The Reverse Labouchere System
The Reverse Labouchere system is essentially the opposite of the original Labouchere system. The original was developed by the roulette player Henry Labouchere, and it’s a negative progression system that involves increasing stakes after a loss and decreasing them after a win. The idea of that system is that it’s possible to make a profit even if you lose more wagers than you win, since those that you win will be at higher stakes.
You can win small amounts quite frequently with the original Labouchere, but the major flaw is that you can lose a lot of money if you happen to go on a long losing streak. Several consecutive losses can lead to having to bet very high stakes, and this can easily see your bankroll wiped out.
The theory behind the Reverse Labouchere is that you can turn that scenario around. You will lose small amounts frequently, but you have a chance of making a big profit if you go on a run of several consecutive wins. On this page we explain how the system works, and whether or not it can be profitable for you.
How to Use The Reverse Labouchere
The Reverse Labouchere is not as simple as some of the other progressive betting systems. With that being said, it’s not too difficult to understand and implement either. It’s designed to be used with even money wagers, so roulette, craps and baccarat are the most suitable casino games. You can use it in sports betting too, again with even money wagers.
The first thing you need to do is decide upon a sequence of numbers to base the system on. This can be any sequence you choose. We’ll give you some advice on choosing a sequence later, but for the sake of demonstrating the system we’ll use a simple sequence of 1-2-3-4.
Once you’ve chosen your sequence, you should write it down on a piece of paper. You can keep track of things in your head, or on a computer if you’re playing online, but using a pen and paper is easiest.
With your sequence decided upon, your first wager in a cycle should be equal to the sum of the first and last numbers in your sequence. So, when using 1-2-3-4, your initial wager should be $5 (1+4).
If you win your wager, you should add the amount staked to the end of your sequence. So if you started with a win using this sequence, you’d add a 5.
If you lose your wager, you should remove the first and last numbers from your sequence. So if you started with a loss using this sequence, you would remove the 1 and the 4.
The same applies to all subsequent wagers. Basically, there are just three simple rules to follow with this system. Here’s a quick summary.
- Each wager you place should always be equal to the sum of the first and last numbers in your sequence.
- Whenever you win a wager, add the amount of that wager to end of your sequence.
- Whenever you lose a wager, remove the first and last numbers of your sequence.
There are also two additional rules to be aware of.
- Rule 4 – If you only have one number left in your sequence then your stake should be that number.
- Rule 5 – The cycle is over and you start again with a fresh sequence any time you remove all the numbers from your sequence.
Practical Considerations of the Reverse Labouchere
The real appeal in this system is the fact that the size of your stake can increase quite significantly if you manage to win a few wagers in a row. When you are winning the idea is that you keep on going at higher and higher stakes, hopefully winning enough to wipe out any losses from losing cycles. Of course, there is no guarantee that this will ever happen.
The other appeal is that the amount you can lose in each sequence is capped for each cycle. The total value of all the numbers in your starting sequence is equal to the amount you can lose in one cycle of the system. So with the 1-2-3-4 we looked at earlier, the most you can lose in a cycle is $10
You will have a lot of losing cycles though, as you remove two numbers when you lose and only add one when you win. So the sequence of 1-2-3-4 would be over if you lost the first two bets.
This fact means it is important to put some thought into the exact sequence that you use, and also to set yourself some limits for when to stop.
Choosing A Sequence
There are no set rules when it comes to choosing your sequence, but technically each number should be equal to or higher than the previous number in the sequence. This is not set in stone though. For example, a player may choose to use a sequence such as the following.
You can essentially choose to use whatever sequence you want, although there are two key points to bear in mind.
- The larger the numbers, the more you stand to lose.
- More numbers in the sequence will make each cycle last longer.
There are many differing views on what the best sequences to use are. We believe that a sequence of six to ten numbers is preferable, and that the total of all numbers should be equal to no more than 10% of your total bankroll.
Let’s say you have a $500 bankroll. You’d want your sequence to total no more than $50, so the following sequences could all be considered.
Please note that your sequences don’t always have to start with one, this is just a low risk approach.
Setting Limits
The Reverse Labouchere helps to limit your losses to some extent, as you can only ever lose a fixed amount per cycle. However, you should still set a limit for how much you’re prepared to lose in each session. You might lose cycle after cycle after cycle, so you want to make sure that you don’t just keep going when things are not going your way.
It’s also a good idea to set yourself a win limit. This system can technically go on infinitely when you’re winning, as you just keep adding a new number after every win. If you were on a truly great winning streak, the numbers could get very high. We therefore advise that you set yourself a target for the amount of profit you’d like to make, and stop a cycle if you hit it. This will ensure that you lock in some profit if you do have a good streak. Just make sure that your target is realistic.
Does the Reverse Labouchere Work?
The Reverse Labouchere works to some extent, in that it can return a big profit in the right circumstances. If you hope to use this system to make a profit every time you play you will be disappointed though. Like every other betting system we’re aware of, this comes with no guarantees. In fact, you will probably lose more often than you win. This is because it only takes a few losing wagers to complete a cycle and make a loss.
However, the amount you will lose when you have a losing cycle is limited. On the other hand, the amount you can win if you go on a winning streak is theoretically limited only by the maximum amount the casino will let you stake. If you’re lucky enough to get on a really good winning streak then you could win enough to balance out all the smaller losing cycles and plenty more on top.
Of course you may never go on such a streak and this is why, in all likelihood, you will lose money with this system.
In Summary
The Reverse Labouchere is the same as every other progressive betting system in that it does precisely nothing to overcome the house edge. That’s not to say that it’s not worth using though. If you’re content with the fact that there is no guarantee you will win, and have the discipline to make sure you never chase your losses, then it can be a lot of fun trying to land a big win with this system.