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How To Play Beer Pong

Want to learn how to play beer pong? You’ve come to the right place. Get all the beer pong rules, tips, and tricks here!


Beer pong is a popular drinking game, a competitive “team sport,” and it’s a way of life for weekend warriors. The object of the game is to eliminate the opposing team’s cups before they can eliminate yours. Keep reading for a breakdown of the rules to join the fun.

How To Play Beer Pong

Beer Pong Players & Equipment 

  • Two teams, each consisting of two people
  • 8’ x 2’ beer pong table (or any level playing surface) 
  • (22) plastic or aluminum cups (10 per team and two water cups)
  • Ping-pong balls (you need at least 2, but the more, the better)
  • Beer (or another tasty beverage)

Beer Pong Setup

At each end of your beer pong table, arrange ten cups in a pyramid-like formation. Fill each cup with your desired amount of beverage.


Beer Pong Tables

If you want to play by ‘official’ rules, your beer pong table should be 8’ x 2’. However, any flat surface will do. 

Beer Pong Cups

Standard beer pong party cups are 16 oz, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t supersize the fun. 

Beer Pong Rules

If you are a pro ponger, you know there are official beer pong rules. Below we’ve provided the most basic and commonly accepted among the masses. Feel free to add, subtract, or alter these rules when you play with your friends. Ponging should be fun!


Start Your Beer Pong Game

One player from each team is selected to take an initial throw to determine which team goes first in the actual game.

While looking each other in the eye, the chosen opposing players count to three and take their throws at the same time. If only one of them makes the shot, their team goes first. If they both make or miss their shot, players go again. (If this is all too complicated for your group, just flip a coin!)

After the first game, the winning team gets the first throw.


Each beer pong team shoots twice per turn, each player taking one shot. If both players make their shot, “throwbacks” are given, and that team receives another turn.


The ball can be tossed or bounced into the cup. A tossed ball that sinks is worth one cup (the cup it lands in). A bounced shot that sinks is worth two cups (the one in which the shot was made and another from the pyramid)*

*There’s a catch: the defending (non-throwing) team may block a bounced ball once it hits the table, whereas tossed shots are indefensible.


Sinking Cups

A beer pong cup is “sunk” as soon as the ball touches the contents of the cup. Any cup that is sunk must be immediately removed from the table, and the defending team is responsible for drinking its contents. Team members alternate drinking.

Warning: Watch your cups that have been sunk but are left undrunk. If the opposing team sinks a ball in the cup you’re drinking from, it’s game over.

If one cup is sunk, and the next player shoots, hitting the same cup, the game ends. Any cups accidentally knocked over are considered sunk.

Re-Racking & Formations 

A team is allowed to request a “re-rack” at the end of a turn in order to maintain a compact shape.

Each team gets two re-racks per game, which can be used at almost any time*. The standard beer pong rule is to take one re-rack with 6 cups remaining and the other when 2 or 3 cups remain. Note: if you’re playing beer pong with 6 cups each, one re–rack is allowed per team, per game.

*You can not re-rack if you’re shooting during “throwbacks”

*You can not re-rack during a “redemption round” 

Beer Pong Formations 

6 Cup Beer Pong Formations
  • Marching (2 rows of 3 cups)
  • Triangle (pyramid of 6 cups)
4 Cup Beer Pong Formations
  • Diamond 
  • Square
3 Cup Beer Pong Formations
  • Triangle (pyramid of 3 cups)
  • Traffic light (single row of 3 cups)
2 Cup Beer Pong Formations
  • Double (single row of 2 cups)

Game Ending Situations

When a team eliminates the last beer pong cup of the opposing team, they haven’t won yet. The defending team has a “redemption round” where each player gets a turn. Redemption rounds are shoot until you miss. If the defending team sinks the remaining cups in the redemption round, overtime is forced. If the team cannot force the game into overtime, they lose and are responsible for drinking the contents of the remaining team’s cups in addition to their own remaining cups.


Should the game be forced into overtime, each team sets up three cups in a triangle and fills them with beer. The team who hit the last cup to force the overtime shoots first. Overtime is played like a normal game (without re-racks), and double or triple overtime may be necessary until one team wins.



KegWorks has been selling cool tools for drinking and serving knowledge on tap since 1998. We are all about enjoying good drinks with good friends.

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