The Labouchère roulette system is also called the Spilt Martingale, The Cross-Out or The Cancellation System. Also known as the James Bond system as it features in Ian Fleming’s books. You might even hear it called “The Labby”.
It was invented by an Englishman named Henry Labouchere who played it around the world before he died in 1912.
Here’s how it works:
Write down a sequence of numbers. The amount in the sequence and the actual numbers are up to you. An example could be:
On your first bet, place a wager equal to the sum of the 1st and last digits, so 2+6=8, using the example above.
If you lose the bet, do the following:
Add the losing amount to your sequence. In the above example, you would tack on an 8 to the end so your sequence becomes 184.108.40.206.6.8. You next play 2+8 = 10
If you win you cross off the first and last numbers to leave you with just 220.127.116.11 in the example above.
Repeat the process. For your next bet, bet 3+6 = 9 again. If you win, cross those off. Your final bet would be 4+5 = 9: the last bit if the sequence that leaves you room to cross 2 off.
If you hit a winning streak, you cross all the numbers and restart with a new sequence of numbers.
The theory is that you will win the total amount of your combined numbers in the first sequence at some point in time, before you cancel every number.
The key thing with this strategy is to understand that you are not in any way improving your probability, but you are devising a method to your play. The best policy is to write down a hypothetical sequence of events (or play the strategy in practice mode) and write down your accumulated virtual profit or loss based on those events. This will help you set your seqeunce of numbers.
If you want to manage the risk down include lots of 1s in the beginning of the sequence for obvious reasons. It keeps your bets low.
Our view on this particular roulette system is that it is better to stick to a simple stratgey if you are going to use a progression system like this (this is in the same system family as the Martingale). The basics are the same- you may as well progress up the bets in a more linear fashion (eg doubling every round). You are still going to run into the same problem of a maximum table limit (probably $300) which will limit your ability to cover your losses after a prolonged losing streak.