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What is Cornhole?

Cornhole, or Corn Toss, is a game in which players take turns pitching small bags filled with corn (or sand or beans) at a raised platform with a hole in the far end. A corn bag in the hole scores 3 points, while one on the platform scores 1 point. Play continues until a player reaches the score of 21. The platforms measure 4’x2′ and are generally made of wood, although plastic can be a suitable replacement. The bags are generally 6×6″, made with duck cloth, and filled with dry feed corn. Follow our Cornhole how-to below.

The history of cornhole is simple- the game is said to have originated in Cincinnati, and remains popular there. In recent years the game has spread beyond the confines of the mid-west. It is also growing in popularity among fans of NASCAR stock car racing, particularly those who camp at race sites as well as with college students in the Midwest.

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 from 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 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.
cornhole-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.

4. If a player gets all four bags in the hole, it is an automatic 21 points and the player wins (Optional Rule).

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 inning.

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. Swift and precise thrust is needed.

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.

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 or team who pitched 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. In this case, the game is a skunk and the team that scores 7 or more points wins the match. In many places the skunk rule score is 11 or even as high as 13.

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.

Another scoring method is to total all points (hole-in and in-the-count together) and subtract the opponents total – so only one team scores each inning. Ex. Team A throws 3 hole-ins and 1 in-the-count, point total = 10, Team B throws 1 hole-in and 3 in-the-counts, point total = 6; Team A would be awarded 4 points (10 minus 6) for this inning.