How To Play Beer Pong

How to Play Beer Pong? | Beer Pong Rules Explained

Last Updated on November 4, 2020 by

What is the one game that can liven up any party? Ask anyone, and the answer would be beer pong. This fun little game requires very little investment and can be played with thing only a few cups and a number of ping pong balls. However, it does require a lot of skill; and a little bit of luck is also involved.

But how do you play it? To the uninitiated, the rules may seem a bit difficult to grasp at first. But if you sit through a couple of rounds, you will quickly be able to pick it up. If you are still not sure how to play it, well, this guide should give you enough information to help you out.

In this article, we will look at how to play beer pong by going through all the essential rules.

(Read More: Best Beer Pong Tables

How to Play Beer Pong

As we already mentioned above, the rules of beer pong are simple, at least when you are playing at home. For a competition, however, there is some essential structure that you have to follow. However, the basic structure of the game is quite similar in both regards.

First, let us look at the things that you will need and how to set everything up.

Setting Up the Table

A beer pong game requires a table, a few ping pong balls, also called beer pong balls in this particular case, and twenty 16-ounce party cups; 10 for each side. If you do not have twenty cups, you can also play with 12 by placing six cups on each side. The standard beer pong/tailgate table size should be eight feet in length.

However, the metrics do not matter much if you are not playing professionally. For a party, you can get away with any table size you want. Also, it is better to have more than two beer pong balls since it is quite easy to lose one.  You might also want to keep a cup of clean water at each side to wash the balls. The last thing you want is to drink contaminated beer.

To set up the table, you will have to make a triangle with the ten cups on each side. You have to place it so that there are four cups in the closest row to your end of the table, three in the next row, two after that, with the tip of the triangle having only one cup.

If you are playing with six cups, you have to start from the second row of your side, which means the placement becomes three, two, and one.

Now you must decide who goes first. It can be done in a couple of ways. You could flip a coin, for instance. But the most established rule is that the two teams try to score a cup by keeping eye contact with each other. If a team successfully scores, he goes first.

That is it; now you are ready to head on to the real game.

Basic Rules of the Game

Each team takes a turn trying to throw the ball into a cup. Whether you bounce, it is up to you. Usually, there is no rule again bouncing the ball off the table. If you can successfully drop the ball in a cup, the opposing team has to drink the beer from the cup and put the empty cup at the side.

A good strategy is to aim for the middle of the triangle rather than the sides. That way, you have a better chance of scoring. And if your opponent scores, alternate your drinking between yourself and your partner. If you take the first cup, let your partner take the second one.

The goal is to get the other team to drink all ten cups before they can do the same for you.

When you get down to four cups, that is, if you successfully get rid of 6 cups of beer, rearrange them in a diamond shape. Again, when it gets down to down to two, you can place it in a line. Both teams have a better chance of scoring that way.

Advanced Rules

With the basic system of the game out of the way, we can dive into some more details. There are a bunch of different rules that some people follow when it comes to beer pong. It is up to you whether you play by these rules. But keep in mind, the host has the final say in the matter.

So if the host of the party says that this is a rule, you must follow it. Some of the most common rules like these are given in the following section, check out things to do in Belgrade.

Elbow / Wrists Rule

This one is mostly an unspoken rule and is followed universally. The rule is simple; when throwing the ball, your elbow or wrist must stay behind the table. It cannot cross the edge, or else your shot will not count.


Re-racking is also quite common in most house parties. When you are down to the final four shots, you can ask the opponent’s cups to be stacked again. You can again ask it when you have two cups remaining on the other side.


The bouncing rule rewards the person who is able to make a shot after bouncing the ball off the table. According to this rule, if you can successfully hit a bounced shot, not only is the cup that you score is removed, but also another cup based on what your opponent chooses. It does not count in the last two cups.

On Fire Rule

The on-fire rule is quite an interesting one for the game. If a person successfully hits two cups in a row, he can announce that he is “heating up.” If he can take another shot after that, he goes on a shooting spree until he finally misses.


Not many people follow this rule as it might extend the game unnecessarily. In this system, if you lose all the cups on your side, you and your partner get a chance to shoot your opponent’s cups. You can keep shooting until you miss a shot If you successfully hit all the cups, the game goes to sudden death with three cups on each side.


This is another rule that is mostly avoided by players. If you make a shot, and the ball is spinning inside the cup, your opponent has a chance to blow the ball out of the cup. Your shot will count as missed if he manages to push the ball out of the cup. The problem with this rule is, it is very easy to blow a spinning beer pong ball out of the beer cup, and so it does not seem fair.

Final Thoughts

Beer pong is a simple game when you think about it. The rules are easy to follow, and the game is extremely fun and exciting; A perfect combination for any house-party.

We hope our guide on how to play beer pong could help you get rid of any confusion you might have had about the game.

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