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The Labouchere System

Blackjack Systems: The Labouchere System
by Oracle of Predictem.com

Many Blackjack players try to find the best strategy for playing to help their chances, but there are plenty of strategies out there geared toward betting, that will help players come out ahead at the tables.

One of those betting systems is referred to as the Labouchere system, otherwise known as "Cancellation", "Crossout," Labby," and "Split Martingale." This negative progressive betting system has a few different variations; however, we'll try to go over the simplest structure for Blackjack players.

Before sitting down at the tables, bettors will take out a piece of paper and write a set of random numbers that don't necessarily have to make sense. The set of numbers can be as long as the bettor wants and it doesn't have to be in any particular order. Depending on how much they're going to start gambling with, in the end, each number will factor in how many units bettors will put on the table.

For example, lets take the series of numbers 1 3 1 4 4 1 6 5.

Bettors will start by adding the first and last numbers in the series. Therefore, using this example, bettors will gamble 6 units (1 and 5) for their first bet. If they happen to win, they will cross off the numbers and move on to the next two outside numbers. Again, using this example, the next bet would consist of 9 units (3 and 6), and so on.

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But we all know that we can't win every hand. So what happens when bettors lose?

Say bettors lose the first bet where they put out 6 units (1 and 5). Instead of crossing out the two numbers, they would add the sum of what they lost to the end of the series, in this case, 6. So now the series of numbers would look like 1 3 1 4 4 1 6 5 6. Now the next wage for bettors would be 7 units (1 and 6). Any way bettors slice it, if they lose a hand, they'll be betting more on the next hand.

The reverse Labouchere system is a positive progression system instead of a negative one. This means that if bettors happen to lose, they don't necessarily bet more to try to win their money back, hence the term reverse.

In the case of the reverse Labouchere system, if bettors win a hand, instead of crossing out the outside numbers in the series, they will add the number to the end of the series. If they lose, however, that's when they will cross out the numbers and move on to the next set of outside numbers.

The good news about the Labouchere system is that it's a rather simple method. All bettors need is a pen and paper. It's also fairly easy to use. Bettors will know they have succeeded in using this system when they have all of their numbers crossed out. Also, there is the reverse Labouchere system, which can be for players with less of a bankroll, or novice bettors.

There is a downside to using Labouchere, though. If a player runs into a streak of bad luck, they will have to bet more and more every time they lose a hand. Bettors will have to start with a fairly big bankroll, that is, unless the numbers in their set are reasonably low.

The Labouchere betting system is recommended over the Martingale System for a couple of different reasons:

The main reason is that using the Martingale system means bettors will have to start with an even larger bankroll because they have to double up every time they lose. That can get expensive, fast.

Also, if bettors run into a streak of bad luck using this system, more than likely they'll only be at the Blackjack table for literally a matter of minutes.

Meanwhile, using Labouchere allows bettors to stay at the tables longer because they aren't betting as much (well, at least they aren't doubling up every time they lose).

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Interesting Facts

Did you know... that the chances (probability) of being dealt a blackjack is .024%, which equates to one BJ approximately every 42 hands dealt?