Game Tables Pub Games Outdoor Games Board Games Casino Games Tabletop Games Giant Games Fair Games Wooden Toys

The Rules of Deck Tennis


The Rules of Deck Tennis

Please note 1 yard = 3 feet = 36 inches = 0.9144 metres.


Deck Tennis or "Tennequoits" is a combination of Tennis and Quoits. There are no set standards for the game - partly because of its informal nature and partly because the game has to adapt to the shape and area of each particular ship it is played upon. However, a typical court is 30 - 40 feet long and 10 - 15 feet wide. For doubles, the length might be a bit less but the width should be between 14 and 15 feet. A net is strung across the middle of the court and an area about 3 feet to either side of it is designated as neutral and is delineated by a "neutral line". 6 - 8 feet from the back of each court another line is draw, the back line. Since the court is based upon a standard tennis court, the net should be strung at a similar height - around 36 inches, give or take a few. And finally, a third line is drawn from the middle of the neutral line to the middle of the back line so that the court, in total, is divided into four sections.

The game is played with a rope, or sometimes rubber, quoit.


Players toss a coin to decide who serves first. The first serve of each game is from the right hand court and serves alternate from left and right after that.

A point begins by the server throwing the quoit from one side of the back line across the net and into the diagonally opposite area of the opposing court. If the quoit hits the ground within the target area, the server wins the point but if the quoit hits the ground outside the target area, the opposing side win the point. Assuming that the receiving player believes that the quoit is well aimed, that player attempts to catch the quoit before it hits the ground.

If the receiving player successfully catches the quoit, that player then throws the quoit from where it was caught back to the other side of the court aiming to make the quoit land anywhere within the lines except the neutral area. If the quoit lands legally, the side that threw wins the point. If it lands in the neutral area or outside the lines, the side that threw the quoit loses the point. Otherwise, if the quoit is caught, then play continues in the same fashion until the quoit does eventually hit the ground.

Scoring proceeds as in Tennis - 15, 30, 40, (Deuce,) Advantage, Game. A game is won when a side in the lead with 40 wins the next point or when a side with "Advantage" wins the next point. There are 6 games to a set and typically 3 sets are played, as in Tennis.

Other Serving Rules

  • When serving, the quoit must start off in an upward direction and be delivered underarm.

  • The server's hand must be in front of the back line when the quoit leaves it, although it may pass over the back line prior to that.

  • If a quoit touches the net but then lands legally, the server must re-start the point.

Other Quoit Throwing Rules

  • When throwing the quoit, at least one foot must be touching the ground.

  • Feints or baulking are not allowed - penalty is the loss of the point being played.

  • Quoits must not be thrown so that they fly flat through the air.

  • "Wobblers" are considered bad form and are to be avoided although there is no penalty for a quoit that wobbles in the air.

Other General Rules

  • If a player's hand touches, but then drops the quoit, the point is lost.

  • A player must not cross the neutral line while a point is being played.

  • Players may stretch their hand over the neutral line but not over the net.

  • If the quoit that touches an object outside the court, the player that threw it loses the point.

  • If the quoit lands on a boundary line and then slides out of bounds, it is considered to have landed in bounds.

  • In doubles, if both players on the same side touch the quoit, the point is lost.

  • If a quoit touches any part of a player's body other than the hand, the point is lost.



These rules are provided by Masters Traditional Games, an Internet shop selling quality traditional games, pub games and unusual games. For general information or for copying and copyright, see our Rules Information page.

Our rules are comprehensive instructions for friendly play. If in doubt, always abide by locally-played or house rules.

Copyright Masters Traditional Games © 2019. All rights reserved.

Customers Also Viewed


Top of page - The Rules of Deck Tennis

Visit our Facebook page Visit our Instagram page Visit our Pintrest page Visit our Youtube channel
Visa Mastercard Amex Paypal Maestro
Secure Hosting Credit Card Safe