Curling Last Stone Draw Rules

You are ready to begin your game of curling. Your sheet has been pebbled and nipped, the stabilizers, sliders, are by the hacks, but your scoreboard is blank. You now need to figure out which team gets the hammer, and which team will throw the different colored stones. This is where the coinflip comes into play.

Game Setup

In curling, there are two ways to determine who gets the hammer and what stone color each team gets.

  1. Coinflip
  2. Last Stone Draw (LSD)

The Handshake

At the start of a curling game, there is a handshake between both teams. Each person on the ice will shake the hands of their opponent and teammates. It is also common to introduce yourself to people you have not played with before, and wish them "good curling". The handshake is traditional curling etiquette. You will always shake everyone else's hands before the coinflip.

Last Stone Draw (LSD)

A last stone draw (LSD) is executed by the entire team before the game starts. Each skip will throw a draw to the button. This is performed like a regular shot in curling in which the lead and second will sweep the stone, and the vice will give the line for the skip's shot. An umpire will then measure the distance the stone is from the pin (in inches). If the stone is not in the house, it is given a distance of 73 inches: six feet (for the radius of the 12 foot) plus one inch (since it is not in the house). The team with the smaller measured distance will win the advantage of the hammer in the first end.

The last stone draw (LSD) is used in competitive play and national and international competition. In some competitions, the skip will throw two shots - one in-turn shot and one out-turn shot - and the combined distance will be added to determine which team will win the advantage of the hammer.

The Coinflip

A coinflip is executed by the lead from each team. One lead will flip a coin and the other lead will call heads or tails while the coin is in the air. If the lead correctly guesses the side the coin lands on, their team gets to determine which team gets the hammer. If the lead incorrectly guesses the side the coin lands on, the opponent gets to determine which team gets the hammer.

The winner of the coinflip gets to decide whether:

  1. To get the hammer for the first end, or
  2. To throw a certain stone color.

Taking The Hammer

When a team wins a coinflip, it is nearly guaranteed that they will decide to take the hammer for the first end. Then, the team that lost the coinflip will then select the stone color they will throw. Let's say the winning team decides to take the hammer. The other team decides to throw the yellow stones and by default the winning team will be throwing the red stones.

The Scoreboard

The scoreboard can now be updated by placing the team names on the color of stones that they will be throwing. The skip can also place the hammer symbol, asterisk, or letter-H in the correct position for the team that has the hammer shot.