How Many Points To Win In Ping Pong

How Many Points To Win In Ping Pong

Last modified: October 3, 2023

How Many Points to Win in Ping Pong

One of the first things you might wonder when playing ping pong is how many points are needed to win a game. The official rules of ping pong state that a game is played to 11 points, but there’s a catch. In order to win, you must have a two-point lead over your opponent. This means that even if you reach 11 points, if your opponent has 9 or 10 points, the game will continue until one player has a two-point lead.

The Unique Scoring System

The scoring system in ping pong is quite unique compared to other racket sports. In games like tennis or badminton, you earn a point each time you win a rally. However, in ping pong, the serving player has the chance to score multiple points in a row before the opponent gets a chance to serve. This makes the game dynamic and exciting.

Let’s say you start the game serving and win the first rally. You would earn one point and continue serving. If you win the next rally as well, you would earn another point, bringing your total to 2. This can go on until either you or your opponent makes an error and loses the rally. Then, the opponent gets a chance to serve and score their own points.

The Two-Point Lead Rule

Having a two-point lead rule in ping pong adds an element of suspense and ensures that the game doesn’t end too quickly. Imagine if the first player to reach 11 points automatically won the game. It would be possible for the game to end after just a few minutes, especially if both players are evenly matched. With the two-point lead rule, it requires a higher level of skill and strategy to secure a victory.

When the score is 10-10, also known as a “deuce,” the game enters a crucial phase. The players take turns serving just one point at a time until one player manages to gain a two-point lead. This can result in a thrilling back-and-forth battle as both players strive to gain that crucial advantage. It’s not uncommon for games to go past the 11-point mark in tense situations where the players are evenly matched.

Alternate Point Systems

While the official rules dictate a game is played to 11 points, players can choose to use alternate point systems in casual matches. One such common variation is playing to 21 points, also with a two-point lead. This extends the length of the game and allows for more opportunities to showcase skill and strategy. Some players even use a “skunk” rule, where if one player reaches a certain number of points without the opponent scoring, the game ends early.

Ultimately, the number of points needed to win in ping pong depends on the players and their agreement. For formal competitions and tournaments, the 11-point system with a two-point lead rule is followed. In friendly matches or recreational play, players can experiment with different point systems to tailor the game to their preferences.


To win a game of ping pong, you typically need to reach 11 points with a two-point lead over your opponent. The unique scoring system and the two-point lead rule make the game exciting and challenging. However, players can also choose alternate point systems like playing to 21 points or implementing additional rules. The key is to have fun and enjoy the fast-paced nature of ping pong!

Additional Ping-Pong Resources:
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