What Score Do You Go To In Ping Pong

What Score Do You Go To In Ping Pong

Last modified: October 17, 2023

Welcome, everyone! Today we’re going to delve into the exciting world of ping pong, affectionately called table tennis by some. It’s a game that keeps you on your toes both physically and mentally. But before we dive right into the nitty-gritty of the game, let’s talk about scoring. Much like every other sport, the scoring system in ping pong defines the pace of the game, adds thrill to each move, and ultimately decides the winner. So, what score do you go to in ping pong? Stick with me, and you’ll find out.

Understanding the Ping Pong Scoring Basics

Widely played across the globe, ping pong is governed by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF). It has set certain rules and regulations for gameplay, and this includes the scoring system. Here’s what you need to know:

The Magic Number 11

Ping pong matches are typically played in sets. The first player to reach 11 points in a set is declared the winner of that set. But there’s a twist. If both players tie at 10-10, the game continues until one player leads by 2 points.

Matches and Winning

A match is generally a best of 5 or 7 sets. The player or pair landing the most sets walks away with the victory. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand the individual set winning score of 11 to win overall.

Every Toss Counts

One unique aspect of ping pong scoring is that players score irrespective of whoever served. This adds to the unpredictability and excitement of the game.

Digging Deeper into Ping Pong Scores

Now that we have the basics clear, let’s go further into the specifics of the ping pong scoring system. There are a couple more rules that shape the course of the match.

Switching Sides

Switching sides in ping pong is not just symbolic but also affects the game’s dynamics. Players switch sides after each game during a match. Also, during the last possible game of a match, players switch sides once a player scores 5 points.

Serving Rules

In an individual game, each player serves two points in a row, then switch, which is different from what you might be used pre-2001 rules of serving five points in a row. It’s essential to stay aware of the changing service to plan your game well.

Accumulated Score and Time-outs

Unlike some sports, in ping pong, the score piles up throughout the match. Keeping an accurate track of each point scored can determine the momentum of the game. Also, each player can take a time-out of up to one minute during a match. So strategically taking that breather can make a difference.

Scoring Variations in Ping Pong

While the standard rules are as mentioned above, there can be variations when ping pong is played in a more casual setting like a family barbecue or buddy meet-up.

Casual Games and 21-Point System

In the casual setting, many people still use the traditional 21-point scoring system and switch serves every five points. This way of playing generally makes the games longer but does bring its own charm.

The Skunk Rule in Backyard Ping Pong

A particular rule prevalent in casual ping pong is the ‘skunk’ rule, where if a player reaches a score of 7-0 or 11-1, they automatically win the game. It adds a fun, swift finish alternative to the standard rules.

Ping Pong Beer and Its Scoring

A ‘party’ variation of ping pong, called Beer Ping Pong, comes with its own set of rules and scoring. Here, you’re trying to land the ping pong ball into one of several cups of beer on the other end of the table. Look it up if you’re curious!


Every game of ping pong is a medley of quick reflexes, sharp strategy, and understanding the scoring patterns. Whether you’re aiming to become a professional player or simply trying to best your friends at a social gathering, knowing the score system is vital. So the next time you pick up the paddle, remember these rules, offer your opponents a friendly smile, and enjoy the pace and heart of ping pong. Game on!

Additional Ping-Pong Resources:
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