For many of us, Beer pong is not just a game, it is a way of life. We look forward to those moments with friends, and the crazy nights that follow.

The rules are simple, but the game requires a lot of skill. There are officially beer pong tournament rules out.  However, one of the beer ponng tournaments we saw were about the sport more than the fun. We like the fun, so here’s our Backyard Games Unofficial Beer Pong Rules that we actually play at our house.

According to an Instagram study from CollegeStats, Beer Pong is the most popular college party game.  That doesn’t mean that beer pong isn’t extremely popular outside of college life too.  33% of drinking game posts are about beer pong.  That’s why we included beer pong in the top 15 outdoor drinking games too.

Before we tell you the official rules, we wanted to tell you about the code of conduct or pong ethics that you should follow and strictly enforce.

Beer Pong Code of Conduct:


  • Fun is your number one priority, so include everyone.
  • Trash talking is not just allowed, it is encouraged.
  • Ladies are allowed lean and throw closer (especially with low cut shirts).
  • Guests shots are permitted for struggling players.
  • Make sure to wash your balls and cups and a regular basis (with soap).
  • Make sure you play with at least a rack (we are not animals).

How to Play Beer Pong, House Rules:

Beer pong is one of the most popular drinking games, that is played all over the world.  It involves 2 teams facing off against each other and is played in singles or doubles. The goal of in beer pong is to throw your balls in their cups, and after each time a shot is landed they remove the cup and take a drink. Each team has 10 cups on their side of a table that is set up in a triangle (pyramid) formation and first team to sink a shot in all their cups wins.

It is best played on an 8-foot table which is ideal for bounces, but play with whatever you have. We created a rule sheet for you to print off and carry, with full explanations and beer pong rules below.

The Backyard Games “Unofficial” Beer Pong Rules and How to Play 1

How to Setup Beer Pong

Beer pong is a simple game to setup and be the hit of every party. All you need is 20 red solo cups, a table to play on, a few ping pong balls, some friends, and a few dozen beers.

You can get a beer pong game for under $15.  It’s important to have a beer pong rack to keep a tight cup formation, beer pong racks ensure this. Showing up with your beer pong table and accessories will truly make you the hero of any party!

Here is how you setup for Beer Pong:


  • Set up the 10 cups on each side in a pyramid (or triangle) with the top peak facing your competitors. The cups must be centered on the back of the table and must not be titled or leaned up against any other cups.
  • Fill each cup up with beer to the red line, so it has approximately 1/5 full. You will want just enough to add weight, so they do not get tipped over. This will be 2 beers per team.  (Optional: we use water and take a drink from our beer can.  That way your been isn’t contaminated by the ball)
  • Have a clean water cup handy you use to clean the balls between shots.
  • The game is best played on an 8-foot table. Here are some suggestions for awesome beer pong setups below.
Beer Pong Rules Infographic

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How to Decide who Throws First in Beer Pong

Beer pong is best played as a 2 or 4 player game, but can be played with 6. Once you have chosen your teams (or partners), choose a kickass name and work on your handshake.

To decide which team throws first, you can either play rock scissors paper for it, or throw for it. We like to personally throw for it. Each team rotates 1 throw each trying to land in only the front cup.  This rotates between players, between teams, until someone lands in it. That team throws first.

Take note which team throws first.  The other team gets a last opportunity to throw, if they sink the ball in the cup, then the round resets.  Throwing commencing until the other team misses to choose the team that gets to throw first.

Beer Pong Throwing Distance Rules

Beer Pong is typically played on an 8-foot table or if space doesn’t permit, a 6-foot table.  You can put tape on the floor about 10 feet from the very first cup on the competitor’s side, adding an additional 4 feet for the throwing line. Adjust accordingly with how good or how much you suck. The girls created their own closer ladies line at the edge of the table.

Beer Pong Throwing Distance Rules

Play either no elbows or wrists is a standard house rule. This means that the shooting line you setup cannot be crossed. With the wrist rule this means that your wrist must stay behind the table or line when shooting.

The elbow rules means that your elbow can not cross the front of the table or line when shooting. This is a hard rule to enforce.  It’s normally the only rule that is argued over and can be hard to judge. Therefore, we typically play at a further distance, because let’s face it we all like to lean a little. You can account for this when setting up your throwing distance, and let people lean away.

2 Shots Each Per Team

There are several variations and different house rules to this game, but in all are similar that each partner gets at least 1 throw each. One way to play it is that each team member gets 1 throw each before their turns end.  Then the opposing team gets to throw 1 each.

Backyard Games rules are the same, however if you sink the ball, you get to continue to throw the balll until you miss.  This means if one partner misses, the other team gets their ball, but the partner who sinks a shot gets the ball back and gets to keep throwing.

How to Shoot

This is not darts and is not about throwing at the target as hard as you can. Use more of an arc and light throwing motion to prevent bouncing. Grip the ball with your middle finger and thumb and aim for a specific cup. Either try to throw the ball directly in, or try to bounce it. If you bounce it, your competitor can interfere and block it or swat it away.  The goal is to throw the ball into a cup of the opposing team. You can throw the ball directly into a cup or bounce a ball from the table into a cup.

Drink where the ball lands

The goal is to throw the ball into the cup of the opposing team, when it lands in a cup then you pull the skunked cup out and drink it. Partners alternate between drinking the beer in the cup. The other team waits to throw until you have finished your drink.

Bounce Shot Counts as Doubles

If a player bounces a shot and the ball lands in a cup, it counts as double. This means that the cup the ball lands in will be removed, and the player who bounced it can decide on a second. However, the other team can swat or block the ball before it comes into contact with the cup. It is a good way to catch the other team not paying attention, but is more difficult then you think.

No Blocking or Interfering

If a player interferes with a ball a 1 cup penalty will be enforced. Blocking or blowing before it comes in contact with a cup is considered interference.  The other team gets to decide which cup to remove, and that player will be responsible for drinking the cup.

If a player knocks over one or more of their cups, it is counted as sunk and must be removed from the table. For multiple cups of 3 or more the other team may be nice, not required, but may let you refill them and add certain cups to the rack. Of course, penalty drinks will be awarded.

Blowing is allowed (no fingering)

This rule must be decided before the game begins, we play that blowing is allowed but no fingering.  Sometimes when the ball is thrown, it lands in the cup, but starts spinning around before coming into contact with the beer.  If you are quick enough, you can blow in a fast-downward motion and will be able to create an air current where the ball will fly out of the cup.

It sounds complicated, but happens several times a game and is awesome when you do this! Be careful, if you don’t blow hard enough, it might land in another cup.  If it does, you drink both.

The fingering rule is grabbing the spinning ball on the rim before it plops in.  We don’t like to suggest this rule. This is because many times people knock over the cup, or grab it once it touches the liquid. If you are good enough at blowing you shouldn’t have to finger it. ?


Once a few shots have landed in the cups, you will notice your cups are not in formation. A couple cups may be missing in the middle, back, front, and makes it more difficult to hit the shots. Twice per game, you can request that the cups be arranged in a formation like the start of the game. You can choose to rerack when the team chooses twice per game or when 6 and 2 cups are remaining.  Choose before starting your game.

How to Win Beer Pong: Redemption Rule

Once one team sinks all cups on the other teams, the game is not over. The other team gets a rebuttal shot.  Each team member of the loosing team gets to throw at the remaining cups. If both players miss and there are any cups remaining, the game is over. If the make all the remaining shots it goes into a 3-cup overtime. No reracks are allowed in a Redemption shot, even if it is the 6 or 2 cups.
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3-Cup Overtime

If the situation goes into overtime, where both teams have sunk all their shots a 3-cup overtime rule comes into effect. Replace 3 cups for each team in a 3 cup triangle.  Make sure to add appropriate amount of beet to the cups.

The team that would have won if their opponents had not hit the redemption shot, get to start. Same rules apply as the redemption round one when team finishes, the other team gets 1 shoot till they miss each. If any cups are remaining, the game is over.

The House has Final Say

First and foremost, Beer Pong is about having fun! Over time, especially with alcohol and competition involved there may be disagreements.  For these disagreements, the house has final say to make new rules or handle disputes. We suggest writing down the rules on a piece of paper, or printing off the image below.

If you are hosting a beer pong tournament, you will need to display these rules up front and have a judge. If you know of an fun, new, or innovative rules please make sure to share them below!

Beer Pong Variations

The best part about Beer Pong is doing something active, competitive, and based around alcohol with friends.  We were always told to do what we love, and was actual the reason we created Backyard Games.

You do not need to wait until night or be stuck indoors when there are lots of different Beer Pong Accessories and Games to play outside.  This might even be a great camping addition. There is Giant Pong, Floating Pong, Mini Pong, and Elevated Pong.

The Backyard Games “Unofficial” Beer Pong Rules and How to Play 3
The Backyard Games “Unofficial” Beer Pong Rules and How to Play 4

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