Basketball Games: Rules for Pig and Horse (with Video)

Dallas Mavericks v Golden State Warriors - Game Five

One of the most fun basketball shooting games is PIG, a game in which players attempt to make shots that other players can not match. PIG can be played with any number of players and only requires a basketball hoop to play.

Similar to PIG, a game of HORSE is another fun basketball game that uses the same rules: players attempt to make shots that other players can not match. The last person standing is determined the winner of the PIG or HORSE game.

WATCH: Steph Curry and Dell Curry face off in a game of PIG

Choosing Order

One of the most important rules in playing a game of PIG is establishing what order players will shoot in. This order will continue for the rest of the game. Choosing the order usually consists of:

  • All players take a turn shooting from the free throw line or three-point line
  • The first person to make a shot will be the first player to shoot in the actual PIG basketball game
  • The other players continue to shoot for the remaining order

Beginning Play

Play begins when the first player shoots the ball from anywhere on the basketball court. If this first shot is missed, the next player takes a shot from any spot on the court. This continues until a shot is made, and once a shot is made, that person becomes the first person in order.

Matching Shots

Once a shot is made, all other players must attempt that same shot in order. For instance, if four people are playing and the third person was the first to make a shot, the fourth person must then shoot, followed by the first and second player. Players must attempt the shot from the same spot on the court as the original made shot.

Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets - Game Seven

Missing Shots

When a player misses a shot that must be matched, they earn the letter “P.” Players who have already earned the first letter and miss a matched shot again earn the letter “I” and so on until a player accumulates all the letters in the word “PIG” and are thus eliminated.

HORSE follows the same exact pattern, where the first missed shot earns the letter H until the word ‘horse’ is spelled out. In both games, the final player standing is determined the winner.

Alternative Rules

Participants can decide on modified rules at the beginning of the game, such as requiring the “calling” of shots, such as bank shots, swishes or trick shots. For instance, if a player chooses to shoot a free throw as his shot to be matched and calls “bank,” he must bank the shot for it to count, and all players must not only make the shot, but must bank it off the backboard in order to avoid accumulating a letter.

Some other rules that are sometimes seen in PIG and HORSE games around the world include:

  • No dunking: unless it is a PIG game amongst NBA stars, no dunking is a common rule seen in PIG and HORSE basketball.
  • No layups: Because layups are one of the easier basketball skills, it is often avoided in PIG and HORSE.
  • No dribbling: Shooting skills are primarily the focus of PIG and HORSE, so dribbling is usually discouraged as a part of a player's jump shot.
  • New shots only: Repeated shots show a lack of creativity, so they are usually avoided in PIG and HORSE.
  • Opposite hand shots only: If non-basketball players are playing with really good basketball players, the basketball players are sometimes asked to shoot with their opposite hand only in order to even out the competition.
  • No-look shots only: If players want to disregard all fundamentals, they can go Michael Jordan-mode and attempt to get the ball in the hoop without looking at the rim.