How Many Serves Do You Get In Ping Pong

How Many Serves Do You Get In Ping Pong

Last modified: September 27, 2023

How Many Serves Do You Get in Ping Pong?

Ping pong, also known as table tennis, is a fast-paced and exciting sport that requires quick reflexes, agility, and precision. One of the most fundamental components of the game is the serve, which initiates each rally. Understanding the rules and regulations regarding serving is essential for any ping pong player. In this article, we will explore how many serves you get in a game of ping pong and the various scenarios involved.

The Basic Serve

In a standard game of ping pong, each player gets two serves in a row, known as a “two-touch” rule. This means that after winning a rally or gaining a point, the player continues to serve until they lose a rally or fail to make a legal serve. Once the player loses a rally, the serve switches to their opponent, who also gets two consecutive serves.

It’s important to note that the serve must be diagonal, starting from the right half of the server’s side and landing on the receiver’s right half of the table. The ball must be tossed upwards at least 6 inches without any spin before being struck with the racket.

Alternating Serves

After both players have completed their two serves each, the serving rotation alternates. What this means is that the serve switches back and forth between the players after every two serves. For example, if Player A serves twice, Player B will then serve twice, and the cycle continues.

This alternating serve pattern ensures fairness in the game and allows both players to have an equal opportunity to gain an advantage through their serves.

Special Scenarios

While the basic serving rules apply in most situations, there are a few special scenarios worth mentioning:

  • Deuce: When the game reaches a tie at 10-10, it enters the “deuce” phase. During deuce, each player serves only one serve at a time. The serve rotates after every point, allowing both players equal opportunities to gain an advantage.
  • Expedite System: In certain competitive matches, an expedite system is introduced to prevent excessively long games. If a game has reached a predetermined time limit or number of points without a decisive result, the expedite rule is activated. Under this rule, the server changes every two points, regardless of who scored the points. This prevents players from playing defensively to drag out the game.
  • Let Serve: If the server’s serve touches the net but still lands in the correct diagonal half of the table, it is considered a “let serve.” In case of a let serve, the serve is replayed, and the server does not lose a serve.


Serving in ping pong is an integral part of the game, setting the pace and tone for each rally. Understanding the rules and regulations regarding serving is essential to ensure fair play and enjoyable competition. Remember, in a standard game, each player gets two serves in a row before the serve switches to their opponent. With this knowledge, you can now confidently step onto the ping pong table and serve your way to victory!

Additional Ping-Pong Resources:
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