Beer Pong Rules and play

We love Beer Pong.  Hell, everyone loves Beer Pong.  It's a self-gratifying messy romp with a few friends and cold ones.  There are hundreds of different house rules, and a mouthful of lingo to be used throughout the Beer sport.  Check out all the details here. 


Why We Play

12 cups, a couple of ping pong balls, and a table. Beer Pong is mastery of simplicity. What makes Beer Pong so well loved and celebrated to the point of nationally televised competitions? The game is so much damn fun. Whether the entertainment value is derived from near makes, epic shots, or just getting a little tipsy, I think everyone has a good Beer Pong story to tell. College students have embraced the “sport” like no other, and for good reason. In college we discover who we are, what we’re going to be in life, and how to drink beer. Beer Pong is co-ed, jock & nerd friendly alike, and cheap beer tastes great out of plastic cups. Kerplunk!  Be sure to visit Best Beer Pong Tables and Balls when you're ready to step up your Beer pong game. 

Beer Pong

8' professional Beer Pong Table

You know who else likes playing Beer Pong? Everybody else, that’s who. There is something inherently addictive about the mechanics of the game. It looks so easy, that when we don’t make every cup every time, it aggravates us and motivates us to try again and again. Being that it seems so easy, losing a match will naturally induce a rematch challenge; rivalries are born.

Rules of the game

The rules of Beer Pong are universal in that the first team or individual to make all their cups wins.  What merits some explanation are the house rules that supersede traditional game winning rules.  Do you self a favor and post the house rules near the beer pong table.  At Yard and Pub Games we employ simple, fair and fun house rules which we think are the best.   We recommend enforcing the following rules for any first time Beer Pong Tournaments.  

1. The Beer Pong ball (Ping Pong Ball) must be released at the edge of the players table end.  There is no reaching well over the cups and table to attempt a shot.  

2.  Each side gets two attempts at the cups - this is considered a turn.  Either two throws by an individual or one apiece for teams.  Should two cups be made during a turn, the throwing team gets both balls back and goes again and the same rules apply again.  

3.  When a cup is made, the beer within said cup must be drank by the opposing team before the start of the next turn - the cup is then set aside and out of play.  Best practice is to alternate turns drinking made cups when playing as teams.  

4.  Play continues and cups are made and taken out of play until the very last cup is made and a winner is declared.  It's customary that the losing team or individual finishes the opposing team's beer cups.  

50 pack of quality balls

50 pack of quality balls

50 pack of quality balls

36 pack of logo balls

There are a keg’s worth of interesting rule variations and subtle nuances of the game that merit mentioning. In no particular order, here we go………..

  • Bounce & Swat - When throwing, you may catch the other team off guard and bounce a ball off the table in an attempt to make a cup. Be warned, should you choose this strategy the ball can be swatted away by the opposing team.
  • Distraction - The most ludacris of all the Beer Pong madness. It is your right, nay privelege to distract your opponent whilst they throw. Anything goes. Nudity, obscene gestures and general Tom Foolery are the norm. The more creative, the better.
  • Blow Out - From time to time, ping pong balls make circles around the inside lip of the cups, during which time one may blow them out of orbit.
  • Behind the Back - Many times the ball carems off the cups rolling or bouncing back towards the throwing team. Should the throwing team grab the ping bpong ball before their opponents, a behind the back, second attempt shot is awarded.
  • Re-Rack - Once per game a team may request a re-arranging of the cups. Seasoned Pongers almost always request a groupoing of the cups in a diamond formation.
  • Double Cup - When a cup is made, the cup should be removed from the table and drank immediately. Should the defending team allow two balls in a single cup, the game is over, and throwing team wins.
  • Rebuttal - after one team clears all the cups, the opposing team is given one chance to make a last ditch effort to do the same. Cups must be cleared by consecutive balls.

Strategy, pointers, and technique

Beer Pong hygiene has always been iffy at best. The water cups to rinse the ping pong balls off after they float in beer or roll around on the ground is quickly dirtied. Using the same cups game after game gets weird if you have an aversion to drinking from a shared cup. We have come up with solutions to these problems, though. 

  1. Use bottom heavy cups to avoid the balls being pulled from beer or water.
  2. Use water in the cups and drink your own beverage when a cup is made. This also keeps the cups free of other players lips.
  3. Have a large supply of Beer Pong Balls on hand, and replace dirty balls with new ones often. Used balls can be cleaned by soaking in a solution of warm water and dish soap.
  4. The table will inevitably be splashed with beer and water, so wipe down before, during and after playing.

Your throwing technique will directly impact how the other players judge and respect you.  The common two finger(thumb & index) overhand grip is a widely accepted and practiced throw. You'll have no problems when using this style.  Should you choose to mix it up a bit, we have some alternate ball grips/tosses for you to try:

  • Spiderman Grip - A five finger grip on the ball, releasing from a palm up style, resembling the way webs shoot from Spiderman's wrists.  
  • Three Finger - Using one's thumb, index and middle finger to grip ball.  Creates more backspin than the two finger approach.  
  • Underhand - Used by some, and perfected by very few, this style is the granny-shot of beer pong.  
  • Laser - A low arc, high velocity shot much like a baseball pitch or laser beam. 
  • Rainbow - A high arcing shot.  

Terminology & Miscellany

What is a sport without a specific language to describe and enjoy the game.  Beer Pong offers so many great opportunities for celebration and epic fails.   Using the proper lingo within a game is a wonderful way to further appreciate the art of Beer Pong. we've collected a few of our favorite terms below.  

  • Troll - A player who doesn't make a single cup during a game of beer pong and must sit under the table while the others take pictures. 
  • Hundo - A player or team who shoots  a perfect game (making all cups in a single turn)
  • Rebuttal - shots taken after the final cup is hit in hopes of sending the match into overtime.  
  • Phantom Cup - The empty space in a setup where a cup has been removed, especially when the empty space is in the middle or rear of the setup.
  • Buck Rogers - A player who predominantly shoots lasers (low arc, high velocity shots)
  • Triangle of Death - When the three corner cups of a triangle remain.
  • Sneaky Pete - Someone who places a ball in one of their opponents' cups when they are not looking and claims to have hit their shot.  A.K.A. a cheater.
  • Rainbow Bright - Someone who predominantly shoots rainbows. (High arcing lob shots)
  • Ghosting - The movement of a cup on the surface of the table due to moisture underneath.  

The game has evolved over the years, in that gamers are choosing hexagon cups for a seamless cup experience. There’s also officially licensed balls, and even bottom heavy cups to avoid tipping. A new trend, the cup tower is gaining popularity, but strays from the classic cup arrangement. Whichever configuration you choose to enjoy, Beer Pong can be as sophisticated or generic as you choose.

Beer Pong ranks very high on our Pub Game list; it’s a Hall of Famer. We have the collegians of the 1950’s and 60’s to thank for this wonderful party staple. More recently, the party animals that are my generation brought Beer Pong to super stardom. I know it’s the way we gently grasp the ball in our fingers & the fluid elbow/forearm motion that makes Beer Pong awesome. With or without the beer, this game embodies pub gaming like no other. My local bars have beer pong tournaments, social media goes crazy over a viral BP video, and no party feels complete without it.

Portable Beer Pong

Portable Beer Pong Table

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