Beer Pong is a hugely popular party game for anyone of legal drinking age. It’s a game of tactics and skill as much as it’s a drinking game, so you don’t stand a chance as a newcomer if you don’t know how to win at Beer Pong matches.
Unlike some drinking games, Beer Pong is a highly competitive team game. You’re not in it for yourself, you’re in it for your whole team. If you start taking your eyes off the ball, you literally jeopardise your entire team’s chances of winning. And there are many ways to jeopardise your team!
Learning how to win at Beer Pong can do wonders for your self-image. You want to be in the winning team when the party is over, right? You don’t want to be on the losing side and be remembered as that. Let’s get you started!
How To Win At Beer Pong: Your Table
Beer Pong is typically played using a long table – 7 to 8 feet long and 2 feet wide – although any type of long table will do. Each team is given 10 plastic party cups, so you need to supply 20 cups in total; these are 16 or 18 ounce cups you can get from the supermarket.
Both teams place their cups in a pyramid formation at their end of the table, like in this photo above. The row closest to their end of the table has 4 cups , while the last row at the middle of the table is one cup.
Fill all the cups up with beer. Make sure you also set aside a separate cup and fill it with water. This cup used for cleaning balls that drop on the floor.
How To Win At Beer Pong: The Teams
Beer Pong is played in teams of 1 or 2 people and no more. If you’ve got 2 players per team, each team gets 2 balls instead of only 1. You can also only have 2 teams playing per match at any one time.
If there are a lot of people at your party who want to have a go, you can have pairs of teams facing off against each other. You can also structure your beer pong games into quarter finals and semi finals, so all the teams can work their way towards taking part in the finals. You will need to provide referees for every match if you go down this second route.
The 2 teams will decide who will go first by using an eye-to-eye challenge. This is where a member of each team will look directly into the eyes of their opponent while attempting to throw their ball in an opposing cup. Whoever succeeds is the team to start.
How To Win At Beer Pong: Game Play
Game play goes like this: the first team stands at their end of the table and tries to land their ball into a cup belonging to the opposition.
If the ball is successful, the opposition takes the cup off the table and drinks its contents. The first team continues to play until their ball misses the cup. If that happens, then the opposition takes the next turn.
The first team to eliminate all of their opponents’ cups is the winner.
How To Win At Beer Pong: Tips
There are a few rules you need to know if you’re going to play Beer Pong well:
1. How you place your elbows
Elbow must be kept behind the edge of the table at all times when taking a shot. If the shot is taken with elbows over the table, return the ball to the player so they can retake their shot.
2. How to use re-reracking
Re-racking is when the opposing side is down to only 2, 3, 4, or 6 cups, giving you the opportunity to rearrange their pyramid to a square or triangle. Anyone can ask for a re-rack, but each team can only ask for 2 re-racks per game.
If there’s only one cup left, you can also ask for a re-rack (e.g. Centering the cup). Re-racks are strategic plays and work best for later in the match.
3. How to bounce the ball
If you bounce the ball on the table and it lands in a cup, you can ask for a second cup to be removed as well as the first cup. If you do decide to bounce a ball, be aware the opposing team has the right to try to swat it
Like re-racking, bounce shots work best when the opponent is down to their last few cups. It’s also best played when their players are being distracted.
4. “Heating up” and “fire”
A player who lands a shot twice in a row can call out “heating up” and then “fire” if they take 3 shots in a row. They can’t say “fire” unless they’ve called out “heating up” first.
After “fire” has been called, the player can continue taking shots until they miss a shot. Make sure the opponent is aware of “heating up” and “fire” callouts as they happen.
5. “Island” or “solo”
A lonely cup, as it’s known, is a cup isolated from the other cups either because it slipped down the table or the cups surrounding it have been removed. Players are allowed to target these cups once per game – by calling out “island” or “solo” before throwing their ball – so long as this cup is not touching another.
If the ball lands in the lonely cup, the player can ask another cup be removed along with it. If the player calls out the lonely cup, but the ball hits another cup, both cups stay on the table.
6. A death cup <shudder>
A death cup is a cup that has been take out of a formation and is currently in someone’s hand, making it legit for a shot by the opposing team. If the ball lands in the death cup, the game is over.
Wondering how to win at beer pong with a death cup? Wait for the other team to be distracted before making your move.
How To Win At Beer Pong: Mini Tricks
7. The ball itself
Make sure you wet your ball in the cup of water before taking a shot. A dry ball is generally harder to aim and can only travel a shorter way.
8. Something else elbow-related
Make sure you don’t tell anyone in the opposite team about the elbows thing, if they’re not aware of it. That way, every time their elbows go over the table and the ball is returned to them, you can frustrate the heck out of them.
The more frustrated a player is, the more they’re going to mess up their eventual shot.
9. There are 3 types of shot
Know your shots: the bounce shot mentioned already, the arc shot (where the ball is released higher so it drops in the cup) while a fastball shot is a quick, direct shot aimed at the cup. Don’t just throw the ball without thinking about it first.
10. Distraction pays off
Make sure everyone knows to keep their eyes on the table at all times to avoid any sneak shots. Teams are allowed to distract opponents during game play so make sure you do. You don’t want the death cup to happen to you!
What Happens When You Win Beer Pong
So what happens when a team is successful at Beer Pong and wins the day? The losing team has to drink all the remaining beer.
For more moves for how to win at Beer Pong, check out this video by Super Splash Bros (not affiliated) who share their unique take on the game:
Knowing how to win at Beer Pong games in advance of those matches will put in you in good stead. Beer Pong is a thinking game as much as it is a drinking game, and some players take it really seriously (especially after a few drinks). You will want to come out of this night on the winning side. Here’s to your next success!