Everything you’ve read about the history of beer pong is bullshit.

everything-youve-read-about-the-history-of-beer-pong-is-bullshit

Everything you’ve read about the history of beer pong is bullshit.

I’ve read countless articles about the history and origin of beer pong. It seems that every one comes back to some particular fraternity or college. Apparently, modern day beer pong was invented in almost every small liberal arts college up and down the East Coast. To think, some college kids just looking to entertain themselves when it was freezing outside decided to invent a drinking game to play inside. What a groundbreaking revelation!

According to Wikipedia, which is the definitive source for any kind of research, beer pong started at Dartmouth College sometime in the 1950s and 1960s. But at the same time, Bucknell University claims to have invented the game in the 1970s. They called it “throw pong.” What kind of stupid name is “throw pong,” anyway? These are college kids, and the best they can come up with is “throw pong?”

The whole name debate also bothers me. I’ve met maybe a handful of people my entire life who referred to the game as “beirut.” It’s called beer pong. There is no game called “beirut.” If you use a paddle, it’s called ping pong, not beer pong, not beirut. Beirut is the
capital of Lebanon and probably not the best place to spend a Friday night with a 30-pack of Keystone Light. Ping pong is played with paddles and does not include beer, unless you are drinking it on the side. Forrest Gump used to hit ping pong balls into a bedpan
during the Vietnam War. You mean to tell me Forrest Gump was playing one of the earliest forms of beer pong ever documented? I may not be a smart man, but I know what beer pong is.

Too many people try to complicate the simple game of beer pong. It’s not rocket science, guys. Beer pong is throwing a ping pong ball into a cup. If you’re at a house party, you’re probably drinking the contents of said cup afterward. If you’re playing WSOBP rules at a
bar, you probably aren’t drinking the cup because that would be illegal in some cities. Beer pong is like ramen noodles, everyone has their own way. Personally, I don’t like to follow the directions. I boil the noodles, drain the noodles, add the chicken seasoning and add some cayenne pepper and call it Buffalo Chicken Ramen Noodles. It’s delicious.

I know a guy who breaks an egg into his while it cooks. That’s good, too. Not to get sidetracked, but I’m always looking for good ramen noodle recipes, so please share your favorite. But the fact remains: There is no wrong way to play beer pong.

Sure, there is a World Series of Beer Pong which has its own set of rules, but that’s not the only way to play. In case you live under a rock, WSOBP rules basically consist of playing with 10 cups and a special rack to keep the cups in place. There are automatic re-
racks on the six-cup, three-cup, and one-cup formations. If you make both shots, you get one bring-back. When the last cup is made, the opposing team generally gets a one ball and a shoot-till-you-miss opportunity. It can get more complicated, but that’s the basics. Oh yeah, there is no elbow rule. We’ll save that discussion for another time.

While WSOBP rules are fun and all, I still have love for “house rules.” Most of us grew up playing beer pong according to specific house rules. From my experiences, I’ve found most house rules consist of playing with 6 cups or 10 cups, depending on how many people are waiting to play. Usually you get unlimited bring-backs, shoot-till-you-miss rebuttal shots, and rules dictating that you have to drink before you shoot. And no, you can’t lean across the table. If you win, you get to stay on the table. Of course, house rules vary depending on where you are playing, but those tend to be the most common.

There is no right or wrong way to play beer pong. The important thing is that you’re playing beer pong. What rules did you play by? Which rules do you think are the best?










by jeffbarnes

10 thoughts on “Everything you’ve read about the history of beer pong is bullshit.

  1. Danwise says:

    We played 12 cup. Each player started with six in front of them. You could shoot at any opposing team’s cups. Individual re-racks every time, team combined at 6 total. We had zero balls back. And our house rule was if you won by 7 or more (before they combined) they had to streak to nearest stop sign. This was in Reno.

  2. Greg Strain says:

    Great article. Personally I microwave the ramen noodle, pour out the water. Then mix in the chicken seasoning, and add tapatio hot sauce with a splash of pepper. I call it the ‘ I Learned This From A Mexican Ramen Noodle’.

  3. BPO says:

    Beer Pong’s concept came from “The Bozo the Clown Show” where at the end of every show the kid would have a line of buckets that they would throw a ball in to win prizes. After that people invented what we know as beer pong filling cups with beer on a table, which later evolved in to the 10 pin style rack

  4. Todd Cuddington says:

    Wow. Bold title, with absolutely nothing to back it up. If you want to “clear up myths”, have at it. I’d recommend first-person accounts. Here’s my cut at it – I’d love to see other stories that PREDATE mine.
    At Lehigh, beer pong was played for years before I ever got there in 1987. However, “beer pong” was a game played with paddles, with one or two cups on a side. First account I know of the game you (perversely) call beer pong – beirut – was at Theta Delt at Lehigh in the late 80s. This is the throwing game, and we played it religiously at Chi Phi for years forward. Many variations played at Lehigh, but I’m very partial to the version we played, which leaves empties on the table. Makes for a far more technical game.
    Let’s get the real story!

  5. Chris Van Nest says:

    The beer pong game referenced with paddles was one with 2 cups on either side of the table full of beer. You and your partner alternated shots and the other team had to take a drink every time you hit any part of their cup and they didn’t return the ball. If you sunk a cup the whole cup had to be drank. All shots were required to be lobs. The losing team also finished their cups. Beirut was used to refer to beer pong as we know it today, throwing the ball into the cups.

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