How to Play Beer Pong. The Basics of Beirut Beer Drinking Game. Beer Pong, or Beirut, is a fun, interactive beer drinking game. Please play with caution. Beirut, or Beer Pong, has been been a popular game for decades and is especially well-known among college crowds, which makes sense since the game is said to have been originated at Dartmouth College. Though there are many forms of Beer Pong, the game Beirut happens to be played without paddles.
Though there are numerous variations of the game, here are the general rules of play. If playing with alcohol (playing with water or a non-alcoholic drink is certainly possible), please use caution and avoid driving.
- Place ten cups in a triangle shape at opposite ends of the table (Four in the back row, then three, tapering to two, and then one in the front.)
- Fill the cups a quarter to a third with beer (keep in mind that driving should not be an option after playing this game).
- Additionally, there should be a water cup for each side of the table. This is for cleaning the ping pong balls before taking your shot.
- The object is to throw the ball from your side of the table into the cups on the other side of the table, which are filled with beer/other alcoholic beverages. If you make a ping pong ball into an opponent’s cup, they have to drink the beverage down and the cup is removed from the table.
Playing the Game
- To determine who goes first, flip a coin. The winner of the coin toss can choose to go first or second. The team that goes first only shoots one ball (doesn’t matter which teammate shoots). From there on, each team gets two shots per turn (one shot per teammate).
- All players must shoot from behind the designated shot line. Otherwise, the thrower can use any throwing style he or she wishes, from overhand throw, underhand throw to drop-kicking it (good luck with that).
- If each teammate sinks their shot, they receive “rollbacks”. This means they both get to shoot again.
- If an opponent knocks it into your cup when it’s not their turn, it does not count.
- Distracting your opponents is allowed, so long as there is nothing thrown at the shooter or any physical contact to disrupt the shot. So, feel free to wave your arms and yell as much as you like. As more drinking ensues, players can often get creative in their methods of distraction; especially as inhibitions fly out the window. Also, if the distractor/defender touches the ball in any way before it hits the table or a cup, one cup from the defender’s side is considered “sunk”. One person from that team must pick a cup, drink the beer in it and remove it. If you touch the ball before it hits a cup or the table and you knock it into a cup, you must drink that cup and drink one additional cup. (Some advice…don’t touch the ball after it’s thrown by your opponent before it hits the table or a cup).
- As previously stated, once a ball strikes a cup, it is open to be defended by your opponent. To summarize, if the ball is touched before it hits the cup or the table, it’s considered “goaltending” and a cup is automatically sunk. If the ball hits the table or the cup in any way without going in, the defenders can swat it away or catch it.
- Knock-off shots! Some rules allow players making their toss to throw the ping pong ball as hard as they can in order to knock an opponent’s cup off the table. When this happens, that cup is considered sunk. However, this isn’t always an appropriate rule for certain environments. If you’re looking to minimize spill, you might opt to omit this rule.
- Blowing or using finger to knock out a shot. If the ball is inside a cup (rim shot), some variations of the game allow defending players to blow inside the cup or finger it in order to knock it out before it hits the beer. It’s up to you whether or not to include this rule.
- Overshooting: If you throw the ball and it goes off the end table without first hitting a cup or the table, it’s an overshoot. If this happens, the thrower has to drink one of his/her own cups. If either team has only one cup left, the overshoot rule does not apply for any team.
- The bounce rule. The thrower may attempt to bounce the ball into the opponents’ cups. If he/she bounces it and it makes it in, then the defending team must drink that cup as well as one other cup of their choice. Moreover, if a player attempts to bounce the ball into his/her opponents’ cups, the defending team can swat the ball away before it hits the cups. They may only do this if the ball is bounced first. If it is not bounced, it will be a goal tend. ***NOTE*** If the defending team swats a bounced ball and it happens to land in the throwing team’s cups, it does NOT count as a sunk cup. If it’s swatted and lands in the defending team’s cup, it does count as sunk.
- Being a klutz: If someone knocks the ball into their own cup, that cup counts as sunk and everyone gets to make fun of that person for being a klutz. If they drop the ball into their own cup accidentally, it counts. If someone knocks over their own cup, it counts.
- Consolidation: Each team is allowed only two “consolidations,” or re-racks, in a game. Before either teammate takes their shot, only when there are an appropriate number of cups left, they may ask their opponents to reposition the cups so they are easier to shoot at.
- Here are the re-racks available. Remember, each team only gets to ask for a re-rack twice in a game: with 6 cups left: 3-2-1 triangle (called a “delta”); with 4 cups left: 1-2-1 diamond; with 3 cups left: 1-2 triangle (also called a “delta”); with 2 cups left: Either one in front of the other (called a “runway”) or side-by-side. When there’s only one cup left, it should automatically be moved to near the end of the table and centered.
- Trifecta: If a tossed ball lands where three cups join without falling in, it’s called a Trifecta. All three of those cups are considered sunk.
End of the Game
- Pressure (or “sudden death”): When one team sinks the last cup, all shooting stops for a moment. If you are the first of your team to shoot and make it, your teammate does not get to shoot. Both balls are returned to your opponents for ‘throwbacks.’ Each member of the opposing team gets to shoot until they miss. If they sink all the remaining cups, you go into overtime. If they do not, they have lost.
- If two cups remain at the end of the game, and a team sinks both in a turn, this does not mean they get rollbacks, or an automatic victory. The other team still gets their attempts to force overtime.
- Overtime: The last cup remains (one on each side), and each team shoots in turn, until the last cup is sunk and the opposing teams’ throwbacks fail. The team that first sunk the last cup gets both balls for the first round of overtime. As before, if the first shooter on a team sinks the cup, it becomes the other team’s turn.
- The losers drink whatever beer remains in their opponents’ cups they have left un-sunk.