Watching the 2018 Winter Olympics games I've noticed a few times that the team with the hammer doesn't go for an easy shot on their last stone. Instead of just putting the stone on or near the button when the circle is quiet empty, they hit the other teams stone and clear up all the stones.

What's the reason behind this? Are there rules regarding when a team can put a stone on the button? Or will this move give the team an advantage moving forward in the game?

  • In mixed doubles curling, you lose the hammer on a blank. Result: essentially no blanks. Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 1:36

1 Answer 1


There are several reasons, but these are the main two:

  1. during the first part of the game it is easy to see a blank end because the team with the hammer is studying the ice and prefers a blanked end to the single point, so they can then try to score two or more points in the following end. You can see it in the first 3 ends of Canada-Italy at Pyeongchang 2018 (first match for both teams in the tournament)
  2. during the second part of the match the team with the hammer can choose to blank the end (if it has the possibility), to take off the opposing team a final end with the hammer. Break-even after the 8th end: the team with the hammer in the ninth end will try to blank the end to mark the decisive point in the last end with the advantage of the hammer - see for example Switzerland-Japan at Pyeongchang 2018

This depends on the fact that the team that with the hammer maintains this advantage until it concludes an end by scoring points

  • 4
    It all stands that if you score, you give the hammer to your opponent. So then it's just the value of scoring a lone point, and giving away that advantage, or not scoring a point, and keeping that advantage.
    – Fredy31
    Commented Feb 21, 2018 at 17:17

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