Shuffleboard Buyers' Guide

Posted by Josh 20 JULY 2016

What is shuffleboard? There are many different variations of the game, but what we will focus on is the most popular variation of the game - Table Shuffleboard or, as it's more commonly known, American Shuffleboard.


The object of the game is to push metal weighted pucks (also known as weights or quoits) down a long, smooth wooden table into a scoring area at the opposite end of the table. This is all done by hand.

Shuffleboard tables range from 9-22 feet, but when found in bars, most commonly range from 18-22 feet. 

Here in the UK we play the ‘European version’ where instead of a flat surface, the table is actually concave. This adds an extra dynamic to play, as the curve of the table adds extra spin to the puck and makes the game more competitive and fun.


Before and during the game, the shuffleboard table is sprinkled with shuffleboard wax, also known as shuffleboard sand (or shuffleboard cheese, due to it looking a little like grated cheese!). Although known as wax, it is actually composed of salt-like silicone beads. These beads act like ball bearings, letting the puck slide down the table a great distance with very little force. There is a wide range of different speeds of wax available to match a player's skill level.

Each end of the table is divided into three scoring sections (at least usually; it can go up to five sections if requested). The section labelled with a ‘1’ is the largest scoring zone, covering the majority of the table from the foul line - located at the centre of the table - up to the 2-point scoring section. Any puck that does not cross the foul line is discarded and does not score.


The 2-point scoring zone measures six inches from the end of the 1-point zone to the start of the 3-point zone, and the 3-point zone measures six inches from the end of the 2-point zone to the end of the table. The table is surrounded by a gutter, or ‘alley’. Any puck that is knocked off by an opponent or accidentally falls off is out of play for the rest of the round.  

The Basics

I have outlined the main rules below. However, the game can be very informal and spontaneous, so rules may vary in different countries or clubs.

Each player has four pucks, and the object of the game is to slide your pucks into positions to score points, knock an opponent's puck off the board, or set up a protective shot (to defend an existing puck in play that is scoring highly). The game can be played either one-on-one or two-on-two in teams. If it’s a one-on-one match, then the the game is played until a player reaches 15 points, while team games are played to 21 points.

Each frame allows four pucks per player, with only one player/team able to score points within a round. The player with the highest scoring puck gets those points, along with any pucks that are in front of his opponent's (as you can see in the below image).


Why is it so popular?

So, that’s the science of the game out of the way. Now, why is it so popular?

To find this out for myself, some colleagues and I recently travelled to Norway and Sweden, where the game is very popular.

Our first surprise was just how many bars are embracing the game of shuffleboard, with over 300 tables installed in Oslo alone.

It's quite usual to find a minimum of two to four tables per bar, with some even braving the Scandinavian weather outside.


The majority of bars have taken their cue from the amazing barcades and competitive socialising venues found across the US (see my blog here), with retro classics such as pinballs, table tennis and arcade machines accompanying the shuffleboard tables.



Our second surprise was the player mix. Coming from the UK, I am used to male-dominated pool halls and sports bars, where you rarely see women.

Things seemed to be done very differently here; the player mix was approximately 50/50, all the bars were set up to provide fresh food, enticing cocktails and craft beer, and (as a result of this) all of the bars and tables were extremely busy. All tables are rented by the hour and most bars adopted an unusual delicatessen-style ticket queuing system. You grab a ticket at the bar and wait for your number to come up on the big screen, which is a bit of fun and a great way for the bars to increase the time customers stay.

It’s a very social game, so when you do play, teams of both friends and strangers normally all get involved together. It has the perfect mix of being easy to pick up - so anyone can play - but hard to master, so you'll want to come back again and again to hone your "shuffle-skills".  


What makes a great shuffleboard table?

It is a common misconception that in order to be smart with your money you have to spend less of it. The opposite also applies - it's not true that if you want to get great quality, you have to spend the most money. It’s a thin line you have to walk to get ‘great value’. When it comes to buying a shuffleboard table there are three things you should look for:

1. Solid Wood Construction

Firstly, solid woods look much nicer than manufactured wood, and MDF laminate with laminate covering will become damaged a lot more easily, and is harder to cover up. It can't be painted over, whereas solid wood can be sanded or refinished if necessary. Again, the look is very important and a solid wood table beats laminate every time.

2. Climate Adjusters 

Any piece of wood - manufactured or otherwise - is susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity. Moisture causes wood to swell, and dryness causes it to shrink. The playfield on a shuffleboard table is everything. In order to keep it true, climatic adjusters help to compensate for Mother Nature. These are made from metal and bolted to the underside of the board. There is a screw thread which allows adjustment as required, which is best completed by an experienced engineer. Environmental changes will have a long term impact, which makes shuffleboard tables with this feature the smart choice, especially in Europe.

3. Lifetime Warranty on the Play Surface

The play surface is probably the most important part of the table, and buying from a manufacturer that offers a lifetime warranty on the play surface is a smart move. With a big investment such as this, you'll want to make sure you are buying from a trusted reliable manufacturer.

In our quest to find the best shuffleboard table to play we met many manufacturers and bar owners; when speaking to the owners they universally agreed that you should never go for the cheapest option. Some of the owners we spoke to had originally bought Chinese import tables, which unfortunately just did not stand the test of time and were quite literally falling apart.  

When visiting a few of the O’Learys sports restaurants, the largest chain in Scandinavia, the staff mentioned to us that they are in the process of refitting a number of their bars with Hudson Shuffleboard tables. Hudson are widely regarded as the best tables on the market, backed up with independent reviews by people in the know such as and even 27-time world champion shuffleboard player Billy Mays. 


Hudson pride themselves on all of their tables being made 100% in-house, in the USA. The tables are first and foremost designed around the proper specification of a shuffleboard, to ensure they not only look great but will adjust and play like the best tables on the market should.

A few exclusive features to Hudson tables include:

- Theirs are the only tables to feature finger-jointed boards. These are far superior to the butt-joints that you would see on other tables.

- Hudson have the only planks on the market that are reinforced with maple inlays on the bottom, particularly at the bottom of each climatic adjuster.

- Hudson tables are the only ones to have a true 90-degree edge (not beveled) along the rails. This allows pucks to ‘hang’ off the rails as opposed to falling.

- Theirs are the only boards to have a UV addictive in their epoxy, which prevents it from ‘yellowing’ over time like other epoxies do.

- Hudson are the only manufacturer in the world that pours the finish with the climatic adjusters attached to the plank, which allows the boards to be levelled not only length-wise but also side-to-side. This ensures a perfect pour, and a perfect playing surface.


Shuffleboard in the UK

The home market for shuffleboard has been thriving in the UK for the last few years, with American staples in all things gamesroom-related Brunswick taking care of the smaller models, while the people at Hurricane cater for the more extreme customer.

Commercially, the tables of choice for the best players and bars in the world are Hudson tables, for their design, durability and playability.


Shuffleboard is expected to explode into the UK this winter, with bars such as BrewDog retrofitting a lot of their bars to incorporate the tables, and even campaigning for it to be inducted into the Olympics! The BBC even got in on the action in a recent television interview, which you can view here.

Shuffleboard is ideal for pubs, bars and hotels alike, and I can't wait for it to be readily available so that I can hone my skills in the hopes of an Olympic gold medal. If you feel the same, then please visit our showrooms to try out our showroom model.

Hudson, Brunswick & Hurricane Shuffleboards are exclusive to Home Leisure Direct.

Electric Shuffle - Coming Soon to London's Canary Wharf

 Posted by HLD 27 SEPTEMBER 2019

Electric Shuffle Promotional Image

It won’t be long before the people of London’s City will be able to try out an amazing new venue – Electric Shuffle! Electric Shuffle will be opening its doors this coming November, and is ideally located in Canary Wharf’s Cabot Square within easy reach of the London DLR and the London Underground’s Jubilee line.

Customers at Electric Shuffle arrive as a party of people who have pre-booked in advance, and will be assigned their own specially designed shuffleboard table for the evening. From here, they can order food and drink, but most importantly enjoy all this whilst having a spot of friendly competition over a game of shuffleboard.

This venue is just the latest in a dramatic new trend that venues are latching onto – competitive socialising.


How Electric Shuffle was Created

Flight Club Logo

It’s no secret that venues across the country are rapidly discovering a new trend with their visitors. Families, friends, work colleagues and all manner of other demographics are looking for more from their time out together, looking for something more than just a meal or a drink. All kinds of venues up and down the country are now starting to embrace this concept. Spaces once held by vacant shopfronts are being bought up and transformed into new competitive socialising experiences, like this upcoming venue in Manchester's Arndale Centre.

This desire has created a new type of attraction for these customers. An attraction the industry has liked to call ‘Competitive Socialising’. All the staples of a great night out are there with great drinks, great food, and great atmosphere but with an added twist – a competitive edge. Be that the draw of some games of pool, darts, arcades or now even shuffleboard.

London based bar chain Flight Club has been running with the idea of competitive socialising since their formation and opening of their London venues, promising customers amazing food, drink and Flight Club’s signature attraction: The Darts. Each party of people are assigned their very own eating space and dartboard, where everyone can eat and enjoy unique competitive games of darts together. Think of it like being assigned your own lane and seats when you go to your local bowling alley.

Flight Club London Layout

"Since 2015, we've been on a mission to deliver exhilarating social experiences to as many people as possible. From a pipe dream in a Devon pub, to an ever-growing family of Flight Club venues, it's been an incredible journey so far."

- Electric Shuffle Co-Founders Steve Moore and Paul Barham

  Flight Club London Players

This concept took off for Flight Club, and they now see hundreds of eager patrons through the door each day ready to throw darts with friends. The creators of Flight Club have now set their sights on a brand new competitive game set up in the same way – Shuffleboard. With some careful planning (and some help from us), the idea of Electric Shuffle was born.

"Now, it's time for the next step; a surprisingly competitive, delightfully immersive and outrageously thrilling transformation of another traditional pastime. And, we can't wait to share it with you!

Shuffleboard’s exciting mix of skill and chance and its rich, but sadly forgotten history made it the obvious choice for our next step. It’s a game which has captivated everyone from Henry VIII through to the village landlord and our modern twist will wow Canary Wharf."

- Electric Shuffle Co-Founders Steve Moore and Paul Barham



Electric Shuffle Logo

Electric Shuffle – London’s Latest Competitive Socialising Venue

Electric Shuffle Floor Plan

Just like Flight Club, Electric Shuffle turns the timeless game of Shuffleboard on its head, allowing groups of players to approach the game in a completely new way that they won’t soon forget. Opening soon in London’s Canary Wharf, Electric Shuffle will be able to accommodate large parties of people (with a total capacity of 350 people) to get around a table and enjoy friendly head to head competition whilst they dine.

Unlike your traditional game of shuffleboard, Electric Shuffle will revolutionise the concept with a brand new selection of interactive games that can be played with thanks to new 21st century technology that will allow the game to be played in an entirely new and innovative way.

Electric Shuffle Plank

Home Leisure Direct has worked closely with the team at Electric Shuffle on the implementation of this fantastic idea. Liaising directly with the world’s leading shuffleboard maker Hudson, we were able to supply Electric Shuffle with numerous world-class shuffleboard planks that would become part of the core experience that customers will experience. All custom made and designed to align with Electric Shuffle’s unique identity.

Electric Shuffle Set Up

The planks themselves will be enclosed in completely custom-made cradles that incorporate seating and table space right into the cradle itself, so customers need never take themselves away from the action whilst they have a bit to eat. In total, Electric Shuffle will incorporate 10 of these one-of-a-kind designs spread over two floors that will also feature bars and other traditional entertainment.

The venue itself is still being prepared, and will finally open its doors this year to the first visitors on Friday the 29th of November. If you (like us!) want to be amongst the first to try this amazing new space out, then head to to make an advance booking.

 Want help realising a commercial vision of your own? Our commercial team are always on hand to help make amazing concepts like Electric Shuffle or any other venue a reality. Get in touch with us on 0800 622 6464 or send an email outlining your requirements to Josh or Ben at [email protected]

Want to learn more about competitive socialising and the benefits it could bring to your business? Visit our new event, Competitive Socialising 2020, aimed to bring together the key players in the industry. 

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