22 Table Shuffleboard Rules for Your Next Game

Shuffleboard Rules

(Updated September, 2018)

Looking for some simple table shuffleboard rules to play a friendly game at the bar?

You’ve come to the right place.

Below are 22 basic table shuffleboard rules for your next game.

These rules cover everything you need for a fun game of table shuffleboard.

This includes points, game etiquette, penalties and other considerations.

(Also check out our complete guide on how to play shuffleboard for basic game instructions)

Scroll down for the full set of shuffleboard rules. You can also use this handy infographic for 10 simple shuffleboard rules for a quick game..


Table Shuffleboard Rules of Play

Before the Match

1) Games are played to 15 points

While you can also play to 21, or any other number for that matter, an official match is played to 15.

The first player or team to reach 15 points wins.

2) Before the first round, determine who shoots last in the round by flipping a coin.

Shooting last (the “hammer”) is an advantage. It allows you one final chance to move (or remove) pucks in your favor.

In subsequent rounds, the player who scored in the previous round now shoots first. If nobody scored, alternate based on who just shot last.

3) Stand next to your opponent and shoot towards the opposite end.

You should alternate shots (i.e. red shoot, then blue shoots) until all 8 pucks have been shuffled. If playing doubles, your partner stands at the opposite end of the table and you do not change sides.

4) Stand with at least one foot behind the table.

You can lean forward and even use the cradle for support, but one foot must always remain planted on the ground behind the shuffleboard table.

Scoring Points

5) A puck must be completely within a zone (1, 2 or 3) to score

If any part of the puck is on the preceding line, it is only eligible for the lower points of the preceding section. If touching the foul line, it is out of play. You can get a better view of whether it’s on the line by standing above and looking down on the puck.

6) If any part of the puck hangs over the end of the table, it is worth 4 points

Also known as a “hanger”, these shots can be “made safe” (i.e. pushed back towards the table a little) by agreement of the players.

7) Do not touch any pucks after a round until you agree on the score for that round

When the round is complete, walk to the other end of the table and tally the score.

Do not move any pucks until both players have viewed the pucks and agreed on the total points for that round.

If the leading pucks are tied, and it is not clear which is furthest, there is no score for that round. Again, for this situation it is best to get above the pucks and look down to assess which one is furthest.

Basic Shuffleboard Game Etiquette

8) Do Not Shake or Move the Table

You can lean on the table with your non-shooting hand for support, but do not move or shake the table in any way.

Shaking or moving the table during a shot is a 1 point penalty and the violating player or team shoots first in next round.

9) Do not distract your opponent

When it’s not your turn, you should always stand behind your opponent when he or she is shuffling.

Like golf, you should not obstruct an opponent’s line of sight or distract them. Also you may not touch the table while your opponent is up.

10) Only hold one puck when it’s your turn

Before playing, all pucks should be visible and counted in the trough.

When it is your turn to shuffle, only hold a single puck in your hand. Do not hold another puck in your non-shooting hand.

11) Do not hold a puck or take a puck from the trough while your opponent is shooting

All pucks must stay in the trough and only picked up when it’s your turn to shoot.

12) Do not touch the table surface when shooting

You can lean on the cradle for support but do not touch the actual playing surface.

You cannot touch the playing surface when an opponent is shooting either.

13) If you see a dry spot on the board, you can add some powder

This can be done during your turn.

14) In team matches, do not walk past the foul line to check puck positions

But as mentioned, your teammate can tell you where your puck sits and give advice from the other end of the table.

In singles matches, you can walk to the other end to take a look at the exact location of your pucks when it’s your turn. Do not do this while your opponent is shooting though.

15) Taking longer than 30 seconds to shoot is “slow play”

It’s okay to take your time. Yet according to tournament rules, taking more than 30 seconds to shoot is “slow play”.

The clock starts once your opponent’s previous shot has come to a complete stop.

In tournament play, the first time you exceed the 30 second time limit you get a warning. The second time results in a 1 point penalty.

Not everyone applies a strict time limit during a friendly game. But it may be helpful if you have others waiting to play and need to speed things along at the bar

16) In Team Matches, you can take 1 timeout per round, 3 timeouts per game

When playing in teams of two, you can take official timeouts to confer with your partner. Official rules say this can only happen after you’ve reached 10 points.

You can take 1 timeout per round but no more than 3 timeouts per game. The 30 second time limit does not apply during timeouts.

Fouls and Penalties

17) If your puck leaves the table surface, it is out of play

Even if your puck makes a miraculous recovery and bounces back, it is still considered a dead puck and out of play

18) Flipped pucks are not out of play

A puck that flips over upon contact is not out of play. Turn it right side up and carry on.

19) Wait until  your opponent’s puck comes to a complete stop before shuffling

This is an important one. Do not slide your puck until your opponent’s puck has come to a complete stop. This means there is no more forward motion.

If you shoot while your opponent’s puck is in motion and knock that puck off the table, you incur a penalty. You must return your opponent’s puck to its original position (as close as possible). And your puck will be removed from the table for that round.

20) If you shoot first by mistake, you must stay in that order

If you have the hammer in a round but shoot first anyway, you must stay in this order until the end of the round. But your opponent can agree to restart in the correct rotation.

21) No switching colors during a game

If you pick up and shoot the wrong color puck, you may replace it with the correct color. But you may not switch colors at any point once the game has started

22) After the Game . . .

Wipe the board down and apply a light dusting of fresh powder for the next match. Winner stays on…

And that’s it for shuffleboard rules.

Keep in mind, these rules are for the traditional table shuffleboard game of knockoff. There are many other shuffleboard games with different rules.

Have fun!

And let us know if you have any questions, or additional rule suggestions for a basic game, in the comments.


    • Hi Debbie –

      On a bank table, certain shuffleboard games require a player to “carom” off either cushion before reaching a scoring area. For these games – such as Horse Collar and Tap and Draw (similar scoring to knock off) – you do need to hit the bank first.

  1. Is there any rule about the shooting hand dragging thumb or fingers on the table thus creating dry spots or powder build up?

    • Hi Larry – Good question! You are allowed to drag the thumb/fingers while shooting. However, the players can agree to add or spread shuffleboard powder between shots or rounds to cover any dry spots created. Hope that helps…

  2. Is their a time limit a player can stand at table after shooting the puck. I say the shooter should step aside after the puck leaves his hand

    • Thanks for the question. Your point makes sense. A player has 30 seconds between shots. If the preceding player is still standing there after his/her release, that’s cutting into your time. So I guess that could be seen as obstruction of a shot – under official rules, that’s a warning and then a 1 point penalty thereafter. That’s one way to look at it. Also, general rules of good sportsmanship apply to all matches. And if a ‘house’ has specific rules that apply, these must be honored.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here