In general, ping pong play will be governed by the rules accepted by the USATT & ITTF.  The complete specification can be found here: USATT Rules.

There are, however, a few rules that deserve highlighting:

  • Matches are best 3 of 5 games to 11 points (win by 2).
  • Server of the first game is determined by the winner of a single rally. The ball must cross the net 3 times for the rally to be valid. In subsequent games, the loser of the prior game serves first.
  • Players switch service after every 2 points.  If a game is tied 10-10, players alternate service after every point until someone wins.
  • When serving, players must toss the ball up at least 5 inches into the air.  You are not allowed to hit it directly out of your hand -- IT MUST BE TOSSED!  Also, the ball must be served from completely behind the server's end line.
  • A player forfeits the point immediately if he moves the table, or touches the table with the non-paddle hand.  They also lose the point immediately if the ball hits their finger or hand.