Rules & Scoring

Despite a lot of searching, I couldn’t find a good guide explaining how to play shuffleboard online.  Ultimately, I had to buy a couple of shuffleboard rule books and piece together what you see below.  This, in no way, is a definitive rule book.  What you see below are the common guildelines that I’ve found from a few sources.       


Standard Rules:

  • Before the game begins, you first must decide who gets to throw last, called The Hammer.
  • To decide who gets The Hammer, each player throws one puck.  The puck that is furthest, gets The Hammer.
  • Each player has 4 pucks to throw during a round.  Typically, 2 player or 4 player games are played.  During a 2 player game, both players throw from the same end of the board, in alternating order.  The player with The Hammer will throw second, so that they have the last throw of the round.  Once the round is complete, both players rotate to the other end of the board for the next round.  The object of the game is to score as many points, during each round, as possible.
  • This can be done by either hitting your own pucks into favorable positions or hitting your opponents pucks off the board.
  • The player that reaches 15 points first, is the winner.   
  • In a 4 player game, teammates are located at opposite ends of the board and players never rotate to the other end.
  • The team that reaches 21 points first, is the winner.


  • Only one player (team) can score during a round.  The player (team) with the furthest puck, is awarded points.  Points are awarded according to the numbered sections on the table.
  • The scoring team receives points for every puck that is further than the furthest opponents puck.
  • If a puck does not reach the foul line during gameplay, it should be removed immediately.
  • If a puck is hanging over the end of the board, it is called A Hanger, and is worth 5 points.
  • The loser of a round always receives The Hammer during the next round, regardless of the total score (ie. The winner of the round shoots first during the next round)
  • Games must be won by 2 or more points.  In a 2 player game, if the score is 15-14, additional rounds continue until a team leads by two or more and is declared the winner.
  • If you can not determine which team’s puck is further, than no points are awarded.  In very close situations, it is typical to use an outside judge to make the call.
  • It is acceptable to walk down the board and check puck positions during a round.
  • It is acceptable to use shuffleboard powder / wax / sand… only between rounds.
  • Please see the diagram for an example of scoring.










Alternate Games:


  • Very similar game to Curling, except any spot on the table can be chosen, beyond the foul line.
  • Chose a spot on the table that is easily recognizable and won’t move when hit (painted numbers)
  • Players alternate throwing, an the player with the closest puck to the spot wins.  If the closer player
  • has multiple pucks closer, then they score a point for each.
  • The other major difference to curling is that the first team to reach 9 points wins.  In curling a fixed
  • number of rounds are played.

Tap & Draw

  • In this game, you never want to knock another puck off the board.  The goal is still to have the  furthest puck down the board to score points.  If you knock one of your own pucks off, it is lost.
  • If you knock an opponents puck off the board, your puck is removed and your opponents puck is replaced on the board in its original position.  If this situation occurs and you also knock one of your other pucks into the furthest position, this puck must be returned to the original positions
  • The advantage is to throw first in this game.  If a player wins a round, then the opponent receives first throw in the subsequent round.


  • Opponents are at opposite ends of the board.  During a round, one player shoots all eight pucks and receives points for all pucks in scoring positions.
  • The opponent then throws all eight pucks and receives points for all in scoring position.
  • This is continued until one player achieves 51 points.
  • An equal number of rounds must be played by each opponent.  So, if the first player to throw reaches 51, the opponent gets their round to try and exceed 51.
  • In 4 player games, teammates are on the same side of the board and alternate throwing pucks.



  • All the rules are consistent with regular shuffleboard, except a fixed number of rounds are played instead of playing to a point total.
  • The player/team with the highest point total after 9 “innings” wins.  If the game is tied, additional rounds are played until a player / team wins by 1 point or more.

    Standard Rules:

    • In shuffleboard, a number is chosen and rounds are played until one competitor reaches that number and wins.
    • This differs from shuffleboard.  In curling, a fixed number of rounds are played.  The competitor with the highest total at the end of 10 rounds is the winner.
    • In real Curling, 8 stones are thrown be each team during a round.  For the indoor, table game, 4 stones/pucks are used by each team during a round.
    • The rings in curling don’t actually indicate scoring levels.  They are there to help gage how close pucks / stones are to the center.
    • The ability to throw second is a big advantage.  If you throw second, you will also be the last to throw in the round, which is referred to as The Hammer.
    • To determine who gets The Hammer you can either flip a coin, or each throw one puck/stone and see who’s the closest to the center.


    • If the team that has the Hammer scores at the end of the round, then the Hammer transfers to the other team.  If no team scores at the end of the round
    • then the Hammer stays with the original team.  A common strategy is for the team with the Hammer to try and score either two points or no points at all.
    • This is common because if only one point is scored, the Hammer is lost and this is seen as a wasted opportunity.
    • If the team without the Hammer is able to score a point, this is called a Steal.
    • At the end of the round, the team with the closest stone to the center is awarded points.  They are also awarded one point for every other stone that is closer to the center than the closest competitive stone.
    • The painted circle area is referred to as The House.  Only stones that are touching or within the house are awarded points.
    • If no Stones are touching the outermost ring, no points are awarded.
    • Please see the diagram for an example of scoring.











    Alternate Games:


    • In skins, a round (skin) is won only if the team with the Hammer scores two points, or the team without Steals the round.  If a skin is not awarded, then it is added to the next round.  For example, if no team earns a Steal or two points in Rounds 1 or 2, then the skin for Round 3 inherits two additional skins from the first two rounds.  The normal value of a Round 3 skin is one point, so in this case the Round would be worth three skins
    • After 10 rounds are complete, the team with the most skins wins.
    • As in standard play, if a skin is won, then the Hammer transfers to the other team for the next round.
    • Rounds 1, 2, 3        One skin
    • Rounds 3, 4, 5        Two skins
    • Rounds 6, 7, 8        Three skins
    • Rounds 9, 10          Four skins

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