How to Play Cornhole - Rules, Guidelines, and Tips – Skip's Garage

How to Play Cornhole - Rules, Guidelines, and Tips

If you’re going to play cornhole, you might as well know the rules to play it right! 

The rules of cornhole are pretty simple. Even if you look up the official rules of the game, you will find that they are not overly complicated. You can catch on quickly and then enjoy some fun competition while you play the game. 

cornhole game rules

Basic Game Play

To play cornhole, all you need is two or more players, cornhole boards, and beanbags. 

You can play singles or doubles. As the names suggest, singles play with one person on each side; doubles play with two people on each team. 

In a singles match, you alternate throwing your bags with the opposing player. Once both players have thrown their bags, you retrieve the bags from the board and record your score. 

In a doubles match, you will choose your throwing spot. The person not throwing will stand at the opposite board. The first players will alternate throwing their bags until they’ve each thrown all four. 

The teammate who’s not throwing will record the scores and retrieve the bags. The process is then repeated. 

Setting Up the Game

In order to play, you need to set up your boards. There are rules for how to place your boards and where each player stands during the game. 

For a standard cornhole game, your boards are spaced 27 feet away from each other. The boards should face one another with the hole visible to the opposite side. It’s a good idea to place your boards on flat ground if you can. 

When you are setting your stand to throw the bag, imagine that there is a box next to your cornhole board. You can stand anywhere you want - as long it is directly next to your board. 

You cannot leave this space while you’re throwing, but it doesn’t matter if you stand at the end or the head of the board or somewhere in the middle. Just stay right by the board. 

Keep in mind that if you take a step when you throw, this is considered a foul. 

Finally, always make sure you throw underhand. This is an official rule from the American Cornhole Organization. 

Settle the Score

The scoring practices are also simple. The first team to reach 21 points wins. When we say the “first” team, we don’t mean you race to 21 points. You follow the rules until a team makes 21 points. 

In cornhole, you can score either 3 points or 1 point. You can also score 0 points or even cancel out points, but we’ll get to that in a minute. 

The scoring system is 1 point for any bag that hits the board and stays on the board. If the bag goes through the hole, you are awarded 3 points for that bag. 

Here’s the catch, though. Your goal is to score more than the opposing team because their score directly affects yours. That means if your team has 6 points after throwing the bags and they have 4, points are canceled out. Your team takes your 6 points and subtracts their 4, so your score is now 2 points. 

It is possible for your bags to not be worth any points. For any bag that misses the board or does not stay on the board after it hits, that bag is worth 0 points. 

Winning the Game

In the official rules, the first team to make 21 points is the winning team. 

However, some people like to add challenges and change it up. Here are some popular alternatives: 

  • If your team goes OVER 21 points, your score goes back to 11
  • A team must win by 2 points to take the game

These are not official rules, but they can add a little extra excitement to the game. 

Bonus Tips

These are the basics of the game. The rules are not complicated if you know the basic dos and don'ts that are allowed. 

We have a few bonus tips to share that may help you during your next game. 

Just Enjoy the Game

Even when you are playing for competition, you will do much better if you just relax and enjoy the game. 

Aim for the Board

Many players aim directly for the hole. While making it in the hole is the goal, you may be better off aiming for the lower part of the board. In this case, your bag could easily slide up into the hole, but you are less likely to throw too far. 

Put Some Spin on It

Once you are comfortable with your basic throws, learn how to add a little spin to the bag and you just might be able to take the win in a close game! 

Don’t Forget Your Custom Boards

In order to play, you need a cornhole board set! At Skip’s Garage, we make a variety of custom cornhole boards. You can create your own design or choose from some of our existing categories and designs. 

Let us know how we can help with your cornhole needs!