Beer Pong Rules

Beer pong is a drinking game in which players throw a ping pong ball across a table with the intent of landing the ball into a cup of beer (or other drink) at the other end. It consists of two or more players per side. Each team sets up 6 to 10 cups in a triangular formation on their side of the table. They then take turns throwing the ping pong balls into the other sides cup. If the ball lands into the cup, that team must the drink the contents and remove the cup from the table. The first team to remove all the opponents cups wins. It’s also know as Beirut.

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What You Need to Play Beer Pong

  • Two teams each consisting of two people
  • A level playing surface (7-feet long by 3-feet wide is ideal)
  • (22) 12-ounce plastic cups (10 per team and 2 water cups)
  • Ping-pong balls (you need at least 2, but the more the better)
  • Beer (or another tasty beverage all players agree on)

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). The players must keep their elbows behind the edge of the table when shooting. 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. The easiest way to avoid this dispute is to stand back as far back as possible when shooting.


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. There are no re-racks in sudden death overtime.


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.

Fixing Cups

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. The easiest way to do this is to get a beer pong rack.


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. The reason it’s called Bitches Blow and Guys Finger is because it’s not very difficult to do.

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 and if the ball rolls back to the shooter without hitting the floor, 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 fire and 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. 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.