Let’s talk six-packs. No, no, washboard abs are not what we had in mind. We’re talking about the golden beverage that tastes amazing on a hot summer day, helps us take the edge off and (why not?) boasts a couple of health benefits. beer. Chances are this popular beverage takes stage center in some of your funniest college memories, but the real question is: “Are you ready to make some more?”
Being one of the most popular drinking games in the U.S. along with corn hole, beer pong can take your love for this refreshing alcoholic drink to a whole new level. As the name implies, this out-of-the-box drinking game combines two otherwise completely irrelevant things, golf balls, and beer, increasing your chances of having a blast.
Not sure where to start? This step-by-step guide to playing beer pong has you covered. Plus, we rounded up a bunch of other much-needed information to help you get the most out of each beer pong duel between you and your friends.
What You Need to Play Beer Pong
Arising from the unlimited ingenuity (yet limited resources) of the college student lifestyle, beer pong requires no fancy schmancy equipment or a specially designed space. Your backyard, a buddy with some major throwing skills and a bunch of plastic cups will do. Plus, you don’t have to be super fit to participate. Instead, a balanced combination of concentration, a steady throw, and a competitive attitude are enough to win any opponent who dares to challenge you. So, here is what you’ll need:
- Two teams, each consisting of two members (playing sole also works).
- A large, smooth surface. This could be a large dining table or (ideally) a ping pong table.
- 20 12- or 16-ounce plastic cups (10 for each team). The size of the cups depends on how much you can drink.
- Ping-pong balls. The more you have, the merrier.
- Beer. Alternatively, you can switch beer with another beverage you and your opponent(s) agree on, whether that’s vodka, wine or even water.
The Basic Rules of Beer Pong
Beer pong is one of those backyard games that you’re never sure if you’re playing right. So, even though there are certain rules that you need to follow (thankfully, not many), most participants tend to go rogue as the game goes on. To be honest, we’re going to blame the beer for this one. Despite what may happen along the way, it’s important to know some of the basic ins, outs, and aaaalmost-ins of this drinking game.
- Step 1
Fill 20 plastic cups half way with beer. Or any other beverage you like (vodka, wine, water, etc.), for that matter. However, if you and your friends don’t want to take things too far, you can always fill the cups with less amount of alcohol. The important thing is that both sides have an equal amount of booze on their side of the table.
- Step 2
Keep a bucket of water around. While keeping things clean is not everyone’s #1 priority when playing backyard beer pong, it’s best to avoid “infusing” your beer with dirt or grass. After all, you are playing outdoors. So, rinse the ping-pong balls as often as possible for maximum safety.
- Step 3
Form 10-cup triangles on both sides. So, here is how it goes: 4 cups at the bottom, 3 cups on top of that, 2 cups on top of that and finally one cup at the top. The top of each triangle should point at your opponent.
- Step 4
At this point, you need to decide who goes first. You can either flip a coin or play a round of rock-paper-scissors. However, if you are a bold beer ponger, the “eye-to-eye” method is a no-brainer. In this case, try and swish your ball into the opponent’s cups while maintaining eye contact. The first person to land the ball in a cup wins and decides who goes first.
- Step 5
Take turns throwing the ping pong balls into the opponent’s cups. The goal is to land your ball straight into one of the opponent’s cups. You get to throw one ball in each round. There are two acceptable ways to make the shot. You can either bounce the ball off the table or toss it directly into the opposing team’s cup.
- Step 6
If you make the shot, your opponent must drink the content of that cup. If not, it’s his or her turn to throw the ping pong ball. One by one, eliminate all opponent’s cups and make them tipsy AF. All empty cups are removed from the table.
The Not-so-Basic Rules of Beer Pong
As you probably know, the house makes the rules. So, a few minor tweaks here and there are totally acceptable and definitely add character to your backyard beer pong duels. Here are some of the most common tweaks you can make to shake things up a bit.
- Instead of one, throw two balls per round. This variation is highly recommended for 2-member teams.
- Call out which cup you are about to hit. However, if you miss the shot, your opponent doesn’t have to drink the content of the cup. So, don’t get too cocky, OK?
- Re-rack your cups. Each team can re-rack their cups twice in a game; once when only 6 cups remain and twice when the team is down to its last 2 or 3 cups.
3 Beer Pong Tricks to Make Almost Every Shot
As it happens with every game, practice makes perfect. But, even if you are a beer pong rookie, you still have the chance to take home the trophy and avoid getting drunk. Draino!
- Arc the Ball
Inspired by basketball, this technique can go a long way. When you are shooting, make sure the ball goes as high as possible (forming a rather curvy arc) so that it easily lands in a cup. In fact, the smaller your arc, the easier it is for the ball to bounce off a cup’s rim.
- The More, The Merrier
At the beginning of the game, make sure you aim at the center of the triangle instead of the edges. This way you are more likely to eliminate your opponent’s cups.
- Overhand or Underhand? That is the Question
Throwing the ball properly can turn the tide in any beer pong match. So, before you get started, play around with the ping-pong balls a bit and see whether you are an overhand or underhand thrower. Trust us; this will definitely give you an edge.
2 Defense Moves to Keep Your Cups Safe
While nailing those shots is your best chance at winning, playing good defense is also an excellent way to take the lead in any beer pong match. One of the most common defense tactics includes distracting the opponent as he/she makes the shot. However, this technique only works before the opponent even makes the shot. But, what happens when his/her ball is dangerously approaching your cups?
- Blow the Ball
Case in point: A ball is spinning inside the rim of a cup but is not yet sunk in beer. What can you do? Simply blow it out of the cup, recruiting every ounce of your lungs’ strength.
- Finger the Ball
This defense tactic is tricky. Similar to blowing, you can flick the ball out of the cup but this time using just one finger. All you have to do is slightly bend your finger and keep the ball away from your cup with a scooping motion. However, you are not allowed to either catch or trap the ball with your finger. Otherwise, you lose the cup.
3 Instant Win Shots to Knock Your Opponents Out
If you’ve ever played beer pong, you know that things can get too competitive too fast. So, it’s no wonder that some players raise the stakes and leave room for some “game over” shots. So, are you ready knock your opponents out beer pong-style?
- The Circle of Death
Also known as the ring of fire, this instant win rule calls for a set of rather skillful shots. The winner-to-be must hit the top cup, the two back corner cups, and the center cup. Of course, the thrower must not “sunk” any other cups in the process, or the whole effort goes to waste.
- The Same Cup
This “game over” shot applies only to teams with two members. If you and your teammate hit the same cup in one round, then you instantly win the game.
- The Sniper Cup
Chugging down beer, one cup after the other, is not exactly a piece of cake. That’s why sometimes players keep around some the cups they’ve not drunk yet from previous turns. Now, if a player from the opposing team hits a cup that’s not yet drunk, he/she instantly wins the game. The whole point is to try and sneak the shot when the opponent is not paying attention.
In a world where wine is almost always in the limelight, a cup of cold beer comes as an exciting and adventurous alternative. And what better way to celebrate this drink’s edgy side than by making it part of your backyard parties? Enjoy some (pong) brewskies with your friends and win that first place, one cup at a time.