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Beer Pong Rules

Everything you need to know about the beer pong rules

The popular drinking game Beer Pong is a team game with a high fun factor and has long been the highlight of every event. Also known as Beirut , the game is iconic and played around the world. While many people are familiar with beer pong as a party game, it is also played at official competitions and championships according to tournament rules and achieves high prize money.

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  • The origins of the game

    Beer Pong owes its existence to a coincidence. In the 1950's there was a party at a private college in New Hampshire where table tennis was being played. Some of the watching guests placed their beer mugs (beer cups) on the table tennis table. During the game, a ball accidentally landed in one of the cups, and the idea was born.

    Whether this story actually happened exactly like that can no longer be proven today. However, the emergence in connection with table tennis is considered certain. Beer Pong is described as a game of skill in which the primary aim is to place ping pong balls in an opponent's cup filled with beer. Fun fact and reason for the term "drinking game": If a ball is successfully sunk into the cup, the opponent has to drink the beer in the cup.

    Since the 1980s, beer pong has also been referred to as Beirut in some regions. It is assumed that the conflict between Lebanon (capital: Beirut) and the USA forms the background here. Dropping bombs on Beirut was associated with throwing ping-pong balls into the cups.

    The evolution of the game

    Even if numerous competitions and tournaments are held in the meantime, the rules of the game are by no means uniform to this day. There are many variations, including versions with and without a table tennis racket, with playing without a racket being far more common. Since 2017 there has also been an expansion in connection with golf. The game created in this way is known as Beer Pong Golf and is mainly known in the USA.
    In the field of competitions, tournaments are mainly held in the USA, which are organized locally, regionally and nationally. The world's largest tournament is known as the World Series of Beer Pong . It usually takes place with players from Canada and the USA and offers a prize of 50,000 USD.
    Regular competitions are also organized in German-speaking countries, albeit on a smaller scale compared to the USA. One of the best-known tournaments is the Beer Pong Bundesliga, which draws participants from Germany, Luxembourg, Austria and Switzerland.
    Even if the fun is in the foreground at beer pong and drinking beer is a permanent part of it, there are also official rules in addition to the party rules that everyone determines themselves. This guide is relevant to tournaments and competitions and is primarily for the purpose of fairness and level playing field for all players.

    The beer pong rules at a glance

    Between 20 and 30 cups are placed on a game board in the shape of a triangle. The number depends, among other things, on the duration of the game. They are divided equally between two teams. There must be at least two people in a team. The mugs are filled with beer. In each round, all participants from both teams take turns throwing a table tennis ball into one of the cups. Hit cups are drunk by the opposing team.

    When players from both teams score a goal, it is called Balls Back . Both teams may throw again. After placing the ball in the last cup, the team has the opportunity to counterattack. If this is successful, the game continues, otherwise it is over.

    Special features: If two balls land in a cup by two teams, this is a bomb . Three cups are then removed. If a player with prior bid succeeds in hitting a cup standing alone, this is known as Iceland . Two cups are then removed.

    The rules in detail

    If necessary, you can print out the rules in German as a PDF and use them for your team. A notice as a poster or placard is also helpful for an event.

    The structure

    The official set of rules provides for a fixed structure. A table with tournament dimensions (see FAQ), 22 beer pong cups and two table tennis balls are required. Each team places ten cups on the table in the form of a pyramid on one half of the table. The mugs are filled with beer. In addition, another cup is placed on the table a little further away on each side. It contains water to clean the ball after each throw.

    A team usually consists of two people. The aim is to hit all of the opposing team's cups with the table tennis ball. The team that does this first wins.

    Each team may, once during the game, ask the opposing team to re-arrange their cups in a pyramid shape ( re-racks ). The middle of the edge of the field must be taken into account when positioning.

    The sequence

    After determining the first throw at random, players on each team take turns throwing into opponents' cups. After each successful throw, the opposing team must immediately drink and remove the cup.

    The different throws

    Each player must decide for himself how to throw. Anything goes, as long as the elbow stays behind the edge of the field. Opposing players may attempt to parry a throw.

    direct throw
    The ball is thrown without touching the tabletop. It lands in a high arc as an arc shot or as a fast ball at high speed in the cup. Repelling the ball is not permitted. Violators will be punished with three penalty throws.

    Simultaneous hit - two cups
    If two players from both teams succeed in throwing into one cup each, both cups must be drunk and removed. The result is a renewed throwing ( Balls Back ).

    Simultaneous hit - a mug
    If two players hit one and the same cup, the opponent must drink and put away three cups. The other team can choose the two additional cups to drink.

    single hit
    Only one player from a team hits the opponent's cup. The cup must be emptied and put away. The other team then has the next throw.

    When bouncing, the ball touches the field before it reaches the cup. This can be a single impact or multiple impacts. The opposing team has permission to deflect the bouncing ball and thus prevent a goal. If the throw is successful, the opposing team must drink not just one but two cups and remove them. If the defense fails and the cup falls over, it is considered lost and must be removed. The same applies, of course, if several cups fall over.

    Six key rules

    1) Accidentally knocked over self-made cups are basically lost for the game and will be removed.
    2) All cups remaining on the field at the end of the game must be drunk by the losing team.
    3) If a ball is successfully thrown into a cup that has previously been hit but not drunk or removed, the game is over. This so-called Death Cup ensures that the opposing team loses immediately.
    4) Bounce throws may be deflected, but result in double points if successful.
    5) In order not to be without a chance in the competition: The throwing techniques should always be learned and mastered beforehand.
    6) If the elbow is behind the edge of the playing table when the ball is thrown, a hit is considered invalid.

    Additional Rules

    Aside from the official rules, there are countless others that have evolved over the decades. They are by no means a fixed part of the game, but must be agreed before each game in order to be effective for the process. Whether they make sense and contribute to the entertainment of beer pong always depends on the teams that play together. The following advanced rules are among the best known and most popular.

    air ball

    In an airball, the ball is entirely in the air before it hits the cup. It therefore does not touch the playing field or the edge of the cup in which it is placed.

    trick shot

    The Trickshot provides a very high entertainment value, especially at a party. The ball must not be thrown in the normal way, but must additionally offer a trick in the throwing technique. This can be, for example, bouncing against a wall, rotating around your own axis or throwing through your legs.


    The rebuttal follows a hit in a team's last cup. In this case, a player on the losing team may aim at the opponent's cups until a throw fails. The goal here is to reduce as much as possible the number of remaining cups that need to be drunk.

    blow out

    In a blow-out, a thrown ball has already reached the opponent's cup, but has not yet touched the beer in it. It rotates, so to speak, inside the cup along the edge. The opposing team can use this period of time and try to get the ball out of the cup by blowing hard. The blowing must stop as soon as the ball has reached the surface of the beer.

    On Fire

    If one and the same player succeeds in hitting a cup three times in a row, he has reached the On Fire status. He can now throw as many times in a row until he misses a cup again.


    Practiced and experienced players like to make the starting conditions more difficult by clearly removing the point from which throwing is allowed from the field. For this purpose, a dropping point that is binding for everyone is determined and marked.


    If a player fails to sink a single ball over the course of a round, he is instructed to sit under the table to "shame" himself for the next round. This special rule is only for teams that know and appreciate each other well, because of course nobody should be seriously embarrassed.


    1) Is there a trick to hitting a cup safely?

    There are at least tips on how you are more likely to sink a ball. Start with the middle cup at the beginning. You may not reach it, but the probability of hitting one of the surrounding cups from this position is very high.

    2) How do I hold the ball correctly?

    There are only empirical values ​​for this, no uniform specifications. Holding with three fingers (thumb, index finger, middle finger) is particularly popular. Some swear by the two-finger position (thumb, index finger) because the ball is said to be more mobile. Give it a try, then practice in a consistent position over the long term to improve.

    3) What is the correct stance when throwing?

    The position of your feet is important. Don't stand up straight, but slightly sideways. If you're throwing with your right hand, your right foot should also be forward. The opposite is true for left-handers. The other foot is bent a little bit and helps you to keep your balance.

    4) Are there fixed throwing techniques?

    No, the type of technique you use is entirely up to you. However, it is highly recommended to watch as many games and players as possible to learn from the throwing techniques of others. You just have to make sure that your elbow is always behind the edge of the field and does not protrude over the edge of the table while throwing.

    5) Do special cups have to be used?

    The Official Rules call for the use of either red or blue (one color for each team) plastic cups, each with a capacity of 16 ounces. In the meantime, in the course of sustainability, stable and durable reusable cups made of polypropylene are increasingly being offered.

    6) Is beer always used during a game?

    Officially, beer is a central part of the game. Many players use light beer when it is foreseeable that several rounds will be played.

    7) Does a specific table need to be used?
    Under official competition conditions, in particular at a tournament, a beer pong table is used which has a length of 240 cm, a width of 61 cm and a height of 75 cm. In the private area you can of course also use a table whose dimensions are roughly similar.

    Sources beerpong-when-drinking-game-meets-corona-1063265 de/Beer_pong
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