The Official Beer Pong rules summarized in this article are pulled from the World Series of Beer Pong (yes, a real thing) website, found here. The rules are standardized so there is no arguing between party members, and if you are really into it, you can register for the 2020 World Series of Beer Pong, hosted in the exhilarating City of Las Vegas.
If you want to add a little more structure to your party, setup a bracket for your party. Get a reusable bracket on a white board that you can use time and again. Or for bigger events, get a printed bracket with your party members names and cross them out as teams are eliminated.
- Table, 8’x2’x27.5″ dimensions
- 2 ping pong balls, 40mm diameter
- 20 16-oz cups, 4-5/8″ tall, 3-5/8″ top diameter
How to Play
These are the OFFICIAL rules, so there is a lot to go through. If you’re looking for a more relaxed version check out the Beer Pong (Casual) section of our website, with plenty of fun ways to customize for your party.
- Get your table oriented how you want, with room on either end for people to stand.
- Each team sets up their 10 cups in a “tight triangle” such that the rims of the cups are touching. The triangle should be set so the back line of cups is in line with the edge of the table, and the point of the triangle is facing the other end of the table.
- The WSOBP (World Series of Beer Pong) suggests using their racks to maintain the formation and ensure consistency.
- Fill each of the cups about 1/3 full of water. The water is not for drinking! Just to keep the cups in place and catch the ball so it doesn’t bounce back out.
The official rules say you can use any method to decide who gets to pick side/shooting order, which opens this up for some creativity. They suggest flipping a coin or a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors but you could also have a chugging or shotgun race as well. Maybe a fist fight even. Quick game of Scrabble? But then how do you decide who starts for Scrabble? Settle it with a game of Beer Pong.
Whichever team wins 1st choice can choose to either shoot 1st or 2nd, at which point the other team can choose which side of the table they want to be on. Or the choosing team can pick a table side, and let the other team decide if they want to shoot 1st or 2nd.
- The team that has been chosen to shoot 1st only gets 1 throw for their 1st turn, but after this initial turn both teams get 2 shots per round, 1 for each player.
Swatting vs. Interference
- The ball may be swatted or caught after it has made contact with a cup or the table (i.e. a bounce shot.) However, any cups knocked over while trying to swat the ball away will count as hit cups and be removed from the game.
- Once the ball is inside the cup, you cannot try to get it out (no fingering/blowing.)
- If a ball is interfered with before hitting either a cup or the table, a 1-cup penalty is invoked. The player who’s shot was interfered with gets to select the cup to be removed.
- If a player wants to shoot all of their shots as bounces, they must declare so at the beginning of the game. If this is the case, teams cannot swat their ball away until it hits a cup or bounces a 2nd time. These shots are only worth 1 cup.
- Any player shooting normally who takes a bounce shot has the risk of it being knocked away by the defending team as soon as it hits the table. If the ball does go in a cup after bouncing, it is worth 2 cups, 1st the cup it lands in, and the 2nd chosen by the defending team.
Re-racks (formally called Reformation)
- Cups should be removed from the playing area after a player hits it. It is the responsibility of the shooting team to wait until the cup is removed before shooting again.
- Reformations occur automatically when a team has 6, 3, or 1 cup remaining, even in the middle of a turn. Once a team gets 6, 3, or 1 cup remaining, the cups should be organized as one of the following:
- If both players on a team make their shot in 1 round, they get 1 rollback shot. Whether they make or miss this shot, it becomes the opposing teams turn.
- The same player cannot take more than 2 consecutive rollback shots.
- You may lean out over the table, but no part of your body can be resting on the table during/after your shot, other than a beer gut, which falls under the “Beer Gut Exception.”
- The table may not be moved by leaning against it during a shot, if it is the shot is considered a miss regardless of where it lands.
- Both of the shooter’s feet must be on the ground when they release the ball.
- Distractions are encouraged, however they must not interfere with the cups or flight of the ball being thrown.
- Props are allowed, but must not mess with a player’s shot (fans, one of those old timey fireplace blowers, etc.)
- Lighting devices also may not be used to impede the vision of the shooting team.
- Players may not visually block cups from the shooting team
- Players must stay behind their teams cups, you cannot go to the other side to taunt, talk trash, generally be a dickhead.
- If a player drops a ball into their own cup while waiting for their turn to shoot, the cup does not count as being hit and remains in play. If the player is not paying attention and the opposing team shoots the ball that then hits the player and falls into one of their cups, it does count and the cup is taken out of play.
- Players may not make contact with the table or their cups while the opposing team is taking their shots.
Ending the Game
- After 1 team hits their last cup, regardless of whether it was the 1st or 2nd shot for that round, the other team then gets the ball to shoot for redemption.
- If the team shooting for redemption needs to hit 2 or more cups, they get 1 ball back and must alternate shots until 1 player misses. If the players can hit all the remaining cups with no misses, they go to overtime. If either player misses, the game is over.
- If there is only 1 cup left for the team attempting redemption, the number of attempts they get is dependent on the previous round. If the opposing team hit their last cup on their 1st shot, the team attempting redemption only gets 1 shot to try and hit their last cup. If the opposing team hit the last cup on their 2nd shot for that round, the team attempting redemption gets 2 shots. If they hit the final cup, the game goes to overtime. Otherwise the game is over.
- If the opposing team sinks your last 2 or 3 cups in their last turn, you get 2 shots for redemption.
- Both teams setup 3 cups on the end of the table, as shown in the 3 cup reformation.
- The team that hit all of their cups 1st in 10 cup gets to shoot 1st in overtime, and get 2 shots in the 1st possession.
- The same redemption and rollback rules apply to Overtime.
And that’s it! Now you know the official beer pong rules. Feel free to use these exactly as they are, or as a base for your party and add a couple rules of your own. And make sure to sign up for the 2020 World Series of Beer Pong! Be sure to plug our site when you win.