Beer Pong Rules
Beer Pong Rules, Regulations, and Equipment
Like a lot of games that are almost exclusively played by young people and those looking to live it up, beer pong has a certain indefinable quality, a je ne sais quois if you will, that contributes to the amount of fun you can have. That is actually not true, as everything that’s good about beer pong is completely quantifiable. It has beer, competition, and time with friends, which are typically the primary ingredients to having a good time. And since we’re covering the quantifiable, we thought it would be a good idea to cover the rules and things you’ll need to properly play beer pong. There’s always a few knuckleheads in every group trying to upset the flow of the game with arguments and gimmicks; don’t let these folks have free reign.
With that in mind, we must note that every house and party is going to have their own rules so we’ll do our best to point out those that are universal. We’ll throw in a few of the rules we frequently use that every may not as well because variety is the spice of life. It’s also important to remember that beer pong should be played with a modicum of responsibility as well as with fun being the primary aim. If things start to get heated during the course of game play, you’re doing it wrong. What I can attest to is that everyone playing should have a level head and if they don’t you’re going to need to re-evaluate things.
Anyway, we’re going to cover all that and more in the text below. What you should keep in mind is that everything here is open to interpretation and, again, the last thing you want to be doing is taking the game too seriously. So get out there, have a few oat sodas, have some fun, and enjoy the game wherever you can.
Beer Pong Rules
The rules, as you probably know them, are fairly simple. Throw the ball into the cups until all the cups are gone. Easy, right? Well, yes, but only if you’re actually good at throwing those balls into those cups. That’s not an oversimplification of the game, but it’s bordering on that, so let’s delve a little deeper and talk about the subtleties of the game; as we understand them at least.
- Most people will set the cups up in a large triangular shape, one cup up front, one more behind that, one more behind that, etc. You’re welcome to try something different but this is a tried and true method. I wouldn’t bother mixing it up. How many cups you want to place there depends on the size of the table you’re playing on and how many people (probably) are playing. More the merrier, we say;
- Once you have sunk a few of your shots and the formerly triangular set up has changed to some broken version, there will be a discussion about reorganizing the cups. The way we play, and the right way to play, is to establish that each team gets one opportunity to reorganize the cups during the game. You don’t have to reorganize if you don’t want to (stupid), and you can choose to do it at any time. If you feel the need to organize more than once be sure to lay that rule out before the game starts. You don’t want to be one of “those” people;
- If you get two balls into the same cup on one turn, your competition must drink and take away three of the cups on their side, and give you the balls back for another turn. If you sink two balls in two different cups your competition must give you the balls back again for another turn;
- Here’s a rule that’s a constant source of disagreement that I’ll gladly clear up: should you make a throw and the ball makes it way back to you while staying the in the field of play (the table) you’re allowed to take another shot. The caveat here is that this shot must be a trick shot, of sorts. This can be taken however you would like but it needs to be gussied up in some fashion. Whether that’s off the roof, behind the back, eyes closed, it doesn’t matter;
- Once a team has cleared all the cups from the opponent’s side, the opponent has one chance to match which carries with it the “shoot ‘til you miss” rule. More plainly said, if there’s five cups left on the board you can still tie your opponent but you have to hit five shots in a row to do so;
- Don’t egregiously lean over the table; it’s poor form. Get close but don’t abuse the leeway given to you by your competitors. It will eventually lead to a disagreement that will suck time and fun from the game, which is clearly what everyone is trying to avoid. Stand a step back from the table and throw that way. No one can argue and it will be more fun that way;
- Bounce shots do count! If you catch your opponents asleep at the wheel there is an opening to bounce the ball into their cups. This is an excellent way to get ahead as doing this successfully will result in the taking down of two cups. Be care, however, as the bounce shot is allowed to be swatted away. Don’t over do it or you will be putting your team behind the eight ball;
- If things are tied after regulation play, there will be a three cup overtime period. Standard rules apply here, except with the crushing weight of team pressure and performance;
- This is more of a good idea than a rule but it’s important none the less. We highly recommend playing with light beer instead of something on the heavier side. You’ll be consuming more than you think so it’s best to keep things inside the lines, for the most part. Whatever you do, don’t play with hard liquor. We’ve all witnessed some bonehead trying this out and it’s always a mistake. It only breeds terrible results so don’t do it. You don’t want to be that person anyway.
- The most important rule, and the one you should be taking away here is this: don’t be a jerk. No one wants to play with someone who is in it solely to win and not have fun. If this is you, take a deep breath and have some fun. Not only will someone kindly tell you to get lost if you’re asking this way, but you’ll risk not getting invited back to the table or another party. It’s shouldn’t come as a shock to you that social pariah is not an enviable position to be in. Have the good sense to have fun and be amenable the changing tides and alcohol levels this game brings with it.
This isn’t a terribly exhaustive list, as the game is pretty easy to set up and play. The most important parts are going to be cups and balls. Traditionally, you’ll see red Solo cups and ping pong balls. These do tend to work the best compared to any alternatives but if you’re desperate and not in a position to drive and pick these things up anything that won’t put a hole in your walls will do.
With that said, we thought we would be proactive and throw in a set for your future games. It contains all the things you need and none you don’t. The beauty here is that it’s cheap to play (depending on beer consumption) and easy to set up and tear down. This set is tried and tested, the balls work fine, and the cups hold beer the way you would expect them to. No need to overthink things here. Get the set and play the game.
That should be all you ever need to know about beer pong in one exhaustive article. I can’t stress enough the idea that this is supposed to be fun and the competition friendly. Please heed this simple advice and don’t ruin the game for other people. While we’re all in favour of a little competition it’s best to keep a game where the point is to get loose friendly and fun. House parties can be a blending of a lot of people, many of whom you won’t know, and that means you should behave accordingly.
Alright, those are my ethics lessons for the day. Play beer pong and have fun!