How to Play Cornhole

What’s a backyard BBQ or football tailgate without cornhole? It’s a classic American lawn game that brings fun entertainment to any gathering. Best of all, the rules are pretty simple making it easy for newcomers to learn how to play. With just the right amount of friendly competition, you’ll find yourself playing this game with friends all night!

Game Equipment

You’ll just need a few things:

  • Cornhole Boards- Two identical 2’x 4’ boards with a centered six-inch hole measured 9 inches from the top. Make sure your boards have foldable back legs to create a sloped surface 3-4 inches from the ground in front and 12 inches from the back 
  • 8 Cornhole Bags- 6’x6’ bags filled with one pound of corn each (hence the name). You’ll need 4 of each color for both teams

Setup

  • The cornhole boards should directly face each other and measure 27 feet apart from the front of each board. The game should sit on a flat piece of land. 
  • Players should stand directly next to their board when playing. Imagine an imaginary pitcher’s box the length of your board. You cannot go past this space when playing. 
  • The front of the box serves as the foul line, you cannot step past this line when throwing.

Gameplay

  1. Toss a coin to see which team throws first.
  2. Partners from each team stand at opposite cornhole boxes on the same side (left or right), directly facing each other. 
  3. Team A starter Player and Team B starter player alternately throw their bags until all 4 bags are gone from each team; this ends the first round (bag must be delivered with an underhand release when throwing). Total the points for each team.
  4. The next round begins from the opposite cornhole board with second players from Team A and Team B throwing their bags until all bags are gone.
  5. After both players from each team have had a turn, the starter team of the next round is determined by whichever team won the previous round. If neither team wins, the starter team from the previous round starts the next round.
  6. Rounds continue until either team reaches a score of 21 or more

If playing an individual game (1 on 1), players must walk to opposing team’s board to score points and pitch bags back to their board after each round. 

Also, individual players should alternate standing on the left or right side after each round.

Scoring

Points are determined by the position of the bag in relation to the cornhole board.

  • 1 Point- A “Woody” refers a pitched bag that lands on the cornhole board 
  • 3 pts- A “Cornhole” refers to a pitched bag that goes in the hole on the board 
  • 0 pts- If a bag touches the ground and board, no point is earned. 

A Cornhole game is scored through the “cancellation scoring” method. 

This means whichever team earns the most points during a round subtracts the other team’s points to determine their final score. 

Ex. In the first Round, Team A gets 2 bags through the hole and 1 on the board for a total of 7 points. Team B gets 1 bag through the hole and 2 bags on the board for a total of 5 points

Team A leading with 7 points would subtract Team B’s 5 points, leaving a score of:

Team A= 2 points | Team B= 0 points

Game Fouls

  • A player’s foot goes past the foul line (front of the box)
  • A pitcher steps outside the pitcher’s box when tossing bag
  • A bag that touched the ground before reaching the board

Tips

  • Remove any debris from playing area to avoid disruption to the game
  • Try tossing the bags in different ways until you find one that feels most natural for you (fast, slow, high, low, etc.) 
  • Holding a drink or other bags in your non-throwing hand can help with balance
  • Whichever hand is your throwing hand, stand on the opposite side of the board (if you’re right-handed, stand on the left side and vice versa)

Ready to start playing?

Check out our cornhole rentals or for your company event, we offer fully managed cornhole tournaments.

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