What Is Cornhole? History and How to Play Like a Pro

What Is Cornhole

If you live in the United States, particularly in the Midwest region, you’ve probably heard of cornhole. Many people know it as a fun game. But what is cornhole, exactly?

What Is Cornhole?

If you have an interest in learning more about the game of cornhole, the first thing you need to know is the answer to the question, “What is cornhole?”

Cornhole is a game that’s actually gone by several other names. These include corn toss, bean toss, Indiana horseshoes, soft horseshoes, and bean bag game.

However, to people around Kentucky and Southern Ohio, where the game found its inception in the United States, it’ll always be cornhole. So what is cornhole?

If you’ve ever played horseshoes, cornhole is pretty similar to that. It’s all about aim, just like horseshoes. You’re just trying to throw an object to a specific location in both games.

With horseshoes, you’re tossing horseshoes and trying to get them to land around metal stakes in the ground. With cornhole, you’re throwing bags of corn at a cornhole platform. Both games involve aim and precision, and both games can be a lot of fun!

Cornhole platforms are raised wooden platforms. Each platform has a hole at the far end. A team gets the point for having their corn bag land on the platform, and they get three points for actually getting a bag into the hole.

The game continues until one team reaches 21 points and ends up winning the game. You can play it either as singles or doubles if you’re playing tournament-style. However, you can also play it casually and make up your own rules.

The History of Cornhole

The History of Cornhole

Now, you have an answer to the question, “What is cornhole?” However, you probably want to know a little bit more about the history of the game as well.

You can’t have a thorough answer to “What is cornhole?” without knowing at least something about the origins of the game.

The original cornhole game

The truth is that there’s no clear answer when it comes to the origin of this game. A popular legend is that Mr. Matthias Kuepermann, a cabinet maker in 14th century Bavaria, Germany, invented the game after seeing local children tossing rocks into a groundhog’s hole.

As legend has it, Kuepermann was apparently so concerned for their safety, throwing rocks, that he designed a similar, yet safer game for them to play.

Supposedly, he used bags of corn because corn was so abundant; it was actually more common at the time for people to use it as a weight than as a food. Also, he thought that a bag of corn would be much safer to throw than a rock.

Of course, this story is folklore, but it’s a fun little tale.

However, this isn’t the only story. Some people will claim that the Blackhawk Native American tribe in the state of Illinois created cornhole.

Apparently, they used dried animal bladders that were stuffed with corn. Yet others believe that the game came about somewhere in Cincinnati or in the foothills of Kentucky.

Modern-day cornhole

Modern-day cornhole

Folklore aside, Cornhole really only became popular in the United States in the early 2000s. Specifically, it emerged as a common pastime in Cincinnati. To this day, it’s extremely popular in Cincinnati and its southern neighbor, Kentucky.

Once it found its inception in the midwestern U.S., cornhole spread like wildfire. People started playing it in their backyards, at lakeside beaches and campgrounds, and even in breweries and bars.

In fact, it’s even a common pastime in NFL parking lots before football games. Many people play these at pre-game tailgating parties.

Fans of the Cincinnati Bengals started this trend outside the Bengals stadium, and it apparently spread from NFL parking lot to NFL parking lot throughout the country.

Today, you can buy the supplies for a cornhole game in many possible forms. They have platforms and bags in all sorts of different designs and with different kinds of logos.

In addition, there are portable versions of cornhole that you can take on vacation, floating versions for swimming pools, and even a mobile app.

In fact, there’s actually such a thing as professional cornhole. The American Cornhole Association is the official organization that promotes the game and facilitates tournaments.

Even though there’s some debate surrounding where cornhole started, there’s no denying that it’s a force to be reckoned with all over the U.S. today.

Reasons to Play Cornhole

Reasons to Play Cornhole

It’s always a good idea to get to know a few things about cornhole, in addition to the answer to the question, “What is cornhole?” For example, why should people play cornhole, of all the games out there?

For one thing, anyone can play cornhole. People of all ages can enjoy this game, and you don’t need to be an athlete either. The game can be either casual or competitive, and it can be enjoyable either way.

Cornhole is easy to learn for anyone since the rules are relatively simple. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make it challenging.

Your side alternates with your opponent’s side when it comes to throwing the eight corn bags, and there are plenty of opportunities to exercise different throwing strategies that allow you to develop your skills.

If you’re looking for an outdoor game, this is a great choice. You just need the platforms and the bags of corn. Once you have those supplies, it takes about two minutes to set up the entire game.

Cornhole is a great game that you can play with your family and friends. The whole experience can be really laid back and relaxed, giving everyone plenty of time to bond and spend quality time together while playing.

According to the American Cornhole Association:Horseshoes require a sand pit and are hard for the kids to pitch. Lawn darts require a lawn and hasn’t been seen since the 70’s (sic), ring toss was made for children, and bean bags are for wimps; cornhole is the game for everyone!

Cornhole: The Basic Rules

Now, you know quite a bit about both the history of cornhole and the answer to the question, “What is cornhole?”

However, to have a complete picture of the answer to that question, you should know the basic rules of the game. The rules are not hard to learn, and it’s really the type of game that anyone can play.

Setup

The setup for the game of cornhole is straightforward. All you need are the cornhole boards and bags. You also need to make sure that you have a reasonably flat playing field, whether it’s indoors or outdoors.

As you already know, the cornhole boards are platforms. They slope down towards the front, and each has a hole at the back high end.

The surface of each cornhole board should be 2 feet by 4 feet. You should place them both lengthwise on a flat surface, front to front, 27 feet apart. If you’ve set them correctly, the holes will each be at the far ends of the playing surface.

As for the cornhole bags, they should each be 6 inches by 6 inches. They should also each contain 1 pound of corn. There should be eight bags total, four of each color; each color represents one of the two players or teams during any given turn.

Rules of play

Typically, you can play cornhole either as singles or doubles. If you’re playing as singles, you really only need one board. You and your opponent can stand 27 feet away from the board in order to throw the corn bags.

However, if you’re playing doubles, which is more common, you and your teammate actually stand on opposite sides. You and one of your opponents stand next to one cornhole platform, and your teammate and another opponent will stand next to the other one. Each team will have four corn bags of the same color, with all eight bags starting out at one side.

One team will go first; you can decide this using a coin flip or some other method of everyone’s choice. The member from the team who’s going first who’s next to the cornhole bags will throw a bag at the opposite cornhole platform. He or she will need to throw from a position behind the front of the cornhole box from which they are throwing.

Then, the other player on the same side from the opposing team will do the same. They’ll continue to take turns until all eight bags are on the other side. At this point, the players will determine the number of points earned, and it’ll be the other team’s turn.

If the cornhole player steps too far forward while throwing, or if a player goes out of turn, that’ll be considered a foul.

Scoring

Cornhole scoring is fairly straightforward. If a player gets a bag into the hole on the opposite cornhole platform, that team will score three points.

If the bag makes it onto the platform but doesn’t go into the hole, is hanging into the hole, or is hanging off the platform but not touching the ground, the team gets one point.

They get no points if the bag is somehow touching the ground or resting on another bag that’s touching the ground.

The team with the highest score for that round adds the difference of the two teams’ scores to their total score for the entire game. If both teams are tied, the game score stays the same. Also, the winning team in that round gets to throw first in the next round.

When one team reaches the score of 21, that team wins, and the game is over.

Better than a Hole in One!

As you can see, there is a lot worth knowing about the game of cornhole, outside of the basic answer to the question, “What is cornhole?” It’s a reasonably simple game that you can play at a variety of levels, from extremely casual to tournament-level competitive. It’s a great way to bond with your loved ones.

If you want to enjoy the outdoors, this is a fun way to go about it. You don’t need to take that much effort to set up cornhole, and you only need the basic supplies. Just those basic supplies and a couple of minutes to set up the game can lead to an entire day of fun!

So what is cornhole, exactly? It turns out that it’s a game with a fascinating history that gives you the chance to have an enjoyable present. No matter who’s around, anyone can definitely enjoy cornhole!

What do you have to say about our answer to the question, “What is cornhole?” Let us know by leaving a comment!

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