How To Play Beer Pong

Want to learn how to play beer pong? You’ve come to the right place. Get all of the beer pong rules, tips, and tricks right here!

how to play beer pong

Beer pong is a popular drinking game, a competitive “team sport,” and for weekend warriors, it’s a way of life. The object of the game is to eliminate the opposing team’s cups before they can eliminate yours. Here are the rules to join in on the fun.

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 cups 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.

How To Play Beer Pong

Beer Pong Players & Equipment 

  • Two teams each consisting of two people
  • 8’ x 2’ beer pong table (or any level playing surface) 
  • (22) 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)

Setting Up For Beer Pong

At each end of your beer pong table, arrange ten cups in a pyramid-like formation. Fill each cup with your desired amount of beverage.

beer pong 6 cup formation

Beer Pong Tables

If you’re wanting to play by ‘official’ rules, your beer pong table should by 8’ x 2’. However, any flat surface will do. 

Beer Pong Cups

Standard beer pong party cups are 16oz, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t supersize the fun. KegWorks has party cups in 36oz and 110oz.

Beer Pong Rules

If you are a pro ponger, you know there are actually official rules to beer pong. Below we’ve provided the most basic and commonly accepted amongst the masses. Feel free to add, subtract, or alter these rules when you play with your friends. Ponging should be fun!

drinking from a beer pong cup

Start Your Beer Pong Game

One player from each team is selected to take an initial throw 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 their throw 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. (If this is all too complicated for your group, just flip a coin!)

After the first game, the winning team gets the first throw.

Turns

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.

Shooting

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.

shooting a pong ball in beer pong

Sinking Cups

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.

Re-Racking & Formations 

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” 

Beer Pong Formations 

6 Cup Beer Pong Formations
  • Marching (2 rows of 3 cups)
  • Triangle (pyramid of 6 cups)
4 Cup Beer Pong Formations
  • Diamond 
  • Square
3 Cup Beer Pong Formations
  • Triangle (pyramid of 3 cups)
  • Traffic light (single row of 3 cups)
2 Cup Beer Pong Formations
  • Double (single row of 2 cups)

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.

Overtime

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.

Ready To Play? Shop Beer Pong Essentials.

4 Comments

  • Roberto July 20, 2017 @ 6:37pm

    What’s the rule for interference of a tossed ball? Does the player that shot get 2 turns or just toss it once again?

  • Bob December 16, 2017 @ 3:24am

    Can the opposing team throw their balls at the same time?

    • Rick July 22, 2018 @ 1:19pm

      Yes

  • Rick July 22, 2018 @ 1:18pm

    What about naked mile?

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