How to Play Roulette

The roulette table is the only table game where regular casino chips are not used. Because bets are placed on a common layout and not directly in front of each player as in other games, the roulette dealer needs a different system to keep track of every player's bets. When you sit down at the roulette table, you use your regular casino chips (or cash) to purchase roulette chips, which are simply colored disks. You can assign any denomination you choose to these colored chips. For example, if you want $1 chips and you give the dealer $100 in cash, she will give you a stack of 100 colored chips in exchange. If you want $2 chips, the dealer will give you fifty colored chips.

Each player gets a different color so the dealer knows whom to pay, and the dealer will put one of the colored chips on the table rail along with a marker that tells her what that color chip is worth. These colored chips have no value anywhere else in the casino, so you must cash them in for regular casino chips at the roulette table when you are done playing.

Don't be alarmed if you want to make a specific bet and find that someone else has placed a chip on your spot. Because each player's chips are a different color, players can “share” bets at the roulette table; everybody can choose black, for example, or 15, or the same group of numbers.

Minimum bets and table limits are posted at the roulette table. You can make any number of bets, up to the table limit, on any one spin. You simply place your colored chips on the corresponding number, series of numbers, or colors (red or black) on the betting layout.

Usually, the dealer will accept bets in between spins and even after dropping the ball into the wheel — at least until the ball begins to slow down. Then the dealer will wave his hand over the betting layout and will probably announce, “No more bets.” When the winning number is determined, the dealer places a clear marker on that number on the betting layout. Losing bets are cleared off the table, and then winning bets are paid. When the dealer is ready for the next spin, he'll announce, “Place your bets.”

As with any table game, it's very important that you wait for the dealer's okay before placing a new bet. In some casinos, only the dealer is allowed to touch the chips on the betting layout after a winning number is announced; failure to follow this etiquette might result in the dealer or pit boss asking you to leave.

The placing and paying of bets make roulette take longer between rounds than other table games. You won't find the fast-paced excitement of craps or blackjack here. But if you're a novice at the casino, the roulette table is one of the easiest and least intimidating places to start.

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