What you need:

4 Adults, age 21+, 2 per team

22 Plastic Cups (SOLO or similar)

At least 2 Ping Pong Balls




10 Cups are arranged on each end of the table, in a pyramid shape (4 in the back row, 3 in the next row, etc.)  The remaining 2 cups are filled with water, and each side gets one of these cups for rinsing their ping pong balls should they become dirty.  Each team should fill the ten cups with the same amount of beer (usually 2 or 3 beers split evenly.)  It is customary to play with a light, American lager or pilsner style beer, as these are both less filling, and less expensive, than other beers.


If this is the first game of the night, the two teams will shoot to see who has the first turn.  One member of each team will take a ball and shoot at the same time while looking each other in the eye.  If one team gets the ball in a cup, that team gets the first turn.  If either both teams or neither team makes it, the other members repeat this procedure, and it proceeds in this manner until one team makes it and the other does not.

If this is not the first game of the night, the winning team from the previous game gets the first turn.

Both members of the first team then shoot one after the other.  If they get the ball in the opponent’s cup, that beer should be removed and consumed by a member of the other team.  If both team members hit cups, then both beers are consumed and the balls are sent back and that team goes again.  If both balls hit the same cup, either two or three beers are consumed by the opponent, depending on local custom.  If a cup is knocked over either by a shot or by a team member, that beer is to be drunk and the cup counts as made.

When shooting, the player must stand so that their elbow is behind the table when extended.  As soon as the ball bounces, whether on the table, floor, or cup rim, the opposing team is allowed to grab it or bat it away.  If a ball is intentionally bounced and goes in, it counts for 2 cups.

At the end of a turn, the balls then switch to the other team, and the process is repeated until one team hits all of the opponent’s cups.



In a 10 Cup game, each team receives the opportunity to re-rack twice per game.  There must be 6, 4,3, or 2 cups remaining in order to invoke a re-rack.  The re-rack formations for these number of cups, are triangle, diamond, triangle, and vertical line respectively.


End of Game:

There are several different end-game scenarios possible in beer pong, and the way the end of the game is handled differs based on the scenario.  Here are some possible scenarios:

  • If two cups remain at the start of a team’s turn, and the two players hit the two different cups, the game is over and that team wins.
  • If one cup remains at the start of a team’s turn, and the first player to shoot hits that cup, the second player also gets the chance to shoot at that cup.  If the second player hits the cup too, the game is over and there is no rebuttal.  If the second player misses the cup, the opposing team gets rebuttal.  In rebuttal, the opposing team gets to shoot until both of them miss.  Generally the players do not alternate, but one player shoots until he misses, and then the other player shoots until he misses.  If they do not hit all of the cups, they lose.  If they succeed in hitting all of the cups, the game enters a tiebreaker.
  • Tiebreakers consist of mini-games starting in a 3-cup pyramid, with the rules the same as for the larger game.
Variations of rules:

There are almost as many variations of beer pong as there are people who play it, so coming up with your own “house rules” is encouraged.  Some common variations and house rules are:

  • Starting with 6 cups per side instead of 10
  • Allowing custom shapes for re-racks (sideways triangle, diagonal line, etc)
  • If you get the ball into a cup that someone is preparing to drink, you win the game.
  • “On Fire”: if a player makes 3 shots in a row, he/she gets to keep shooting until he/she misses