Ever wondered what a hanger means in shuffleboard? Or what it means when someone decides to “ride the rail?” Perhaps you might have wondered, “What’s the difference between shuffleboard wax and sand?” Even if you’re not a hardcore shuffleboard enthusiast, there’s definitely some shuffleboard lingo or slang that you should know just to be able to understand what your opponents are saying.
So we’ve put together some of those key terms and phrases that shuffleboard players need to know. Let’s take dive in:
1. Black Numbers – This refers to a classic game where you keep score using the regular scoring rule. It involves giving points to shuffleboard pucks that land within areas of the table that display the black numbers. As described previously in our blog post on shuffleboard scoring rules, only the team that manages to land their puck farthest gets to score for one frame.
The Black Numbers scoring system is pretty straightforward. Pucks that land within the 3-point section score three points. Pucks than land within the 2-point section and the 1-point section get two points and one point respectively. If a puck hangs off the edge, it scores four points.
3. Bowling Shuffleboard – This is a game with rules somewhat similar to traditional bowling. But instead of an actual bowling lane, you play it on a shuffleboard table. It involves setting up your shuffleboard bowling pins at each end of the table and attempting to knock them down using shuffleboard pucks. In other words, your pucks will replace regular bowling balls.
4. Climatic Adjusters – These are metal bars at the bottom of your shuffleboard table which allow you to make adjustments to any misalignment in the playing surface. Sometimes, humidity and temperature can warp the surface and affect game play, and you can prevent that using climatic adjusters. So it’s best to look for a shuffleboard table that comes with pre-installed climatic adjusters.
5. Crazy Eights –This is a variation of traditional shuffleboard in which each player gets to use all eight pucks on each turn. Check out our post on how to play crazy eights to better understand this game.
6. Cue – Also called a shuffleboard stick, this is a device used to shoot the discs in outdoor shuffleboard. It isn’t a term that you would use in table shuffleboard.
7. Deck Courts – These are the outdoor courts on which they play traditional outdoor shuffleboard. They are typically 52 feet long and 6 feet wide. A deck court will have a large triangle drawn inside it with numbers for scoring.
8. Deuce Line – This is the line drawn on both sides of the table closest to the foul line.
9. Discs – These are the playing pieces you use in outdoor shuffleboard in place of pucks.
10. English – Also called a Twist or a Sidespin, this is a maneuver that involves twisting the puck toward your body as you release it. This puts a brake on the puck to ensure that it remains in the same position that you placed it.
11. Foot – This is a term used in outdoor shuffleboard to refer to the end of the court that doesn’t have the scoreboard.
12. Foul Line – The foul line is the line at the middle of the court and is closest to the shooter. A puck should cross this line to be a qualified shot. Otherwise, it is forfeited and removed from play.
13. Frame – Frame is a key term in shuffleboard gameplay. It refers to the set of turns that each team or player takes within a shuffleboard game.
14. Free Hand – In a free hand, players throw the puck from the middle of the board. They don’t use the rail to guide them in the release of the shot.
15. Go Around – This is common shuffleboard jargon to refer to a shot in which you curve your puck around another puck. This puts your puck in a better position to score at the end of the frame.
16. Go Around Hanger – This is one of the most impressive shots that a shuffleboard player can make. It’s when your puck curves around another puck and then stops to hang over the edge of the table. Although it doesn’t earn you more points than a regular hanger, it will definitely earn you the respect of other players.
17. Hammer – A hammer shot is the last shot of the round.
18. Hanger – A hanger carries the highest point in shuffleboard. It refers to a puck that goes all the way to the other end of the table so that it hangs off the edge. You get four points for this.
19. Head – A head in outdoor shuffleboard is slang for the end of the court that has the scoreboard. This is the side of the court from where all games should start, except when it comes to non-walking singles.
20. Light Kit – Shuffleboard light kits typically consist of two lamps that you mount on the side of your shuffleboard table. They light up your table and helps you see more clearly, improving your game play.
21. Partners – Partners is shuffleboard jargon for a four-player game with two players on each team. Some people also call it doubles.
22. Powder – This is another name for shuffleboard wax. Other names include dust, sand, fairy dust, mojo, etc. Aside from helping protect the playing surface, powder is essential for a smooth game play. It can speed up or slow down the game depending on the speed rating. You need to carefully select a speed rating depending on your shuffleboard table size.
23. Playing Field – A shuffleboard table has two main components – the playing field and the outer cabinet. The outer cabinet is the frame that holds the playing field together, while the playing field is the surface on which you play the game.
24. Pucks – Commonly known as weights, these are the playing pieces in table shuffleboard and can vary greatly in quality. They are typically made of metal, but you can also find pucks made of plastic. There are eight pucks per set – generally four blue and four red pucks – so each team gets four pucks.
25. Red Numbers – Red numbers is a scoring system that allows novice players to stand an equal chance of winning against an advanced player. So some people would refer to it as handicap scoring.
It basically involves the more advanced player using the smaller red numbers while the beginner uses the black numbers. So for instance, the advanced player would score two points for the same shot that would give three points to a beginner.
26. Riding the Rail – Sometimes called “shooting the rail,” this is a shot in which your puck slides along the edge of the table. This is an effective technique to knock off the opponent’s pucks and could improve your chances of scoring for that frame.
27. Score Zone – As the name suggests, this is the area of the shuffleboard table in which players can score points. Pucks should make it to this score zone to be eligible for points.
28. Scoring Bead – Scoring beads is the shuffleboard terminology for the abacus they use for keeping score. Some tables come with scoring beads attached to them.
29. Scoring Unit – A scoring unit is a level up from abacus scoring beads. It’s a digital unit that helps you keep score very easily while you play.
30. Shuffleboard Cap – This is the protective surface that you would find on shuffleboard pucks. While plastic shuffleboard caps are quite popular, you can also find high-end aluminum caps that add a little weight to your pucks.
You can find shuffleboard caps with smooth grooves that give you a firmer grip. So you have better control over the thrust and spin of your puck. This is why it’s crucial to carefully select shuffleboard caps that will offer better game play.
31. Singles – This is shuffleboard slang for a two-player game in which two people play against each other.
32. Trey Line – The trey line refers to the farthest line from the foul line on each end of the shuffleboard table. In other words, it is the line closest to the edge of the table.
Knowing some of above mentioned shuffleboard terms may not automatically make you a better shuffleboard player, but they will help you make sense of all the slang and jargon that other players are using. This may perhaps set you up to improve your shuffleboard knowledge and eventually, your technique. So brush up on these key terms and check out some of our other shuffleboard articles as well.
Jacqueline Zote is a professional content writer with a focus area on lifestyle, recreational games, and all things fun. In her free time, she likes to go on food adventures and explore new recreational activities in the city.