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The Beginner’s Guide to Table Shuffleboard

This article was provided by Scott Flear of Home Leisure Direct located in the UK

Table Shuffleboard is gaining popularity across the UK. It’s time you gave it a try too.  But, before you buy one, why don’t you learn how to play the game first.

There are a variety of ways to play shuffleboard, but the basic game has two players competing to slide their pucks (or “weights”) into scoring zones on the table to earn points for that particular round or “frame”.  Multiple frames make a match, and whoever gets to 15 points first is the winner of the game.

The Table

First, you need to understand the layout of the shuffleboard table. Traditionally, tables have a layout of three scoring zones on the playing surface; these are conveniently numbered 1-2-3, with the third zone being the closest to the end of the table furthest from the shooters.  Around the perimeter of the table’s playing surface is the area known as the“gutter”, much like in bowling. When pucks fall into the gutter, they are considered out of play for that frame.

When players slide (or “shuffle”) their pucks across the length of the table, there are a few lines they must keep in mind. First, when it is a player’s turn, he or she must stand behind their end of the table keeping one foot behind the table and the other foot behind the “deuce” or “2” line. Second, the line that begins score zone 1 (the line closest to the player) is also known as the foul line.  Most people have the misconception that this line is the foul line furthest away from the shooter which is not the case.  If a puck does not cross that line completely (that is, the puck still touches any part of the line when at rest), then the shot is considered a “foul” and must be taken out of play and the next player continues with their turn.    The final line to consider is the farthest edge of scoring zone 3. If any part of the puck goes over this edge, but the puck remains on the table, then the puck is called a “hanger” and is worth 4 points.


The object of each frame is to have one’s puck closest to the far edge of the table and remaining on the playing surface. The player with the furthest puck is the only one who collects points for that frame. Any one of his or her pucks that are located between the furthest puck and the opponent’s closest puck is also awarded points according to the value of that particular weight on the board.  Only one person scores points per frame.

On traditional boards numbered 1-2-3, points are awarded based on the location of the weight. The amount of points each puck earns is determined by whether or not it has completely passed the line of the next zone. For example, if the winning puck is touching the line that marks the beginning of zone 3, it is considered to actually lie in zone 2 because it did not completely pass the zone 3 line.  If a weight is in doubt of completed crossing over a line, it is measured by leaning directly over that weight and making sure you see the color of the wood on the plank between the scoring line and the weight.  When doing this, be sure not to touch any part of the cradle.

In the event that there is no leading puck due to a tie or because all pucks ended up in the gutter, no points are awarded and that frame is over. Regardless of where the other pucks lie, if it has been determined there is no leading puck, no points are awarded and the “hammer” switches, meaning the player that went last in the frame resulting in no points awarded shoots first in the following frame.

Playing the Game

The most common game of shuffleboard played is called “Knock Off”.  This is where each player has 4 weights and shots are alternated until 8 weights are thrown.  To start a game, a coin toss is done to see which player goes first and who gets the “hammer” that is the final shot of the frame (the most important shot).   The winner of the coin toss gets the hammer while the loser gets their choice of color for their weights, which is typically an option of red or blue.  Each player has 4 pucks and takes turns using either hand to shoot their pucks into a scoring zone either knocking their opponent’s pucks off the table, protecting and blocking their current pucks on the board, or out-lagging their opponent’s weights.

Players are not allowed to touch the playing surface with either their playing hand or their free hand. However, they are allowed to hold onto the frame of the table with their free hand, and the playing hand can slide fingers against the edge of the playing surface when making a shot along the edge of the table. The most common shot using the rail of the playing surface as a guide is called a “cross” or a “jersey shot”.  Other shots that involve use of the rail as a guide are called the “mini span”, “span”, or “rail shot”.  A shot without use of the rail as a guide is called a “free hand” shot.  This is the most popular shot for novice players but is actually considered one of the most difficult shots in the game.

Winning the Game

A game of shuffleboard is typically played to 15 points and occasionally to 21 points.  You do not need to win by 2 points. Shuffleboard is a game of strategy that combines offensive and defensive tactics.  Advanced players will wait for the opponents to expose their weaknesses or capitalize on their mistakes.  Mistakes can include leaving a weight too short providing the other player the chance to go around or wrap that weight, or leaving their last weight too deep on the board giving the player with the hammer to use this weight as a backboard to drive and stick their last weight into. At the end of a frame, the winning puck is determined and that player is awarded points for the leading puck and additional  pucks that are ahead of the opponent’s puck furthest towards the end of the board. For the next frame, the player that scored points from the previous frame goes first from the opposite end of the shuffleboard table. If no points were earned in the previous frame, players alternate between who goes first and who gets the hammer shot for the next frame. The player who gets to 15 points first is the winner of the game.

And those are table shuffleboard’s basic rules. Try the game sometime. You might really, really like it. Please feel free to ask any questions.



Hudson Builds it Better

The Manufacturing of a Table

It’s easy to differentiate Hudson tables from the competition

From the playing surface to the seal and finish, Hudson Shuffleboards builds a better board. Check out the features and attributes and you’ll quickly be convinced. We’ll start with the shuffleboard’s primary element, the playing surface.

The playing surface on a Hudson Shuffleboard is constructed with rock-hard maple, which is hand selected. It is glued and milled in-house and never outsourced.  All planks are finger-jointed lengthwise, a characteristic found only with Hudson Shuffleboards.

The playing surface on our Berkeley, Grand Deluxe, Intimidator, Cirrus, Commercial, Ponderosa, Torino Limited, and Dominator lines is further strengthened by inlaying pieces of maple on the bottom of the board. This also provides more support to the joints. These inlays run perpendicular to the length of the table and are also strategically located at the ends of the table and at the location of the climatic adjusters.Maple ready to be glued up

Hudson also takes a “green” approach. All the maple wood used is from local suppliers. “This reduces emissions because of less hauling/transit,” says Will Hudson, owner and founder of Hudson Shuffleboards. “Another plus …this helps support local businesses.”

While the table construction is a differentiation for Hudson, the sealing process for the table is equally as important. A proper seal ensures that the wood’s moisture content remains constant.  What happens if the wood isn’t sealed properly? Failing to seal it or seal it with an inferior product results in the board warping or twisting, making it difficult or impossible for play.

“The sides and bottom of our tables are sealed using a product specially developed for this use,” Hudson adds.  “The polymer poured on the top acts as a sealer in itself. Our polymer is by far the clearest and smoothest on the market. This gives our tables their trademark playability, which is preferred by the top players in the game.”  Hudson Shuffleboards were the preferred table of choice at all major shuffleboard tournaments and unanimously voted the #1 board by professional players in the state of Texas.

The features that set Hudson Shuffleboards apart from competitors don’t stop there. Hudson Shuffleboards also:

  • Never use green or wood that isn’t dry. Frequently you’ll see boards with a yellowish appearance or small ripples in the finish. This is the result of wood that is Custom Plank not ready to use.
  • Finish playing surface edges with a “true” 90-degree edge. Why? This process gives you full use of a 20-inch wide surface. Other boards feature a beveled edge for the sides and corners, making it nearly impossible to hang a weight on the edge.
  • Pours the epoxy finish with climatic adjusters attached to the table.  Climatic adjusters ensure that the table is level lengthwise and adjusted to the proper specifications width-wise.   Once this is done, the adjusters are gauged within a .001” accuracy and shipped ready to play.

Now that we’ve provided Shuffleboard Manufacturing 101, you can understand why the Hudson craftsmanship is tops in the industry.

Heineken, Hudson Shuffleboards Team Up

Tournament Expansion

Newcastle Brown Ale and Hudson Shuffleboards promote traveling tourney

The introductory “No Bollocks” traveling shuffleboard tournament was so successful last fall in the Atlanta area that it’s led to expanding the tournament nationally.

That’s right. Newcastle Brown Ale and Hudson Shuffleboards are teaming up to roll out the “No Bollocks” traveling shuffleboard tournament throughout the country. The event concept was recently promoted and offered to Heineken’s national distributors at the annual National Distributor Convention in Phoenix.

The Atlanta tournament was sponsored by Newcastle Brown Ale, one of many Heineken brands. Here’s what happened with last fall’s tournament to create all the excitement:

  • The 12-week tournament involved more than 400 participants at 12 bars, microbreweries and pubs. It’s success far exceeded the expectations of Heineken,Hudson Shuffleboards and especially bar owners.
  • The matches were played on new lightweight and portable Hudson-manufactured tables, which can be set up and taken down in less than 15 minutes. The same tables were easily transported each week to the the next scheduled bar.
  • The host tournament venues sold nearly twice the amount of Newcastle Brown Ale on tournament nights than sold during the entire month.
  • The Newcastle distributor received sales orders for other seasonal Heineken brands as a result.
  • The response in Atlanta also further established shuffleboard’s growing popularity.
  • And even more important, Heineken took notice.

Portable tables showcased at the convention

Without surprise, Newcastle Brown Ale and Hudson Shuffleboards decided to promote the proprietary tournament concept and the portable Hudson tables at the National Distributor Convention. Hudson displayed one of these portable shuffleboards — with Newcastle Brown Ale and Hudson logos — at the Newcastle Brown Ale booth.

“The purpose of this convention was to give the distributors and bar owners throughout the world an insight on new products and events involving all Heineken brands — Heineken, Amstel Light, Dos Equis, Sol, Tecate and of course, Newcastle Brown Ale,” said Hudson Shuffleboards owner Will Hudson. “Given the success of the test tournament in Atlanta, we expected there to be a good response at the show. Having attendees, including the CEO of Heineken USA, come up to the display table and express their appreciation on the program, truly surpassed our expectations.”

Hudson Shuffleboards and Heineken plan to begin rolling out the program in various markets around the country. This will be a great way to reintroduce the game of shuffleboard to a younger crowd, while boosting beer sales to bars making it a “win-win” situation for everyone.

Portable table facts

Hudson Shuffleboards began marketing its unique portable table at the end of the year. Here’s what makes them unique:

  • At 14-feet in length, the table is easily collapsible or set up
  • Fully assembled, the entire shuffleboard table weighs about 200 pounds, less than half of a traditional table
  • Maintains the same functionality and unsurpassed craftsmanship qualities of all Hudson-built tables
  • All-weather built, which allows setup on your deck or even at your tailgate party before the big game
  • Crafted with Newcastle Brown Ale and Hudson Shuffleboard logos








Breaking Ground in Atlanta

Traveling “No Bollocks” tournament promotes newest Hudson Shuffleboard


This isn’t your daddy’s shuffleboard!

Forget those images of senior citizens ambling along a shuffleboard court near a beach high-rise with palm trees flowing in the background. This is your new millennium shuffleboard.

This rapidly growing sport is being played in the comfort of home entertainment centers, pubs, causal restaurants and community and fitness centers. But what’s going on now in Atlanta with the sport takes it to new level and further establishes its growing popularity. And  Hudson Shuffleboards, already an industry leader, is right in the middle of the action.

The No Bollocks Shuffleboard tournament, sponsored by  Newcastle Brown Ale, is a traveling or mobile tournament. It has been played in Atlanta pubs, microbreweries and water holes –16 teams, competing weekly for 12 weeks at 16 bars on the new lightweight and portable Hudson-manufactured tables. What makes it unique? It’s the table’s portability. The same tables are used each week.

“This type of event is unheard of and truly unique,” said Hudson Shuffleboards owner Will Hudson. “Shuffleboard has been played in watering holes and bars for years, but not like what’s taking place in Atlanta, where we’re folding up the shuffleboard tables and toting them to a different location every week. It’s a like a version of the NCAA basketball tournament.”










Sellouts, swilling and sales

How have shuffleboard enthusiasts responded to the No Bollocks tournament? Let’s say in overwhelming fashion. All  four rounds to date have sold out. Even the sponsor is giddy with the turnout.

Early reports indicated Newcastle Brown Ale is being swilled at record-pace at the events. The host venues are selling nearly twice the amount of Newcastle on tournament days than sold the entire month. Plus, more importantly the Newcastle distributor is receiving sales orders for other seasonal Heineken brands (Newcastle is owned by Dutch brewer, Heineken) as a result.

However, the centerpiece of the tournament is the groundbreaking, limited edition shuffleboard table, which Hudson will begin selling later this year. Here’s what makes it so unique:

  • It’s easily collapsible or set up in 15 minutes
  • Weighs about 200 pounds, less than half of a traditional 22-foot tournament table
  • Maintains the same functionality and craftsmanship qualities of all Hudson-built tables
  • It’s all-weather to set up on your deck or even your tailgate party before the big game
  • Crafted with Newcastle and Hudson brands

Back to the tournament … The No Bollocks event culminates November 17 at Atlanta’s Brewhouse Cafe where two finalists will compete for a $5,000 traditional Hudson Pro Shuffleboard. Each week participants also had a chance to win cool prizes including a trip to England to tour the Newcastle Brewery.

 Take a glimpse of the some of the No Bollocks tournament action so far

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