American vs European Roulette
Roulette tables use their own chips, different from the chips used in the rest of the casino. Roulette tables use their own chips so that the dealer can tell all of the players at the table apart. Each player is assigned their own color, to distinguish themselves from all of the other players at the table.
Roulette isn't like blackjack, which is rapid fire action. It moves at a slower pace, and is more of a social game. Unlike blackjack, where the value of a chip is clearly noted, the dealer determines the value of a chip in roulette. There are no distinguishing marks, just distinguishing colors. A dealer will place what is known as a 'lammer' on top of a stack of chips. This indicates the value of the total stack of chips. For instance, if there is a stack of 10 blue chips with $50 printed on it, you know that the entire stack is worth $50, with each chip being worth $5.
So now that you have your chips and are ready to play, how do you go about placing bets? There seems to be a million different places to place bets down. There are two types of bets: you have your "inside" bets, which take place on the main grid of numbers on the inside of the table, and your "outside" bets, which take place on the outside edge of the table.
When you are ready to bet, take a number of your chips and place them on the table, corresponding to what you wish to bet on. There is a table minimum; let's say that the table minimum is $10. You are only allowed to place $10 bets on the outside bets, however, you can place 10 $1 bets for an inside bet. You can bet on red or black, or you can bet on the number being even or odd. The possibilities are endless.
You are allowed to place bets right up until the dealer says "no more bets!" You are allowed to place bets while the ball is still spinning, up until the dealer tells you to stop. Obviously when the ball comes to a rest, you must not bet.
When the ball does come to a rest, the dealer will pay off the winners, and take the chips from the losers.
Roulette is a very easy game to learn, which is why it is so popular. It is a very social game as well, as opposed to say, Texas Hold 'Em Poker. Give it a shot, you'll have some fun.