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Deck Shuffleboard Rules

The floor game of shuffleboard is most associated with senior citizens. But, all age groups can learn how to play outdoor shuffleboard rules.

RULES OF SHUFFLEBOARD: There are some disputed origins and history behind the game. They are as varied as its titled versions.

But, being as King Henry VIII was a big fan of the English game, it most likely began around 600 years ago in Europe.

There is a popular indoor version played on a shuffleboard table UK. But, the standard outdoor sport is deck shuffleboard rules. Its alternative, title ‘shovelboard‘, is usually played on a painted court.

The National Shuffleboard Association (NSA) govern the rules and regulations for competitive tournaments.

The elements of strategy and tactical competition are like bowls rules and regulations. Anyone familiar with the rules of curling will also appreciate some similarities.

In its most basic form, participants use long-handled shovels or paddles. They push (or shove) disc-shaped pucks along the floor towards a marked off target zone.

Rules for Shuffleboard

Aim of Shuffleboard Game

The simple aim of shuffleboard is to win points. Players achieve them by using a paddle to propel the weighted pucks into the marked scoring zone. The goal is to get as many discs into the scoring zones as possible.

There is another objective besides scoring points with your discs. Players also attempt to knock their opponent’s pucks into the ‘10 Off area‘ to stop them scoring points.

Shuffleboard Court Rules

As a rule of play, a deck shuffleboard court is a rectangle. It measures 52 feet long by 10 feet wide. There are different dimension options for new portable and indoor courts.

It has scoring triangles at each end with a further six feet for players to stand whilst playing.

The deck end has a baseline and a triangle divided into five marked and numbered point zones. The number 10 is at the tip, nearest to the players, then eight, and then seven.

Below the triangle at the base of the triangle is the marker for the ‘10 OFF‘ penalty zone. The 12 foot section in the middle of the court displays the markers for the ‘Dead lines‘.

Shuffleboard Equipment

Players use a paddle-like stick (tang). The shuffleboard tang, or cue stick, should be no longer than 6 feet 3 inches. The long pole has two prongs at the end.

Players use it to propel weighted pucks (called a biscuit) towards a scoring triangle. Shuffleboard’s colored pucks (biscuits) are usually yellow and black. They should be six inches in diameter and no more than 1 inch in thickness.

Shuffleboard Players

Outdoor deck shuffleboard rules is a group game. It gets played by either two single players (one against one) or doubles (two against two).

General Shuffleboard Regulations

  • The rules of shuffleboard get played in half-rounds. The winner of a coin toss determines which player goes first at the beginning of the game.
  • Players alternate ends after each half-round. Thus, you then start at the end of the court at which the previous game finished.
  • The first player uses the yellow biscuits and the player going second uses black. Players slide one puck at a time and take alternate goes from the 10-Off section.
  • The player who scored highest in the previous round should play first in the next.
  • So called ‘hook shots‘ or leaning over the baseline while shooting are both forbidden. The shove should be a smooth continuous forward motion when you shoot the puck.
  • You receive a 10 point penalty for playing your opponent’s disc. You must wait until the preceding player’s biscuit is stationary before playing your shot.
  • Illegally played discs get removed from play. That includes times when they do not reach the far dead line or slide past the 10 Off section.

Shuffleboard Rules Scoring

Scores get added up and tallied after each round when all eight (four each) pucks got pushed. The puck must be wholly inside the scoring zone to register that amount of marked or numbered score. Pucks touching or resting on the line do not count for scoring.

You can legally aim your own shots at a player’s puck. The goal of removing them from the scoring zone (or into the 10 OFF zone) is within the rules. But, you may receive a deduction of 10 penalty points for:

  • A puck resting in the 10 OFF zone.
  • Shooting the biscuit off the court.
  • Any disc touching the side line.

Shuffleboard Umpires and Officials

There are several officials in shuffleboard tournament play. It must include a Tournament Director, Assistant to the Tournament Director, Divisional Referees, Court Referees, and Court Scorers. The role of the Tournament Director means they have complete charge of all match arrangements.

Winning a Game of Shuffleboard

As a rule, a game of shuffleboard continues until one player wins by reaching a total of 75 points. It can also be the highest score after 10 complete rounds. When that happens play finishes at the end of that half-round.

The player with the highest score at the end of the half-round is the winner. This may occur if the other player also reaches or exceeds 75 points.

Advanced Shuffleboard Rules


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NSA Shuffleboard Rules PDF: [Free Download Option]

Shuffleboard Rules: How to Play Outdoor Shuffleboard in the United Kingdom