Beer Pong: Rules & How to Play

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Beer Pong stands out as one of the most loved drinking games ever created. In this guide, we’ll show you how to play Beer Pong and explain all the associated rules.

If you’ve already played it before, but just want to get better: check out these Beer Pong tips!

In Beer Pong, teams face off by skillfully tossing ping pong balls into the opponent’s cups filled with beer, aiming to eliminate them swiftly. The owners of the successfully hit cups must drink from them. This makes it an ideal game to kick off your party or just have a great time.

Typically, the game is played in a 2v2 format, but feel free to adjust the team size as players take turns throwing.

How to Play Beer Pong

Your Game Information




20-30 party cups, 2+ ping pong balls


5-10 minutes







Beer Pong Table Size

The standard Beer Pong table measures 8 feet (2.44 m) in length, 24 inches (61 cm) wide, and stands at a height of 27.5 inches (70 cm). But don’t stress – you can still play if your table is a bit smaller or larger.

It’s important that the table is rectangular to ensure sufficient space between the two teams. This foldable Beer Pong table is just right, plus it comes with 6 ping pong balls. So, if you’re eager to dive into this enjoyable party game but don’t have the materials or a table, this option has got you covered.

Beer Pong Cup Setup

For Beer Pong, you’ll need 22 plastic party cups.

  1. Set up two triangles, each consisting of 10 party cups, at both ends of the table.
    • Ensure that the cups touch each other at the rims. Following certain rules, it’s necessary for the cups to make contact at the rims.
  2. Pour drinks into the cups, filling them to about 1/2 to 2/3 of their capacity.
  3. Place two cups filled with water on the long edge of the table, one on each side.
    • These cups serve as the washing cups. Occasionally, the balls might get dirty or sticky from beer or dirt. Use these cups to clean the balls.

The Gameplay

To decide the starting team, use rock, paper, and scissors. The player who wins the best out of three rounds secures the starting position for their team.

Teams alternate turns, taking shots with ping pong balls at the other team’s cups. Each ball that lands in a cup eliminates that cup from the game. The team defending that cup must then drink its contents and remove the cup from play.

Each player on the throwing team can toss one ball per turn. Afterward, it’s the other team’s turn.

The game concludes when one team eliminates all the cups of the opposing team. That team is declared the winner!

However, there are additional rules to be aware of, and we’ll discuss those below.

Beer Pong Rules

Here are some additional rules to keep in mind while playing Beer Pong:

  1. Elbow Rule: Maintain your shooting form by keeping your elbows behind the table’s edge.
  2. Bounce Ball: If you bounce the ball on the table into a cup, that cup is removed, plus one extra chosen by the defending team.
    • If only two cups remain, bounce balls don’t count as two.
  3. Intercept Bounce: Bounce balls can be intercepted by catching or by slamming them away.
  4. Sniper Rule (Optional): If the defending team catches a bounced ball, they can throw it at the shooter’s head. If it hits, the shooter loses a cup. However, if the shooter catches the ball, they can immediately retaliate. A hit requires the shooting team to eliminate a cup.
  5. Re-racks: Once per game, rearrange the other team’s cups. A common choice is a diamond shape when a team has four cups left.
  6. Beer Pong Redemption Rule: When a team clears all cups, the game isn’t over. The defending team gets one final turn, known as ‘redemption.’
  7. Blowing: If a thrown ball spins inside a cup, the defending team can blow it out before it touches the beer.
  8. Rollbacks: If a ball rolls back to the throwing team without touching the ground, and they retrieve it before the defending team, they have the opportunity to re-throw the ball.
  9. Double Hit: When two balls land in the same cup, an additional adjacent cup is eliminated. The shooting team can select which extra cup to remove.

All the following rules are optional, allowing players to choose the ones they prefer. If desired, you can include all of them, but in such a case, it is recommended to print and display them near the playing field for everyone’s reference.

Death Cup

Especially after a few rounds, the defending team might forget to remove an eliminated cup. The death cup rule dictates that when this cup is hit again, the game comes to an end.

Ring of Fire

This rule introduces another winning method. If you successfully hit the three cups on the triangle’s corners, along with the central one, you win the game. Eliminating these four cups forms a circle, known as the Ring of Fire or Ring of Death.

Bermuda Triangle

When only three cups are left, you are allowed to request a re-rack only if these cups form a triangle touching each other.


Similar to the basic blowing rule, the defending team can use one finger to lift a spinning ball outside of the cup.

NBA Jams On Fire Rule

After scoring two cups in a row within one round, a player can yell “Heat Up!” If they then hit a third cup, they can continue throwing until they miss.


If the defenders have a single cup not touching any others, shout “Island!” and target that cup. Hitting it earns your team an additional cup. This rule applies when there are at least two other cups touching, also known as ‘landmass.’


Winning without losing any of your own cups results in the losing team being ‘skunked.’ The losing players must then perform a predetermined assignment, typically involving stripping naked and running around the area.

The Troll

If your team loses without you hitting a single cup, you must take your drink and sit under the table for the next game.

Trick Shot

Execute trick shots by shooting behind the back or bouncing off walls or the ceiling. A successful hit earns you another chance for a trick shot.

Other Games Like Beer Pong

Beer Pong – F.A.Q.

How many cups for beer pong?

You will need at least 20 cups, but preferably 22. Each team will have 10 cups on their playing field, plus one extra cup containing water. This cup functions as a washing cup, as some balls can get dirty when landing on the ground.

How many throws are there in beer pong?

Each team shoots at least twice per turn, one shot for each player. However, many do three shots per turn, where players switch between one and two shots.

How long is a game of beer pong?

One game usually lasts between 15 and 30 minutes. However, this may vary depending on the throwing skills of both teams.

How do you get better at beer pong?

You can increase your chances of hitting a cup by mentally focusing on the cup that you want to hit. Also, try to only move your lower arm in one smooth movement while keeping your upper arm at a 90-degree angle. This ensures a throwing curve that increases the chances of landing your ball in a cup.

Do you have to drink the beer in beer pong?

You don’t have to; this depends on what you decide before starting the game. You can also fill the cups with tap water and drink out of your own cup, as some may prefer not to share cups with others.

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