Betting Systems

Betting Systems

For almost as long as casinos have existed, entrepreneurs have devised supposed winning systems. You’ve seen one of these “systems” in the article “Martingale: How to Lose a Lot With a Betting System.” Others include the Reverse Labouchere method and the d’Alembert Betting System.

There are many betting systems out there. Most of them are based on increasing or decreasing the bet size depending on what happened to the previous wager (whether won or lost).

All of the betting systems lose over the long run – by “all” we mean all betting systems that provide mathematical approaches to wagering on games with a fixed house edge.

Reverse Labouchère Method

The Reverse Labouchère Method (also called the cancellation system or split martingale) is a betting system that is used on even money bets. These are, in roulette, red-black, high 18-low 18, or even-odd; in craps, betting only on the pass line; or betting on the player hand in baccarat.

Here’s how it works:

  • Think of a number series. You can make it any length and use any numbers you wish. For example:

2, 1, 1, 3

  • Now add the first and last numbers together to determine your bet. Make a wager of that amount on any even-money bet:

3 + 2 = 5 units

  • If you lose, strike out the leftmost and rightmost numbers. Add the first and last numbers of the new series together. This will give you the number for the next bet:

2, 1, 1, 3
1 + 1 = 2 units

  • If you win, insert the amount of the winning bet at the end of the series. Then, add the first and last numbers of the new series together for your next bet amount:

2, 1, 1, 3, 2
2 + 2 = 4 units

  • Repeat this process until you either run out of numbers in the series, or win as much as your goal or lose as much as you care to.


Write down some numbers, say 4, 4, 1, 2. Add the first and last, 2 + 4. Your units are $10, so your first bet is 6 units, and you bet $60 on red.

  • Red comes up, and your profit so far is $60. Add 6 to the end of the series, and place a 10 unit bet ($100) on red.

3, 4, 1, 2, 6

6 + 3 = 9 units

  • You win a few bets in a row, leaving your series thus:

3, 4, 1, 2, 6, 10, 14

14 + 3 = 17 units

  • You are now ahead 30 units ($300). You make a 17 unit bet.
  • You lose that bet, leaving $130 profit. You cross off the end numbers:

3, 4, 1, 2, 6, 10, 14

10 + 4 = 14 units

  • If you lose the next bet, you lose all your profit plus $10, so you quit with that $130 profit.

There is also a Labouchère Method that involves making increasingly smaller bets. The Reverse Labouchère Method is a modification of the betting progression.

D’Alembert Betting System

The d’Alembert Betting System purports to be efficacious in that it works by recouping any losses on each turn, the while risking relatively little money, which it does by increasing bets gradually after losses and decreasing bets gradually after wins. Here’s how it works:

  • Start off with a 1 unit bet
  • If you lose, increase your next bet 1 unit
  • If you win, decrease your next bet 1 unit
  • 1 unit is the minimum amount you can bet

As with the Reverse Labouchère Method, make only even money bets. This table shows a typical betting sequence:

bet # bet size result net result
1 1 Loss -1
2 2 Win +1
3 1 Loss   0
4 2 Loss -2
5 3 Loss -4
6 4 Win   0
7 3 Win +3
8 2 Win +5
9 1 Loss +4
10 2 Win +6

No Guarantees

Remember that no mathematical approach to a casino game that has a fixed edge can provide a positive expectation. If you play long enough, you must lose overall. Approach such games with the twin goals of having fun and maybe winning a little, but don’t play for stakes you can’t afford. And don’t buy “systems” online that claim to beat games like roulette, craps, or baccarat. They are worthless.

by Michael Wiesenberg

Image by Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash