Official Cornhole Rules

Learn how to play cornhole with the official rules and regulations of the game set forth by the original and official governing body of cornhole, American Cornhole Association.

How to Play Cornhole

The following guidelines are the original and official rules of cornhole and intended for recreational game play, professional cornhole competitions, and ACA tournaments.

Court Layout

The following dimensions and measurements will serve to determine how far apart to place cornhole boards as well as positioning of players during game play.

Dimensions

A cornhole court shall be a level rectangular area 8-10 feet wide and a minimum of 40-45 feet long. The court should consist of two cornhole boards, designated pitcher’s boxes, and foul lines.

Pitcher's Box

The pitcher’s box is the rectangle 4 feet by 3 feet at each end of the court, parallel with, and on both sides of the boards. Each player must remain in the pitcher’s box while pitching a cornhole bag.

Foul Lines

There are two sets of foul lines: open adult-play and junior-play for children 12 and under. The adult foul lines shall be defined as an imaginary line 27 feet between the front of each board. The junior-play foul lines are defined as an imaginary line 12-15 feet between the front of each board. The foul line should be parallel to the front of the opposite board to meet ACA guidelines.

Cornhole court layout

Cornhole Game Equipment

The following dimensions and measurements will serve to determine standards and specifications for cornhole boards and cornhole bags.

Cornhole Board Dimensions

Each cornhole board shall be 47.5 to 48 inches in length and 23.5 to 24 inches wide, made of smooth plywood that measures at least 1/2-inch in thickness. ACA sanctioned cornhole tournaments should only be played with wooden cornhole boards, as there is significant variance in play between wooden, plastic, and other surfaces.

  • The hole in each cornhole board shall be 6 inches in diameter. Its center shall be 9 inches from the top and 12 inches from each side of the board edges.
  • The front of the cornhole board shall be 3-4 inches from bottom to top.
  • The back of the cornhole board shall be approximately 12 inches from ground to the highest point of the deck.
  • The board finish shall be sanded to a very smooth texture, and there shall not be any blemishes in the wood surface that might disrupt or distort play.
  • The board can be painted with a semi-gloss exterior latex paint resulting in a surface that allows bags to slide, but is not so slippery that it allows the bags to slide back down the board.

Cornhole Bag Standards

The cornhole bags shall be made from two fabric squares 6.25" x 6.25" with a 0.25" stitched seam on all four sides. Bags should be made from durable fabric.

Each bag shall be filled with approximately 2 cups of feed corn and finished bags should be roughly 6 square inches and weigh 14-16 ounces. ACA will allow the use of plastic pellets (All Weather Cornhole Bags) in lieu of feed corn. ACA offers both Corn-Filled and All Weather cornhole bags.

Play of the Game

Every match is broken down into innings of play. During an inning of play, each player must pitch all four of his/her bags. An inning is never completed until all players pitch all four of his/her bags.

Singles Cornhole MatchES

Two single players compete against one another until a single winner is determined.

  • Both players stay in their designated lane for the whole game.
  • Players start the game at the headboard and will alternate pitching bags until each player has pitched all four of his/her bags.
  • Players then walk to the end of their lane to the other court, take score, and resume pitching back to the other board.
  • The top of an inning is completed when the first player pitches all four bags; the bottom of the inning is completed when the remaining player pitches all four bags.

Doubles Cornhole Matches

Two teams, consisting of two players, compete against one another until a winning team is determined.

  • Each team will stay in their designated lane for the whole game.
  • Players at the headboard will alternate pitching bags until each player has pitched all four of his/her bags.
  • Players at the footboard will take score and resume pitching back to the other board.
  • The top of an inning is completed when both players pitching from the headboard pitch all four bags; the bottom of the inning is completed when the remaining players pitching from the footboard pitch all four bags.

Scoring

The approved method of scoring for the sport of cornhole is “cancellation” scoring. In cancellation scoring, the points of one player cancel out the points of their opponent. Using this method, only one player/team can score in each inning.

  • Bag In-The-Count (Woody) : Any bag which comes to rest anywhere on top of the board. Each is worth one (1) point.
  • Bag In-The-Hole (Cornhole) : Any bag which is thrown through the hole or knocked through the hole by another bag. Each is worth three (3) points.
  • Foul Bags – Refers to any bag that has not been determined as Bag In-The-Count or Bag In-The Hole or was designated a foul bag as the result of rules violation

Player Pitching rotation

The player or team who scored in the preceding inning has honor pitching first in the next inning. If neither player or team scores, the player or team who pitched first in the preceding frame shall retain first pitch in the next frame.

Position of Players During Pitching

  • The pitcher must be within the pitcher’s box or behind the foul line at the time of release.
  • A player must pitch all four bags from their designated pitcher’s box.
  • Players must pitch the bag with an under-hand release.

Foul Bag Rule Violations

The following are rule violations that must be spotted and called by a player or assigned judge. The penalty is to declare the bag a foul bag, which requires the bags to be removed from the court prior to resuming play.

  1. Any bag pitched when the player has made contact with or crossed over the foul line
  2. Any bag pitched when the player has started or stepped completely outside the pitcher’s box before the bag is released
  3. Any bag not delivered within the 20-second time limit
  4. A bag pitched from a different pitcher’s box than the first bag
  5. Any bag that contacted the court or the ground before coming to rest on the board
  6. Any bag that struck a previously defined object such as a tree limb, wire, indoor court ceiling, etc.
  7. Any bag removed from the board before scoring has been agreed upon for that bag
    1. The offending team (who touches the bags) forfeits all remaining bags and tallies the score of just the bags thrown before the foul was reported
    2. The non-offending team tallies twelve (12) points as if they had thrown four Bag In-The-Holes (Cornholes) during the inning
  8. A bag that leaves a player’s hand once the final forward swing of the delivery process has started shall count as a pitched bag
  9. A bag that is accidentally dropped by a player before the final forward swing has started shall not be considered foul and may be picked up and pitched. Protests – If a player desires to make a protest, the protest shall be made to the judge or official at the time the problem occurs. The judge shall make the final ruling on all protests.

Determining Winners - Traditional 21

The game shall be played to the predetermined number of twenty-one points. The first player/team to reach (or exceed) that amount at the conclusion of an inning is the winner.

Official Cornhole rules and regulations of the American Cornhole Association (ACA). The rules and regulations were developed by a majority of ACA members.

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