How to Play Beer Pong: Rules and Expert Tips

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Photo: Ricky Cariotí (fake images)

The Aztecs had spiritual ball games, games with physical demonstrations of dedication and a fight for the collective victory that continues to be central to our notions of sport. In the 3,000 years since then, we have simplified these fundamental concepts within fifa23 and beer pong. But I’m not complaining. I think it’s time our definition of serious gaming changed.

Though we commemorate professional sports with billions of dollars and stadiums, and reward intense gaming with billions of dollars and Comic Con, the simpler pleasures like beer pong fade into the unspoken “game that isn’t.” Really category of a game. But our laid-back weekend bacchanalia also deserves credit: a good glass of two Allagash Whites still provides the optimum state of play. In pursuit of this, I spoke to two beer pong champions, Pro Beer Sports CEO Eric Kutche and based in the UK Bex Donald Twitch Transmitteron how to master beer pong, a frat ritual most people have performed in a happy, messy haze at least once.

What is beer pong?

We should lay out the basic rules of the game before going into details, although there are many variations depending on In which country are you and how creatively your friends want to get drunk. This is the conclusion:

  • There are two teams of two
  • Each team places 10 quarter-filled glasses, ideally Solo Reds, in a pyramid shape at opposite ends of a table.
  • You alternate with your opponent, you get two turns to land a ping pong ball in their cup and eliminate it. Your opponent has to swallow their eliminated cups.
  • If your team hits both of your shots, the ping pong balls “roll back” and you have two additional chances to sink your ball into an enemy cup.
  • When all the cups for a team run out, it’s game over.

But your path to pong greatness is only just beginning, young bar hopper.

1. Choose your cup and focus on it

Kutche’s love affair with beer pong began like any other fairy tale: in college. “I was always one of the best players wherever I played,” he said. “I practiced all the time because my group of friends played a lot and I wanted to win.”

Eventually, Kutche and his friends found a bigger arena. “My friends and I always wish we could go to competitive beer pong tournaments, but there wasn’t much around,” he said. They established Pro Beer Sports, which currently hosts Beerlympics and weekly beer pong tournaments in an effort to turn the perhaps underappreciated game into something more serious, as esports has done with video games.

“I call our version of drinking games ‘bSports’ because we play the games at the highest level,” he said. “We’re bringing beer pong to ESPN.”

Get into that fighter mindset with Kutche’s first tip. “Always shoot a specific cup,” he said. “If you want to be a true beer pong master, practice hitting the last glass. If you can hit the last cup in three shots, you’ll win most of your beer pong games.”

2. Take care of your arm

There are three common beer pong pitches: a fancy arc, a zingy fastball, or a carefree single bounce off the table. Kutche is partial to style and grace.

“The best shots are the ones that arc up in the air,” he said. “If you could follow the flight of the ball after it’s shot, it should look more like a rainbow than a straight line.”

To help you get that nice angle, “when you shoot, keep your arm parallel to the table so your arm makes a 90-degree angle to your body,” Kutche said.

Like Kutche, Bex Donald discovered beer pong in college. Playing well “came quite naturally,” she said, “I competed in shot put in high school, so I think the skills carried over a bit, and as a player, I think my marksmanship helped me in real life.”

He eventually ran a nightclub’s beer pong table as a part-time job, earning “a few hundred pounds in drinks over the years”.

For her, throwing beer pong is an individualized activity. “Find your balance in your stance and the stance you’re comfortable with and that will help you direct your game-winners,” she said.

3. Keep your attitude right

“The most important rule of beer pong is to have fun!” Kutche said. Playing any game for the first time can be intimidating, especially in a group-oriented drinking game that coming-of-age movies may have forever labeled as only for cool kids.

But you shouldn’t “take the game too seriously,” Kutche said. “Everyone wins in a game of beer pong. I have seen many people become friends, or even couples, after meeting at the beer pong table.

Donald echoed the statement. “Don’t get pressured by the opponents or your team, take your time and focus,” he said. “Even the pros miss a few shots, but practice makes perfect.”

Donald also introduced me to an important metric, something she calls PPIP: Peak Performance Drunken Point.

“This is the number of drinks that it takes you to gain enough confidence but not so much that you lose focus when playing bar games,” he said. “Mine is two and a half to three pints.”

4. Consider water instead of beer

“Many people think of frat parties and binge drinking when they think of beer pong, but Pro Beer Sports is changing that perspective by treating beer pong and other drinking games as sports,” Kutche said. “We played with water in glasses because I lived through the beer in glasses era and looking back, it was disgusting.”

I also play with water. But if you’re willing to take advantage of the raw, you have to take it to the end. Donald suggests that players learn to drink their beer well so that it “doesn’t distract them from the game at hand.”

“Some beer pong setups will have warm, flat, yucky beer. Unfortunately, that is a danger of the sport,” she said. “One little piece of advice I have is to stick my little finger out while I’m drinking and look at it, almost as if I’m looking at the horizon to avoid dizziness. That helps me.

After internalizing all these tips, I, someone who is very good at beer pong, decided to put it to the test… by playing iMessage, Game Pigeon’s version of the game called cup pong. It’s far from a perfect substitute, I know, but it was my best and cleanest choice at 12:00 pm on a Monday afternoon. Sober, unless you count the leftover rigatoni with vodka sauce which I keep choosing.

A screenshot of iMessage.

I win!
Screenshot: my city

Red cups, rainbow arches, and peer pressure were going ping-pong in my head. She was nervous at first, knowing that she was a very inconsistent iPhone finger jock.

Choose a cup. Shoot in an arc, I reminded myself. Unbelievably, I beat the game for the first time, so I can confirm that these tips work for both real and virtual cups. Next time I’ll play Mark Zuckerberg in a 6D Farmville simulation.

But when you find yourself at a beer pong table in real life, remember these tips and try to enjoy it as a moment of easy bacchanalia. The low stakes games that we constantly created throughout history, like beer pong, like iMessage volleys, are not really about winning, but about loving to play.

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