Rules & Guide To Play Beer Ping Pong

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Beer Ping Pong! Well, yes, as the name calls out for itself, it involves beer and loads and loads of fun. Usually, it’s a house party or a club fiesta where the topic of playing Beer Ping Pong or Beer Pong comes up. It’s a fun game, often played for lightning up some mood and breaking off some ice in these parties where you can’t expect to be just with your friends. Beer Ping Pong has the capability to turn an introvert into the center of a party. But, but…it does come with some rules. Not as strict and legal as a Ping Pong game, but for the playing sake, it does have some regulations. 

So, the game is something like this. There are two teams standing opposite to each other with some cups filled with beer. The goal is to throw and land a ball into one of the opponent’s cup. Succeeding on doing so makes the opponent drink the beer in that very cup and place it away. The challenge is to eliminate all the cups from the opponent’s side. 

Did You Know? 

There’s another interesting variation to Beer Ping Pong known as ‘Fear pong’. Here Beer Ping Pong is combined with dares. Either you do the dare or just drink the cup.

Things You’ll Need:

  • 20 Cups 
  • An eight-foot-long table 
  • 2 Ping Pong Balls 
  • Beer of your choice

The Setup:

  • Pick Your Team— There’s no bounds on how many teams and how many people should play, but usually there are two teams in a standard Beer Ping Pong game. 
  • Cup Arrangements— Generally 10 cups are set in each side of the table in a pyramid formation. Each cup is filled with the desired beer. Usually, 2 cans of beer can contain 10 cups. 
  • Which Team To Go First— A player from each team shoots the ball while maintaining an eye contact with their opponent throughout their hit. Either both players make it or miss it. Their partners will throw next. This continues until one person makes it. This decides the game beginner. 

The History of Beer Ping Pong: 

When it comes to the origin, there are a number of stories of when and where the game came up for the first time. According to Wikipedia Beer Ping Pong began at Dartmouth College somewhere between the 1950s and 1960s. But in the same time, Bucknell University claims to have come up with it in the 1970s. They called it “throw pong.” And then there’s this very confusing term “Beirut,” which is basically the same as Beer Ping Pong. It came up and ended up pulling some critical strings. 

Getting into the pages of history for Beer Ping Pong is a whole another territory, which we can visit some other day. 

Did You Know? 

For over 10 years in Las Vegas during summer there has been an international tournament of Beer Ping Pong with $50,000 going straight to the winning team.

Beer Ping Pong Rules:

  • Elbow/Wrist Rule— 

The Elbow/Wrist Rule is generally an unspoken rule at the house parties. While shooting, the players need to keep their elbows right behind the edge of the pong table. On the other hand, if it’s the Wrist Rule that’s into effect, the players need to keep their wrists as above. If this rule is broken, the shot is not counted. This rule is the most argued-over rule in Beer Ping Pong, as it’s pretty difficult to determine whether the elbow/wrist has indeed crossed the plane of the table or not.

  • Re-Racking— 

Two times in every game, each team can call or request to rearrange the cups at the beginning of their turn. This is called re-racking, racking, or reforming. Re-racking can be done when you have the cups remaining in the amount of 6, 4, 3, or 2. If you get your balls back after hitting 2 in a row, it would still be considered as your turn and you may not be allowed to get a re-rack. If requested, the last cup can always be pulled straight back and centered.

  • Bouncing/ Swatting—

Even if accidentally the ball hits the table and then lands on a cup, the cup has to be removed right away, as well as another cup requested by the defending player. If only 2 cups are remaining, this bounce is counted just for 1 cup and only 1 cup is then removed.

  • Fingering and Bowling—

One of the most interesting trick is to finger or blow, i.e., when a ball is thrown towards a cup and rather than diving right into it the ball is spinning inside of the cup; here the defenders can give a try on flicking the ball out with one finger. They can also try to blow the ball out. But if the ball has settled well into the beer, blowing or fingering is not allowed.

  • Explosion— 

An explosion happens when both the partners sink their balls into the same cup. There are two rules for this— one says that if this happens you need to take out all the cups nearby it, or, you can just take out 3 of them (1- the cup that was sunk, 2 – whichever chosen by the defenders) . It’s your game, your rule!

  • Rollbacks— 

This one is a chance and trick shot. If you get lucky enough to throw and miss the ball from sinking, and it rolls back to you, you can re-try another hit like a reflex. Here’s where you can be the King of Chance!

  • Death Cup— 

If the opponent is still drinking the beer from his cup, you can try and make your ball get into their cup. The other person needs to be holding the cup for this trick to be successful. If you are successful in doing do, your team automatically wins the game of Beer Ping Pong and the other team has to drink all the left out beer.

  • Fixing Cups—

Often misunderstood as Re-racking, it’s simply a request from a player to fix the position of the cups. It’s the same place where the cups would have been if not gotten slid. There’s no chance of winning any points here.

  • NBA Jams On Fire— 

If a player hits two cups in a row, here’s where he can call “heating up”. He can then keep hitting until he misses one. If the player doesn’t call “heating up”, he can’t fire at all on fire.

  • Island/ Islo /Lonely/ Solo Cup—

Any time in the game a player can call a cup that is not touching any other cups (choose to hit it). If he’s successful in reaching the cup, he can put out that cup as well as another cup of his choice from the table. If this hit is missed and the ball lands on another cup, it isn’t counted at all.

  • Rebuttal— 

It is when the opposing team successfully makes the last shot. The defending team then has a chance to shoot and try to keep the game from ending. If the losing team makes all the remaining cups, the game then goes into overtime.

  • Overtime—

It’s the final part in the game where 3 cups are put back into the shape of a triangle and then the would-have-been winners get a chance to shoot first. Here no re-racks are permitted, however, the last cup may be allowed to be cantered.

Did You Know? 

In Lehigh University’s Theta Delta Chi fraternity in the 1980’s got into renaming the game to ‘Beirut’ which is after the capital city of Lebanon. They did so with reference to the Civil War that was up, and the ball smashing into the cups resembled bombs for them.


That’s all about Beer Ping Pong or Beer Pong. The next time you host a party, make sure to try a hand on it. It’s always going to be fun playing Beer Ping Ping with your friends. It will surely put all your worries and pain of the day into thin air. 

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