What is it?
Beer pong: the “national sport” of frat houses and party schools.
Who can play?
It is traditionally played by two or four people who enjoy beer and may want to get drunk. However, this game can also be enjoyable with a non-alcoholic beverage like juice or tea, and this fun game of dexterity can be altered for players of all ages. It just requires a little good aim and dexterity!
What will you need?
- 12 or 20 plastic cups
- One or more ping pong balls
- A table, ideally 2 to 3 meters long.
- Optional: Liqueur
- Find a table. Beer pong was conceived as a party night-alternative to table tennis, making use of the table tennis table found in a typical college frat house. Hardcore beer pong apostles will therefore insist that a “regulation” beer pong table is the same length as a table tennis table — 2.5 meters, or 9 feet. However, you can make use of any table longer than, say, 1.5 meters. A shorter table means an easier and shorter game.
- Take your plastic cups and put half at each short end of the table. Arrange them in triangles, pointing to each other. With six cups this means, on each side of the table, a row of three cups along the table’s short end; two cups in front of, and touching, those; and one cup again in front of those, similar to bowling pins.
- Fill all cups about 3cm deep with the alcohol of your choice. Or, for a alcohol-free version, put water or another beverage in the cups instead. Even some players wanting to drink alcohol will put water in the cups, and drink from a separate source, for hygiene reasons — the choice is yours.
We will go over the simplest version of the game, with two players. Both players stand at their end of the table, behind their triangle of cups. Each player takes a ping pong ball. You are ready to play.
Decide who starts
The time honored method to determine a start player is as follows. Each player looks one another in the eye over the table. Eye contact cannot be broken. Simultaneously, the players throw their ping pong ball towards the opposite side of the table. If both players get the ball in a cup, or if both players miss the cups, go again until only one player makes a cup. That player goes first.
The basic play of this game is very simple:
Players will take it in turns to attempt to throw their ping pong ball into one of their opponents cups. If successful, their opponent will take that cup, drink the contents (if playing with liqueur), and remove the cup from the table.
The player who successfully removes all of their opponents cups in this way, wins!
Throws should be made so that the player’s elbow stays behind the edge of the table.
If playing in teams of two, each teammate will get one throw each before play is passed on to other team.
If both teammates make cups on their turn, they are given a bonus throw each before play is passed to the other team.
When the last cup is removed from the table, the player on the losing side is usually allowed a rebuttal. This means they are allowed to keeping shooting at their opponents remaining cups as long as they don’t miss a shot. If they miss, the game is lost. If they manage to make all of their opponents remaining cups without missing, the game will proceed into sudden death. One to three cups are added to each side of the table. Starting with the player who would have been the winner before the rebuttal, players take turns to clear these final cups to decide a winner.
Beer pong can be, and usually is, played additional house rules. The number of common variations is vast, but almost all players agree that whatever the house rules are at the establishment played at, visitors must abide to.