How a Tournament Works by Wilbur Estes.

I have written the following because I think that some potential tournament players, with no one to guide them, are reluctant to venture into the unknown. It is not an excerpt from MODULAR SHUFFLEBOARD, but will be included in the revised version — if I live long enough to produce it. WLE.

The Guy Who Wrote the Book!!


In Florida the Florida Shuffleboard Association governs the “Regulation Tournaments” in the “Regular Season.” During the summer, there are several “Hot-beds of shuffleboard throughout the United States and Canada. Some follow rules similar to “Florida Rules,” some do not.

In the mid-nineties a few dedicated shuffleboard visionaries, seeing a need, formed The Central Florida Summer Shuffleboard League.


This League schedules One Day Tournaments throughout the summer, at different Clubs within the Central District of the Florida Shuffleboard Association, Inc. Although these tournaments are located at clubs within the Central District, every interested shuffler is invited to participate. The FSA rule (you cannot play “Out Of Your District) IS NOT in effect. These tournaments attract participants from all areas of Florida, and have increased interest in organized summer shuffleboard.

Other Districts have established Summer Tournament activity, using a similar “One Day” format.

Club affiliation is not required to enter the tournament— all you need is an interest in shuffleboard, a cue — and the entry fee.

In a “No Two Pros as a Team Tournament” a pro must have an Amateur partner. In the Summer One Day Tournament,” if the number of registered Amateurs and registered Pros is not equal, it is necessary to balance the Chart. Some participants will be assigned to play out of their Division. This selection is normally by Draw, but (in the interest of time) may be an arbitrary selection. The Draw does not assign “Head” or “Foot,” the partners determine “which end of the Court” each will play.

The summer tournament is a “Draw Tournament,” and the teams are Any Doubles. Amateurs register at the “Amateurs Desk.” Pros register at “Pros Desk.” Teams are established by Draw (one “Amateur” and one Pro.” Teams are Man and Man, Lady and Lady, or Lady and Man. A game is Twelve (12) Frames. A Match is Two Out of Three Games, in both Main Event and Consolation. If a third game is necessary, it is usually eight (8) frames.

The tournament pays four (4) Places in Main Event and four (4) Places in Consolation.

Often, in the interest of time and the state of the day, placement in the “Finals” is determined by “Lag.”


The Florida Shuffleboard Association (FSA) has three (3) player divisions “rankings”; District Amateur, State Amateur, and Pro. The District Amateur Division includes all players who are not State Amateur, or Pro. Advancement to a higher Division is governed by a Point System that is based upon tournament placements within a specific time frame.

These “Regulation Tournaments” run about the same as the Summer Shuffleboard League. Except that the State Pro Tournaments are “75-Point Games, no Frames; and the State Amateur Non-Walking Singles Tournaments may play Frames. You cannot play a District Tournament that is not held within your District.

You can play State Tournaments anywhere you want to travel. You can play “Up,” out of your Division, but cannot play “down.” In other words an Amateur can play in the Pro Division, but a Pro cannot play in the Amateur Division.

Players ” move up” in rank through a “Point System” that assigns “points” for placements in sanctioned tournaments. You can also “move up” by placing in a tournament that is above your Division. For instance an Amateur that places in a Pro Tournament becomes an “Instant Pro” (and can not play as an Amateur from then on).

In a “No Two Pros as a Team Tournament,” a pro must have an Amateur partner.


Tournament Registration and procedures are simple, and standard. Registration closes at 9:00 AM (perhaps earlier in a so called “Summer One Day Tournament”).

Amateurs Register as Amateurs.

Pros Register as Pros

Entry Fee:

There is a nominal Entry Fee to register. You go to the registration desk (which may be any kind of table). You register in your Division (District Amateur, State Amateur, or Pro, pay the Entry Fee, and receive your Release Form.

Release Form.

The participant must fill out and sign the Release Form, which also serves as his “Draw Ticket,” and hold it until “The Draw.” The Release Form is a standard form, which when signed by the participant, releases the host club, sponsors, players, workers, and everybody and everything, from liability for injury, etc.

If the tournament is “Doubles,” you and your partner both sign the “Release form.”

If the tournament is “Draw Doubles,” or “Singles,” only your signature is required.

Draw Ticket.

The Release Form is your Ticket to the tournament.

The Draw

When the Tournament Director has done his magic (finished the necessary preparation) the participants “draw” the Court Assignment Cards.

Court Assignment Cards show the Line Number and the Court Number assigned for the “First Round”

If the tournament has an Amateur Division and a Pro Division, Amateurs line up at one table, and Draw. Pros line up at another — and Draw,

The Tournament Director (who is the final authority in any dispute or rule violation) prepares the Court Assignment Cards.

The Court Assignment Card has a “Line Number” and a “Court Number.”

The Court Assignment Cards are shuffled, scrambled, mixed, stirred, and spread out on the table face down (to assure a fair Draw).

The participants line up, when they hear “Ready for the Draw,” One at a time, each participant gives the Release Form to the Director, or his helper, and selects (draws) a Court Assignment Card. The Director’s Helper reads and records the Line Number and Court Number on the Release Form (later the players names are written on the correct line of “The Chart”).

After Drawing, the player goes to the Court designated by his Court Assignment Card, where he compares Line Numbers, with the other players gathered there. The two with the same Line Number are partners.

It is an interesting raffle.

The Odd (lowest) line number plays Yellow in the first game.

The Draw does not assign the court position. The team determines which player will play the head, and which will play the foot.

In “Non-Walking Singles” the Draw assigns a Match at the Head, and another at the Foot (these are two different matches).

The Chart

The Tournament Chart controls the flow of the tournament.

Each line on the Chart is numbered; from 1 to 64, and will (after “The Draw”) contain the name(s) of the participants who “drew” that “Line Number.

The lines are connected by brackets, lines 1 and 2 are connected, lines 3 and 4 are connected, as are lines 5 and 6, etc., down the chart. These brackets control the matching of the teams. The team shown on Line 1 will play the team shown on Line 2, the team on Line 3 will play the team on Line 4, and so on, down the chart.

In the second round, the winners on Lines 1 and 2 play each other. The losers on Lines 1 and 2 play “Consolation” The winner in Consolation “goes out on the chart,” to the third round. The Loser goes home.

The winners on line 1 and 2 “goes out on the chart, and will play the winners on Line 3 and 4. The tournament progresses, by eliminating one team each round until you reach the “Dreaded Quarters.” The winners in “Quarters” move out to play “Semis” (a very comfortable position. You are “In the money” — the worst you can do is “Come in Forth.”

The “Semis” determine which team will play for “First” (nobody plays for “Second”; and which team will play for “Third” (nobody plays for “Fourth.”

Rarely do the number of teams fit perfectly on the chart. When there are more, (or less) than The number required for a “perfect chart”, “Byes,” or “Sub-Brackets,” are added to “even” the Chart.

Teams drawing a “Bye” are automatically placed in the second round of play, as though they had “won” the first Match.

A “Sub-Bracket” has two (2) teams assigned to the same line.

These two teams must play each other to determine which will play the corresponding team on the adjacent line.

When more than 32 teams, but less than 64 teams, are registered the Tournament Director may choose to use a “32 Chart” with “Sub-Brackets,” instead of using a “64 Chart” with “Byes” (there is a formula that determines which is best). The smaller the chart the easier it is to handle. When more than 16 teams, but less than 32, are entered, the Tournament Director may choose to use a “16 Chart,” with “Sub-brackets,” instead of a “32 Chart” with “Byes.”

Although many players believe that drawing a “Sub-Bracket” creates an unusual hardship (because “We have to play a Match to get on the Chart”), it is no different than playing in the “First Round” while other teams have a “Bye.” Believe it or not.

The Line Number drawn assigns the “Color” (the color each team will play in the first game) automatically  — the odd Line Number plays Yellow in the first game, and will play Black in the second game. The team with the even Line Number plays Black in the first game. If a third game is necessary, Players “Lag” for Color Choice.

Normally in a “Regulation Tournament<” you “Lag Four Discs” the last one “counts.” In the “One Day Tournaments,” you ‘Lag Two Discs,” the last one counts.”

The One Day Tournaments are to provide shuffling for the summer residents and are for fun. However, there is a degree of prestige associated with winning (if winning large sums of money is your goal, invest your entry fee in The Florida Lottery).

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