REVERSED LABOUCHERE (or Reversed Labby or American cancellation system or…) is a pen-and-paper accounting system. You need pen and paper for this one but that is OK with most casinos. Some will only let you use their score-cards but that doesn’t matter, as long as it is a piece of paper… It is in all aspects except one, essential, identical to the normal LABOUCHERE system. The difference is that you use it “the opposite way”; you cancel losses and add wins.

The system was to my knowledge first described in the novel “Thirteen Against The Bank” by Norman Leigh. This novel is about a group of people winning big with this system, in France in the sixties.

The REVERSED LABOUCHERE system is (mainly) used for even chances betting (Red, Black, Even, Odd, Low, High) and found in numerous variations. Essentially it is used as follows.

System Description

Write some numbers down on your paper, a line like: 1 2 3 4
The sum of this (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 = 10) is your accepted loss for the session.
(A session can be 2 or more spins in length.) This is your session bank-roll.
Bet the first and the last figures of the line: 1 + 4 = 5
You win (only luck). Because you won, you note the value of your win (5) at the right end of the line. (You add the winning to your bank-roll.)
The line now looks like this: 1 2 3 4 5
Bet the first and the last figures: 1 + 5 = 6
Now you lose. Because you lost, you cross out (hence one of its many nick-names) the two figures you used for your bet – 1 and 5. (You delete the bet from your bank-roll.)
The line now looks like this: X 2 3 4 X
Bet the first and the last figures: 2 + 4 = 6
Win. Note 6 at the right end: X 2 3 4 X 6
Bet 2 + 6 = 8
Win, note: X 2 3 4 X 6 8
Bet 2 + 8 = 10
Lose, x out: X X 3 4 X 6 X
Bet 3 + 6 = 9
Lose, x out: X X X 4 X X X
Bet 4 (only left)
Win, note: X X X 4 X X X 4
Bet 4 + 4 = 8 (first and last)
Lose, x out: X X X X X X X X
Session end.

The bets were: 5 + 6 + 6 + 8 + 10 + 9 + 4 + 8 = 56 units, and the winnings were: 10 + 12 + 16 + 8 = 46. When subtracting bet units from won, there is a negative net of ten units. That is equal to the sum of the line, when started – exactly as expected. No matter the values of the figures in the line at start; the sum of them is what you will lose when ALL figures are crossed out. The line “1 1 1” will give a net result of minus 3 units and the line “3 7 12 22 30” will give a net result of minus 74


So, what’s the up-side of this system, then?
First of all; you are in control of your bank-roll. You know, all the time, your exact financial situation. You don’t have to use some spare money, as you have to in the original LABOUCHERE.

A streak of alternating losses and wins, dominated by the winnings, is what you want here. The result will be a very long line and/or very high bets, but reaching a limit of some hundred units is not easy! This is due to the fact that ONE loss crosses out TWO winnings! It is seen in the above example.

But of course, you set your limits; highest bet or a number of consequtive losses or whatever. Any limit, lower than the table-limit, is a good limit! If you do reach a limit, you collect the total value of all the (not crossed-out) figures in your line, and you start a new line/session. But it’s very easy to cross-out the complete line, as one single loss will out-cross two winnings!

Systems like these really lacks a “stop-loss handler” – that is, some signal of some sort preventing you from losing too much, maybe all the way down to a completely crossed-out line. Such things are making this simple system much more complicated but there is a description of a REVERSED LABOUCHERE including a “stop loss handler”. (It also gets rid of the “one single loss crosses out two winnings” problem the above system suffers from…)