How to Play Table Shuffleboard | Blatt Billiards

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How to Play Table Shuffleboard

by David Roeder |

Table shuffleboard is a fun game that is relatively easy to learn how to play. Shuffleboard has been around since the 15th century. The game was originally called slide groat, where a large metal coin was slid down the table. Over the years, the game has evolved into what we know it as today.

What Is the Difference Between Table Shuffleboard and Floor Shuffleboard?

Custom shuffleboard

Floor shuffleboard was an adaptation of the tabletop game. It became popular on cruise ships in the late 1800s and can still be found on modern-day cruise ships. On land, the game became popular in the early 1900s.

Instead of sliding the pucks down the table, players use a cue stick to slide pucks on the ground. There are different marked scoring areas on each side of the playing area.

With table shuffleboard, the playing area is much smaller. There are also one or two scoring areas on each end of the table for players to attempt to stop their pucks in. Furthermore, a shuffleboard table is open on the sides, so pucks can easily fall off, as when rolling a bowling ball into the gutter.

What Is the Official Size of a Shuffleboard Table?

Shuffleboard table game room

Official tournament-size shuffleboard tables should be 22 feet long and only 20 inches wide. Most tables are elevated two and a half feet off the ground. While there are shorter tables, they must still be 20 inches wide and at least two and a half feet tall.

What Are the Shuffleboard Rules Players Need to Know?

Texan shuffleboard

Before you can play shuffleboard, you should have a general understanding of the basic shuffleboard rules. The objective of this game is to be the first to reach a predetermined amount of points.

Select the Players

To start a game of shuffleboard, you will first need to decide how many people will play. Shuffleboard games can consist of either two players or four players, as with pool games. Two players challenge each other one-on-one, while four players pair up into two teams.

Distribute the Pucks

Pucks are round circular disks that look similar to hockey pucks but are smaller. Each player or team will get four weighted pucks. The pucks are often color-coded, where one set is blue and the other red to make them easy to tell apart. However, some customized puck sets can use different colors.

Decide Who Goes First

You can flip a coin; do the best 2-out-3 of rock, paper, scissors; or use any other method to decide who will start the game.

Decide the Point Total

When playing one-on-one, you often play until one player reaches 15 points. However, if you want to play a shorter game, you can play until someone reaches 11 points. Teams usually play until one team reaches 21 points. Yet, you could lower this to 15 points for a faster game.

Start Sliding Pucks Down the Shuffleboard Table

Each player will take turns sliding pucks down the shuffleboard table. You want to get the puck past the foul line and the farthest down the table without going off the sides or end of the table.

So, the first player slides one of the pucks, then the second player slides one of their pucks. You continue rotating turns until all four pucks have been used. It is perfectly legal in shuffleboard to attempt to knock the opposing players’ pucks off the table while trying to keep yours on the table.

If you are playing teams, alternating team members take turns. So, the player that goes first is followed by an opposing team member. Then the third person to go is the other person on the first team, and so on. In teams, each player only gets to shoot two pucks.

Score Each Round

At the end of each round, you will score any pucks left on the table. Any pucks that went off the side or the end of the table are not scored. Whichever player’s or team’s puck is the farthest down the table is scored.

For example, if your red puck is on the farthest end of the table and in front of the other player’s blue puck, then you earn points for that puck. All other pucks behind yours are not scored.

However, if the second puck behind yours is red, you earn points for that one. Next, if the third puck is red, you get to score that one as well. Finally, if the fourth puck is red, you can score that one too.

Points are scored based on the location of the puck on the table. If your puck lands on a line in between scoring areas, it earns points for the lower scoring area. The only exception is when the puck is at the very end of the table and it is partially hanging off the edge.

Players refer to this as a hanger, and you earn four points. Three points are earned when the puck is at the very end of the table and past the line. Two points are earned for pucks in the middle area. One point is earned for the bottom scoring area, as long as the puck is past the foul line. If the puck is sitting on the foul line, then no points are earned.

Shuffleboard scoring is relatively easy, as most tables have numbers in each scoring zone and are denoted as one, two, or three points. However, if the table does not have numbers in the scoring zone, the scoring areas will still be marked with lines.

Start the Next Round

Some shuffleboard tables will have scoring zones on each end of the table. If your table does, play continues from the side you just scored. If your table only has one scoring zone, you pick up the pucks and return to the far side to start the next round.

Continue scoring at the end of each round until one player reaches the predetermined point total you decided before you began the game.

Shuffleboard Penalties

Semi custom contemporary pool

During each round, there are different penalties players may incur, as follows:

  • Any puck that does not pass the foul line is removed from the table.
  • If one of your pucks goes off the side or end of the table during your turn, There is no point scored
  • If you touch the playing surface when it is the other player’s turn, you lose one point.
  • If you are holding one or more pucks while waiting for your turn, you lose one point.
  • If you bump the table when it is the other player’s turn, you lose one point.

As you can see, some of these rules can seem quite harsh, especially for beginners. Therefore, you and the opposing player are free to alter the rules as you see fit. For example, you may decide rounds continue, even when someone’s puck goes off the side or end of the table on their turn. Or you may choose not to deduct points when players have pucks in their hands.

Is My Round Over When an Opponent Knocks My Puck Off the Table?

Part of the fun of shuffleboard is knocking your opponents’ pucks off the table to put you in a better scoring area. Anytime one of your pucks is knocked off the table by an opponent, your round is not over.

However, if the puck goes past the foul line, hits the opponent’s puck, and then bounces back across the foul line, it is removed from the table. In addition, if your puck goes off the table while attempting to knock the opponent’s puck off, your round is over unless you altered the rules before you started playing.

Playing Shuffleboard as Teams

Brickell shuffleboard

There are two ways to play teams in shuffleboard. The first one is where each player alternates turns until all four pucks are shot. Then the round is scored, and play continues until one team reaches the predetermined score.

The alternative way is to play doubles, where one team member stands on opposite sides of the shuffleboard table. Players alternate turns until everyone has shot both of their pucks. Then both ends of the table are scored. So, if you and your teammate’s pucks were the farthest down your respective side of the table, you get points for both pucks.

Finding a Shuffleboard Table

Majestic shuffleboard

Now that you know how to play table shuffleboard, it is easy to find a high-quality shuffleboard table for your home at Blatt Billiards. Explore our different table designs, check out our Shuffleboard Table Buyer’s Guide, or contact us at 212-674-8855 for further assistance today.