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Learning Beer Pong Rules The Right Way

So you are going to a party this weekend. You have seen your friends play beer pong before but you never really understood what was going on and why everyone was having such a great time. You want to feel part of the group, but all you know is that you have to throw a ball into a cup.

Beer Pong Rules That Make The Game

This is the reason we have put together a rules list for you! Learn how to play the game and become the beer pong partner everyone wants to have.

You will need:


  • At least two beer pong balls or regular ping pong balls (make sure they bounce)
  • At least 14 party cups (depending on how many cups you want to play with)
  • Beer (optional)
  • Water


  • To make every cup in, by shooting or bouncing balls, before the other team does.
  • To have fun!

Getting Started:

    • Pick partners. A regular game is 2 vs 2.


  • Set up the beer pong table by making a pyramid on each side of the table with the party cups¹
  • Fill ½ of the cups with beer and keep a water cup on the side to clean off the ball after each shot. (Alternatively, you can fill up the cups with water and have a beer on the side to drink whenever a cup is made. Underage players can play beer pong with water only)

beer pong rules

  • Gameplay:

    “Eye for an eye” (what team goes first):

    • A member of each team will try to sink a ball in at the same time while staring into the eyes of each other.
    • If neither player makes it, the other team members will attempt until a ball is made.
    • The team that makes the ball into a cup first starts the game.
    • The cup made does not count as an actual game cup, so don’t remove it from the table.

    The Game:

    • Winners of “eye for an eye” have to choose a team member to start the game, or both may shoot simultaneously.
    • If neither player makes the ball into a cup, it is the other team’s turn.²
    • If one of the team members make it into a cup, one of the opponents must drink the beer in that cup and move it to the side.³ This cup is not part of the game anymore.
    • If both team members make it into two different cups, both opponents must drink a cup each, remove the cups, and give both balls back to the shooters to shoot again.
    • If both team members make it into the same cup, It is an automatic win for them (end of the game. NEXT.)
    • If a player makes a ball into a cup and it bounces into another cup, both cups must be drank and/or removed.
    • If you drop a cup on your side of the table, it must be removed.
    • In case a ball makes a cup fall, the cup counts and has to be removed from the game. The only exception is when the ball hits the cup from the side and drops it. In this case, the shot is considered a miss, and the fallen cup is replaced with another cup.

    2 Don’t forget to wash out the ball in the water cup after each shot.

    3 or move the water cup to the side and take a sip of their beer if you are playing with cups filled with water

    Things you should know:

    • Elbow Rule: When shooting the ball, your elbow should not be over the table. If you find your elbow right over the table, take a step back. If you break the elbow rule and make the ball into a cup, it will not count. You must shoot again (if someone caught you). If you break it but miss your shot nothing happens.
    • Heating Up: If a team member makes two or more cups in a row, he or she can call “heating up”.
    • On Fire: If a player has called “heating up” makes the third shot in a row, he or she must get the ball back and keep shooting until he or she misses. Each of the cups made, count as game cups and must be removed. If a player has not called “heating up” he cannot call “on fire”.
    • If there is an isolated cup next to two or more cups, a team member may shout out “Island.” (Each player is allowed one per game), and if the ball is sunk into the isolated cup, a second cup must be drank and/or removed.
    • If a ball circles the rim before it gets inside the cup (called a “rim job”), a male player may “finger it” and try to take the ball out of the cup before it hits the beer with one of his fingers. A female player may attempt to blow it out without using her hands. If either male or female player is actually able to stop the ball from going inside a cup, but the ball ends up in another cup, both cups must be drank and removed.
    • If a player shoots and misses, but the ball is still on the table or has not hit the floor yet, he or she may quickly attempt to grab the ball back. If caught, a female player may shoot again with her left hand (or right hand if she is a leftie) a male player may shoot again behind his back. On the other hand, if your opponent shoots and misses, but the ball is still on the table or hasn’t hit the floor yet, you can also try to grab it or slap it off the table so that your opponent does not get another chance to shoot.
    • The alternated shooting will continue until all cups of a team are gone. Whoever makes all cups in first is the winner.4


4  Read Redemption below

Shooting vs. Bouncing:

  • A team member may shoot or bounce the ball when it’s their turn.
  • Opponents can try to distract the shooter by making faces or by being annoying, but they can’t touch the ball. If the ball is touched by the opponent before it hits the table or the floor, the ball must be given back to the shooter to shoot again.
  • If the shooter attempts a bounce shot, the opponent is then able to use his or her hand to slap the ball away, only AFTER it touches the table.
  • If a ball is bounced and it gets into a cup, two cups must be drank and removed.


  • In a game of 6 cups, you may rerack (change the position of the cups) once.
  • In a game of 10 cups, you may rerack twice.
  • It has to be done before BOTH players shoot.

If there is 1 cup left and it is not in the center of the opponent’s side of the table, the shooter may call out “gentlemen”. This is asking the opponent to put the last cup in the middle of their side of the table. Opponent decides whether or not they want to do that.


  • The game isn’t over when the last ball is made unless it’s an automatic win (both balls in the same cup or last cup). You can redeem yourself!
  • To redeem themselves, the “losing” team must make all cups left on the opponent’s side of the table. This is how: Player A from the “losing” team will shoot a ball. If the ball gets in a cup, Player A must keep shooting until he or she misses, or until he or she makes all the cups. If Player A missed and there are still cups left, Player B will now try to make whatever cups are left. If both players miss a shot before making all the cups left, the game is over and the team who had originally “won” wins the game. If all cups are made during redemption, a new game starts.
  • Set up 3 cups and play following the same rules. The team that had originally “won” before the other team’s redemption gets to shoot first. The game starts again.
  • If a team is “shot out” (loses without making any cups), they must perform a “naked lap” outside the house (rules may be changed by house owners).
  • The winners of the game may face the next team in line until they lose.

Beer Pong, You Rule!

When you step back and think about it, the rules and regulations that exist today originated from one simple game and spawned off into a worldwide game. The rules developed and were established overtime to make the game more challenging and fun.

playing beer pong

Every time you go to someone’s place to play the game, they always have a different set of house rules; that makes the game more challenging and fun.

Beer pong has to be one of the best drinking games; of course, that is my opinion. When I play beer pong with my good friends, we have a blast and play for hours (or at least until we can’t throw the ball anymore).

It’s amazing what changes with one little rule. For instance, I was playing a game of beer pong with my brother and his friends the other night, and they had a house rule called redemption. Let me tell you, I got my butt handed to me.

The story goes, there is one cup left on each side of the table, and my brother and I are at the showdown. So now it’s my shot, “Bam” in the cup the ball goes I’m thinking, “Sweet!” The game is done my team wins (or so I thought)!

As it turns out, my brother calls redemption before I throw the ball. What is redemption, you ask? When each team is down to just one cup before the other team throws their ball you have to say redemption.

Meaning, if you make the last shot and the ball goes in the cup the other team gets a chance to take the lead. Sounds easy enough, right? Here’s the catch the other team has one chance or one throw and they must throw the beer pong ball underhand behind their back.

So I’m thinking, “There’s no way he’s going to make this shot because this is our third game.” and we were a bit hammered. As fate would have it, he makes the underhand shot behind his back and the ball goes in. My little brother takes me out just like that. I have ten years of playing beer pong under my belt and one little house rule changes the whole game in seconds.

I think everybody should have their own set of house rules for beer pong. The house rules are what keep the game of beer pong worth playing. Just like beer pong, nationally played sports amend rules all the time (hopefully it’s for the better). That’s what makes beer pong what it is.

Besides the basic rules, you will always find that somebody has a different set of house rules and this is what sets beer pong apart from the rest of the drinking games that are out there today.

This keeps the game constantly reinventing itself, and the best part of it all is because of you and your house rules. That’s what makes beer pong fun, challenging, what the game is today, and will be tomorrow.