|Other name(s)||Beirut, six-cup|
|Players||Two teams of two players each|
|Setup time||5 minutes|
|Playing time||15-30 minutes|
|Skill(s) required||accuracy, hand–eye coordination|
|Material(s) required||table, plastic cups, ping pong balls|
Beer pong, also known as Beirut, is a drinking game in which players throw a ping pong ball across a table with the intent of landing the ball in a cup of beer on the other end. The game typically consists of opposing teams of two or more players per side with 6 or 10 cups set up in a triangle formation on each side. Each team then takes turns attempting to shoot ping pong balls into the opponent's cups. If a ball lands in a cup (known as a 'make'), the contents of that cup are consumed by the other team and the cup is removed from the table. The first team to eliminate all of the opponent's cups is the winner.
Origin and name
The game was originally believed to have evolved from the original beer pong played with paddles which is generally regarded to have had its origins within the fraternities of Dartmouth College in the 1950s and 1960s, where it has since become part of the social culture of the campus. The original version resembled an actual ping pong game with a net and one or more cups of beer on each side of the table.  Eventually, a version without paddles was created and the names Beer Pong and Beirut were adopted in some areas of the United States sometime in the 1980s.
Bucknell University's student-run newspaper, The Bucknellian, claims Delta Upsilon fraternity members at Bucknell created "Throw Pong", a game very similar to beer pong, during the 1970s. "Throw Pong" was then brought to Lehigh University by fraternity brothers who visited Bucknell and this led to the creation of the version of beer pong that is played today.
In some places, Beer Pong refers to the version of the game with paddles, and Beirut to the version without. However, according to a CollegeHumor survey, beer pong is the more common term than Beirut for the paddle-less game.
The origin of the name "Beirut" is disputed. A 2004 op-ed article in the Daily Princetonian, the student newspaper at Princeton University, suggested that the name was possibly coined at Bucknell or Lehigh University around the time of the Lebanese Civil War. Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, was the scene of much fighting during the war, particularly mortar fire.
Beer pong is usually played with two teams of two to four players each. Each team begins the game by standing at either end of the table behind their rack of cups.
Although the game is typically played on either a ping pong table or a folding banquet table, enthusiasts may create a personalized table for use by friends and visitors. In general, this will be a plywood board cut to proper size, sometimes painted with sports, school, or fraternity symbols and given a liquid-proof coating. Some companies sell tables, including portable and inflatable tables. However, the game can be played on any flat surface.
The most common cups used are 18-US-fluid-ounce (530 ml) disposable plastic cups (such as Solo cups) with ridge-lines which can be used precisely to measure the amount of beer to be poured into the cup. On each side of the table, teams assemble equilateral triangles with a convergence point focusing on the other team. Games typically use ten cups. Each team usually also has a separate cup of water used to rinse off the ball. Modern day beer pong has evolved past the ping pong table and on to regulation sized Beer Pong Tables. A regulation size table is 8' × 2' × 27.5" and is recognized by The World Series of Beer Pong (WSOBP) as being the standard in beer pong table game play.
An inexpensive pale lager or light beer of 3.2–5% ABV is sometimes preferred because of the large quantities consumed during the course of several games. Sometimes under house rules, there might be cups of other liquors used during the game. For non-drinkers, the game may be played without beer, as is done at Utah State University, where alcohol is not allowed on campus; root beer is used instead. For sanitary reasons, the game may also be played with cups of water that players do not drink from, instead drinking from a separate cup of beer or alcohol.
Traditionally, the game of beer pong has been played by countless variations of rule sets. In recent years, organizations such as The World Series of Beer Pong have put forth "official" rules. Typically, players abide by a uniform set of "house rules" which are often consistent within one university or region of the country (e.g. "West Coast rules") or may vary on a "house-by-house" basis. Number of cups, bouncing, re-racking, amount of alcohol, distance shots must be taken from, etc. may all vary. All house rules should be posted or verbally stated and understood by both teams before the game starts.
The order of play varies - both players on one team can shoot, followed by both players on the other team, or players on opposite teams can alternate back and forth. Cups that are made must immediately have its contents drank and be removed from play. Some rule sets allow for "re-racking" (also known as "reforming", "rearranging", "consolidation", and other names), which is a rearrangement of a team's remaining cups after some have been removed. The formations, number of cups, when to rearrange and so on, depend on the rule set. For example, a team with three remaining cups may ask the other team to "re-rack" the cups into a single triangle formation.
Common house rules allow players to 'finger' or blow the ball out of the cup if the ball spins around the inner rim. Another common house rule states that if a team makes both shots during their turn, a 'rollback' occurs allowing each player to shoot again. In the World Series of Beer Pong rules, only a single-ball 'rollback' occurs resulting in a three cup maximum that can be made per turn.
Before shooting, teams may dunk the ping pong balls into cups of water in order to wash off the balls. However, research has shown that the wash cups can still hold bacteria such as E. coli. To avoid any illness, many players put water in the cups instead of beer, keeping a separate beer on the side to drink from. In doing so, it removes the possibility of getting sick or drinking any dirt that may transfer from the ball into the cup.
There are three common ways to shoot in beer pong: the arc, the fastball (or "laser, snipe"), and the bounce shot. The most common throwing technique is the arc shot, where one grasps the ping pong ball with the tips of the thumb and forefinger, holds the arm at an angle with the ball upwards, then throws using a gentle elbow motion holding the upper arm parallel with the table.
Some players throw "fastball" style which uses more of a hard chopping motion to send the ball in a more direct line toward the intended target cup. A fastball shot may be favorable if house rules dictate that a cup knocked over is removed from the table, in which case a fastball can eliminate multiple cups if thrown hard enough.
A bounce shot is performed by bouncing the ball towards the cups. Depending on house rules, if the other team has the opportunity to swat away a bounced ball, a bounce shot may be worth more than one cup.
Winning the game
If a team makes their last cup, the other team loses unless they can make all of their remaining cups; this is called a rebuttal or redemption. If the losing team can hit their redemption shots, then the game is forced into overtime where three cups are used instead of the normal ten cups.
Another 'house rule' can be stated before or during the game in the midst of a shutout. A shutout in beer pong occurs if one team makes all ten of their cups and the opposite team makes none of their cups. If the shutout does occur, the losing team must do whatever the two teams decided on, such as going streaking (naked lap) or drinking a large quantity of beer.
Also depending on 'house rules', there are other ways to end the game. Cups that were accidentally left in the rack after being made are known as death/kill cups. These cups will immediately end the game if made again.
The game may have several associated health risks. As with any activity involving alcohol, beer pong may cause players to become drunken or even intoxicated enough to suffer alcohol poisoning. Also, the supposed cleaning effects of the water "dunk" cup may be offset by bacteria in the cups.
Some municipalities and states have attempted to ban beer pong, either from bars or in general, due to the belief that it encourages binge drinking (see Health Effects above). In Oxford, Ohio, where Miami University is located, the city council tried to ban the game from being played outdoors. In Arlington, Virginia and Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, bar owners were told to stop allowing the game to be played in their establishments. In the fall of 2007, Georgetown University officially banned all beer pong paraphernalia such as custom-built tables and the possession of many ping-pong balls.
In many states, players have taken to placing water in cups in order to hold organized beer pong tournaments legally in bars. Some examples of this can be found in Michigan, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
Tournaments and leagues
Beer pong tournaments are held in the United States at the local, regional, and national levels.
The World Series of Beer Pong (WSOBP), hosted by bpong.com, is the largest beer pong tournament in the world. WSOBP IV, held in January 2009 at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, had a $50,000 grand prize and attracted over 800 participants from the US and Canada. WSOBP V, held in January 2010, attracted over 1,000 participants, and attracted teams from Ireland, Scotland, Germany and Japan, each of which voiced their aspirations to further the sport in their home countries. The World Beer Pong Tour has stops in various cities and cash prizes as well.
A more common organization of beer pong games are leagues which operate on a local or regional level. Ordinarily, a group of pong enthusiasts will create teams (partnerships) and play weekly against each other. Sometimes, the leagues have websites, rankings and statistics, while others have been started by college students with the goal of intramural competition such as at University of California, Santa Barbara with the "Isla Vista Beer Pong League", and at New York University.
The Wall Street Journal, Time and other media outlets have reported on the increase in businesses selling beer pong paraphernalia, such as tables, mats, cups, or clothes. Last Cup: Road to the World Series of Beer Pong is a documentary which follows some competitive players as they prepare for the WSOBP II and ultimately compete against one another for the $20,000 grand prize. This documentary, directed by Dan Lindsay, premiered at the CineVegas film festival on June 13, 2008. WSOBP V attracted further media attention, with writers from Maxim magazine and ESPN The Magazine attending, and it was featured on The Jay Leno Show on January 8, 2010, and also on G4's Attack of the Show! on January 11, 2010. Rick Reilly wrote an entire column about The World Series of Beer Pong IV for ESPN The Magazine.
Time magazine recently had an article on the popularity of beer pong and posted a video on their website. In both, players claimed beer pong was a sport, rather than a game—similar to billiards and darts.
The game has been a recurring segment on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, with host Fallon playing against female celebrity guests such as Betty White, Serena Williams, Anna Kournikova, Charlize Theron and Jessica Alba.
Road Trip: Beer Pong, a sequel to the 2000 comedy Road Trip, featured the game prominently. Agnes Scott College, where most of the movie was filmed, did not want to be listed in the credits after complaints from students.
Beer pong is also referred to in the song "I Like It Like That" by Hot Chelle Rae in the bridge of the song.
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas has a scene where Harold and Kumar are seen playing Beer Pong as a challenge at a party.
A scene in the 2012 comedy Project X has an adult play beer pong with the high schooler partygoers.
Bud pong was the branded version of beer pong that brewer Anheuser-Busch said involved the drinking of water, not Budweiser or any other beer. In the summer of 2005, the company began marketing "bud pong" kits to its distributors. Francine I. Katz, vice president for communications and consumer affairs, was reported in The New York Times as saying that bud pong was not intended for underage drinkers because promotions were held in bars, not on campuses. And it did not promote binge drinking, she said, because official rules call for water to be used, not beer.
The New York Times quoted a bartender at a club near Clemson University as saying she had worked at several bud pong events and had "never seen anyone playing with water. It's always beer. It's just like any other beer pong."
Some expressed incredulity at Anheuser-Busch's public statements. Henry Wechsler, director of the College Alcohol Study at the Harvard School of Public Health, said: "Why would alcohol companies promote games that involve drinking water? It's preposterous," while advertising news site Adjab opined that "someone playing bud pong with water is about as likely as a teenage kid using the rolling paper he bought at the convenience store to smoke tobacco."
However, the practice of playing with water has become increasingly common on college campuses, due to the cost saving effects. Instead of drinking the beer from a glass each time a player sinks a shot, the player simply takes a shot of liquor or a sip from their own drink each time the opposing team scores. This is usually done when there isn't enough beer to accommodate a large number of games during the party.
In July 2008, JV Games Inc. released a downloadable video game for the Wii console called Frat Party Games: Beer Pong. After much outrage by parent and university groups, the game was renamed Frat Party Games: Pong Toss and all references to alcohol were removed.
- Shott, Chris (October 7, 2005). "The Pong Arm of the Law". The Washington City Paper. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-07-27.
- Banjo, Shelly (29 August 2007). "Thwock, Gulp, Kaching! Beer Pong Inspires Inventors". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 14 February 2011.
- Rolph, Amy (2007-12-16). "Harried students walk a tightrope". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2007-12-27.
- Corbett, Jill (2005). "Beer Pong!". UWeekly. Archived from the original on 2008-12-06. Retrieved 2007-07-27.
- Peter Fimrite, Hordes run, walk or stumble at Bay to Breakers, San Francisco Chronicle
- Eisenberg, Jeff. "Festive, friendly atmosphere at Coliseum", Press-Enterprise, Sept. 13, 2008.
- Flynn, Courtney; Wang, Andrew (2007-07-22). "Parents guilty of permitting underage drinking". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-07-27.
- Larkin, Daphne (2007-12-14). "Facebook party photos result in sanctions, discussions at U-32 High School". Montpelier Barre Times-Argus. Retrieved 2007-07-27.
- Michelle Joline (9 September 2011). "Bucknell celebrates its part in the invention of Beer Pong". The Bucknellian. Retrieved 12 September 2011.
- Lippman, Ted (1972-04-23). "About Beer-Pong". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-26.
- Berner, Laura (2004). "On language, Princeton style: The history of 'Beirut'". Daily Princetonian. Retrieved 2007-07-27.
- "l1". Wesleyan.edu. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
- "" + artTitle.replace("-","") + " - " + "The Heights" + " - " + "Features" + "". Bcheights.com. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
- "Beer Pong vs. Beirut: What is the game called?". CollegeHumor. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-07-18. Retrieved 2007-07-25.
- Berner, Laura (2004). "On language, Princeton style: The history of 'Beirut'". Daily Princetonian. Retrieved 2007-07-27.
- "Advice on building Beirut Tables". Terrapin Tables. 2005. Retrieved 2007-07-27.
- "Table of dreams", April 18, 2008, The Daily Athenaeum
- "The ultimate beer pong table", Maxim magazine
- "America's Nightly Scoreboard", Fox Business Network
- Van Westen, Brandon (2007). "College Connoiseur Talks About Beer". The Collegian (South Dakota State University). Retrieved 2012-08-20.
- "Students At Utah State Play 'Drinking Game' With Root Beer Instead". KUTV-TV. Archived from the original on 2009-01-13.
- Beer pong rules, Beerpong.com
- "Beer Pong Rules". Bpong.com. Archived from the original on 2008-05-25. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
- "Rules without paddles". National Beer Pong League. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
- "World Series of Beer Pong rules". Bpong.com. Archived from the original on 23 December 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
- Clay Travis, "The essence of beer pong bacteria"[dead link] CBS Sportsline
- Nour Hammour, "Beer pong bacteria", The GW Hatchet
- Salmon, Matt "Road to Glory", UWM Leader, Jan. 25, 2006
- Granwehr, Meredith Austin (December 1, 2007). "College Drinking: Out of Control". Hartford Courant. Retrieved 2007-12-27.
- Collins, Bob (January 8, 2008). "Sink it. Drink it." Minnesota Public Radio.
- Castellano, John (August 2006). "Ex-Steeler looks to sway support of Eagles' fans". Philadelphia Inquirer.
- Strader, Sean (February 23, 2007). "Council vote freezes beer pong ban". The Oxford Press. Archived from the original on 2009-02-18. Retrieved 2007-07-27.
- "Several campus bars punished for infractions", The News-Gazette
- "News | The Hoya". Web.archive.org. Retrieved 2014-05-20.
- Haire, Meghan. "The War Against Beer Pong", Time, July 31, 2008
- Hennessey, Kathleen (January 5, 2009). "Vegas beer pong competition gets (almost) serious". USATODAY.COM. Retrieved 2009-01-05.
- "Beer pong for money, not just getting drunk", June 10, 2009, NJ.com
- Michaelson, Elex (November 11, 2008). "Big Industry Flows From Beer Pong". San Diego Channel 6 News. Archived from the original on 2009-02-18. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
- Smith, Ashley Nikole (April 24, 2007). "Students Create I.V. Beer Pong League". Daily Nexus (University of California). Archived from the original on 2008-12-06. Retrieved 2007-07-27.
- Kfoury, Branden (November 15, 2005). "Even at chic NYU, beer pong prevails". Washington Square News (NYU). Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-07-27.
- Haire, Meghan. "Beer Pong's Big Splash", Time, August 7, 2008
- "CineVegas description". Cinevegas.bside.com. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
- "Beer Pong: The next great american pastime". Sports.espn.go.com. Archived from the original on 2 December 2010. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
- " Drinking games pose serious threat", Associated Press
- VIDEO, Time
- "Betty White Takes on Fallon's Beer Pong Challenge", MTV News
- "Herpes through Beer Pong". Colbertnation.com. 2009-03-03. Retrieved 2010-12-09.
- "Fox & Friends Spreads Herpes-Beer Pong Hoax", Columbia Journalism Review
- "Lowbrow Comedy Meets Higher Education", National Public Radio
- The Book of Beer Pong. Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0-8118-6632-3.
- Gettleman, Jeffrey (October 16, 2005). "As Young Adults Drink to Win, Marketers Join In". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 11 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-27.
- Finley, Adam (October 18, 2005). "Beer Pong promotions not so good". Ad-Jab. Archived from the original on 14 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-27.
- "'Beer Pong' Video Game Has Controversy Brewing". FOXNews.com. 2008-07-07. Retrieved 2010-12-09.