These days, beer pong has become ubiquitous on college campuses across the country. Why wouldn’t it? It’s the ultimate drinking game! What else combines hand-eye coordination, grit, and determination with pounding beer after beer without vomiting?
At its core, it’s a simple game. Eliminate all your opponent’s cups before they crush yours. To the winner go the spoils. In some games, to the winner go the clothes! Strip beer pong is a thing, after all.
Beer pong’s origin story harkens back to an age of fraternities with extreme hazing rituals (remember the movie Revenge of the Nerds?). It remains as hazy as the morning after a frat party who invented beer pong, though contenders are out there.
As with every legendary origin story, this one is fraught with controversy. There are two major schools of thought on the subject.
The first school is Dartmouth. It’s said a fraternity was playing ping pong in the 1960s while drinking beer (surprise!). One adventurous sort sat his beer on the table, and that’s when beer pong was invented. Within seconds, the frat was drunk, and beer pong was on campuses nationwide.
The second school is Bucknell. They claim Delta-Upsilon created “Throw-Pong,” which was an early bastardized version of beer pong. Delta-Upsilon has some of the highest-paid graduates of any frat in history, and the best they could do was “Throw-Pong.”
The game has evolved from its original creation. You may wonder when beer pong became popular? It began to take hold of campuses everywhere in the 1980s, becoming a staple in the 1990s. Some say there’s a Minor in Beer Pong at certain schools now.
Please choose your own favorite. There’s no competition. You probably won’t have to defend yourself with force against followers of the other school.
Beer Pong Setup, or How We Pong
After the masses discovered the game, it was decided it should be played the same way (more or less) by everyone. It was so decreed this would be the way.
How long is a beer pong table? The regulation beer pong table length is 8′ by 2′. Each team should use how many cups for beer pong? It is said that ten cups each, arranged in triangles, shall be the appropriate number.
Depending on house rules, the cups are filled 1/3 to ½ full of either beer or water. Some players prefer water and drink beer from another, more sanitary cup. Others prefer the old ways.
Each team has two players. Play continues until one team wins.
Beer Pong: The Book of Rules
In the beginning, there were fights. More fights than finished games. A book was to be created, dubbed “The Book of Rules.”
After fighting over what the rules should be, the book was indefinitely put on hold while a handful of common-sense regulations were adopted. The powers that be gave us a list of beer pong Commandments, if you will.
House rules override other rules as necessary unless playing in a league.
- Dipshits not paying attention. If your team has a dipshit not paying attention who knocks over one of your cups, you lose said cup. However, if the enemy’s team also has a dipshit that doesn’t notice, you can reset your cup before they see. No harm, no foul.
- Ball in a cup. If a player drops the ball in their own cup, no penalty occurs. If a player causes the enemy’s ball to land in their cup or interferes with their team’s throw causing the ball to land in their cup, points to the enemy.
- Table Interference. Don’t touch the table. Just don’t.
- Distracting the enemy. This is encouraged. Do not get between the enemy and the line of cups. That is a foul and will result in points for the enemy. Naked beer pong is a good distraction where legal.
- Swatting. Once the ball makes contact with a cup without entering, the player may engage in the swat. Swatting the ball or grabbing, fingering, poking, or otherwise manipulating the ball’s course is acceptable. Don’t participate in premature swatulation.
- Balls Back. If your team both make shots in the round, you go again.
- Bouncing. You can bounce the ball off whatever you want. Other than the enemy team. If you make the shot, two cups are removed. After two bounces, the ball can be swatted.
Beer Pong in Beer Olympic Games
Beer Pong features as the opening event at most Beer Olympic Games events. The way it should be. Later events are made more difficult after having faced down 10 cups of frosty light-brown lager in a timed, heated, and often death-defying display of grace and physical and mental mastery.
The Nuts and Balls of Beer Pong
Beer pong requires four main ingredients to be successful. Beer is the first ingredient and is generally used in both the setup and playing of the game. Arguably the most important, there is much thought on this subject. Should it be a weaker lager or a nice double IPA? A weak beer means more rounds and less vomit. Go weaker.
Again, the official regulation beer pong table is 8′ x 2′ x 27.5″. If you have a ping pong table from 1962 in your basement that your grandparents handed down through the years, it will work just fine for non-regulation games. Ping Pong tables are typically 9′ long.
The third is the cup. You MUST use the same size for all 20 cups. Regulation cups are 16oz and measure top width: 3-5/8″, height: 4-5/8″, base width: 2-1/4″. Red Solo Cups are the perfect pong cups. Ten per side is the traditional number, but you can be creative. After all, it’s your party, and you can cry if you want to.
Last, but certainly cheapest, is the ball. Ping pong balls are fine, or buy the tournament balls. The official beer pong balls are 2 x 40 mm 3-Star Tournament Grade BPONG™ Balls.