Cornhole can be played one on one or as teams. Either way, the game consists of "frames" during which the players or teams take turns tossing 4 bags. Your goal is to get the bags to land (and stay) on the board for 1 point, or better yet go into the hole for 3 points.

Who's on which side?

Some people prefer to play with their throwing hand over the board, others prefer to play with it away from the board.

In singles games the players must play from opposite sides of the board. It doesn't really matter which side, because when they finish a frame they walk to the other board staying in their lane on the same side of the board.

In doubles games the partners stand at opposite ends of the court, in the same lane. That means they're both on the same side of the boards, looking straight at each other. Since each player throws from the same side for the entire game, that side preference we talked about above can be more important, so you need a way to figure out who picks their side.

Who picks side and throws first?

Before a doubles game, players flip a coin to determine who gets to go first and pick either 1) the side they play from or 2) which of their opponents each of them will face. Whichever they pick, their opponent picks the other. For example, say the team that wins the coin flip picks their side and says they want to throw first...which is typical. The other team gets to decide which end each of their players will throw from, effectively deciding who plays who.

Once the game is underway, whoever scored most recently throws first, even if it was five frames ago.

Throwing the Bag

You need to throw the bag — underhand, by the way — without stepping past the front edge of the board, and keeping at least one foot within 3 feet of the side of the board.

Scoring the Frame

Each bag that lands on the board is worth one point, and each bag that goes into the hole is worth three points...kinda.

Each frame of a cornhole game is scored with what's called "net scoring" or "subtraction scoring." If I get four bags on the board (4 points) and you get two bags on the board, I score two points.

Winning the Game

When a player or team has 21 or more points at the end of a frame, they win! That means if you hit 21+ points during a frame, but your opponent lands or sinks a bag that reducts your total to less than 21, the game continues.

As with most games played in backyards and at tailgates, some folks make up rules. The two most common "house rules" are that you need to win by two, or that you "bust" if you go past 21, and your score goes back to 11 or 15. Some people score bags hanging over the hole as two points. It's fine to play by house rules , but don't get too used to them as even at the most casual tournament they simply aren't part of the game.

 

Now that you know how to play by the rules and keep score,
let's talk about how to get better and WIN!