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Beer Pong Rules - A Complete Beer Pong Guide

Updated on August 26, 2013
Beer Pong - Most Famous Drinking Game!
Beer Pong - Most Famous Drinking Game!

Beer Pong? What the Heck!

Never heard of it before? Not so sure what it is? Or you just want to know more about it? Good. Whatever the reason is, you just came to the right place to be educated. Today I am going to teach you everything which you should know of Beer Pong. So... Fasten your seat belts and get ready to ride with me!

Defining 'Beer Pong'

Beer pong, which is also famous as Beirut, is a kind of a Drinking Game. Players participating in this game have to throw a ping-pong ball across a table (known as the 'Beer Pong Table'), trying to land the ball into a cup of beer, which is place on the other end of the table.

This game is usually played between two teams (or two players), each team with set of 10 cups placed in a triangle formation on each side of the table. One after the other, the teams attempt to shoot ping pong balls into the opponent's beer cups. If the ping pong ball lands in a cup (which is considered as a 'make'), the content in that cup should be consumed by the other team and remove it from the table. Like so, this continues until one team eliminates all of the opponent's cups and that team (whose cups are still on the table) is considered as the Winner.


Beer Pong Rules - Learn Before You Play
Beer Pong Rules - Learn Before You Play

Have You Played 'Beer Pong' Before?

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Official Beer Pong Rules - What are They?

Now I think you have a general idea about this game. So like for any game, Beer Pong should also have some set of rules so that there will be a proper disciplined way of playing it. And this brings us to our main topic, which I will be digging into deeper details through this hub.

If you visited this hub, hoping to find an answer for the question "What are Official Beer Pong Rules" , I am truly sorry to disappointing you with my response, which would be - There are no such rules at all ! The rules which are followed during this game are the same as any other drinking game's rules, which you must have already known by now ( No worries if you don't. You will surely learn them all by the time you finish reading this hub)

Beer Pong Rules were - are - and always will be a debatable topic within the Beer Pong Community for a long time. But that unfinished argument hasn't affected or stopped plenty of people from asserting that they play by the "correct" rules. It is because that, unintentionally, the Beer Pong community has eventually developed a set of basic rules describing how to play the game correctly. When things were happening like that, many organizations tried get involved in this "Rule Making Process" and standardize the game and minimize the arguments which were happening often, wherever and whenever the game is played. But non of them succeeded in doing that and the community decided to stick with the basic and make their own "house rules" by the time they play.

Follow the Basics - Make Your Own!

I want you to know that, with this hub, I have NO Intention of making you believe that the rules mentioned here are MUST Follow Rules when playing Beer Pong. Because, setting up your own house rules for the game is also an important part when playing Beer Pong. Here I'm just trying to establish some guidelines and introduce them to you, so you will have a better idea on how to maximize the fun and excitement, without leaving the game to go in wild!

Beer Pong - 4 People Game - Two on Two
Beer Pong - 4 People Game - Two on Two

Basic Beer Pong Rules

OK... Let's get started. Now I will show you all the basic Beer Pong Rules which you should follow, starting from the very beginning. Please note that, I will be considering a 'Two on Two' game for this discussion and use Images whenever possible, so it will be easy for you to understand what I say.

Two Ping Pong Balls for Your Beer Pong Game
Two Ping Pong Balls for Your Beer Pong Game
Find Some Beers to Use in Your Game
Find Some Beers to Use in Your Game
Keep Cups Filled to Some Height, so that They won't Fall
Keep Cups Filled to Some Height, so that They won't Fall

Things You Need...

  • Since the Whole Beer Pong Game is base on throwing a ping-pong ball, first you'll need to find at least 2 ping-pong balls. (Having an extra one is for your best since you can replace any broken or a lost one with it)


  • Then grab some Beers to use for the Game. You would need around 4-6 beer bottles per game, which can be divided 2-3 bottles per one site. If you use less than 2 bottles per side, its probably not going to fill the cups to a enough highest, which will probably make them fall over when the ball hits. So as a Beer Pong Rule, try to stick with at least 3 beers per side.

Choosing a Beer Pong Table

When choosing Beer Pong Table, always find a Flat Surface to play. If the table you choose has the same size and height of a typical Ping Pong table, which is around 9 feet long, 5 feet wide, and 2.5 feet above the ground, it would be even better. This is also a crucial Beer Pong Rule you should follow since all your Beer Cups would be placed on this table, means the Beer Pong game will completely depend on your table choice. So try to stick to with this rule and find the best one.


If you cannot find a ping pong table, Beer Pong indoor play is usually conducted on an old Oak Dining table or Kitchen table. Moreover, you can also try the method of using a pair of end tables placed about 9 feet apart to act as a two island tables separated according to the proper distance of a typical Ping Pong table.


The Beer Pong Rules only advises you regarding the size and the measurements for your table choice. So you are allowed to go with any creative table design (such as shown here), but assuring it meets the qualities which I have described above.

Typical Ping-Pong Table. Try to Find a Similar One for Your Beer Pong Game
Typical Ping-Pong Table. Try to Find a Similar One for Your Beer Pong Game
A Fancy Beer Pong Table
A Fancy Beer Pong Table | Source
Custom Beer Pong Table - Equivalent to Two Separated Tabels
Custom Beer Pong Table - Equivalent to Two Separated Tabels
Using two separate Island Tables as the Beer Pong Table
Using two separate Island Tables as the Beer Pong Table

Watch & Learn How to Make a Custom Beer Pong Table

Choose Standard 16 ounce Red Solo Cup for Your Beer Pong Game
Choose Standard 16 ounce Red Solo Cup for Your Beer Pong Game
It's a Beer Pong Rule to arrange the Cups in a Pyramidal shape
It's a Beer Pong Rule to arrange the Cups in a Pyramidal shape | Source

Setting Up the Game

When selecting cups, it is recommended to use Standard 16 Ounce Red Solo Cups (as seen on picture) for your Beer Pong Game. If you don't have them, any cup with similar shape and capacity can be used for the game.


And you would have to choose a total of 22 cups, which is equally shared between two teams. Among those 11 cups that each side gets, one is to be filled with water and the rest (10 cups) are to be filled with beer.


Two teams stand next to each other across the Beer Pong table, facing their opposing team during the game play.


When it comes to Beer Pong Rules regarding the cup formation, each team should arrange ten cups in front of them, forming a pyramid shape (4-3-2-1), similar to how bowling pins are arranged.


Then each team fills their cups (the ones in front of them) evenly with 2 - 3 or more beers. When doing so, you should distribute an equal amount of beer among all the cups.


Eliminate All of Your opponents Cups to be The Winner
Eliminate All of Your opponents Cups to be The Winner | Source
Anna Kournikova playing Beer Pong in Jimmy Kimmel show
Anna Kournikova playing Beer Pong in Jimmy Kimmel show | Source

Game Objective

It's simple, each team has to eliminate all of their opponents cups and whoever does that first is awarded as the winner! In other words, each team has to make their opponents empty all the cups and get drunk, before the other team does it first! The whole idea of this game is just to have some fun, adding a bit of competition to keep it going on. And the Beer Pong Rules are there to make sure that, the fun you have is maximized to the highest level!

Shoot a ping pong ball into opponent's cup to get that cup "Eliminated"
Shoot a ping pong ball into opponent's cup to get that cup "Eliminated"
A successful toss will eliminate that cup from Beer Pong table
A successful toss will eliminate that cup from Beer Pong table | Source
As to Beer Pong Rules - Team/Person who Eliminates all Opponent's Cups first becomes the WINNER!
As to Beer Pong Rules - Team/Person who Eliminates all Opponent's Cups first becomes the WINNER!
Blocking a shot is Considered as an offensive Move in Beer Pong Rules and will Ultimately lead you to lose the Game
Blocking a shot is Considered as an offensive Move in Beer Pong Rules and will Ultimately lead you to lose the Game | Source

Rules for the Game Play

The game is based on players trying to eliminate their opponents' cups by shooting a ping pong ball across the table into their opposition's beer filled cups.


One after the other, each team takes their turn to toss the ping pong ball, where each member of a team tires to shoot across the table before an opposing team member shoots back.


When a member successfully toss a ping pong ball into an opponent's cup, the opponent have to drink the beer from that cup and remove it from the table. Now that cup gets considered as an 'Eliminated Cup' from the game.


Likewise, once all the cups of a team gets eliminated, then the beer pong game ends and as the Beer Pong rules says, the team which still has cups remaining on the table becomes the winner!

Check out these AMAZING Beer Pong shots

Controversial Beer Pong Rules - Like it or Hate it!
Controversial Beer Pong Rules - Like it or Hate it!

Controversial Beer Pong Rules

By now, you should have a good idea about the Basic Beer Pong Rules which I have discussed above. In this section, just by looking at the title which I have used for this section, you should understand that, the rules I'm going to share here are the ones which often gets subjected to many misunderstandings and arguments in the beer pong community.

In this section, I will be breaking down the controversial Beer Pong Rules into some common positions and arguments, so it would be easy for me shared the details with you.

And at any point, please remember that, I DON"T expect you to agree with me at all! These are just guidelines and suggestions that had worked well for most of the Beer Pong Players, and that's the only reason which they are been shared here.

Blocking a Shot!

When opponents are shooting at your cups (the ones in front of you) making contact with the ball while it travels through the air is strictly prohibited. But once a ball gets bounced off from a cup, the table or from a person, you can catch the or swat it away without facing any penalty.

If you try to block a ball from getting into your cups, the penalty would be a warning on the first offense, where the shooter also gets a re-shoot. And if you continue to keep blocking the ball, an elimination of a cup from your side will be charged for each subsequent offense. And remember, only ONE warning is given per team - NOT per Player. So if you keep repeating this offensive move, you will eliminate all your cups by yourself!

Different Shots allowed by Beer Pong Rules
Different Shots allowed by Beer Pong Rules

Have Your Tried Bouncing Shots?

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Bouncing Shots

In Beer Pong Rules, it's a standard to eliminate an extra cup from the opponent's for every successful bounced shot. i.e. If you shoot one bounced shot into opponent's cup successfully, that shot will eliminate two cups. The cup which the ball landed gets eliminated together with a second cup which is usually chosen by the team which has to drink.

Though the Bouncing Shots earns you the potential of eliminating an additional cup each time it succeeds, also carries the risk of getting swatted away. Because as I mentioned in the previous rule, defenders have the right to use their hands to touch and swat away your shots once the ball bounces. For this reason, I advice you to shoot bounce shots only when their opponents are distracted and not paying attention to the game.

Also note that, allowing bouncing in you Beer Pong game will lead into raucous behavior since players may try to dive across the table to defend from bounced shots. Because of this reason, if you are playing an indoor game, Beer Pong Rules suggests you not to allow Bounce shots.

Keep In Mind...

  • 1 Bounce eliminates 2 Cups!
  • 2 Bounces eliminate 3 Cups!!
  • 'n' Bounces eliminate 'n+1' Cups!!!
  • But Beware, once a ball bounce, your opponents are allowed to touch your Ball!

And that's not it! In Beer Pong Rules, the theory behind the Bouncing shots is that, each bounce you get cost an extra cup from your opponents. That means, if a shot bounces twice, three cups get eliminated and three bounces before landing in a cup eliminates four cups, and so on.

Blow / Flick the Ball Out of the Cup
Blow / Flick the Ball Out of the Cup | Source
Women can Blow.. Men can Flick..
Women can Blow.. Men can Flick.. | Source

Blow Your Balls Off! Or Just Flick it!

Some Beer Pong Rules allow female players to blow ping pong balls out of the cups while they keep spinning around the edge (before dropping in). But my to my point of view, I disagree with this rule since it is easy for anyone even to blow a ping pong ball out from a made cup, which would be probably resting on top of the beer. If you don't believe me, try it yourself.

And for the guys, Beer Pong Rules allow them to flick ping pong balls out while a ball is circling around the edge of a cup. But this attempt has the risk of accidentally flicking over the cup, which will result in the cup being eliminated.

A funny Beer Pong Distraction
A funny Beer Pong Distraction
Three Girls Trying to Distract Their Beer Pong Opponent from Shooting
Three Girls Trying to Distract Their Beer Pong Opponent from Shooting | Source

Beer Pong Distractions


When playing according to Gentleman's Beer Pong Rules, distractions are used to make shooting more difficult for the opponents by disturbing to their concentration. This is also considered as "Bush League."

Even though most of the Beer Pong Games start with Gentleman's rules, everyone has their own drunkenness breaking point and soon as that point is reached, that's where they will start to perform various forms of distraction.

Pictures posted here will give you a better idea about how these distractions are actually done.

Beer Pong Rules - Doubling Up
Beer Pong Rules - Doubling Up | Source

Doubling Up

The Doubling Up situation occurs when both players in same team shoots during the same turn or round. As to the Beer Pong Rules, when this occurs, the team just made the shots again gets the ball and the chance to shoot again.

If Doubling Up happens when there is only one cup remaining and the teammates make their final shots into that same cup, according to the rules, opposing team won't get an opportunity for rebuttals.

Furthermore, if a player drinks the first made beer cup prior the second player on the opposing team shoots, this prohibits the chance of your opponents making Doubling Up on you.

Plan Your Game

You can decide whether to Allow or to Forbid the Leaning overact and decide how your Beer Pong Game should be played.

No Penalty when Ball is in Your Own Possession.. But results with an Elimination when it is Not. - Beer Pong Rules
No Penalty when Ball is in Your Own Possession.. But results with an Elimination when it is Not. - Beer Pong Rules | Source

Dropping into Your Own Cup

This is something that won't happen often, but when a player have the ball in his possession, it may accidentally drop into their own cups. And according to the Beer Pong Rules, there is no penalty for this act.

But when a player is not having the possession of the ball, like when a player is trying to defend from opponent's shot, a tap or a knock on the ball and making it to fall into their own cups would be counted as a successful made shot.

Leaning Over Table to Shoot is a Forbidden act according to Beer Pong Rules
Leaning Over Table to Shoot is a Forbidden act according to Beer Pong Rules

Lean Over Table and Shoot!

Stretching forward and extend your shooting arm or leaning over the table to shoot to your opponent's cup is often considered as a prohibited act by Beer Pong Rules. But at some point, players make an argument by saying, if leaning is allowed for both teams then non will take it as an advantage. But to my point of view, unless both team members have equal length arms, that won't be a fair Beer Pong rule at all.

If we dig into deeper details, it is noticeable that, players who against on leaning are the ones whose shots don't use any kind of leaning movement and mainly concentrated on arcing shots.

The General of thumb is that the elbow of the shooting arm should not break the vertical plane of the table.

And the penalty for breaking this Beer Pong rule is that the shot won't be counted and that player's turn would be lost.

Basic Re-Racking Formations according to Beer Pong Rules
Basic Re-Racking Formations according to Beer Pong Rules
Other Extended Re-Racking Formations
Other Extended Re-Racking Formations

Re-Racking

Each Teams start the game with ten cups and do re-racking at 6, 4, 3, and 2 (as shown in the picture)


According to Beer Pong Rules, each team only gets two re-racks per game and they must be able to use them wisely, turning them into their benefit.

Also, you can allow to play re-racking after every successful shot and that can make the game go quicker.


Furthermore, players aren't allowed to re-rack their cups in the middle of a turn.



As an example, if there are seven cups remaining on the table and the first shooter makes a cup, the second shooter is not allowed to get the cups re-racked into a pyramid of six at this time since it's in the middle of a turn. So the team need to wait and request for a re-rack by their next turn.

Knocking off Your Own Cup will Result in Eliminating it from the game
Knocking off Your Own Cup will Result in Eliminating it from the game

Knocking Off and Spilling

If you even accidentally knock over one of your own cups, that cup is considered as an Eliminated Cup from the game. Regardless how much beer is spilled out, according to the Beer Pong Rules, any knocked over cup gets completely eliminated without any second thoughts.

Beer Pong Overtime Rules

  • Typical Overtime - Three Cups
  • Double Overtime - Two Cups
  • Triple Overtime - One Cup

Overtime

By the Beer Pong Rules, three cups should be provided to each side.

The team which eliminated all of their opponents cups first, receives both balls and gets to commence the game. If explained further, the team which led to overtime with rebuttals goes second.

Rebuttals are usually allowed at the end of each overtime.

And also, if others are waiting to play double overtime, only two cups are provided per side and if it's triple overtime, only one cup is given per side. These Beer Pong Rules are their to speed up the game so others also can have their turn.

Moreover, Sudden Death Overtime involves three cups given per side and whoever makes a successful shot first ends the game.


Watch this and Learn How to do Rebuttals in Beer Pong

Do You Completely Understand the Rebuttal Rules?

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Beer Pong Rebuttal Rule

Think that Team A makes team B's final cup. Even after that happens, Team B can still force an overtime Play with rebuttals. And during team B's rebuttal shots, every team member gets the chance to shoot continuously until they miss.

Read the Following Example to Understand more about this Beer Pong Rule...


Assume that team B is facing three remaining cups on teams A's side and that shooter 1 for team B during rebuttals makes his first shot. At this point shooter 1 is allowed to reshoot (shoot until you miss). Now shooter 1 is shooting at only two cups - the three original less the one that was just made during rebuttals. If shooter 1 makes his second shot he gets to shoot again (shoot until you miss).

Assuming shooter 1 misses his third shot, shooter 2 now only has to make one cup - the original three less the two cups shooter 1 eliminated with his rebuttal shots.

Rebuttal rules does not change during a normal game play. Because of this reason, if someone wants to eliminate more than two cups, they must double up, expecting to get the balls back and have a continued opportunity of forcing an overtime.

Shoot and Own Both Balls to Yourself!
Shoot and Own Both Balls to Yourself!

Chosing the Opening Side

According to the Beer Pong Rules, the winning team from the previous game gets the opportunity to go first and holds the right to control both ping pong balls.

If the game is the first game of the night(or day) or the winning team decides to take a break for a while, then every player from both teams shoot simultaneously, one after the other, to decide which team gets to open the game. And the team that makes the first successful made shot gets to begin the game with both ping pong balls.

The most important point of this Beer Pong Rule is that, those two players (one from each team) facing off hoping win their team the opening shot, must be making eye contact with each other and not looking at the cups while shooting.

Stay Tuned to Know the Latest Beer Pong Rules and News...
Stay Tuned to Know the Latest Beer Pong Rules and News...

Stayed Tuned. Lot More to Come...

Now that's all! It sure was a long journey right? Even though someone would consider Beer Pong as a simple game which you just need to shoot ping pong balls into cups, if you went through all the details I have discussed above, by now you must understand that it's not that simple as it appears. All the Beer Pong Rules I have stated above have been developed by the Beer Pong community itself intended to make the game-play even exciting and full of fun. I am hoping to update this hub often, with new Beer Pong Rules and everything else related with the Beer Pong game. So stay tuned for more information and have fun playing !!!

Disclaimer: All the videos displayed on this page belong to their respective uploaders and shared for informational purposes only.

© 2013 ~Pan Tak~

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    • P Priyadarshana profile image
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      ~Pan Tak~ 3 years ago from EarthRealm

      LOL! Me neither until I was curious enough to dig in paxwill! Stay tuned, hoping to update with more rules sooner. Thanks for the energetic comment.. :)

    • profile image

      paxwill 3 years ago

      Dang, who knew beer pong had such depth?