Cornhole Rules

Cornhole Playing Field:

 The playing field set out below is the guide for the Official American Cornhole Association Playing Field measurements. People can set their own measurements up according to age, medical condition; experience and how much room you have available.  Official throwing/foul line for Juniors is 21ft (7m approx) from the hole, Seniors is 30ft (10m) from the hole.

Singles Or Doubles Play:

Cornhole / Corn Toss can be played as doubles or singles. In doubles play two contestants are partners against another team of two contestants; in singles play a contestant competes against another contestant.

In doubles play, one member of each team pitches from one cornhole platform and the other members pitch from the other cornhole platform. In singles play, both contestants pitch from the same cornhole platform. All other rules are basically the same for doubles or singles play.

Innings:

Every Cornhole / Corn Toss match is broken down into innings of play. During each inning there is a top and a bottom round of play.

In doubles play, the top of an inning is completed when both contestants pitching from the first cornhole platform pitch all 4 corn bags; the bottom of the inning is completed when the remaining contestants (pitching from the other cornhole platform) pitch all 4 corn bags.

In singles play, the top of an inning is completed when the first contestant pitches all 4 corn bags; the bottom of the inning is completed when the remaining contestant pitches all 4 corn bags.

An inning is never completed until all contestants pitch all four corn bags.

Value of the Corn Bag:

1. Corn Bag In-The-Hole - A corn bag in-the-hole (or Hole-In) is a corn bag which is thrown through the hole in the cornhole platform or otherwise comes to rest inside the cornhole platform (knocked in by another player or an act of God). A corn bag in-the-hole has a value of three points.

2. Corn Bag In-The-Count - A corn bag that is not in-the-hole but lands with any portion of the corn bag resting on the cornhole platform is in-the-count (sometimes called on-the-board). A corn bag in-the-count has a value of one point. For a corn bag to be in-the-count, it must not touch the ground or any other portion of the court prior to coming to rest on the cornhole platform. If a corn bag touches the ground before coming to rest on the cornhole platform, it is a foul and must be removed from the cornhole platform prior to the continuation of play.

3. Corn Bag Out-Of-The-Count - A corn bag which comes to rest anywhere except in-the-count or in-the-hole is out-of-the-count and has no scoring value. A corn bag which is declared to be a foul is considered to be out-of-the-count (no matter where it comes to rest) and must be removed from the cornhole surface prior to the continuation of play.

Delivery of Corn Bags during Play:

1. In doubles play, the first side of contestants alternate pitching corn bags until they have thrown all four corn bags, then the remaining contestant (pitching from the other cornhole platform) continue to alternate in the same manner until all four corn bags are delivered and the inning completed. Delivery in singles play is handled in the same manner (but from the same platform) with each of the two contestants alternating their pitching of corn bags until all four corn bags have been pitched completing the innings.

2. A contestant may deliver the corn bag from either the left or right pitchers box (see above) but, in any one inning, all corn bags must be delivered from the same pitcher’s box.

3. Each individual contestant shall deliver the corn bag within 20 seconds. The time shall start when the contestant steps onto the pitcher’s box with the intention of pitching.

Innings.

The individual players take alternate throws and when all their cornbags have been thrown, that constitutes an innings. The team or individual with the highest score on the previous innings has the first throw on the next innings.

Pitching Rotation During The Game

The contestant who scored in the preceding inning shall pitch first in the next inning. If neither pitcher scores, the contestant who pitched second (last) in the preceding inning shall pitch first in the next inning.

Length Of The Game:

The Cornhole / Corn Toss match shall be played until the first team of contestants reaches (or exceeds) 21 points at the completion of an inning. The winning team does not need to win by two or more points.

The Cornhole / Corn Toss match can never end in the middle of an inning. Thus, if a team that pitches first reaches or exceeds 21 points, the game can not end until the other side is allowed to pitch all of their corn bags and the inning is completed.

If the Cornhole / Corn Toss match is tied at 21 or more at the end of an inning, play continues until one team or the other achieves a higher score at the end of an inning and wins the match.

The game shall be played to 21 unless a team scores 7 or more points at the end of an inning before their opponents score any points. It this case the game is a skunk and the team that scores 7 or more points wins the match.

Cancellation Scoring:

In cancellation scoring, corn bags in-the-hole and corn bags in-the-count pitched by opponents during an inning (singles play) or half of an inning (doubles play) cancel each other out. Only non cancelled corn bags are counted in the score for the inning.

1. Corn Bags In-The-Hole – Hole-ins (HI’s) cancel each other. A corn bag in-the-hole of one contestant shall cancel a corn bag in-the-hole of his competitor and those corn bags shall not score any points. Any non cancelled corn bag in-the-hole scores three points.

2. Corn Bags In-The-Count – Corn bags in-the-count cancel each other. A corn bag in-the-count of one contestant shall cancel a corn bags in-the-count of the opponent and those corn bags shall not score any points. Any non cancelled corn bags in-the-count score one point each.

Cancellation scoring may be easily calculated as follows:

1. The points of both contestants are calculated for hole-ins and in-the-count corn bags.

2. The points of the lowest scoring contestant for hole-in corn bags are subtracted from the points of the highest scoring contestant for hole-in corn bags. The result is the hole-in score for the highest scoring contestant. The hole-in score for the lowest scoring contestant is zero.

3. The points of the lowest scoring contestant for in-the-count corn bags are subtracted from the points of the highest scoring contestant for in-the-count corn bags. The result is the in-the-count score for the highest scoring contestant. The in-the-count score for the lowest scoring contestant is zero.

4. The hole-in score for each contestant is added to the in-the-count score for each contestant to derive the recorded score for the inning.

5. In this manner hole-in and in-the–count corn bags from each contestant or team of contestants are cancelled out and only non cancelled corn bags are counted in the score.

Starting the Match

The Cornhole match starts with contestants or teams of contestants tossing a coin to determine the order of play. The winner of the coin toss chooses to pitch their corn bags first or second.

In doubles play a member form each team pitches from one cornhole platform and the remaining contestants pitch from the other cornhole platform.

The side that plays first alternates pitching their corn bags until all four corn bags are pitched by each contestant. The contestants playing from the other cornhole platform then alternate pitching until all four corn bags are pitched by each contestant and the inning is completed.

Cornhole is always played in complete innings. For doubles an inning is complete when the contestants pitching from both cornhole platforms have pitched all of their corn bags.

After each side of an inning (doubles play) or each inning (singles play), the contestants examine the location of their corn bags and record the score. The points for each team and the innings played are generally recorded on a scoreboard or other device that all contestants can easily see and review for accuracy.

ACA members that are keeping a record of their individual results for ACA ranking purposes would also note the number of corn bags that they pitched in the hole.

A corn bag in the hole (hole-in) is worth 3 points and a corn bag on the cornhole platform is worth 1 point (in-the-count or on-the-board). Play continues in this manner until a team has 21 or more points at the end of an inning.

Cancellation scoring is generally used in Official Cornhole Tournament play. This method of scoring requires that opponents hole-in corn bags and in-the-count corn bags cancel each other out and no score is recorded.

To illustrate, if the first contestant lands two corn bags in-the hole and two corn bags in-the-count and the second contestant lands two corn bags in-the-hole and two in-the-count, the score for both contestants would be zero as both corn bags in-the-hole and corn bags in-the-count cancel each other out.

To further illustrate, if the first contestant lands one corn bag in the hole and one corn bag in-the-count and the second contestant lands one corn bag in-the count, the score for the first contestant would be 3 and the score for the second contestant would be zero as the bag in-the-hole would count and the two corn bags in-the-count (one from each team) cancel each other out.

Alternatively, if the first contestant lands no corn bags in-the-hole or in-the-count and the second contestant lands two corn bags in-the count, the score for the first contestant would be 0 and the score for the second contestant would be 2 as only bags from the second contestant landed on the cornhole platform and there is no cancellation.

Lastly, if the first contestant lands one corn bag in-the-hole and none in-the-count and the second contestant lands two corn bag in-the count, the score for the first contestant would be 3 and the score for the second contestant would be 2 as only bags from the first contestant landed in-the-hole and only corn bags from the second contestant landed in-the-count and there is no cancellation.

Corn bags in-the-count may be knocked off the cornhole platform or in-the-hole by an opponent or by that contestants other corn bags. Where the corn bag ultimately lands determines the scoring.

The contestant or team of contestants that score 21 points at the end of an inning are declared the winners of the match. There is no requirement to win by two or more points. The match, however, is never over until the inning is complete and both contestants or teams of contestants have pitched all their corn bags.

The match can never end in a tie and play continues at or above 21 points until one contestant or team of contestants has a higher score at the end of the inning.

If a contestant or team of contestants scores 7 points at the end of an inning before their opponents score any points, the match is declared a skunk and the contestant or team of contestant with the points wins the match.

Juniors and Infants

The rules can be changed according to the age, size and mobility and ability.  Both the scoring and distance can be altered to suit.

Distance from the Cornhole board can vary from 3ft (1m) up to 15ft (5m), according to the age, size and mobility and ability. 

Scoring

The easiest way for the juniors and infants is just to have 1 point if it lands on the board, 3 points if it overhangs or goes through the hole on the Board. The younger ones to reach a target of 11 points progressing to 21 as the get better and more experienced. The points are given after both individuals have thrown all the cornbags. If you go over 11, or the nominated score, after all the cornbags have been thrown in that innings and it is a draw, it does not matter. The player or team that wins the next inning wins the game.

Only Cornbags that are on the board or that have gone through the Cornhole at the end of an innings count for points. If your cornbag or the other team/individual’s cornbag knocks another cornbag off the board  then, it is NO POINTS FOR THE ONE THAT HAS BEEN KNOCKED OFF.

If you or the other team/individual’s cornbag knocks a bag through the Cornhole, then it is 3 points for the team/individual to whose bag has gone through the Cornhole. 

All cornbags have to land directly on the Cornhole board to score; any that bounce of the floor are void and are taken off the board