone who would like to greatly increase their chances of having a profitable session, while also being able to adjust the risk themselves by choosing lower or higher numbers in the sequence. In addition, the strategy is a very entertaining one as the roulette experience becomes much more interactive.

This could of course also be considered a downside for those who would find it bothering having to constantly write down and edit numbers. Another downside to the strategy is that the increased chance of winning is at the cost of the losses being much bigger once a losing session does occur.