What is Beer Pong?

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  • Written By: A.E. Jaquith
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 06 September 2019
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Beer pong is a popular drinking game played in a variety of locations, but is common at universities and tailgating celebrations. The game is believed to have originated at Dartmouth University in the 1980's, though other universities claim claim ownership of its creation. There are no official rules to beer pong, so local rules are usually agreed upon before the game begins.

The game is played on a long narrow table that is generally 8 by 2 feet (2.44 by .61 meters) and stands approximately 27.5 inches (69.8 centimeters) tall, according to the World Series of beer pong regulations. Beer pong is typically played with two teams, each consisting of two team members. Each team has either 6 or 10 16 ounce (about 471 milliliter) plastic cups, depending on local rules. Each cup is filled with about 4 to 6 ounces (118 to 177 milliliters) of beer. The cups are arranged in a pyramid pattern, with the point of the pyramid facing the opposing team on the opposite end of the table.


The goal of beer pong is to toss a table tennis, or ping pong, ball into the opposing teams cups. When a ball lands inside the cup of the opposing team, a member of the receiving team must drink the beer in that cup. The game ends when one team eliminates all the cups of the opposing team. At the end of a beer pong game, the losing team has consumed all of the beer in their cups, and must also drink the remaining beer in the winning teams cups as well.

The range of localized rules varies greatly between beer pong players, though there are some common rules. It is commonly accepted that a ball bounced in a cup rather than tossed directly in results in a loss of two cups, but the opposing team has the ability to swat, catch, or otherwise deflect a ball that is bounced. In the case of a ball that spins round the rim of a cup, some beer pong games allow players to remove the ball with their fingers before it hits the beer; other rules only allow players to blow the ball out of the cup.

A common trait in many games played around the world is the shut out rule. If a team wins the game without losing any of their cups, the game is considered a shut out and the opposing team has to perform some act, usually humiliating or unpleasant in nature. Common activities include streaking, or sitting underneath the table for the duration of the next game.

As is the case with varying rules, there are often various localized restrictions during a game of beer pong. Requiring the elbow or wrist of the person tossing the ball to be behind the edge of the table is common. This prevents players from leaning across the table so that there is less distance between the cup and the ball at the time it is thrown. Also, players are often prohibited from throwing the ball with extreme force at the opponents cups with the intention of knocking the cup off of the table. In many areas, if a cup is knocked off the table or otherwise spilled, it is removed from play.

When drinking alcohol, the exercise of moderation is important. Due to the fast paced nature of the game, it is possibly to become extremely inebriated. Have fun, play safe, and drink in moderation when playing any drinking game.


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Post 4

Beer pong has to be one of the worst sports I have ever played in my life. Not only can you not label this activity a sport, it is extremely hazardous to your health and the health of the people that are near you. The levels of intoxication that can be motivated by chanting frat-boys in obnoxious print clothing is daunting to think about as a parent.

These young groups that mob around in their lifted trucks with cups and balls ready to play beer pong at the next house that they show up at are despicable. The sad part is, they drink the nastiest beer available on the market. I have never seen a game of beer pong played with a good beer. I hope the fad of this party game goes away but who knows what the next gimmick will be.

Post 3

@IceCarver, while I appreciate your concerns with the safe play of beer pong, I can assure you that most people are responsible adults and can handle their ability to know when they are impaired. I have been drinking for 40 years and I have never gotten a driving while under the influence charge because I simply do not drive when I am impaired.

My other thought about your comment was the reference to young people that play beer pong. While this new sport may be relatively popular among the younger generations, I can tell you that my old-man bachelor club plays every weekend. Our youngest member is 57 and our oldest is 82, so please know that old people play beer pong, get just as rowdy and have more fun then young people. Why do we have more fun? Because we've been doing this before you were born son.

Post 2

@jeancastle00, I know the feeling that it can bring to one when playing an awesome sport like beer pong but I think there is a major problem happening here that most people do not realize. While beer pong might seem like a fairly good loving and harmless game, the amount of beer being ingested by young people that are playing is very unsafe.

The very purpose of this game is to become intoxicated while throwing ping pong balls into beer. If you make it in, your opponent has to drink an entire beer, or sip, depending on the method of the game rules that you are using. This has led to countless drunk driving convictions and horribly enough, fatalities.

You really should think twice when considering playing a game of ping pong and where or not you are doing so in a controlled and safe manner that will allow for intoxicated players to sleep it off over night before attempting to drive. This is just essential if we ever want to see a decline in the drunk driving deaths of young people.

Post 1

Beer pong is awesome! My best friends and I play every weekend and one of my buddies even keeps a folding table that is the perfect size in the trunk of his car. The spirit and attitude that we get when we play is the best feeling and I love this sport.

I first learned how to play beer pong when I first went to college. Never had I really been to a very big party and finally my chance came along. When we showed up to the place and I saw the v-shaped cup alignment on the table, I knew it was on!

Since that day I have been in love with beer pong and the party atmosphere that comes along with it. I wonder what kind of awesome new excuse I'll have to drink beer in the future when this does finally get old as well.

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