Beer pong is a popular drinking game, a competitive “team sport,” and for weekend warriors, it’s a way of life. Simple to play, easy to learn, and entertaining for players and spectators alike, beer pong is a backyard barbecue, bar league, basement, and tailgating favorite.
The object of the game is to eliminate the opposing team’s cups before they can eliminate yours.
If you have beer pong racks, it’s easy. If not, simply arrange the cupes in a 6- or 10-cup triangle shape.
Fill all beer pong cups about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way with beer. Place an extra cup, filled with water, off to the side for rinsing of your balls.
What You Need to Play Beer Pong
- Two teams each consisting of two people
- A beer pong table or any level playing surface (6-feet long by 3-feet wide is ideal)
- (22) 16-18 oz plastic cups (10 per team and 2 water cups)
- Ping-pong balls (you need at least 2, but the more the better)
- Beer (or another tasty beverage all players agree on)
Beer Pong Rules
Although there are currently no “official” beer pong rules, we’ve provided a skeleton below with the most basic, commonly accepted rules. Feel free to add, subtract, or alter these rules when you play with your friends.
Start Your Beer Pong Game
One player from each team is selected to take an initial shot to determine which team goes first in the actual game.
While looking each other in the eye, the chosen opposing players count to three and take a shot at the same time. If only one of them makes the shot, their team goes first. If they both make or miss their shot, players go again.
After the first game, the winning team gets the first shot.
Each beer pong team shoots twice per turn; each player taking one shot. If both players make their shot, “throwbacks” are given, and that team receives another turn.
The ball can be tossed or bounced into the cup.
A tossed ball that sinks is worth one cup (the cup it lands in). A bounced shot that sinks is worth two cups (the one in which the shot was made and another from the pyramid)*
*There’s a catch: the defending (non-throwing) team may block a bounced ball once it hits the table, whereas tossed shots are indefensible.
A beer pong cup is “sunk” as soon as the ball touches the contents of the cup.
Any cup that is sunk must be immediately removed from the table and the defending team is responsible for drinking its contents. Team members alternate drinking.
Warning: Watch your cups that have been sunk but are left undrank. If the opposing team sinks a ball in the cup you’re drinking from, it’s game over.
If one cup is sunk, and the next player shoots, hitting the same cup, that also ends the game.
Any cups accidentally knocked over are considered sunk.
A team is allowed to request a “re-rack” at the end of a turn, in order to maintain a compact shape.
Each team gets two re-racks per game, which can be used at almost any time*. The standard beer pong rule is to take one re-rack with 6 cups remaining, and the other when 2 or 3 cups remain. Note: if you’re playing beer pong with 6 cups each – there is one re-rack allowed per team, per game.
*You can not re-rack if you’re shooting during “throwbacks”
*You can not re-rack during a “redemption round”
Game Ending Situations
When a team eliminates the last beer pong cup of the opposing team, they haven’t won yet. The defending team has a “redemption round” where each player gets a turn. Redemption rounds are shoot until you miss. If the defending team sinks the remaining cups in the redemption round, overtime is forced. If the team is not able to force the game into overtime, they lose and are responsible for drinking the contents of the remaining team’s cups in addition to their own remaining cups.
Should the game be forced into overtime, each team sets up three cups in a triangle and fills them with beer. The team who hit the last cup to force the overtime shoots first.
Overtime is played like a normal game (without re-racks), and double or triple overtime may be necessary, until one team wins.
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