How to play pickleball with three players?

Pickleball is an enjoyable and simple game that anyone can learn by learning essential skills. Pickleball has singles and doubles if you want to know how to play pickleball with three players.

Then the answer is yes, and this is called Cutthroat Pickleball. You can read this article to learn more about the rules and how to play in triples.

Can you play pickleball with three players?

Pickleball is a sport that has singles and doubles, and the standard is the one-on-one game. But yes, you can also play pickleball with three players with some changes compared to the standard game.

Can you play Pickleball with three players

Triple players are not a standard and familiar form. Each member gets a chance to serve against the other two players.

This format is accepted and still growing its popularity. Among the players because of the fun. Tennis also takes triple players, but it is not official, and Pickleball players call the three-player game Cutthroat Pickleball.

As the game continues, a player loses their point if they hit the ball out of bounds or miss to hit the ball. The game ends when a player score 11 points.

Rules to follow to play pickleball with three players:

You can play pickleball with three players but must learn and follow the following rules. They are,

  • Of the three players, two are on each team, standing on each side of the court, and the third player is neutral.
  • There is no rule for a first serve, so any player can serve the ball first, which makes the game unpredictable for the players.
  • The neutral player can shift the unit from one side to another once a player scores a point.
  • Because of the no double serve rule, the three players must hit the ball by taking alternative serving chances. The double serve can happen only by accident.
  • To make the winning case equal, the players must serve the ball from the right-hand service line when the score becomes even.
  • When the score becomes odd, the serving player does the ball from the left-hand service line to play pickleball with three players.
  • The team wins the game if they score five points, even if the opponent team doesn’t score any points.
  • During the match, when a player is serving on the team, the other person stands near the opponent player’s side.
  • As there is only one chance to do, if the ball goes out of bounds or gets missed, it becomes a fault.
  • Same as the standard Pickleball game, the game ends at 11 points only when the score difference is 2 points. If the score is 10-10, you must continue to play the game until it reaches the difference of 2 points.

How to play pickleball with three players?

The following steps are followed when you want to play pickleball with three players. Many players are trying this game because this format creates more fun while playing. They can also play in this format when they are short of players. The steps are as follows,

  • Firstly, they should have their own Pickleball equipment and stand at their zone after diving into three zones.
  • The player who first serves should stand behind the baseline at their space. The players must be diagonal to each other and hit the ball over the non-volley zone line. This makes the court into three equal parts.
  • Next, the opponent player hits the ball after it bounces to return the ball over the non-volley zone line. The rally continues until there is a fault or error.
  • After the spot, they rotate clockwise and continue to play after the server becomes the receiver. This goes until they get equal no-of turns to serve.
  • The winner stays in the same position when they win, and the other two players switch places to play pickleball with three players.

Benefits of playing pickleball with three players:

You can play pickleball with three players not only for fun but there some benefits that players can get. They are,

Entertainment for players and audience:

When you play this game in triples, then the game becomes more attractive compared to the standard single games. As many audiences are familiar with singles and doubles, the triples make the difference.

Improves agility:

As the players have to move all over the court continuously, this improves the agility of the players. They have to reach the ball fast compared to other formats.

Improves coordination:

Playing in singles is always against one player, which doesn’t have a scope for team coordination. But the same as doubles playing in triples also improves the coordination between the players.

Increases the ability to strategize:

The triple-player format is tricky compared to singles and doubles, allowing you to improve your strategizing capacity. You can improve your tactics and techniques when playing in triples.

Tips to follow to play pickleball with three players:

Here is some valuable information you can follow if you plan to play pickleball with three players. They are as follows,

  • Practice the game continuously to play in triple because it has different rules than the standard version.
  • Learn the laws of the triple format because of the other regulations.
  • As the opponent changes frequently, analyze your opponent’s skills and techniques to make it advantageous.
  • Focus on the boundary lines when playing because the standing position differs from the other formats.


Is it possible to play pickleball with three players? Then yes, you can play the game in triples called Cutthroat pickleball. The rules are similar to the standard Pickleball version but differ in the serving rules, standing position, etc.

Each player plays on either side, and the third player becomes the neutral player. The first player serves the ball, and the rally continues until a fault occurs. The game ends when the score reaches 11 points, as same as the typical pickleball.


Can I play pickleball with three players? 

You can play pickleball in triples by changing the standing position and serve rules.

Is the pickleball in triples official format?

There is no official name, and playing in triples must still be officially accepted. Still, many players call this format the Cutthroat Pickleball.

Can you play pickleball with six players or more than four players?

Yes, it is possible and acceptable to play pickleball with six players by making three against three, where two players stand out from the bounds.

Can a single player play pickleball?

A single player can play pickleball to practice the game regularly by playing against the practice wall.

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