A Complete Guide To The Official Rules Of Cornhole

New to the cornhole scene and not sure how to set up the game? Or are you just looking to freshen up your knowledge of the rules and regulations? We got you covered on all things cornhole!

Cornhole has become a staple of outdoor events across the globe. Anyone from any age group can enjoy this classic game of toss, yet not everyone is completely aware of the official regulations and rules of cornhole.

Regulation Cornhole Gear

The American Cornhole Association has laid out standard regulations for the game. When it comes to gear, here are the specific dimensions boards and bags must meet:

  • Official Cornhole Board Dimensions 
    • Boards for tournament use must be 48 inches in length and 24 inches wide.
    • A board’s hole should be 6 inches in diameter.
    • The front of the cornhole board should stand at 4 inches tall.
    • The back of the cornhole board should be 12 inches from the ground.
    • From the top of the board to the hole should be 9 inches.
    • From either side of the board to the hole is 12 inches.
Cornhole board dimensions
  • Official Sizing For Cornhole Bags
    • The dimensions of every bag should be 6 inches by 6 inches.
    • Each team will have 4 bags to toss per inning.
    • Every bag should weigh between 14-16 ounces.
    • Each bag should be filled with 2 cups of feed corn.
Cornhole bag dimensions

Court Layout

Similar to how tournament boards and bags have official dimensions, the cornhole playing court must also meet certain size requirements. 

  • Court Dimensions
    • A cornhole court’s length should be 40 to 45 feet long. The court width should be 8 to 10 feet in length in order to account for the space a board and each set of pitcher’s boxes takes up. 
  • Pitcher’s Boxes
    • The pitcher’s box is the designated area for players to toss the cornhole bags. Pitching boxes are parallel to each other, found on both sides of the board; they measure 4 feet by 3 feet. 
  •  Foul Lines
    • The foul line is an imaginary line between the two boards. When pitching a bag, players must release the bag behind the foul line. There are technically two lines: one for adult players and one for junior players. The adult foul line is 27 feet between the boards. The junior foul line is 12 to 15 feet between the boards.
Cornhole playing court dimensions

Playing The Game

Now that the dimensions for the court and gear have been specified, it is important to note the difference in rules between single and double matches.

  • Rules of the game: Singles vs Doubles Matches
    • In a singles match, two players compete against one another. Each player chooses which lane of the pitcher’s box to stand in. After selecting a pitching lane, the two players will take turns tossing until they run out of bags. Cornhole is played in innings. The top of an inning is when the first player throws all of their bags and the bottom of an inning is when the other player throws theirs. The player that scores in the previous inning will toss first in the next inning. Whichever player scores 21 points first wins.
    • In a doubles match, four players form two teams. Before each team starts, the players will choose which lane of the pitcher’s box to use. The teams then take turns tossing their bags. When it comes to innings, the top of the inning is when one team tosses their bags and the end of the inning is when the second team tosses their bags. The team that scores in the previous inning will toss first in the next inning and whichever team gets to 21 points first wins.
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Scoring In Cornhole

There are two ways to score in cornhole. One way to score is for a bag to land on top of the board, which is worth 1 point. The other way to score is for a bag to land in the board’s hole, which is worth 3 points. 

 – Tournament Scoring Rules

Cancellation scoring is the standard scoring method for cornhole tournaments. In this method of scoring, the team with more points cancels out the other team’s points via subtraction. Using this method of scoring means that only one team can score per inning. For example, if Team A scores 5 points and Team B scores 3 points, then Team A has 2 points and Team B has none. There is more than one way to keep score, though.  

 – Alternative Rules For Scoring 

  • Skunk: There are two ways to play a game of “skunk”. Players can call a skunk when the score is 13-0 at the end of any inning. Another way to play with “skunk” rules is if a team scores 7 points in an inning and the other team does not score any points, then the other team wins. 
  • Playing to 21 Exactly: Some people may want to play an alternate version of the standard game where the team must get exactly 21 points. If a team scores over 21 points, then that team goes back to 13 points. Both teams continue to play until one team scores exactly 21 points at the end of an inning. 
  • Non Cancellation: For those looking for a more casual way to play, non cancellation scoring is a good option. In this mode, scoring is not canceled out so every point earned is counted. This mode’s winner can be determined by either the first team to reach 21 points or by a team scoring exactly 21 points.
  • Tie Breaker: If both teams are tied at 21 points at the end of an inning, play continues until one team has a higher score at the end of an inning.

Foul Bags

This list serves as a brief overview of rule-breaking actions that will result in a bag being deemed “foul”. Any violation of a rule should be spotted and called out by a player or a referee. 

  • Any bag pitched when the player has crossed over the foul line is considered a foul bag. 
  • Any bag pitched when the player has started or stepped completely outside the pitcher’s box before the bag is released.
  • A bag pitched from a different pitcher’s box than the first bag.
  • Any bag not tossed within 20 seconds is outside the time limit and is considered a foul bag.
  • Any bag that touches the ground before coming to rest on the board is referred to as a foul bag.
  • A bag that is accidentally dropped by a player before the final forward swing has started shall not be considered foul and may be picked up and pitched.
  • Any bag that struck a previously defined object such as a tree limb, wire, indoor court ceiling, etc.

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