How Many Points Is Pickleball Played To? Rules Explained

  • Date: January 24, 2023
  • Time to read: 3 min.

Did you know that pickleball is the fastest-growing racket sport in North America? It was invented by two families and friends in Washington State in 1965 to keep their kids occupied, and it has since become one of the most popular sports around. But how many points is pickleball played to? Let’s find out!

Pickleball Scoring System

Most commonly, pickleball is played to 11 points. When playing this way, players must win by 2 points and switch sides after every 6 points. This system of “win by 2” is known as the “rally scoring system.” The rally scoring system is used for both doubles and singles.

However, there are some variations on these rules depending on who you are playing with or in what tournament you are participating. For example, some tournaments may use a 15-point game or a 21-point game instead of 11. A 15-point game means that players must win by at least 2 points and switch sides after every 8 points scored. A 21-point game works similarly but requires players to switch sides at 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19 before reaching the final 21st point.

In addition, some tournaments may use a “point all” scoring system where each point is counted no matter who wins it, and no switching of sides takes place until the end of the match. This system can make for much longer game times than typical games, which last about 30 minutes if using the 11-point rally scoring system.

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The Basics of the Win By 2 Rule For Doubles

The win by 2 rule states that when playing a pickleball game, teams must score at least two points more than their opponents in order for the match to be considered won. For example, if Team A has scored 7 points and Team B has scored 5 points, then Team A must score an additional two points in order for them to be declared winners of the match. This means that even if Team B scores one more point after that, Team A will still be declared the winner as long as they have reached 9 points first.

When Is The Win By 2 Rule Used?

The win by 2 rule applies to both singles and doubles games of pickleball. In singles games, players can only score up to 11 points before they need to switch sides of the court; however, when playing doubles games, players are able to score up to 15 points before switching sides. Regardless of whether you are playing singles or doubles games, though, the win by 2 rule applies; teams must still reach two additional points over their opponents in order for them to be declared winners.

How Does it Affect Strategy?

The win-by-2 rule can significantly affect strategy when playing pickleball because it encourages players to focus on building a lead rather than attempting risky plays, which might put their lead in jeopardy. For instance, if a player has built up a significant lead over their opponent, then they can afford to play more conservatively since they know they will not lose unless their opponent manages to catch up with two additional points; this means that they can focus on defending against shots instead of trying risky shots which might get them into trouble if they miss or make mistakes. On the flip side, though, if a player finds themselves trailing behind, then they may choose riskier strategies in order to attempt quick wins and try and reduce the gap between them and their opponent as quickly as possible before time runs out!


No matter which type of scoring system you choose for your pickleball match, having fun should be your top priority! Whether it’s an informal backyard match or a serious tournament competition, understanding how many points are needed to decide a winner will help ensure that everyone enjoys their time on the court together. So grab your paddle (not racket!) and have fun playing pickleball!

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