Now here is dedication to shuffleboard. Four fine shufflers from Lee County get up early every Monday and drive to the location of the weekly Florida State Shuffleboard Tournament.
They sometimes drive three hours and almost always close to two hours, and when they are all done on Monday, they drive back to Lee County. Tuesday morning, the winners get up early and do it all over again.
Steve Biaggi, Jean Guy Martineau, Skip Wilde and Ray Razor are the travelling shufflers. As I understand it, when they get to the tournament they flip coins to decide how they will pair up each time.
Once they got up early and drove to Fort Pierce and flipped to decide the pair for the day. Then, quick as a unwanted kitchen the two pairs promptly drew each other.
I was sitting in the stands at St. Pete one day, watching some fine shuffleboard when Steve Biaggi came up to me and showed me an interesting situation. He knew how to handle it and wondered if I would agree. I was sitting with Rosaire Biron and Chris Stutzman, both all-time greats so I had lots of help if I needed it.
The situation is this: Yellow leads 74 to 53. Play is at the foot in a doubles match. It’s yellow’s hammer and black is about to shoot his last shot, the seventh shot of the frame. On the board is a black 8 on the black side of the court and a yellow 10-off, also on the black side and way over in the corner.
Of course, the question is “What is black’s shot?” What do you think? Make your decision before reading on.
Let’s think first about all the things that have to be considered. First is the score. Not only that yellow is at 74 and about to go out, but black is just three scores from game.
Next, the hammers. It’s yellow’s hammer; but with play at the foot, black will have the next two hammers.
Now the disc on the board, study them carefully.
In the game Biaggi reported on, black covered the yellow kitchen by shooting to the 8/ outside line. As a result, that shot allowed yellow to make a game winning
shot by replacing the 8 and removing the 10-off with it. Obviously black made a very sorry shot choice.
The correct shot is to cover the good black 8. Yellow is then in trouble. He can remove his 10-off with his hammer or he can score an 8. Either choice keeps the yellow score close to game, but also lets the black score get to 61 with two hammers coming. While black isn’t assured of making two hammers, being at 61 gives them the chance to pull out a win.
The lesson here, I think is to be both offensive and defensive at the same time. In this case black absolutely must keep the yellow, with 74 and a hammer, from going out. He has done this by putting yellow in the kitchen. That is the defense. Suddenly, he must on his fourth shot, think offense and look at his own score. Fifty-three is one of those magic numbers in our game. It says to many shufflers, “Steal a score and make two hammers and you win.”
Another message here is that there are two kinds of a 10-off situation. One is pure 10-off with no other discs on the board. A hammer shooter must either remove it, or take a 2-off by scoring. The hammer shooter cannot make any points.
The second kind of 10-off is a reversible 10-off. That is, there is an opponent’s disc on the board above the 10-off. If that disc is in or near the scoring area, the hammer shooter may be able to score and also remove his 10-off and gain points.
But the most important message here is to have friends and enjoy shuffleboard, just as the four guys from Lee County do.

DID YOU KNOW: DID YOU KNOW THAT shuffleboard was first played in England in 1399? DID YOU KNOW THAT shuffleboard was first played in America on a sidewalk at Daytona Beach in 1913? DID YOU KNOW THAT the courts were all different sizes in the 1920’s? DID YOU KNOW THAT the first discs were made of wood? DID YOU KNOW THAT a set of eight discs and four cues could be bought for $5.00? DID YOU KNOW THAT the oldest shuffleboard club was formed in 1924, Mirror Lake in St. Petersburg, Winter Haven in 1926, Orlando and Clearwater in 1927, St Cloud, Hollywood, Lakeland and Lake Wales in 1929? DID YOU KNOW THAT the Florida Shuffleboard Association was formed December 28th at Mirror Lake Club in St. Petersburg? DID YOU KNOW THAT the first State-Wide tournament was the Orange Blossom Doubles at Winter Haven in March of 1931? DID YOU KNOW THAT all rules were what the majority of the clubs voted on – 1930’s? DID YOU KNOW THAT there were 24 Clubs in the Florida Shuffleboard Association in 1932? DID YOU KNOW THAT unsportsmanlike conduct on the courts was a 20-Off penalty in 1932? DID YOU KNOW THAT touching a live disc added 20 points to your opponent’s score in 1932? DID YOU KNOW THAT they tossed a coin instead of shooting to deadline for color choice in 1932? DID YOU KNOW THAT drawing for the line numbers and courts was done in the early 1930’s? DID YOU KNOW THAT the first book on shuffleboard was written by Mr. Donovan? “How to play the game of Shuffleboard”? (Copy Needed for Hall of Fame) DID YOU KNOW THAT the central District was called the Ridge District? DID YOU KNOW THAT the first State-Wide tournament held before January 1st was the Yuletide at Mirror Lake, St. Petersburg on December 29th, 1949? DID YOU KNOW THAT the first “Preview” was printed for the 1952-53 season? DID YOU KNOW THAT State-Wide tournaments were held in May and September in the 1950’s? (Hunt Bro’s and Gold Coast) DID YOU KNOW THAT Amateur tournaments started in 1956? DID YOU KNOW THAT the Southwest Coast District was formed in 1959 and the Central East Coast District in 1961? DID YOU KNOW THAT the State Hall of Fame was formed in 1960 and is located at the Sebring Club?

All of us who enjoy our wonderful sport of shuffleboard should be grateful for this blessing and do at least a little to help perpetuate the game for others who will follow us.
Since the life blood of the organized shuffleboard demands an ever-increasing supply of new members, our best contribution would be to introduce potential new members to the many pleasures and benefits of playing shuffleboard.
Theoretically, if each of us brought in just one new member, we would not only double our numerical strength, but we could help lift the status of shuffleboard in the public eye. To bring that day closer when shuffleboard will shed its image of an “old folks’ pastime” and assume in rightful place in National Sport, to be given all the attention and support that it truly deserves.
The potential field of new players is enormous. It is only waiting to be “sold” on the many benefits that shuffleboard has to offer. After all, each one of us had to be introduced to shuffleboard for our first time, and most likely we now wish that we had discovered it much sooner.
We can all be ambassadors of goodwill for shuffleboard. We all have friends, neighbors and acquaintances who would be happy to share in this most wonderful activity. Next time you play shuffleboard, bring a friend along and show him/her what he/she is missing. I am sure that all active shufflers are very appreciative and proud of their “world of shuffleboard” and really want to expand and elevate it to an even more active world than it is today.
Article by Karl Von Schuler

Be thankful you are enjoying a game which has been improved immensely over the years. Let’s see how it was in 1953 when I began shuffling at age 41. Courts were waxed and ran okay, but when a cloud covered a sunny court it would slow down somewhat, and it was difficult to adjust to the immediate change.
Possibly the best thing that has happened to the game is the use of GLASS BEADS. This idea may have come from the then downtown Clearwater courts, where beach sand was sprinkled on the courts and scattered with palm fronds. A player could demand sand at any time.
Two big improvements were the establishment of the DRAW SYSTEM and PLAYERS CHANGING COLORS. Formally, the tournament director would put a top players name on the chart, and he would determine who was to be the opponent. This was called a Seeded Chart, like in tennis. Worse, the chart was seldom posted, and it was often suspected directors made changes along the way to help their favorites.
There was no division of Amateurs, State Amateurs or Pros. Everyone was just a player and on a seeded chart beginner would just about always play a far more experienced opponent. We lagged for color and remained on one color for the entire match. In Statewide doubles, there was no separation of sexes, except in the Florida State Championships. Men and Women all played together as they wished. Now just about anyone can play. Then in Statewide singles, only 3 men and 3 women (separate brackets) were allowed from each club. Larger clubs had to run elimination tournaments to determine who to send.
The Florida State championship tournaments were something else again. The women’s singles, men’s singles, mixed doubles, women’s doubles and men’s doubles were all played at the same time. The same day! Which meant each competitor had to choose what division he or she wanted to play in. In many cases players had to place high in district qualifying tournaments, as entries were limited.
Article by Lew Tansky –
Masters Winner 1964,
National Champion 1969,1970,1972
Member State and National Hall of Fame