The Labouchere betting strategy is a way of betting on horse races that can generate significant profits. It was first described by Michael Labouchere in the 1875 book The Turf. Generally it involves placing very large bets on longshots with small prices, then switching horses midway through the race to take advantage of odds movement; if the switch coincides with an improved price for the new horse, profits are made. These profits can be massive, given enough capital and skillful execution of this strategy.
The Labouchere strategy involves an initial bet of a large value, followed by many switch-bets of smaller values to improve the odds. The strategy is named after Michael Labouchere, who described it in his 1875 book The Turf. For the purposes of this article I will refer to this strategy as “The Labouchere Betting Strategy.
The Labouchere betting strategy can be broken down into three parts:
1. The “Start” part of the strategy involves a very large initial bet, this is designed to put as much weight as possible on the horse you prefer. Usually this initial bet is several times larger than what other people are betting and should be adjusted as necessary to ensure that you have a large enough weighting on your favourite.
2. The “Switch” part occurs once you have determined that your favourite is no longer the horse to bet on. The aim is to switch horses into another horse which has better odds than your original choice, this is usually accomplished by “betting the odds”. If you bet $1 at odds of $5 and your horse wins then you will receive $5 for every $1 wagered, this means that for every unit wagered your profit is 2.
- The “Alternate” part of the strategy involves staying on your initial horse for a while to see if he wins. If he does, you can then switch to a new horse with better odds making a profit of 2 again.
There are two main advantages of this strategy:
The Labouchere betting strategy is advantageous for anyone who has enough capital to put up large bets and the skill to switch horses at just the right time. It is also advantageous for people who are able to “stay on” a horse until he wins. If this strategy is put into practice then it is possible to generate substantial profits.
There are two main disadvantages of this strategy:
First, if you are unable to “stay on” a horse until he wins, then the Labouchere betting strategy does not work for you. If you cannot “stay on” a horse until he wins then the Labouchere betting strategy is a terrible strategy. If a horse is no longer going to win, do not switch to another horse with better odds, because if your original horse does win after you have switched horses with better odds, you will keep making bets at that tier of odds and lose money as a result.
Second, you need to be able to put down large bets. To make the Labouchere betting strategy work you will need to place large bets on the initial race, and then follow up on your decision to switch horses with smaller bets that improve the odds of your new selection. If, for example, you decide that your horse is not likely to win but then this horse wins then there is no point in switching horses with better odds because actually this horse was actually going to win.
There is also the problem that there are many different horses who can win, so there is the possibility that you will not be able to place bets on the horses that you believe are good. This means that you will not only need to put up large bets, but make sure they are covered correctly.
There are many labour-intensive aspects of this strategy, and many players may find it too difficult to put into practice. In particular, it is important to be able to stay on a horse until he wins. If you cannot do this then the Labouchere betting strategy is not for you and it will be difficult to put into practice.