The Flip Cup Game: Rules & How to Play

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If you’re seeking a quick and enjoyable drinking game with cups that doesn’t require the time commitment of Beer Pong, the Flip Cup Game is an ideal choice. This engaging team-based game combines speed, coordination, and friendly competition.

The objective is simple: teams race to consume their beverages and flip their cups before their opponents. Flip Cup works well as a standalone game or as a lively addition to your annual beer olympics.

This guide will walk you through the entire gameplay and rules, making it easy for you to start playing and having fun right away!

Your Game Information




20-30 party cups, 2+ ping pong balls


5-10 minutes







How to Play Flip Cup

Flip Cup is played on a flat surface or table that’s elevated above the ground, allowing players enough space to flip cups standing just over the edge of the table with their fingers.

Typically, the cups are filled with beer, but you can also opt for any other beverage of your choice; it doesn’t have to be alcoholic.

Once you have everything you need, it’s time to set up the game and get ready to play!

Setting Up

Here’s a step-by-step guide to setting up the Flip Cup game:

  1. Place the plastic cups in a row along the edge of the table, spacing them about an arm’s length apart. Each player should have their cup.
  2. Pour an equal amount of the chosen drink into each cup to maintain fairness.
  3. Divide the players into two teams.
  4. Position each team on opposite sides of the table, facing their respective cups.
  5. Ensure there’s enough space for each player to stand and move comfortably around the table.

Once you’ve setup the game, you’re ready to play. The gameplay is described below.

The Gameplay

Starting Signal:

  • Decide on a starting signal, whether it’s a countdown, a whistle, or a simple “Go!” Ensure everyone starts at the same time.

Drinking Stage:

  • Simultaneously, players from both teams must drink the contents of their cup as swiftly as possible.
  • Once a player finishes their drink, they advance to the flipping stage.
stepwise overview of how to play the flip cup game

Flipping the Cup:

  • After emptying the cup, the player attempts to flip it upside down by flicking the rim with their fingers. The cup must complete a full 360-degree rotation to count as a successful flip.
  • If the cup doesn’t flip, the player must try again until successful.

Passing the Turn:

  • After a successful flip, the player tags the next person in line on their team, who repeats the process.


  • The game continues in this manner until all team members have successfully flipped their cups.
  • The first team to flip all their cups wins the round.

To keep the game fair and enjoyable, it’s crucial to have some rules in place. Here are some commonly used Flip Cup rules:

Flip Cup Rules

  1. No Hands on the Table:
    • Players are not allowed to use their hands to steady the cups or assist in flipping. This ensures a fair and challenging game.
  2. Complete Flip:
    • The cup must make a full 360-degree rotation in the air to be considered a successful flip. This adds a skill element to the game.
  3. Respectful Conduct:
    • Maintain a spirit of sportsmanship and respect for fellow players. Participation is more important than winning, creating a positive and enjoyable environment.

These rules contribute to a balanced and enjoyable Flip Cup experience. Have fun playing!

Flip Cup Game Variations

1. Batavia Downs

This variation introduces a circular table and a counterclockwise rotation, adding an interesting dynamic to the Flip Cup game. Here’s a summary:

Circular Table Variation:

  • A circular table is used for this variation.
  • A minimum of 4 players is required to play.


  • Two players positioned opposite each other start simultaneously with the drinking phase.
  • As players finish their drinks and successfully flip their cups, the turn passes to the person situated to their right (in a counterclockwise direction).
  • After a successful flip, players quickly refill their cups. This ensures that if the player to their left accomplishes a successful flip, they can continue immediately.

Cycle Continuation:

  • This cycle continues until someone is unable to flip their cup before the person to their left successfully flips theirs.

This variation adds a strategic element to the game, requiring players to stay attentive and maintain a quick pace to keep up with the counterclockwise rotation.

2. Survivor Flip Cup

This variation adds an intriguing twist to the Flip Cup game. Here’s a summary of the gameplay:

Twist Variation:

  • The gameplay is very similar to that of the original game, with an added twist.

Round Loss Consequence:

  • After a round loss, the team votes to eliminate one of its members.

Remaining Players’ Obligation:

  • However, the remaining players are still obligated to consume and flip the same number of cups as their opponents.

Sacrifice Mechanism:

  • This means that one player needs to sacrifice themselves to flip and drink an extra cup.

This twist introduces a strategic and decision-making element to the game, adding an extra layer of excitement. Players must weigh the importance of each team member and make strategic choices for the overall benefit of the team. Enjoy the challenge!

Wrap Up

The Flip Cup game indeed promotes teamwork, friendly competition, and enjoyable moments with friends. It’s a great way to add some fun to gatherings with friends.

Organizing a sequence of similar drinking games with cups and hosting a championship of different games is an excellent idea for friend weekends. It keeps the atmosphere lively and adds variety to the fun.

If you love Beer Pong and are looking for something different, there are other fun games to explore. Take, for instance, Beer Brawl, a 3v3 game where players compete in 1v1 rounds, each having three cups as lives. The outcome of each round determines the fate of the next two players in the following round. It’s a unique experience worth trying!

As always, it’s essential to emphasize responsible drinking. Be aware of your limits, keep an eye on each other, and ensure everyone is having a good time in a safe and enjoyable manner. Cheers to making memorable moments with friends!

Flip Cup – FAQ

Where did the flip cup come from?

 Some college students in Hoboken, New Jersey invented this game almost 40 years ago, in 1987.

Can you use two hands in flip cup?

No, you are only allowed to flip a cup with one hand. Usually, you keep your other hand on your back.

How do you flip a cup perfectly?

The trick is to give the cup a slight tick with just your fingers. Your palm should be pointing upwards, and your fingers should move towards your palms while ticking the cup.

What do you say before flip cup?

Usually, you count down from three to one, after which one person shouts “Go!”

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