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The Rules of the Game

Much like the varying theories on the history of cornhole, there are a lot of variations on cornhole rules. While many technicalities are often disputed, there is a baseline, universal rule set most cornhole enthusiasts play by.

– The boards must directly face each other with 27 feet between the front edges of the boards.
– Grab your partner, pick your bag color (4 bags for each team) and decide who goes first.
– You must stand next to the board (in the pitcher’s box) during your turn. If you step in front of the board, it is a foot foul and that toss will count for 0 points.
– Partners stand at opposite boards on the same side so that they are facing each other and neither team has an advantage.
– You throw one bag, your opponent throws one bag, then you, and then your opponent, etc alternating turns until all eight bags have been thrown. After one round, the players on the opposite board alternate turns.
– If a person tosses out of turn, it is a foul.
– Players must toss the bag with an under-hand release.
– Any bag that touches the ground before hitting the board does not count.
– Any bag hanging off the board and touching the ground does not count.
– One bag in the hole is 3 points. (This is often called a “cornhole,” “holer,” or “corn in the hole.”)
– One bag on the board is 1 point. (This is often called a “woody” or “boarder.”)
– Points cancel one another out. (For example, if Team A throws a bag through the hole for 3 points, but Team B throws a bag on the board for 1 point, Team A has 2 points and Team B has 0 points.)
– The scoring team goes first in the next round.
– In the event both teams have the same number of points after a round, honors to throw first stays with the team who had it the previous round.
– The first to 21 points wins.
– The winning team pitches first in the next game.

While we have an in-depth breakdown of the rules – from the setup, to game play, to fouls, to scoring – on our website, here are some of the variations we have come across:

– The winning team must lead by 2 or more points.
– You must reach 21 exactly. You cannot go over. (I like to call this the Price is Right rule.)
– If you go over 21, your score is automatically reduced to 11 and the game continues.
– If you go over 21, your team is penalized the difference between your score and 21 and the game continues.
– Count every point, with no cancellation or negation of points, and see who has the most points at the end of thirteen rounds. These games often go far above 21 points, but sometimes remain short of 21 points.
– Remove foul bags from playing surface immediately.
– Leave all bags on playing surface undisrupted and in their natural landing state.
– If it is a two-player game, walk directly across to the board opposite and play on the same side you previously played so there is no advantage to one team.
– If one team reaches 7 points before the other team has any points, the game is a skunk.
– If one team reaches 11 points before the other team has any points, the game is a skunk.
– A bag lying completely inside the “home plate” area is counted for 2 points.

If you’re interested in entering the American Cornhole Organization’s tournaments next year, make sure you familiarize yourself with their official rules. The tournament wrapped up yesterday, so congratulations to all of the champions!

ACO King of Cornhole – Jeff Reynolds
ACO Queen of Cornhole – Stacia Pugh
ACO World Doubles Champions – Rick Mayes and Cortez Hudson
ACO World Seniors Champion – Tom Bobo
ACO Competitive Singles Champion – Seth Cottrill
ACO Competitive Doubles Champions – Quinn Peterson and Clinton Lucas
ACO King of Sling Social Singles Champion – Matt West
ACO Social Doubles Champions – Colten Herald and Kurt Sobey
ACO Farfsing Cup – Jay Dotson, Brandon Hill, Cody Henderson and Adam Hissner

Our July contest is still going on, so share* a picture of you, your friends, or your family playing cornhole (only with their consent) on our Facebook page for a chance to win a free set of cornhole bags. If you don’t have a picture, tell us a story or let us know you’re out there playing the game! One (1) winner** will be randomly drawn around 5pm EST on July 31st and notified via Facebook, so you have plenty of time to play and share for a chance to win.

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* Make sure you share the page directly from our Facebook page, as we are not notified if you re-share someone else’s post.

** A random winner will be selected and notified via Facebook private message. The winner must acknowledge receipt of this message within 48 hours. After receipt confirmation, will coordinate color choice and shipping with the winner, as well as acknowledge the winner on our Twitter and Facebook. Please note the winner will be notified through an employee’s personal account, as we cannot initiate private messages through the company’s page.