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Table Shuffleboard Rules | Official Shuffleboard Table Rules From The Shuffleboard Federation

Table Shuffleboard Rules | Official Shuffleboard Federation Rules

These Table Shuffleboard rules are the official rules set by governing bodies for professional shuffleboard tournament play. They were developed by The Shuffleboard Federation and the Player Policy Board. You can also download a concise list of these Official Shuffleboard Rules for easy reference.

For casual recreational play, many of the following rules are not applicable and we suggest you check out How To Play Table Shuffleboard


League and tournament play should be fun. It has been our experience that, when arguments arise during competition, it is usually because one or more of the participants is not familiar with the rules.

A thorough understanding of the rules by all of the participants will allow everyone to have a good time, without worrying about the technicalities. We hope that it will not be necessary to penalize anyone for a rules violation. If however that does happen, the penalty is a negative point(s) assessment, meaning that the penalty points will be subtracted from the offender’s score.

These tournament rules may not cover every situation that may occur during tournament play. Any special rulings or exceptions to these rules or changes in format or event point marks shall be made at the sole discretion of the Tournament Director and/or Tournament Officials.

The penalties provided in the rules will be negative in that the points will be deducted from the offender's score. Exception: The penalties under rule 3.2 for being tardy will instead be added to the other player or team's score.

The requirement for sportsmanship and the penalties for verbal or physical harassment will be strictly enforced. In addition to the 2 point penalty for verbal harassment, physical harassment may result in forfeiture of the game and immediate disqualification from the tournament.

Procedure for enforcing rules providing for one warning and then a one point penalty (rules 2.8, 9.1, 10.2, 10.5, 10.6 and 10.8 ):

  1. Advise your opponent of the violation and that you are providing his warning.
  2. Report the fact of the warning to an official.
  3. If the offense is repeated, advise the opponent that he has received a one point negative penalty.
  4. If your opponent does not agree to the penalty, report the matter to an official and request a ruling.

Code of Ethics

I will play the game with a spirit of good sportsmanship.

I will conduct myself in an honorable manner both during and after a game.

I will never knowingly break a rule, but if I do, I will divulge the breach.

I will take no action which could be interpreted as an attempt to intimidate or demean my opponents, team mates or the tournament director and officials.

I will interpret the rules in an impartial manner, always keeping in mind that the purpose of rules is to ensure that the game is played in an orderly and fair manner. If I am found in violation of the Code of Ethics or rules of the game, I will humbly accept any penalty which the tournament director(s), at all levels of shuffleboard, deems appropriate.

We would like to acknowledge the Evergreen Shuffleboard Association (ESA), whose officers, directors and members who contributed to the formation of the Code of Ethics.


1.1 All players should shake hands before each game and must exercise good sportsmanship. Good Sportsmanship is expected and required by all players and spectators alike. No disrespect towards other players will be tolerated. The Tournament Director reserves the right to penalize disrespectful behavior in whatever fashion they deem appropriate, including the loss of points or disqualification.

1.2 No physical or verbal harassment will be allowed: a. Physical contact or harassment: no warning, immediate disqualification. b. Verbal harassment: no warning, two-point penalty, subsequent infraction may result in forfeiture of game and disqualification from the tournament.

1.3 All contestants will show respect for the players on the board next to them.

1.4 Spectators shall not harass or interfere with those players that are playing an event. If any event participant is unable to resolve spectator interference concerns, he/she should request a tournament official or Tournament Director for resolution assistance. Penalty: 1 warning and removal of offender if repeated.

1.5 All decisions by the Officials shall be final. Any player who makes a scene concerning any Tournament Official’s decision(s) or verbally abuses the Tournament Officials and/or Tournament Director shall be subject to disqualification.

1.6 Every player should consider it his/her responsibility to report any violation of these rules to a Tournament Official.


2.1 It is the goal of the tournament director to have the best possible playing conditions. As such boards will be adjusted as necessary throughout the tournament.

2.2 The Tournament Officials will silicone spray the boards before the start of each scheduled event. Silicone spraying of the boards during an event shall be at the discretion of the Tournament Director.

2.3 Tampering with or altering of weights, wax, or boards, shall result in automatic disqualification. (Note: Board altering or adjustments shall be performed only by or at the request of the designated Tournament Board Adjusters or the Tournament Directors. Failure to comply with this rule shall be considered ‘tampering’ with the boards.)

2.4 A player may lightly wax dry spots up to the near foul line (using the tournament supplied containers) only on the end of the board the player is shooting, only when it is the player’s shot, and only before the end of that frame. All other re-waxing during a game match shall be done by and at the discretion of the Tournament Directors or their designated Tournament Officials. If any player in the game thinks that re-waxing has occurred which is not in compliance with accepted tournament standards, and that their play will be affected by the additional powder, they may ask a tournament official for a ruling. The official shall determine what action should be taken.

2.5 A player may not touch, or cause powder to be removed from the playing surface, or add any substance to the playing surface. Penalty: one warning, one point for each additional infraction.

2.6 Winners shall wipe the board after their match is over. The participants in the next match shall be responsible for waxing the board for their match, which may be done by any mutually agreeable party. Otherwise, they may request that a tournament official wax the board(s) for them.

2.7 If the object weight has wax on the side that may result in a “soft” or “mush” hit, a player may request an Official to wipe off and re-spot the weight before shooting at it.

2.8 The official tournament weight (puck) shall be 2.3125 inches wide, and 0.75 inches in height, without the cap. Both measurements may have a margin of error of .05 inches. The widest outside point must be centered .375 inches from the top without the cap. The total mass of a weight (defined as a single entity, cap and weight combination) shall weigh a minimum of 310 grams and have a maximum mass of 355 grams (mass to be within a margin of error of +/- 1.0 gram). Players may use their own weights, but all weights being used must have red or blue caps.

Players are allowed to modify the overall mass of a weight (combination of cap and weight) by adding or removing mass from the interior of a cap. Any mass that is added to the cap, must be added to the bottom of the cap and be self-contained and secure within the cap as to not allow it to move in the cap or be modified during scored play. Additionally, changing mass, caps or weights is allowed between games or after shooting practice weights as long as the player retains their game-designated color and it is done prior to the player taking their first shot of a scored game or after a scored game is completed. Unless a player's cap or weight becomes substantially damaged during a game, players are not allowed to change or modify either during scored play of their game. Utilizing magnets inside of weights or magnetized weights is strictly prohibited.

All weights must be in good condition with no rust, chipped finish, or unusual wear as to damage the playing surface or an opponent's weights. All weights will be subject to inspection by tournament officials at all times and may be disqualified at the discretion of the Tournament Director. The penalty for altering or utilizing incorrect mass weights is to be determined by the Tournament Director.


3.1 Roll Call will be taken during the Sponsor Sale start time as posted in the tournament flyer and/or tournament schedule (whether it be on the same day of the event with play immediately following or held on a specified time on the day before the event actually starts, etc.). In order to expedite the tournament, all players shall be in the building for sponsor sales. Players not present at sponsor sale start time shall not have sponsors and shall not be part of the sponsor sale unless otherwise noted in the tournament flyer and/or tournament event schedule. Any player not in attendance may be dropped from that event.

3.2 If a player or team is tardy, an opponent shall report to an official. The official shall announce that the tardy player or team is on the clock. The tardy player or team shall have a 5 minute grace period, which begins at the posted time for the match, following which one point per minute shall be awarded to the player or team which is present. Practice weights shall commence immediately and shall be completed during the grace period. Any player(s) who have accumulated late arrival penalty points will also forfeit their practice weight time even if they show up in time to prevent total forfeit for that game.


4.1 In “Draw” or “Draft” type events, if any player is determined a “no-show” (e.g., expired the 5 minute grace period described in Rule 3.2 above) then the tournament director (at team player’s request and at the tournament directors’ discretion) may substitute an available player of the closest rating assignment possible to the “no show” player(s) [if there are any available players to consider as an equitable substitute, it is the sole responsibility of the Tournament Director or designated Tournament Officials to determine what “equitable” substitutions will be considered or determined – equitable “skill level rating” and/or equitable “draft sequence” are considered when selecting “equitable” substitution(s)]. In “Draft” events it is the responsibility of the “Team Captain” to gather and share contact information on all team members in case of a “no show” so that an attempt may be made by any team member to contact any “no show” team member(s). In “Draw” events, the team members should exchange contact information.

4.2 In “Bring” type events, it is the sole responsibility of each team member to ensure that the rest of their team is present and no substitutes shall be allowed. In a dire emergency (severe illness, accident, death, etc.), in any type of event, exceptions to the "no-show" substitution rules shall be considered and/or made at the sole discretion of the Tournament Director.


5.1 All games shall be played to 15 points unless otherwise specified by the Tournament Flyer or published format and/ or specified by Tournament Directors before or during the tournament.

5.2 The short foul line rule shall be in effect. A weight that does not clear the short foul line is not a legal weight shall be removed from the playing surface immediately.

5.3 Players/teams are responsible for marking their points at the end of each frame. Points shall be marked before the first weight of the next frame. Penalty: Earned points that were not marked will be forfeited.

5.4 Any positive handicapped points should be marked before the game starts, and will be forfeited if not marked by the end of the second frame.

5.5 A player or team unable to mark their due points within the above guidelines (e.g., mechanical failure of an electronic score unit), should notify an official or tournament director before the end of the next frame that the points were earned (but not marked) or else they may forfeit any earned points.

5.6 Weights shall not be removed at the end of a frame until the both parties have viewed and agreed upon the score to be marked.


6.1 All games shall be switch-hammer. If there is no score in a frame (regardless of whether there are other weights on the board), the hammer shall switch.

6.2 Players shall flip a coin for choice of hammer or color before the beginning of the game. In competitions, with a two-out-of-three format, the person who wins the flip has the choice of having the hammer in the first or second game of the match. The loser gets the hammer in the other game. In all games, the player/team without the hammer has the choice of color in that game. If a third game is necessary, the players shall flip again. The player/team with the hammer shall shoot their practice weights first.

6.3 A player may play at any end, regardless of where they practiced. Play will begin at the designated end.

6.4 If a player who has the hammer shoots first (out of turn) they loose the hammer and must complete the frame in the same rotation. This rule may not be used to intentionally change the hammer. The player who did not shoot out of turn may choose to keep the hammer or restart the frame in the correct rotation, and must do so before they shoot.

6.5 It shall be each player(s)/team(s) responsibility to ensure all four of their weights are placed in a visible position in the trough on the end of the board where he/she will be playing before the first weight of any frame is thrown. If any problems (e.g., out of sequence play) should arise because a player(s) did not comply with this rule, the player or team who owns the missing weight shall be considered at fault and the Tournament Director or Tournament Official(s) may require the frame to be restarted in correct play order or require any other applicable resolution. Notify a Tournament Director or Tournament Official for resolution.


7.1 Each player in singles events shall have four (4) practice weights from each end; each player in doubles events shall have four (4) practice weights from their respective end. The player/team with the hammer shall shoot their practice weights first.

7.2 Board availability for practicing shall be cleared with the Bracket Official. A player may practice on any available board before his/her event starts if his/her board assignments have not yet been posted.

7.3 If the board assignments have been posted, players shall not practice on the board they are scheduled to play. Once an event starts, players participating in that event shall not throw practice weights or participate in any outside challenge matches or robins until the Bracket Official has informed the player that his/her official tournament event play is absolutely done for that day. Penalty: Forfeit of the first game of your next match.

7.4 No player or team shall play consecutive games or matches on the same board.

7.5 A player shall be allowed to use his/her own weights, which shall have red and blue (or red and green) caps. A player may allow an opponent the use of his/her weights, but are not required to do so. A Player shall be allowed to switch his/her weights (not color) during practice weights and before the first frame has started.

7.6 Tournament weights are subject to inspection and may be disqualified if any weight(s) do not meet tournament specifications. See section 2.8 for more information

7.7 Changing weights after a game starts shall result in automatic disqualification.


8.1 Official calls of weights for scoring purposes shall not be made until the frame is over. Calls to determine whether weights have crossed the short foul line or are otherwise legal weights may be made at any time.

8.2 Any weight(s) in question will be called by a group of at least three people, or a minimum of five people in a game determining situation. Contact one of the designated Tournament Officials or Tournament Directors when a weight call is needed.

8.3 If an Official should bump weight(s) while calling a weight that would cause a determination not being possible, the tournament director may require weights to be replaced back to original position and ask that the last weight shot be re-executed and/or may require the entire frame be played over (depending upon circumstance).


9.1 More than 30 seconds between shots, or more than five minutes between games once the match has started, shall constitute slow play. Penalty: One warning, one-point penalty per infraction thereafter.

9.2 Either team shall be allowed a time-out discussion only after one of the teams in a game has reached 10 points. This discussion shall be held at the middle of the board so as not to interfere with the opponents or players on other boards. A maximum of three time-outs of one minute each (per team) shall be the maximum allowed per game (after the 10 point score criteria has been met), but no more than one time-out per frame.

9.3 A player may walk to the opposite end of the board to examine the position of the weights, or, alternatively, ask their partner’s opinion on the value or position of the a weight without walking to the opposite end of the board, but they shall not take a “time-out” break for partner discussion on the opposite end of the board (Reference: Section 9.2,Viewing position of a weight at the opposite end of a board does not constitute a “time-out” and shall be exercised within 30 seconds (Reference: Section 9.1).


10.1 If a player shoots at a weight and the opponents weight falls off the end or side of the board before his/her shot contacts the weight or comes to a complete stop, regardless of whether or not the opponents weight was moving/ spinning, the fallen weight shall be placed back in the original position and the shooting player loses his/her shot.

10.2 A player shall not shoot at a weight that is in forward motion (not just spinning). Penalty: One warning, one point penalty thereafter.

10.3 A player shall not bump or impact the cradle while in the act of shooting or otherwise to purposely move his/her opponent’s weight or to cause his/her opponent’s weight to fall off the board. Penalty: The fallen/moved weight shall be replaced and the offending player loses their shot.

10.4 A player shall not bump or impact the cradle at any time during the frame. Penalty: One warning, one point penalty thereafter.

10.5 The following criteria shall be met for a shot to be a legal delivery: Both feet shall be behind the deuce line and at least one foot shall be on the floor when the shot is delivered. The weight shall be released before the near foul line. Penalty: Loss of that shot and the weights that have been contacted/moved shall be replaced.

10.6 Blasting on a clear board shall not be allowed. Penalty: One warning, one-point penalty infraction thereafter.

10.7 A player shall stand behind their opponent, and out of view, when possible, while opponent is shooting. Walking to the opposite end of the table before the frame has been completed is not permitted Penalty: One warning, one-point penalty infraction thereafter.

10.8 Players will stay on their end of the board until the last weight (hammer) of that frame has been released.

10.9 Coaching or advising a player in a singles event by anyone shall not be allowed. Only a player’s partner may provide coaching or advising in a doubles event. For rules regarding coaching in team events, please refer to the rules regarding team play on page 11. Penalty: One warning, one point penalty per infraction thereafter. Spectators who violate coaching rules will be removed from the playing area. Please refer to Rule 1.4.

10.10 A player shall not hold a weight(s) in his/her hand while his/her opponent is the act of shooting.

10.11 Double release shots shall not be permitted.

10.12 A Player shall not hold drinks, cigarettes, cell phones or any foreign objects in his/her hands or mouth while in the act of shooting. Turn off cell phones and pagers during play.


11.1 Any weight overhanging the end of the board (not the side) and in danger of falling off the board (“4 Hanger”) may be made safe (meaning to move the hanger back more into the 3 area with less overhang, i.e., to have the ‘4-Hanger’ stabilized) by anyone mutually agreed upon by both parties. If not mutually agreed upon, then a tournament official may be called upon to make a weight safe. It is the option of the opposing player/team to have the weight made safe. A weight made safe cannot be out-lagged; consequently, a ‘4’ is made safe with the intent of the opponent hitting the weight.

11.2 The responsibility and decision to have the ‘4 weight’ made safe (stabilized) lies with the opponent who has to shoot at it. The weight may be made safe by any mutually agreeable party, or a tournament official. A weight cannot be made or called safe without physically moving the weight. If any weight which has been made safe subsequently falls off for any reason other than being struck by a legally delivered weight, the ‘4’ shall be returned to the playing surface as close as possible to its original position and made safe and the opponent shall not get to shoot his/her weight over again.

11.3 If a weight has been made safe, any weight of the opposite color which subsequently out distances it will not count. If a weight has not been made safe, it can be out-lagged. If a '4-Hanger' weight that has not been made safe should fall off the end of the board during or after the opposing player’s release without being contacted by a weight, it shall be put back as close to it’s original spot as possible and opposing player shall not get to shoot his/her weight/shot over.

11.4 Any weight overhanging the “rail” edge of the board (versus “4-Hanger” at the end of the board) cannot be made safe and at any point is “dead” if it falls off before the opponent’s next weight ceases motion. After the opponent’s weight ceases motion a scoring “rail” hanger is legal, and shall be replaced if it falls from the board without being hit by another weight. Should a rail-hanger weight fall from the board for any reason other than being legally hit and knocked off by another weight, such as vibrations caused by slapping the table, stomping the floor, etc., it shall be replaced back as close as possible to its original position and shall be considered a legal weight.


12.1 After the boards have been assigned for each session of a team event (4-Person or 6-Person) and before the first weight is thrown, it is the responsibility of the Team Captains to ensure the team sheets are filled out correctly and that the correct teams are playing on the correct boards. Penalty: Any games or sessions played out of sequence or with incorrect player lineup on any session after the Captains have jointly agreed to both parties session sheet may constitute forfeiture of any games played in other than the agreed to sequence, session, and player lineup.

Four Person Team Rules

1. All matches are two out of three.

2. Matches are played on two boards.

3. Before each match, the captains shall write the names of their “A” Team and “B” Team players on their score sheet.

4. The “A” Teams will play each other on the lower numbered board and the “B” Teams will play each other on the higher numbered board.

5. Captains flip for hammer or color on the lower numbered board. The team without the hammer on the low board has hammer on the high board with the same color weights.

6. If one team wins both games, the match is over.

7. If each team wins one game, a third game will be played. Each team shall select one player from “A” Team and one Player from their “B” Team. A coin flip shall then take place: Heads - low board, Tails - high board. Flip for hammer.

8. Only the team captain and a players partner may coach.

Six Person Team Rules

1. Partners are pre-assigned throughout the duration of the event.

2. All matches are five out of nine.

3. Matches are played on three boards.

4. Captains shall flip for home and away team. The home team has the hammer in the odd numbered games in the match (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) and the away team has the hammer in the even numbered games.

5. The away team has the choice of color and will keep that color throughout the match.

6. Only the team captain and a players partner may coach.

7. For each match, the captain shall designate a co-captain.

8. The captain and co-captain must play at opposite ends of the table, and may only coach the players on their respective ends.

"Friendship Through Competition"

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