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The Unabridged Rules to Beer Pong, Third Revised
The Ohio State University Version

Authored by Mr. Shannon M. Ransom Jr., All Rights Reserved

– Preface –

When Beer Pong was created is was meant to be much more than a simple drinking game. It’s a game that brings together friends, family, and strangers alike to celebrate binge drinking and debauchery. While it may be a game meant to loosen inhibitions, it’s also a gentleman’s game. As such these rules serve to keep the game fair, civil, and fun.

  • All games should be played with 16 oz. Solo® brand party cups, two standard ping pong balls, and an adequately long table.
  • All games are to begin with ten cups arranged in a way similar to bowling pins:
  • Four in a line parallel with the back of the table
  • Then three cups in front of the first four
  • Then two cups
  • Then one cup in the front
  • These “Game Cups” are to always touch in such a way as to not have any overlapping rims. If rims are overlapping, the opposing team may request that they be aligned properly.
  • The arrangement should be centered and positioned approximately one cup length from the back of the table.
  • One extra cup is to be reserved for water. This cup is to be set significantly away from the other ten cups. The water should be kept hot and changed frequently.
  • All teams are to consist of two, and only two, members.
  • For convenience, a list should be kept with the order of play. This list should be updated as frequently as possible but not in a way that would interrupt play.
  • A minimum of two beers should be used to evenly fill the ten cups. More may be used at the discretion of the players. Other intoxicating beverages may be permitted so long as the cup contains an adequate amount of liquid and are cleaned out afterward by the team making the substitution.
  • The winners of the previous game shoot first. If this is the first game, opposing players are to make eye contact and shoot a single ball. The team that makes the shot gains possession. If both teams make it, the process is repeated by the other two players until a team gains possession.

– Section One – Shooting and Scoring –

  • On their possession, each member of a team is to shoot or bounce one ball into the opposing team’s cups. They must not shoot simultaneously. When shooting, the shooter’s elbow must not breach the plane of the table’s back edge.
  • If a ball is successfully shot into a cup, it is removed and the beer is consumed by the opposition. Opposition should alternate which player drinks. Balls are to always be washed in the water after a shot.
  • A bounced ball is worth two cups: the cup that the ball bounced in and another cup of the opposition’s choice. In order to constitute a bounce, the ball must touch at least one surface before entering a cup in order to constitute a bounce. This may occur after touching a cup, but a cup itself does not count as a surface. A bounced shot may be blocked by the opposition.
  • Should both players on a team choose to bounce, they must first wait for the first bounce to miss or enter a cup. If it’s a miss the second player may immediately bounce. Should the first bounce go in then the second bounce must wait until the scored cups are removed.
  • Should a ball come to rest on three cups then the shot is declared a miss. Beer Pong rewards skill, not luck.
  • Should both teammates make successful shots, the balls are given back and their possession starts again. This is called “Bringing it Back”.
  • If a player has made cups on two consecutive possessions, they may announce to the other team that they are “heating up”. If this player then makes a cup on the following possession they may declare that they are “On Fire”. An “On Fire” player may shoot until they miss a cup. “Fire” shots begin immediately even if balls were brought back.
  • During play, but before a re-rack, should any cup not be in contact with any other cup as a result of surrounding cups being removed then that cup is an “Island”. Each player on a team may declare “Island” and attempt to shoot at this cup. Should there be multiple islands a player must specify which island they intend on shooting at. If an island is made the opposition must drink it and one additional cup of their choice. If a player declares island but makes a different cup then it does not count. Each player may only call “Island” once per “Island”.
  • If both players make a shot into the same cup the “Death Cup” rule is in effect. “Death Cup” results in an immediate loss for the opposition. Any game cup with beer in it is fair game for death cup.
  • After a player’s shot, should the ball roll back across the table and not hit the floor the shooter may attempt to shoot the ball again, but they must do so in one motion behind their back. The other team may attempt to stop the ball from rolling back.
  • A cup accidentally knocked over by a ball counts as a successful shot. Should a cup be purposely knocked over by a shot than it is replaced and the offending team is penalized a cup.

– Section Two – Special Rules for Play –

  • Distracting the opposing team and trash talking are encouraged so long as no party fouls are committed and players stay on their side of the table. Everything else is fair game. Everything.
  • As cans of beer are opened and emptied for the game they should be lined up along both sides of the table. This is done in order to keep the ball on the table and for aesthetics.
  • While a ball is spinning in a cup, a hoe may blow the ball out, but a dick must not attempt to flick the ball out of the cup. The ball may not be at rest when blown.
  • At the beginning of a team’s possession and only after the opponents have shot, they may decide to “Re-Rack” the cups. The cups may be “Re-Racked” in any formation the team agrees to, so long as it does not exceed the distance of a line of five cups. If the cups slide due to beer on the table, a team may ask the opposition to push the cups back into formation. They may also ask that the table be wiped down.
  • When play is limited to the dormitory, noise level must be kept at a reasonable as to avoid alerting outside parties.
  • Any cups knocked over by their players also count as a score for the other team and are removed from the table. These are not to be refilled.
  • If a cup is on the edge of the table a player may elect to have it moved forward in order to keep it from falling.
  • If a cup falls off the table is counts as a score, even if caught. However, a team may stop a cup from falling from the table so long as they do not impede play.
  • A player may request that a spectator take their shot for them. This is called a “Celebrity Shot” and a player may only do this if they took the preceding shot. If a player is found to be relying on the “Celebrity Shot” they are removed from the game and permanently replaced by the celebrity of the opposition’s choosing.
  • If a shot ball is interfered with before it lands in a cup the shooter is given another attempt. This does not apply if the ball had no reasonable chance of landing in a cup.
  • There may come times when a team wishes to fill their game cups with water instead of intoxicating liquids; electing to drink from some other container. In such a situation all beer pong rules apply to those water cups, including, but not limited to, the “Death Cup” rule. Also, in order to ensure that the blasphemous team with water cups is drinking enough the opposition decides what alcoholic beverage, and how much of it, the blasphemers drink.

– Section Three – The Closure –

  • When the final cup is made the game enters the closure phase.
  • If the first shooter made the final cup, the second shooter gets a chance for ”Death Cup”. The second shooter may ask for the first ball to be removed from the cup.
  • If a team has a negative cup count the game is over.
  • If the final cup is knocked over the game is over. Fill your cups properly.
  • If there are two cups left and each shooter makes a different cup the game is over.
  • If only one shooter makes it the opposition has a chance for a rebuttal.
  • Each opposing player shoots for the rebuttal and if either makes a cup play continues with no cups removed.
  • If both players make it, the second cup is consumed and play continues. There is no bring back or death cup in this case. If the other team also has one cup when this happens they then shoot a rebuttal shot.

– Section Four – End of the Game –

  • Once the game has a clear winner, the losing team must consume all of the remaining beer in play on the table unless the winners elect to save the cups for the next game.
  • The winning team remains on the table to take on the next opponent on the list.
  • The losing team should cross their names off of the list.
  • The record board should be updated, if necessary, at this time.
  • The winning team may volunteer to retire. In this case, they lose all streaks and the next two teams on the list play.
  • At the end of the night, any streaks remain active.
  • Losers must get beer for the next game.
  • If a member of the losing team never made a cup, then that member of the team must choose to either run once around the outside of the house completely nude or buy a case of no less than 24 beers for the house.

– Section Five – Party Fouls and Authority –

Beer Pong is a gentleman’s game, but there will sometimes be inappropriate behavior. These behaviors are deemed party fouls.

The following are “Party Fouls”:

  • Interference of a ball
  • Belligerence
  • Being a general dick
  • Blatant rule violation
  • Violating the elbow rule multiple times
  • Purposely knocking a cup over
  • Needlessly delaying the game
  • Leaving the table mid-game
  • In the event of a party foul the offending player may receive a warning, may be penalized a cup, or may be removed from play. Any penalty is at the full discretion of the house pong executives. If a house pong executive is involved in the current game they may not enforce or reject penalties.
  • These rules may be modified before any game by any reasonable house pong executive, but never during the game unless presented with hobos.

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