Arrange ten (typically 18oz or 16oz) cups in a pyramid-like formation as the diagram shows on each side of a beer pong table (usually about 8ft long is standard). Fill each cup with the desired amount of beer (or other alcohol or even water if you so choose). Traditionally two 12oz beers are used to fill all ten cups, but this amount can vary depending on how much you’d like to drink.
Beer Pong is generally played by teams of two in which each team takes turn throwing a tennis ball into the other team’s cups. Once a ball lands in a cup, the cup is taken away and the opponent then drinks the contents of the cup. If both teammates hit cups, the balls are rolled back and they get to shoot again. The team that successfully hits all of the opponent’s cups wins the game. Since there are a vast amount of variation on the game, it is good to quickly go over things like racks and bouncing/swatting before the game begins. Winner of the game typically stays on the table and awaits next challenger. A list is generally formed to keep track of who is next to play.
Deciding Who Goes First
If it is the first game of the night, the first shot is decided by “Eyes.” This is when a player from each team shoots the ball while maintaining eye contact with their opponent throughout their shot. If both players miss or both players make it, their partners now shoot. This goes on until one person makes it and their opponent does not. The hit cup is not removed; the ball is taken out and rolled back to the team that sank the shot If it is not the first game, the winner of the previous game shoots first. If new teams are formed or if the winning team retires, “Eyes” is done again to see who goes first.
Elbow / Wrists Rule
This is usually an unspoken rule at house parties (or at least until someone breaks it). When shooting, players must keep their elbows behind the edge of the table. If a wrists rule is in effect, players must keep their wrists behind the edge of the table. Breaking this rule results in the shot not counting. If the shot is made, the infracting player may step back and re-shoot the ball. This tends to be the most argued-over rule in Beer Pong, due to the fact that it is sometimes difficult to determine if the elbow / wrist does indeed cross the plane of the table Yes, Females have to abide by this rule as well.
Twice per game, each team can request the cups to be rearranged at the start of their turn. This is known as re-racking, racking, or reforming. Racking may take place when you have remaining cups in the amount of 6, 4, 3, or 2. If you get balls back after making 2 in a row, it is still considered your turn and you may not get a rack. If requested, Last cup may always be pulled back and centered.
Bouncing / Swatting
If a ball hits the table and then goes into a cup (even by accident), the cup that the ball goes into is removed, as well as another cup of the defending player’s choice. If there are only 2 cups remaining, the bounce only counts as one cup, so it’s fairly useless to bounce on the last 2 cups….unless you’re simply trying to be a tough guy. We’ve heard some of the manlier men out there claim “Bouncing is for bitches” but we like this rule as it helps keep focus to the game, therefore speeding things up.
Fingering / Blowing
You may have heard the expression Guys Finger, Bitches Blow during a rule summary at the beginning of a game. Fingering is when the ball is spinning inside of a cup and the defending team pulls it out with his/her finger. Blowing is when the ball is spinning inside of a cup and it is blown out by the defending team. If not specifically called at the beginning of the game, neither fingering nor blowing count. This is due to the cheapness of the rule and the easiness of a player to blow out the ball, even after it has come into contact with the beer. If you don’t believe it just try putting a ball in one of the cups and blowing it out, it’s not very difficult (especially for those experienced sorority gals).
At any time in the game, a player may ask for the cups to be fixed. This is not to get confused with racking. This is simply putting the cups back to where they would have been had they not slid or been knocked out of position. Getting a beer pong rack helps keep things in good order.
Bitch Cup / Death Cup
Once a cup is made and is pulled up from the rack and before the contents have been consumed (unless you’re playing with water), the cup in a player’s hand (or even if they put the drink down) can be referred to as a bitch cup or death cup. If this cup is made by the opposing team, the game is automatically over and the team to sink the bitch cup is victorious. If the cup is still on the table and not in a hand and both balls land inside, it is 3 worth cups (2 additional chose by defending team). This is most common if players shoot at the same time or if the defending team is not paying attention.
On Table Rollbacks
After shooting if the ball rolls back to the shooter without hitting the floor (you may also grab it mid-air), they can shoot it again behind the back. The shot counts as one cup if made.
NBA Jams On Fire Rule
After a player hits two cups in a row, he can call “heating up.” If he makes his third shot he can announce that he’s on fireand he shoots until he misses. If the player fails to announce that he’s heating up he cannot call on fire.
Island / Solo / Iso / Lonely Cup
This rule has many different aliases, but the concept is the same. Each player once per game can call a specific cup if it is not touching any other cup (singled out due to surrounding cups being hit, not from the cup sliding away from the other cups on a wet table). If the called cup is hit, the defending team pulls the hit cup along with an additional cup of their choosing. If the shooter calls a specific cup and hits another, the ball is pulled out and the unintentionally hit cup remains on the table.
After the last cup is hit each player from the losing team has a chance to hit the remaining cups. Each player shoots until they miss, the order in which this is done does not matter. If there are racks left over they may be used now. Once both players miss and there are remaining cups, the game is over. If the players manage to hit all remaining cups the game goes into a 3 cup overtime.
Three cups are placed back into a triangle shape and the would-have-been winners shoot first. There are no racks permitted on overtime, however the last cup may be pulled back / centered.