Wilbur Estes: Article 3, Percentages; Posted 2020 08 06.

Percentages — their effect upon Strategy

Shuffleboard, in addition to psychology, is also a “Percentage Game” (Percentages control the Game). The various “Percentages” (the odds of success) make Missed Shots the major part of the Game.

Both you and Your Opponent will “Miss your Shot“(fail to do what you intended to do). However, because mathematics controls the outcome, a single Missed Shot will often change the direction of the Game.

In Tournament Play one Missed Shot in two successive Games can “Send You Home Early” (You lost!) Unfortunately, you may not know which Shot caused your Loss.

By tediously listing the possible results of an “Attempted Sneak” (trying to hide a Score behind a “St Pete”, or “Tampa)” the following provocative facts emerge.

• Trying to hide behind a properly placed “St. Pete” or Tampa (discs placed at a specific Spot to create a “Hide”) with no other disc on the Board, results in 11 possibilities. These range from success to dismal failure.

• When two “Live discs” (discs In Play, beyond the Lag Line and Above the Baseline) are on the “Board” (the Court) perhaps a St. Pete or Tampa, and one other; the number of possible results increase to 31.

• When three Live discs are on the Board, perhaps a St. Pete or Tampa, and two others, the number of possible results increase to 107. Obviously, these 107 possibilities make it impossible to accurately predict the result of any single Shot.

If the 11, 31, 107 progression continues through the seventh disc (and who can be certain it doesn’t?) the estimated number of possibilities resulting from the “Hammer” (the last disc in the Half-Round) is ten thousand five hundred and twenty-seven 10,527.

Shots become more difficult to “Make” (Execute successfully) as the number of discs accumulate on the Board; the Percentages change unfavorably, and results become more difficult to predict. The greater the accumulation of discs, the greater the probability that the Shot will not do as intended.

Hundreds (and probably thousands) of different results are possible in every “Half Round” (Play from one end of the Court).

Note: In a Frame Game a Half Round is one “Frame.

If the Percentages affecting Shuffleboard Plays were definite, you could discard the “Low Percentage Plays (the odds are against their success) and use only those that are 75%, or more, effective. However, even if a specific Play could be proved to have a 75% success rate, it would also prove to have a 25% failure rate.

The very Best Play for a specific situation may be effective only 50% to 60% of the time. If so, it will fail 40% to 50% of the time.

Even more confusing to the selection of the proper Play is that — the Percentages sometimes allow an illogical, Low Percentage Play to succeed. When a Low Percentage Play succeeds, it is often illogically regarded as a “Good Play” (a Play that “works” frequently).

Of course, it is not — it is still a Low Percentage Play that will fail 40% to 50% of the time.

The varying results of specific strategies create differences of opinion concerning their value. These differences of opinion are the reason some players Win consistently — and others Lose consistently.

Consistent Wins require the ability to accurately predict the result of every Shot. To do this you must reduce the need for Pin-Point Accuracy. You must reduce the number of discs in Play, as the 11, 31, 107 progression shows.

To reduce the number of discs On the Board you must “Clear the Board”(knock all discs off the Court, yours as well as Your Opponent’s).

Shuffleboard is much more than Clearing.

Shuffleboard  is:

• Accuracy — the ability to Shoot so as to do what you intend to do.

• Discipline — the determination to try to do only what you know you need to do.

• Geometry — governs the placement of discs, the shape of the Scoring Diagram, and the angle of deflection of Target Discs.

• Mathematics — maintains The Score on the Scoreboard and also determines what you need to do.

• Percentage — a nebulous factor that affects every Shot and Play.

• Psychology — influences Your Opponent’s thinking — and your own.

• The Scoreboard — which gives you the information necessary to allow you to correctly decide what you need to do.

This shows that Accuracy is only one element of a Winning Game; and for the average player, may be the least important.


Many players execute Shots with uncanny Accuracy, but these may be only Shots. A Shot is just a Shot. A Play is a series of Shots that is intended to produce a specific result. A Play is Strategy.

Learn to “Think Plays.”

Accurate Shooters make Good Shots — but not necessarily, Good Plays.

Players, who simply “Make Shots” ignore Strategy. They Shoot without purpose.

When these Players are first “Out”  (Plays the First disc of the Half Round) they try to set up a Hide, and plan no further than hoping to Sneak; or they set Bait, planning no further than hoping to Kitchen..

When their Opponent is Outthey react to whatever develops, planning no further than hoping to Sneak, or Kitchen.

These Players let Their Opponent control the Game. You, on the other hand, must take Control and lead Your Opponent toward your goal.

Although Accuracy is important, Strategy is the key to Winning.

This entry was posted in GENERAL. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Wilbur Estes: Article 3, Percentages; Posted 2020 08 06.

  1. debsturat says:

    Thank you!!


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