Drunk or Sober?

Contrary to popular belief, the majority of “organized” beer pong tournaments are now played with water in the cups, not beer. In the case of the World Series of Beer Pong, there’s a mixture of both water and beer cups on the table, although no player is required to drink beer. There’s a variety of reasons why organizers have adapted this practice, but mostly it’s because local laws and regulations restrict bars from playing with beer in cups.

Outsiders like to dismiss competitive beer pong because they see us playing with water cups and assume we aren’t drinking. While it’s few and far between when I actually have beer in my cups when I am playing, unless I am driving or it’s a work night I’m usually drinking while I play. And if I have a ride, I’m drinking a lot more. I know it’s childish to compare drinking abilities, but I’d take a Masters of Beer Pong participant over some YouTube troll any day of the week when it comes to drinking.

That said, do you play better buzzed, or sober?

The popular opinion is that the player who can manage to stay sober longer wins, but I disagree. I think it’s much harder to play sober or with minimal drinking. While I have played well and won tournaments without taking even a sip of beer, it’s no coincidence that normally, the deeper I go into a tournament the bigger my hangover will be the next day.

Playing beer pong well, for me, is finding a perfect balance between being too drunk and being sober. It’s the mental aspect of the game that separates the winners from the losers, not shooting percentages. A headcase who can go 10/10 in practice is usually going to miss a rebuttal shot if his mind isn’t right. Maybe it’s a sign of weakness, but I feel like having a few beers in my system allows me to calm down, keep the butterflies away, and shoot well regardless of the situation.

Some people like to get completely trashed before a tournament, and some people drink too much that they can’t hit the table by the end of the day. For me, the days are too long to get completely hammered first thing in the morning and try to make it through the night. But it works for some people, just not me.

For those who don’t drink, I’ve seen several times when players get called out deep into Day 3 for not drinking. It’s easy to talk shit from the railing. I think those guys deserve extra props. I couldn’t imagine playing a best-of-three series for $50,000 dead sober. My arms would be shaking worse than Michael J. Fox. If they can do it, good for them.

What works best for you?










by jeffbarnes

7 thoughts on “Drunk or Sober?

  1. cjazel says:

    I always had to laugh when people would say that the only reason they lost is because the other team was sober. I’m horrid when I play sober (as I think most people are) so whenever I’d see a team just crushing people, I’d give them even more credit for doing it with out any alcohol. Beer Pong is a lot like Golf — it’s really hard to be accurate when you’re on edge and a lot of times just a couple of drinks is enough to calm you down to the point where you can be halfway decent. That said; once I’ve gotten to the right amount of buzzed, I have about a 2 drink window from being in the right state of mind to being fucking hammered.

    Good article topics Barnes, keep it up!

  2. memickh says:

    buzzing on the way to drunk while im on the way to the finals buts its also about if some people can control there alcohol which sometimes comes down to how often they drink for my friends and i its about every night so you get used to having all that in your system and a few shots feels like you just woke up.

  3. stein says:

    Hold on. I think I can translate it. Memickh – “When I have been drinking alcohol and have begun to feel the effects, but before I get to the point where I am going to make a fool of myself, I am on my way to the finals” It’s hard to translate that last part, because the English language does not have words for what he is trying to express. “People who drink excessive amounts of alcohol often will find that the effects of the alcohol affects them less. My friends and I are an example of this. We consume alcohol almost every night at what most people would consider an excessive amount. In order for us to feel normal, we must wake up and take a few shots before we start our day. Being 23 and in 7th grade is difficult” – That last part might be a slight miss-translation, but seriously who the fuck knows what he just said?

    • Jake says:

      Don’t try to correct someone when your post necessitates correction. You should have used the word “affect” instead of “affects”.

  4. Guy says:

    Great article.

    I, like many, feel that I have a sweet zone. A few beers before playing makes it easier to control the nerves, & keeps it fun, while being competitive of course. The trouble is factoring in the beer you drink during the games, if you do. In the past I’ve forgotten to count those and been like -PISS, where are my feet?- hammered. Shit happens.

    Really – other than darts, bowling leagues, & “old man” softball… what other sport involves drinking alcohol – for the competitors? I’ll always drink while I play, because I will… Like already stated, more props go to the sober player in my mind: one – for not caving into the shit-talking, and two – for being able to play sober, period.

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