Cornhole Game Rules
Singles Or Doubles Play:
Cornhole, also commonly referred to as, Corn Toss, can be played as a doubles or singles game. In doubles play, two contestants are partnered against another team of two contestants. In singles play, one contestant plays against another single opponent.
During doubles play, one member of each team pitches from one cornhole platform (board area) and the other members pitch from the opposing side or opposite cornhole platforms. Singles play differs in this department, because during singles play, both contestants pitch the corn bag from the same cornhole platform. All other rules are basically uniform and remain the same for doubles and singles play.
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. These innings are consistent and are important to the flow of the game.
In doubles play, the top of an inning is completed when both contestants pitching from the first cornhole platform pitch all 4 of their corn bags. The bottom of the inning is completed when the remaining contestants from each team (pitching from the other cornhole platform), pitch all 4 of their own corn bags. Similar to the top and bottom of baseball innings, the inning is designed to let the teams and bystanders follow the game strategically without losing sight of who will be pitching the bags next.
In singles play, the top of an inning is completed when the first contestant pitches all 4 corn bags; meanwhile, the bottom of the inning is completed when the remaining contestant pitches all 4 corn bags. This style is very similar to doubles play, only the speed of play usually goes faster as there are less people pitching.
An inning is never completed until all contestants pitch all four of their 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 opposing cornhole platform or otherwise comes to rest inside the cornhole platform. The latter can occur when a resting corn bag is knocked into the hole by another player’s pitch or by an act of God. A corn bag in-the-hole has a value of three points and is considered to be the best shot a player can make with a single pitch.
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 and is 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. Discounted or foul corn bags are set aside until the top and bottom of the inning are complete.
3. Corn Bag Out-Of-The-Count - A corn bag that comes to rest anywhere except in-the-count or in-the-hole, is out-of-the-count and has no scoring value. Some cornhole players call this a “miss” and immediately disregard the pitch and the next contestant is free to pitch. A corn bag that is declared to be a foul is considered to be out-of-the-count, (no matter where it comes to rest). It must be removed from the cornhole surface prior to the continuation of play. Any foul or discounted bags that are left in the area of play are considered to be an interference and will often lead to discrepancies in the game as well as the overall outcome of the score.
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. The remaining contestants (pitching from the other cornhole platform), continue to alternate in the same manner until all four corn bags are delivered and the inning is 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 inning.
2. A contestant may deliver the corn bag from either the left or the right pitchers box (see above) but, in any one inning, all corn bags must be delivered from the same pitcher’s box. If a player or contestant chooses to switch from the right to the left, they are allowed, only at the start of a new inning. Contestants will often do this to improve technique or pitch ability.
3. Each individual contestant shall deliver the corn bag within 20 seconds. The time shall start when the contestant steps into the pitcher’s box with the intention of pitching. Delays of game are not welcome.
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 upcoming 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 cannot end until the other side has had the opportunity to pitch all of their corn bags. Once they have finished pitching their corn bags, the inning is completed and the game is then over.
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. Cornhole games do not end in ties, and therefore continue until one team surpasses at the end of a full inning.
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. In this case, the game is a skunk and the team that scores 7 or more points wins the match. In other sports, this is often referred to as a “mercy rule,” but cornhole prefers to use the word “skunk”.
In cancellation scoring, corn bags in-the-hole and corn bags in-the-count that are pitched by opponents during an inning (singles play) or half of an inning (doubles play) cancel each other out. The remaing corn bags that are point-worthy are calculated. Only non-cancelled corn bags are counted in the score for that particular inning.
1. Corn Bags In-The-Hole – Hole-ins (HI’s) cancel each other out. 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 for either team. 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 then 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 then 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 overall score.
Virtual Cornhole 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.
For recording individual statistics for ACA ranking purposes, all corn bags in-the-hole are counted even if they are cancelled by an opponent’s corn bag. It is the responsibility of each ACA member reporting their statistics to keep track of their individual results.
For more detailed information on the rules of the game.