Cornhole Game Rules

The (Mostly) Official Rules for Cornhole

If you are one of “those” people that has to follow all of the rules, here is where you can view the official cornhole game rules provided by the “American Cornhole Organization” (ACO).

Setting up the board

  1. Place boards on a flat surface 27 feet apart (measured from the front of one board to the front of the other).  You may need to block up the legs of the boards in order to get as close to level setup.
  2. Junior player may throw from a distance of 21 feet…closer for the really young cornholers.

27 feet apart, foul line

Want more than you ever wanted to know about setting up your boards the perfect distance?  Of course you do…

Cornhole Boards

  1. The cornhole board surface is 2ft x 4ft.
  2. There is a 6” diameter hole which is centered 9” from the back and 12” from the sides.

Don’t have your own boards yet?  Take our word for it, cornhole is a lot more fun when you have boards to play on.  Go and check out the wide variety of  cornhole board options in Boards.

Have your own board, but they are getting kind of tired and boring?  Check out the sweet board wraps and decals to spice up those old board in Wraps & Decals.

Cornhole Bags

  1. You are going to need a total of 8 bags –  4 bags of each color.
  2. Each bag should be 6 inches by 6 inches and have 1 pound of corn inserted into each bag.  Beware that after a while, the corn breaks down and the bags lose weight.  (When your bag hits the board and a puff of dust can be seen  Look into upgrading your bags to ones with plastic pellets.

Corn stalk

TIP: Don’t leave corn filled bags out in the rain.  They end up smelling nasty and most likely cannot be saved.  I guess you could plant them in the garden and see what happens?

Point System

  • 3 points for a bag in the hole.   Doesn’t matter how it gets there, as long as it goes all the way through the hole.
  • 1 point for a bag that is on the board surface, hanging in the hole / off the edge of the board.
  • 0 points for a cornhole bag that is not on the playing surface

Keeping Score

  • The team with the highest round score, adds the difference of the two scores to their overall game score.
  • The team that won the previous round is given “honors” to throw first in the next round.
  • When both teams have the same score in a round, then overall game score stays the same and honors stay with the team that won the previous round.  It’s not always easy to keep track of scoring and your drink.  Luckily there are some drink holding – score keeping options available out there.

Cornhole Fouls

  • If a player’s foot goes past the foot foul line. (See diagram above)
  • If a player throws a cornhole bag when it isn’t their turn.
  • The throw the foul occurs on is voided and the bag should be removed from the board.  (This really stinks if you fouled on a cornhole!  You might want to remove this bag as well so it doesn’t “accidentally” get counted at the end of the round!)

Game Play

Check out our How To Play instructions as a quick reference.  Feel free to print them out for your next event.

  1. When playing doubles, partners should stand at opposite cornhole boards and on the same side. In singles play,  players pick a side and then they will throw from the same board.
  2. Each team has 4 bags of one color and all 8 cornhole bags begin at one end.
  3. A coin flip, dual, arm wrestling or rock/paper/scissors can be used to determine the team with honors in round one.
  4. The team with honors will begin play by throwing a cornhole bag at the opposite cornhole board.
  5. A player may throw from anywhere behind the front of the cornhole board they are throwing from.
  6. The players will alternate throws until all 8 cornhole bags have been thrown.
  7. If a bag hits the ground then bounces up onto the board it must be removed before any more throws.  It does not count for any points…that bag is null and void!
  8. Add up the points scored during the round. If no team has reached 21 points, then the next round is started….so on and so on until a team reaches 21. The team that scores the highest amount of points on the previous round will have honors.  Don’t get Skunked!


8 thoughts on “Cornhole Game Rules

  1. Great article on the Cornhole! I love how quickly and simply you explained the game. I’ve played it probably a dozen times in my life, it’s always a lot of fun. Most recently I played it at a big punk festival in Chicago. There were 4 different boards in front of a Deep Eddy vodka tasting session. The great thing about these boards is that they were all decorated differently! I’d never seen that before.
    Your website is great with all the tips and accessories for the Corn Hole. Thanks for the great explanation of how to play the wonderful game!
    Mat A.

    1. Hey there Matt!  Thanks for the feedback, we really appreciate it.

      One of the best things about cornhole is that it is so easy to learn.  Anyone from 3 to 103 can play the came.  Although the 3 and 103 individuals might need to move a little closer to the boards!

      That punk festival sounds like fun!  After a few “tastings” of vodka…it would be even MORE fun!

      Decorating cornhole boards is one of my passions…the major reason why I started this website.  Here you have these large boards that are perfect for marketing your product or messages.  We see them used for promotions on the West coast all the time (especially by the beer brewers here in Oregon).

      And the nice thing is that you don’t have to be an artist to have an amazingly creative board.  Anyone can apply a coat of paint or a vinyl board wrap!

  2. First of all, I cannot believe how big this has become. Our family events now always include at least one cornhole set up. I even bought one that lights up at night around the holes.
    Last week, I was watching the national cornhole championship on ESPN. Who knew. Those guys are really good.
    Thank you for all this official information so now I can make sure it is always set up correctly.

    1. The game of cornhole has grown incredibly over the last 10 years.  You’ll find tournaments and leagues in almost every state!

      We love our boards with lights!  It allows us to play into the late hours during the summer.  And then in winter, when we actually have some dry weather, we can play before dinner. (It’s dark by 4:30 PM in winter!)

      The “pros” are really good.  I feel pretty amazing when I can drop a couple of cornholes in a single turn.  These guys and gals are dropping 3-4 every turn!  It’s impressive.  But I know they spend a lot of time practicing.  And believe it or not, there is a lot of strategy when it comes to playing the game of cornhole.  (Blocking the hole, knocking bags off the board, psychological warfare, etc).

      Thanks for stopping by Curtis.  Have a wonderful summer filled with cornhole, BBQ and your cold beverage of choice!  All the best!

  3. Great article!!! You covered everything. As a full-time RV’er, I have stayed at many campgrounds and have played many rounds of cornhole. Everyone seems to have their own rules. I finally have some official rules I can bring to the next game. I have also wanted to make my own boards for a while now and by you posting the dimensions, I will know what size they need to be. This is a great family game… Dennis

    1. Dennis,

      Thanks for the feedback.

      OK, so full-time RV’ing has intrigued me for some time.  My son and I were recently tent camping at a large state park.  The park was filled with full-time RV’ers.  They were BBQ’ing, sitting around the fire…and even playing cornhole!  I’ve never seen so many happy people in one place.  I don’t know if we could do it full-time, but I sure would love to go on the road for a year and see the country! 

      Best of luck making your own cornhole boards (I’m assuming you’ll have to wait until you get back to home base…if you have wood working tools in your RV, well then I have to see that!).  Having a set of homemade cornhole boards is pretty cool, and you’ll have some great memories of the build and playing on the boards.

      Glad to hear you are out there enjoying the world, having fun and living life to the fullest.  You have cornhole to thank for that!  😉

      All the best!

  4. I’ve never in my life heard of this, but it sound very similar to that game where you throw bean bags through the x’s and o’s. fun, fun, fun. This would be great at kids parties, or even adults, Very creative. I’m impressed. How did you come up with this? Was it something you played before?

    1. We are always so happy to introduce people to the game of cornhole.

      When I was a kid we used to play a game called TossAcross that had the X’s and O’s.  It was a lot of fun!  Now that I’m all grown up, I prefer the challenge of cornhole. 🙂

      I would like to say that I came up with cornhole…alas, the game has been around a lot longer than I have.  I did make my first cornhole set from some left over plywood and 2×4’s from a construction project.  They weren’t pretty…but they worked.  Those old boards received a lot of love over the years.

      The more me and my family and friends go into the game of cornhole, the more I wanted boards that showcased my personality.  This is why I created this website.  To help people create amazing cornhole boards…and of course to introduce more people to the game!

      Anyway, cornhole is great for parties and family events!  You’ll always get a lot of laughs, hoots and celebration dancing!

      Have fun out there!

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