How to Play Shuffleboard

Shuffleboard is a game that uses a long board and disks. In this game, players attempt to get their disks to the furthest point on the board without going over the edges or crossing the end line. There are four different variations of the game: table shuffleboard, outdoor shuffleboard, deck shuffleboard, and shovelboard. The rules are similar, but there are some important differences.


EditPlaying Table Shuffleboard

  1. Assemble the players at the shuffleboard. Shuffleboard tables, commonly found in bars, have a polished wood surface and range from 12 to 22 feet (3.6 to 6.6 m) in length. The table’s height is usually 30 inches (75 cm) and its width is 20 inches (50 cm). Lines are drawn 6 and 12 inches (15 and 30 cm) from the far end. A foul line is drawn 6 feet (1.8 m) from the far end; disks must cross this line without falling off the table to be eligible to score points.[1]
    Play Shuffleboard Step 1.jpg
  2. Give each player or team four weighted metal disks. The discs should be marked to distinguish one side’s pieces from the other side’s pieces; however, the disks are usually marked with red or blue. There are only two sides; players play solo or in teams of two.
    Play Shuffleboard Step 2.jpg
  3. Decide who starts. Have a team or player call heads or tails, then toss a coin. If the side the team or player called is what turns up, then they go first. If not, then the other team or player goes first.
    Play Shuffleboard Step 3.jpg
  4. Start playing. Have players or teams alternate sliding their disks across the table until all disks are cast. The goal of shuffleboard is to get your disk to the furthest point on the board while also trying to knock the other players’ disks off of the board. When playing table shuffleboard in teams, you may also try to knock your partner’s disks into a higher scoring area.
    Play Shuffleboard Step 4.jpg
  5. Score the disks. If you are playing in teams, then only the player or team whose disks are furthest down the table scores points, and only those disks further down than the opponent’s furthest disk score.[2]
    Play Shuffleboard Step 5.jpg
    • If a disk hangs over the far end of the table, it scores 4 points. If a disk crosses the far line without hanging over the far end, it scores 3 points. If a disk crosses the nearer scoring line, it scores 2 points. If a disk crosses the foul line, but no other lines, it scores 1 point.
    • If the disk touches or crosses any of the lines, it scores the value of the lower scoring area. Thus, if a disk has crossed the 3-point line but is still touching it, it scores only 2 points.
    • In some versions of table shuffleboard, a less skilled player scores 1 more point for a hanger or crossing the lines than a more skilled opponent does. You may observe this rule if you choose, just make sure to specify that this rule will be in effect before you start playing.
  6. Retrieve the disks and start again. Some table shuffleboard games play from only one end, while others play from either end. Whichever player or team won the last turn starts the next turn. In a 2-player game, the first player to either 11 or 15 points wins the game. In a team game, the first team to 21 points wins the game.
    Play Shuffleboard Step 6.jpg

EditPlaying Outdoor Shuffleboard

  1. Gather the players at the shuffleboard court. Outdoor shuffleboard features a 52-foot-long (15.6 m-long) rectangular court with a triangular scoring area at either end.[3] Have all of the players come and stand around the board.
    Play Shuffleboard Step 7.jpg
  2. Give each player or team 4 wooden disks and a cue. You will be using a cue to push the disks down the shuffleboard court. Disks are in 2 colors, usually yellow and black, with a diameter of 6 inches (15 cm) and a thickness from 9/16 to 1 inch (1.4 to 2.5 cm). The cue is a pole no longer than 6 1/2 feet (2 m), with a U-shaped prong on the pushing end.
    Play Shuffleboard Step 8.jpg
  3. Take turns. Have the players or teams alternate sliding their disks across the court until all of the disks are cast. Starting with the player with the yellow disks, players place their disks in the “10-off” section of the scoring area on their end of the court on their turn and shoot toward the opposite scoring triangle.
    Play Shuffleboard Step 9.jpg
    • The yellow player’s disks are launched on the left side of the court, and the black player’s disks are launched from the right side. A player’s cue cannot push past the scoring area when shooting a disk. Disks must cross the “dead line” 3 feet (0.9 m) in front of the opposite scoring area but must not hang off the edge of the court; disks that fail to cross or that hang are removed from the court.
    • As in table shuffleboard, players try to knock their disks into the higher scoring areas and their opponents into lower scoring areas or out of play entirely.
  4. Score the disks. The triangular scoring area in outdoor shuffleboard is divided into 6 sections; a disk must be entirely inside one of these sections to score points. A disk in the apex of the triangle scores 10 points, a disk in either of the 2 areas behind the apex scores 8 points, and a disk in either of the 2 areas behind the 8-point areas scores 7 points. A disk that lands in the “10-off” section deducts 10 points from the score of the player or team who owns the disk.
    Play Shuffleboard Step 10.jpg
    • Unlike table shuffleboard, outdoor shuffleboard assesses penalties for rule infractions. A disk that touches the 10-off area line before being played costs a player 5 points; if it touches one of the triangle’s sides, the penalty is 10 points. Ten-point penalties are also assessed if a player’s body crosses the baseline while playing or shooting an opponent’s disk.
    • Remove any illegally played disks from the court. Give any of the opponent’s disks that were displaced by an illegally played disks back to the opponent to replay.
  5. Keep playing. Alternate sliding disks from either end of the court until one side wins. Whichever side reaches a score of 75 or more after all of the disks are played in a turn wins.
    Play Shuffleboard Step 11.jpg

EditPlaying Deck Shuffleboard

  1. Have all of the players gather around the deck shuffleboard court. Deck shuffleboard has 2 oval scoring areas, each 6 feet (1.8 m) in length, spaced 30 feet (9 m) apart. There are lines in front of and behind each scoring area; the inside lines are called “Lady’s lines” and the outside lines are called “Gentleman’s lines.”[4]
    Play Shuffleboard Step 12.jpg
  2. Give each side four wooden disks and a cue. The disks are the same size as in outdoor shuffleboard and they are marked with two separate colors. The cues are similar to those in outdoor shuffleboard, although the shooting section, or “shoe,” consists of a semicircle cut into a rectangular piece of wood.[5]
    Play Shuffleboard Step 13.jpg
    • Players may play in teams of 2, with one player playing one end of the court and the other the other end.
  3. Decide who starts. This is usually done with a coin toss, as in table shuffleboard.[6]
    Play Shuffleboard Step 14.jpg
  4. Have the players alternate sliding their disks across the court. Keep going until all of the disks have been cast. Players stand behind the “gentleman’s line” when shooting. During play, players can try to knock their opponent’s disks out of the scoring area or off the court.[7]
    Play Shuffleboard Step 15.jpg
    • Take any disks that fail to cross the Lady’s line off the court.
  5. Score the disks. Tally up the points after all players have cast their disks. Disks score points according to where in the scoring area they land, as long as they are completely inside that scoring area.
    Play Shuffleboard Step 16.jpg
    • The center of the scoring area consists of 9 squares labeled with the numbers 1 through 9, arranged in the format of a magic square; any line of 3 numbers adds to 15. The semicircle furthest from the players scores 10 points for any disk landing in it, while the semicircle nearest the players deducts 10 points for any disk landing in it.
  6. Alternate sliding disks from either end of the court until one side wins. Whichever side reaches a score of either 50 or 100 first, wins.[8]
    Play Shuffleboard Step 17.jpg

EditPlaying Shovelboard

  1. Prepare the playing surface. Shuffleboard is played on a table 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 m) long and 3 feet (0.9 m) wide. At either end, scoring lines are drawn at 4 inches (10 cm) and 4 feet (1.2 m) from the end.[9]
    Play Shuffleboard Step 18.jpg
  2. Give each player four weighted metal disks. Each player’s disks should be marked in some way to distinguish them from the other players’ disks.
    Play Shuffleboard Step 19.jpg
  3. Decide who starts. For two players, toss a coin. If there are more than two players, choose another method with an equal outcome.
    Play Shuffleboard Step 20.jpg
  4. Begin playing the game. Have the players alternate sliding their disks across the table until all of the disks have been cast. A disk must cross one of the lines without falling off the table.
    Play Shuffleboard Step 21.jpg
    • Once a player has slid a disk across the table, it becomes a target for the other players, who can knock that disk off the table and replace it with their own disk.
  5. Score the disks. A disk that hangs over the far end of the table scores 3 points, a disk on or across the far line scores 2 points, and a disk on or across the near line scores 1 point. If none of the disks have crossed a line, the disk closest to the near line scores 1 point. Add the scores to the players’ previous scores.[10]
    Play Shuffleboard Step 22.jpg
  6. Alternate sliding disks from either end of the table until one player wins. Whoever scored the most points on the last turn starts the next turn. The first player to score 11 wins.
    Play Shuffleboard Step 23.jpg
    • If there are more than two players, the winning score can be higher than 11.


  • When shooting a disk or puck in either shuffleboard or table shuffleboard, keep your movements as smooth as possible. Grip the disk between your thumb and forefinger and slide the disk forward with your arm and wrist toward your target. You may want to slide your middle and ring fingers behind the disk as you shoot to help guide the shot.

EditSources and Citations

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