Beer Pong Drinking Game — What is it and what are the rules?

beer·pong: noun 1. a drinking game played at house parties where someone always says “I’m usually way better than this.”

Beer Pong Drinking Game — What is it and what are the rules?

Beer Pong is a drinking game where players throw a ping pong ball across a table with the goal of landing the ball in the opposing team’s cups. If a ball lands in a cup, the defending team must remove it from the table and drink the beer in the cup. Each team takes turns shooting until one team eliminates all of their opponent’s cups.


Drink Responsibly!

Hold your hops! Before we get into the rules of Beer Pong, we want to disclose that we do not promote binge drinking and advise our fellow beer geeks to always drink responsibly! For more information, click here to learn how to be a responsible drinker.

How to Play the
Beer Pong Drinking Game


What You’ll Need to Play:

  • 20 solo cups
  • 1 eight-foot long rectangular table
  • 2 ping pong balls
  • Beer (of your choice, but preferably not your finest craft brew)


Setup for a Standard Beer Pong Game:BeerPongSetup

  1. Pick teams: Usually Beer Pong is played with 2 teams of 2 but you can have as many people on a team as you’d like. Just take turns throwing!
  2. Arrange cups: Generally 10 in a pyramid-like formation on your team’s side of a standard 8-foot table. Fill each cup with your desired amount of beer. Typically, 2 beer cans are used to fill up 10 cups. Repeat this setup for the opposite team.
  3. Decide which team goes first: To determine this, have one player from each team shoot the ball while maintaining eye contact with their opponent throughout their shot. If both players miss or both players make it, their partners will throw next. This goes on until one person makes it and their opponent does not. Once the starting team has been decided, the game can start.


Looking to buy a “legit Beer Pong table”?
Check out these official Beer Pong tables.


Beerpong Gameplay:

The team that is going first will have both ping pong balls. Each person on one team will take a turn trying to throw one ping pong ball into the opponent’s solo cups. When a ball is sunk, that team must remove the cup from the pyramid, drink the beer, and set the cup aside. The ball is allowed to bounce, or it can go directly into the cup, but read below for details on house rules. The game goes on until one team has no cups left. The team with remaining cups wins the game.


House Rules for Beer Pong:

There are a lot of different rules that can be added to your game of Beer Pong. You are more than likely going to learn a new rule every time you play. Here are some rules you should know about so you don’t look like a total Beer Pong newbie at your next house party.



Elbows is usually an unspoken rule… until someone breaks it. When shooting, your elbows must stay behind the edge of the table. This means no reaching as far as you can over the table to try and sink your ball. If this rule is broken, the shot does not count.



During the game, each team can request of a re-formation of the opposing team’s cups. Each team is allowed to do this twice per game at the start of their turn. You can not ask for a re-formation during “rollbacks” or during a “redemption round”.

Popular Re-Formations


Bounce Shots & Swatting:

If your ball hits the table before going into a cup, then 2 cups are removed. The cup you sank, and another cup of the defender’s choice. If there are only 2 cups left, the bounce shot will only remove the 1 cup. If a bounce shot is thrown, the defending team can swat the ball away before the ball hits a cup. Swatting is only allowed on a bounce shot. If a player swats on a non-bounce shot, the other team will get both balls back and shoot again.


Fingering & Blowing: (yes, you read that right)

If a ball is thrown and is spinning inside of the cup, the defenders can either try to flick the ball out with one finger. Instead of fingering the ball out, you can try to blow into the cup to get the ball out. Once the ball has settled into the beer, fingering & blowing are not allowed.



Explosion is when both partners sink their ball into the same cup. All cups touching the cup that was sank, will also be removed. A variation to this rule is that only 3 cups are removed (the cup that was sunk, and 2 additional cups chosen by the defenders).



If you shoot, miss, and the ball rolls back towards you on the table you may grab the ball and re-shoot. This re-shot MUST be a trick shot. Throw the ball with your non-dominate hand, behind the back, blindfolded, off the wall, blow it out of your mouth… Get creative!


Death Cup:

If a player on the opposing team is still drinking their beer from a previous round, you can try to throw the ball into their cup. They must be holding the cup in order for this shot to count. If you are successful, your team automatically wins the game of Beer Pong and the other team must drink all the beer left on the table.



After the last cup is hit, each player from the losing team gets redemption. This is their chance to stay in the game. Each partner will get one shot to try and sink a cup. If they miss, it’s game over. If a cup is sunk during redemption, their last cup comes back into play and the game continues. Each team gets only one redemption round.


Beer Pong Rules – A Video Demonstration


A Brief History Lesson – Who Invented Beer Pong?

Beer Pong is believed to have originated in the 1950s within the fraternities of Dartmouth College. Back then, their version was more like a traditional game of Ping Pong because they used paddles and a net. Sometime in the 1980s in the United States, the game change to no paddles or net and the name Beer Pong was adopted.


Did we miss your favourite Beer Pong rule? Let us know!


Variations of Beer Pong :

Looking to switch up your Beer Pong game at your next house party? Check out these hilarious variations by CollegeHumor.


Looking for more fun drinking games to play with your friends?


Drinking games that won’t get you drunk:

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