Roulette Basics and Rules of Table Conduct

At first glance, roulette is an incredibly simple game to play. All it takes is choosing a number, a group of numbers or a number property like odd, even, high, low, red or black. And indeed, this is the essence of this game of chance.

In reality, there is more to roulette than this. Players must acquaint themselves with the rules of conduct they are expected to adhere to while at the table. This includes the purchase of the chips you play with, understanding the timing of wagers, where to position the chips for the different types of available bets, tipping the dealer, and cashing out your wins. We cover all these aspects of the game in the following article.

Basic Premise of the Game

1Roulette Basics

In most casinos around the world, roulette plays on a wheel with 37 pockets. These contain numbers 1 through 36 alternating in red and black color plus a green pocket for the single zero. American Roulette uses an extra double-zero pocket for a total of 38 wheel divisions. We only mention this in brief here but it is important. The house maintains a constant edge over roulette players through the introduction of the zero pocket(s).

The main premise of this game of chance is that players must predict what result an individual spin of the roulette wheel will produce. Before a betting round can commence, players must back their bets by posting chips on the corresponding positions of the table layout.

2The inner section

This is divided into two main sections, for outside and inside bets. The inner section of the layout is reserved for the inside bets, with the chips for these being placed on one or more numbers. Inside bets are more rewarding for the player in terms of payouts because they cover individual numbers or groups with fewer numbers (up to six). The probability of winning with them is smaller, hence the higher payouts.

3The outer section

The betting boxes for the outside bets are strategically positioned in the outer section of the layout, i.e. outside the main number grid. Outside bets are those made on number properties like red, black, even, odd, low (numbers 1 through 18), and high (numbers 19 through 36).

In this category, we also have dozen and column bets, which comprise larger groups of 12 numbers. Since the green zero does not share these properties and does not belong to any of the three dozens or columns, all outside bets lose to it when it hits.

Outside bets award smaller payouts. They stand better chances of winning because they cover larger groups of numbers. Check our detailed article A Game of Many Betting Opportunities for further clarification of the types of bets in roulette and their payouts.

Equipment at the Roulette Table

A roulette table consists of a layout where bets are placed and a spinning wheel which is typically positioned to the side. The design of the wheel itself ensures the randomization of results. The most obvious way in which this is achieved is through the alternation of the red and black pockets. The numbers on the wheel are not numerically ordered but are spread out randomly, with different number sequences for American and European wheels.

Components of the Wheel
The Roulette Ball
The Betting Layout
The Roulette Chips
The Dolly and the Rake

Rules of Proper Table Conduct

Roulette is a simple game with a straightforward objective and rules. However, if you want to fully enjoy your experience at the wheel-equipped tables without any drama, you should learn how to conduct yourself properly. Sometimes even a small breach of the table protocol can altogether spoil your experience.

Purchasing Your Chips
Placing Your Bets
When Not to Bet
Settlement of the Bets
Tipping the Roulette Dealer
Cashing Out Your Winnings

Roulette Glossary


American wheel

Ball track


Bet capping

Betting straight up

Call bet


Casino odds

Chasing losses

Choppy table

Combination bet

Crooked wheel



En Plein

European wheel

Even money bet

Five number bet

Flat betting

House Edge

Inside bet


No action

Outside bet

Past posting

Positive progression

True odds

Visual tracking

Wheel chips

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