Category Archives: Player Insights

Quality or Quantity?

Don’t get me wrong. I love the idea of playing beer pong for big money. With prize pools of $65,000 and $100,000 for the World Series of Beer Pong and the Masters of Beer Pong, respectively, there are some amazing opportunities to win some big money playing pong.

I may be in the minority, but I think that these big beer pong tournaments should be the exception, not the norm. Somewhere along the line, tournament organizers throughout the country decided that we needed big money tournaments and big money tournaments only. It’s as if someone decided that if we weren’t playing for at least $1,000, there’s no point.

I can understand why the top players want big money tournaments. They’ve got a chance to win. For someone like a Pop or a Kessler or a Ross Hampton, flying across the country for a weekend of pong is a sound investment. They’ve likely already won a bid, and whether they win or lose the big tournament, they’ll probably at least make enough to recoup their investment. But for others like myself, what’s the point?

When I first started playing beer pong, it wasn’t the money that attracted me to the game. I’m sure I’m not alone, because a lot of the players that started around the time that I did are still playing, too, and there wasn’t any money to be made back then. It was the community and the aspect of competition that drew us in and kept us engaged. Sure, we all get older and priorities and responsibilities change, but none of us picked up a pong ball for the first time with the hopes of cashing in for big money. We wanted to drink and have fun with our friends.

It seems that throughout the country, beer pong tournaments need to be a “Best Of” or take place in a ballroom to be worth our while. I’m tired of playing beer pong in the same ballrooms with the same overpriced drinks, stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing else to do.

I’ve been saying for years that tournament and league organizers need to cater to the new players, not the “elite” players to survive. Sure, $5,000 prize pools are awesome, but you’re also charging quadruple the entry fee plus travel expenses for multiple-day tournaments. The new, casual player isn’t going to make that investment, and if he does he will likely get throttled so badly in competition he won’t be coming back.

I can only speak for my local area, but at least in Maryland, it seemed that as the prize money increased over the last few years, the tournaments became fewer and fewer in between and the loyal players stopped coming. A big prize isn’t worth it to someone who knows they have no chance of winning. It’s no fun to come to a tournament and go 0-2.

Having more tournaments with less prize money is a win-win. More people get to play, and even if those top players decide that a $100 isn’t worth their time, the five casual teams that sign up knowing they have a better chance to have fun and win something will more than cover the cost of losing those top teams. Parity is rampant in professional sports because it works, beer pong is no different.

If you look at the beer pong communities that are thriving, it’s no surprise. Places like Lehigh Valley are attracting over 100 teams a week by having several small tournaments. They aren’t holding them in small hotel ballrooms, but in local bars, with local players, for modest cash prizes and drink specials. These are the players that are going to keep playing and become the next great players.

Cup Check

Four drinking straws together weigh .28 ounces. One and a half wooden pencils weigh .28 ounces. A plastic spoon and a plastic fork together weigh .28 ounces.

If you were playing an intense game of beer pong, would you be distracted by someone throwing drinking straws at themselves? Would you be distracted by someone hitting themselves in the head with a plastic spoon and fork? Probably not.

So, what’s your point, you ask? Well, a regulation BPONG plastic cup weighs .28 ounces. And for some strange reason, countless beer pong players have convinced themselves that taking a BPONG beer pong cup, smashing it against their own head and throwing the cup onto the ground is an amazing distraction technique. This folks, is why the media portrays beer pong players to be a community of alcoholic douchebags.

We are all adults. We may not act like it from time to time, but by definition we are adults. I would hope that we could get past certain childish thingslike smashing beer pong cups over our heads, but I’m not so confident that we can. Newsflash: We are not impressed.

Have you ever walked into the practice area at the World Series of Beer Pong, hoping to get a few shots in before your next round? You finally find an open table to play on, except all that’s left is a an empty rack and a few overturned cups on the table. You try and gather the cups that you can off the ground, finally find ten and then fill them up with water. Except most of the cups start leaking out because some tough guy thought they would impress someone by smashing the cups.

This is why we can’t have nice things, guys.

Do you ever wonder why some tournaments drag on and on and you can’t figure out why? Because half the tables don’t have enough cups or water left to play a game. You shouldn’t have to hunt and gather enough cups and water to play a game of beer pong in a tournament.

And let’s be honest. BPONG cups aren’t exactly expensive, but they aren’t cheap either. When you play at home do you smash cups and throw water around like a gorilla? No, you don’t. You probably use the same cups you have been using for the last couple of years. We’ve all been there. You wash a few dozen of your BPONG cups and then stack them up like a pyramid on the kitchen counter to dry out. Just because you are in Vegas or in some ballroom of whatever hotel agreed to hold a beer pong tournament, you should have a certain amount of respect.

I know it’s easy to get into the emotion of the moment after hitting or missing a big shot (I have more experience with the latter, personally) but enough is enough. People need to stop smashing cups, literally.

In football, if a player kicks or throws the ball away like a dickhead it’s a penalty. The same in basketball. In baseball, if a player throws his helmet like an asshole onto the field of play he’s likely going to get tossed. If you guys ever want beer pong to be taken seriously, smashing cups isn’t helping.

Save our cups!

So, Who’s Winning the Masters?

Time sure flies when you’re having fun. It seems like only yesterday we were crowning a new World Series of Beer Pong champion and handing out a giant check for $50,000. Now, we’re less than two months away from handing out an even larger check for the first ever Masters of Beer Pong champion. And there’s one question everyone keeps asking.

Who’s going to win it?whos-winning-masters

In beer pong time, two months is an eternity. There’s still way too much time for players to find partners, change plans, flake out at the last moment or backstab a good friend. We’ve come to expect these things from our close-knit beer pong community. I wouldn’t expect anything less. But, like the NFL “experts” who have spent the last few months posting mock drafts that made them look like idiots this past week, it’s still fun to guess how things will pan out.

Right now, is there a better player in the world than Ross Hampton?

The name should sound familiar if you have spent any time in the competitive beer pong circuits the past two years. Hampton won the prestigious World Series of Beer Pong VII singles title last year, and followed it up with an even more impressive victory, winning the World Series of Beer Pong VII doubles title. In the World Series of Beer Pong VIII, he was a part of the winning East vs. West tournament team, and then followed it up by winning the 2nd Annual Pongstars.net Spring Classic a few weeks ago. In between, he’s won dozens of other tournaments. Not a bad resume, and I’m sure I’m leaving some stuff out.

People love to debate who the best players are, and several can make a case as the world’s best. Players like Michael “Pop” Popielarski and Ron Hamilton are no stranger to taking home the big checks, and guys like Kevin Kessler, Brandon Marx and Nick Syrigos are also considered some of the world’s best. But in the “what have you won lately” world of competitive beer pong, it’s hard to top what Ross Hampton is doing.

It’s still early, but who’s your pick to win the first ever Masters of Beer Pong tournament. Be sure you register soon before entry fees go up. You won’t want to miss this one.










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?










This Post is Sponsored By…

With its unique characters, soap opera storylines, and high stakes competition, it seems only a matter of time before beer pong becomes a popular televised event. Even the lamest weekly tourney has better storylines than some of the crap that runs on cable television.

So what’s the hold up?

Many players feel that with the focus on beer, it’s a tough sell to advertisers. I can kind of buy that. I know that several major beer companies have steered clear of local beer pong events due to the association with binge drinking. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, considering that most television shows use sex and violence to earn better ratings.

An argument can also be made that the heated trash talk may scare potential advertisers or networks. Since trash talk is such a big part of beer pong, it would be a shame to deny that to the viewer. Some of our most beloved players are just that because of their trash talk. Sure, you can bleep out the F word a dozen times, but where’s the fun in that?

In my opinion, beer pong will only become as big as its sponsors. Bottom line, we need more companies involved to help grow the sport and get it on television. Most TV networks would air footage of sleeping cows if it made money. For some reason or another, beer pong organizers around the country have had a difficult time locking in event sponsors.

The real question is, what kind of sponsors make sense for beer pong? You won’t find a more hardcore group of (mostly) 21-34 males that spend money than a major beer pong event. Most players spend upwards of $1,000 just to travel and play in the World Series of Beer Pong, not including the food, beer and money they gamble away. Seems like a pretty solid market if I’m an advertiser looking at that demographic. And buying into an event sponsorship such as the World Series of Beer Pong is far cheaper than a traditional advertising campaign.

I’m also surprised that no major companies have stepped up to sponsor individual players. There are certainly a few that are “household” names in the beer pong world that would be great for a cutting-edge advertiser. I recently watched “Lords of Dogtown” (great flick, by the way) and it reminded me a little of the beer pong scene. In that movie, you could see how several skateboard companies fought over signing the hippest young skaters.

We’ve seen some small-scale sponsorships before, but nothing from a big company. Who will be the first? In the grand scheme of things, giving a top player $10,000 a year for pushing its name/product is a great deal. The player could enter and travel to every major during the year, proudly pimping the product or its name, or both. In return, that sponsor gets all the name recognition that goes along with associating itself with a top player. Tons of social media exposure, interviews, photos, etc. It makes so much sense to me, but maybe I’m just taking crazy pills.

What kind of companies do you think would be great beer pong sponsors? What would you be willing to do as a player to be sponsored?










Beer Pong’s Bro Factor

I think we can all agree that beer pong has a perception problem.

Whenever some high school or college kid has one too many drinks and makes a bad decision, the first culprit is always the game of beer pong. It’s never the parents who allowed the party to happen, the liquor store which sold the alcohol, or the person who should have been more responsible and know his or her limits. Nope, it’s all beer pong’s fault when someone drinks in excess and makes bad decisions.

If it’s not the excessive drinking that’s giving beer pong a bad reputation, it’s the “bro factor.” For some reason, millions of people think beer pong is the official sport of fraternities in colleges across the United States. To them, we are all just a bunch of guys in pastel-colored Polo shirts with popped collars and too much hair gel. In between games of beer pong, we go to the gym, hold keggers, and all the other stuff frat guys do. We refer to each other as “bro” and only “bro.”

In the interest of full disclosure, I was not a member of any fraternity in college. And while it has been over a decade since I enjoyed the lifestyle of a young college student, I can’t say that any of the fraternity parties I went to were centered around beer pong. Obviously, the sport has grown quite a bit in recent years, and I have no doubt that frat guys love to play them some beer pong (who doesn’t). But the stereotype isn’t exactly fair.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing fraternities at all. I chose to spend my time at the student newspaper in college instead, but that’s just me. I have plenty of great friends who belong to fraternities and only speak of them highly. Very few people fit the negative stereotype of a frat guy, and most people fail to acknowledge that fraternity members tend to earn better grades and a more well-rounded college experience.

I just don’t like the idea people have that we are all just a bunch of guys playing beer pong in someone’s basement or frat house waiting in line for the next kegstand. The truth is, and this has been mentioned time and time again, the majority of us who play competitively live in the professional world, we have real careers, families, interests and hobbies. Beer pong is an outlet for us, not something we center our life around.

While I’m sure there are plenty of members of our beer pong community who belong to fraternities, I can probably only name two or three that I know for sure. Which shows me that beer pong isn’t just a game for fraternity guys, because let’s face it, none of them are winning our tournaments.










Is Beer Pong Becoming Too Easy?

Is beer pong becoming too easy?

I know it’s a silly question, coming from someone as terrible as me. But as the sport continues to evolve, at some point do we need to go back to the drawing board and re-examine things?

I’m not going to make this into an elbow rule debate. That topic alone is enough for its own blog post and then some. We can look at that at a later time.

For anyone who has played in a major tournament like the World Series of Beer Pong over the course of several years, it’s pretty clear how much the average player has improved, and how much the better even the elite players have become. We’ve reached the point where you go into a game against a Kessler or a Ross Hampton expecting them to shoot 100%. And I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.

I’ve been playing using WSOBP rules for the greater part of the last decade. In Maryland, before adapting to the current WSOBP rules, we used to play unlimited bring-backs and each player shoot-until-you-miss rebuttal shots. Even then, a few of the better players were already taking the “next step.” It wasn’t uncommon starting a game down 6 cups before you even shot against a great team.

If we want to take beer pong seriously, as a sport, then it is only fair to compare beer pong to other sports. And you’d be hard-pressed to find another sport that demands near-perfection to win games.

In baseball, you are considered an above-average to great hitter if you hit above .300. In 1941, Ted Williams posted a .406 batting average, considered by most to be the greatest statistical batting season of all time. Yet in that magical season, Williams got out nearly 60% of the time.

In football, the career leader in quarterback completion percentage is Chad Pennington with a 66% over the course of 10 seasons. Ignoring the fact that Pennington is a terrible QB (sorry Jets fans) even his record-breaking noodle arm threw incompletions almost 35% of the time.

Finally, in the NBA, Carmelo Anthony won the scoring title this year averaging 28.7 points per game, notching a .449 field goal percentage. The league leader in field goal percentage, center DeAndre Jordan, had a .643%.

Enough with the Moneyball stats, you say. What’s the point? The point is that in any given major tournament, if you shoot about 60% you’re not guaranteed to win, not even close to it. I’d say the top players average out closer to an 80%, give or take. That may be generous, but I think we can all agree that maybe beer pong has become a little too easy at its current state.

So what’s the answer? Elbow rule? Longer tables? No bring-backs? No rebuttals? Or are things fine the way they are? Every major sport has gone through numerous rule changes to balance things out.

How about beer pong?








Let’s Bounce?

We’ve all been there. It’s the World Series of Beer Pong and months of practice and preparation have culminated into a chance to play for the $50,000 grand prize. You know you’re likely to get every team’s best shot (no pun intended) and you will need to bring your “A” game. You shake hands with the opposition and start your game. And then it happens.

The other team bounces a ball into your cup. Then, they bounce two more. You think to yourself, “Are you shitting me?”

I mean, it’s not illegal to bounce. According to the Item 3 in the “Grabbing” section of the official WSOBP rules, “Bounce Shots: Players ARE allowed to let their shots bounce off of the table before making it to the cup. In accordance with B(2) above, bounce-shots may not be interfered with until they have made contact with a cup. It should be noted that bounce-shots do NOT count for two cups.”

I just don’t understand why people bounce. Back in my house party days, bouncing was a great way to catch the opposing team while they were napping and knock off two cups at once. But when the shot only counts for one cup, why would you want to do it? I can understand the argument that bouncing into a 10-rack is a high-percentage shot, but at the same time, if you can’t make a 10-rack shooting the traditional way, why are you playing in the World Series of Beer Pong?

I’ll admit, sometimes when I am trying to be a dick I will repeatedly bounce my shots. Sometimes, I’ll only bounce at last cup. But while I consider myself a decent bouncer, I also believe that someone has much more control over their shot by shooting in the traditional way rather than bouncing. As tournaments progress, there are a variety of factors that can affect one’s bounce shot. Do you really want to bounce a ball onto a wet table when one game can separate you from making Day 3? I know I wouldn’t.

In BPONG’s storied history, I can’t remember a team that made a deep run by bounce shooting. What do you guys think about bouncing? Is it time to retire the bounce shot?










baseketball

BASEketball and the Lost Art of the Distraction

A lot has been written about beer pong distractions and trash talk. Trash talk is as big a part of beer pong as the cups and balls we use. Watch any finals match of a major beer pong tournament and you’ll likely have to turn down the volume if you are watching at work.

But what about distractions?

If beer pong distractions were an animal, they’d be an endangered species. The distraction techniques used by most of today’s players are lame and stale. Sure, you’ll see guys playing with cups behind the tables or pouring water on themselves or jumping up and down, but that’s kid stuff, guys. Most of you are better than that and we should hold each other to a higher standard.

Have you ever seen the movie “BASEketball?” I was 16 when that came out in 1998 and never thought something like that movie could ever happen in real life. Who would pay money to see people do shit like that? A decade and a half later, I’m thinking we need more of the BASEketball-type antics on the beer pong table. There are so many parallels to that movie and organized beer pong, it’s crazy. We need more “psych-outs.”

Most of us started playing at house parties and we’d do anything we could to distract the opposition. If you were lucky enough and had a girl to play with the distractions certainly became a lot more interesting. Somewhere along the line, the art of the distraction was lost. There isn’t any creativity or originality anymore. We need to bring it back. Giving yourself a stupid haircut and jumping around the table like a goofball isn’t enough anymore. And guys, pulling your junk out during a game is not a distraction. Nobody wants to see that, trust me ;)

One ill-advised summer when I was younger, I was playing a game of beer pong and became extremely drunk. I wanted to do something crazy during the game but I couldn’t figure out what to do. I saw a pint glass on the table, threw it against the ground, picked it up and started chewing the broken glass up in my mouth. It was maybe the dumbest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but it was pretty funny to watch. I mean, don’t try stuff like that at home, but as a community, we can do better. We are creative and gross enough to really push the envelope on distracting people.

What are some of the craziest distractions you’ve done to win a game of beer pong?










Starting From the Bottom

I love most people in the beer pong community. Pretty much everyone except Mike Jones, actually. We all have our good qualities and more than a few of us have our bad qualities as well. But we accept each other for who we are. The beer pong community is a family. A huge, giant, dysfunctional family, but a family nonetheless.

But there is one thing that has always irked me about the beer pong community, and it’s how judgmental and dismissive we can be about each other when it comes to skill level. Pong players are stubborn and judgmental, and while we hate listening to people like NFL experts for the same exact reason, everyone is apparently an expert at judging who is “good” at beer pong and who “sucks.” Just like we hate listening to dipshits like Skip Bayless tell us why our teams stink and don’t have a chance to win, we do the same thing to each other when it comes to beer pong.

First impressions can mean a lot in beer pong. We are often judged based on a single game we play against someone, or a terrible shot we happen to see a person take. Likewise, if we see a player shoot well the first time we watch, we likely will quickly determine if that player is good or not. While it isn’t totally fair, it’s understandable. We can only judge fairly by what we see, and if you see someone playing poorly or fantastic, it will go a long way to helping us form our opinion.

The problem with beer pong players, though, is that most of us never change our opinions. Once you’re good, you’re always good.  If you are a good player and play poorly, there’s a reason for it. “He’s rusty,” is one excuse. “They shot lights out,” is another excuse. But a guy like Kessler is always going to be considered a top player, even if he doesn’t play for a couple of years, when he comes back he will still have that respect.

Now, that’s great for the good players, but what about us “terrible” players? While the majority of us started from the bottom (and in my case, stayed at the bottom) there are a lot of players who have gotten quite good, but still don’t command any respect. Chances are if you are one of the other 95% of players, you probably fall under this category. You play with a huge chip on your shoulder, eager to prove to anyone why you should be considered one of the best. Pro sports teams use this kind of mentality all the time during championship runs, and pong players are no different.

That’s why all of these Top 25 rankings you see are bullshit. East Coast guys don’t know the underrated West Coast players, and vice versa. Shit, even people in the same states use rankings as more of a popularity contest than a true measure of someone’s ability.

For every “elite” player out there, there are 5 players that nobody will give the slightest bit of respect to that could give them a run for their money. Who are some of the best players you know that don’t get much respect nationally?










orgnizers

Beer Pong Organizers: The Unsung Heroes

If you’ve hung out at this website enough, attended a World Series of Beer Pong or two, or spent any time in some of the more popular beer pong groups on Facebook, you probably have a pretty good idea who some of the better players are around the country. These are the guys winning multiple satellite tournaments, winning the weekly tournaments, and generally winning most of the cash. Some of the better players in the country can make a decent amount of money solely from beer pong, if they live near the right organizers.

Beer pong tournament organizers are the unsung heroes of our community. They are the ones who keep the movement moving. A great beer pong organizer can singlehandedly make a region thrive in national competition, and a poor organizer can just as easily make one fail.

Most of us take for granted what dedicated beer pong organizers do for us. They put in countless hours scouting and meeting with venues, ordering shirts, organizing leagues and tournaments, and working both outside and inside the community to put the best product on the table. We don’t always see the work being done because we only see tournaments as they happen, never the amount of work that goes into each one.

Beer pong players are mostly a selfish bunch. We complain there aren’t enough tournaments, that the prizes aren’t large enough, that the tournaments run too long, etc. But then we complain about the opposite. The majority of players take and take, complain and complain, but it’s the organizers who put up with everything and keep hosting events.

I’ve ran one beer pong tournament. While it pretty much ran smoothly, it’s not something I ever want to experience again. I can’t handle the constant complaining from players complaining about anything and everything, usually just to complain. I’m the kind of guy who likes to leave right when I am finished playing. We complain about getting home late after we play, but the organizers are the ones who have to stay to the very end. They have to put the tables away, maybe carry them out to their truck, and make sure we didn’t destroy the venue too much. They’re the ones who answer for the bent tables, the holes in the walls, and the urinals that were ripped off the wall.

I don’t mind when organizers take a cut of the profits for running tournaments. They put in all the work and deserve something for their time. But either an organizer doesn’t take enough and gets taken advantage of, or takes too much and gets accused of stealing from players. It’s a fine line and impossible to please everyone.

It’s a tough gig, being a tournament organizer. They probably contribute the most to the beer pong community and get the least in return.

Who are some of the best beer pong organizers in your area? Let’s recognize those guys who are putting in the work behind the scenes to grow our sport.

beer-pong-terminology-troll

Beer Pong Terminology

Most of us have played beer pong long enough that we take a lot of things about the game for granted. We speak a different language to each other. We can debate and come to an agreement on a rules discussion in only a few short moments without explaining a whole lot. We have our own little names and expressions for things.

In beer pong, there are different names for the same things, depending on which region you come from. Just like people who refer to soda as “pop,” players from different areas may refer to things differently. But there are also some standard beer pong terms that almost everyone understands.

Here’s a quick “cheat sheet” for some of the most commonly used beer pong terms:

beer, cups, balls
Durrrrrrrrr

40mm
The size of a regulation World Series of Beer Pong ball

World Series rules
Playing a game while adhering to the World Series of Beer Pong official rules

roll-back/bring-back
After you make two shots in WSOBP play, you get one ball back to shoot

troll
A player who doesn’t make a single cup in a game of beer pong and has to sit under the table

hundo
A player who shoots a perfect game

“Reap” hundo
When a player boasts of shooting a hundo but actually misses up to 3 shots. Made popular by Thomas Reap

honeycomb
Hitting all corner cups and the middle cup in succession. Considered one of the more disrespectful things to do to someone on the beer pong table, the cups remaining form a “honeycomb” shape

satty/satellite
A tournament offering free entry/hotel into a major tournament as a prize for the winners instead of cash

diamond formation
Four cups remaining in a diamond shape

power i/stoplight
Three cups in a straight line

triangle
Three cups in a triangle shape

stud
An elite beer pong player

cash games
Beer pong games played with cash on the line

nasty/lights out/sick/dirty
Someone who is describing superior play of someone else or falsely describing himself

rebuttal
Shots taken after the final cup is hit in hopes of sending to overtime

Those are some of the more common beer pong terms you will find in competitive play. What are some of the beer pong terms used in your area?










beer-pong-superstitions

Beer Pong Superstitions

Did you know Michael Jordan wore his blue University of North Carolina shorts underneath his Chicago Bulls uniform for good luck? Tiger Woods always wears red on Sundays. Almost every athlete in every sport and level of competition has some kind of superstition. Beer pong players are no different.

If anything, beer pong players are more superstitious than average athletes. There are very few moving parts in a game of beer pong: Two players, ten cups and two balls to a side. There is little margin for error, so beer pong players are always looking for something to give them a leg up in competition.

Some players are superstitious as to what side of the beer pong table they shoot from. If they are used to standing on the right side of the table and you make them stand on the left, don’t expect a great game from them.

Some players have lucky shirts, shorts, shoes or hats (or whatever accessory you can think of). Sometimes, when you look at pictures of the same people from different beer pong tournaments, it’s hard to tell the difference because they are wearing the exact same thing. Of course, there are some of us who wear the same stuff because we don’t wash our clothes, but that’s a different story.

Some players need to bounce the ball a certain number of times before they shoot. Maybe they need to dip it in the water cup and shake it a few times before getting ready to shoot. Not to mention, there’s also those annoying players that need to take a few practice shooting motions before throwing the ball, like they’re lining up a tournament-winning birdie putt on the 18th green at the U.S. Open.

Some players have racks they always shoot at and ones they just can’t hit. They may be able to hit the 10 and 6 racks without hesitation, but give them an “ugly” rack with cups hit all over the place, and they may not want to shoot.

Some players need to have the hit cups placed on a certain side of the table before they shoot. Even if they are completely out of the way, they just can’t shoot with them being on the “wrong” side.

Some of us are superstitious about what we drink the day of a major beer pong tournament. Whether it’s a 40 oz. bottle of King Cobra Malt Liquor or an entire bottle of Jack Daniels, we can’t function without it.

What are some of your beer pong superstitions?










beer-pong-strategy

Beer Pong Strategery

You wouldn’t guess there would be much strategy involved in a game of beer pong. It’s just the first team to hit ten cups first, right? How much strategy could you possibly need except to hit more cups?

To answer the question: There is a lot of strategy that goes on into a typical game of beer pong. And there are some big decisions to make even before the first ball is thrown.

When we arrive at a beer pong tournament, we usually find an empty table and start shooting around. Depending on how the venue is set up, you may develop a “comfort level” with a certain side of the table. Maybe there is more space to move around, maybe it’s less congested and there is less of a chance of being bumped into while you shoot, but some sides of the table offer a distinct advantage to a team. A lot of teams will get so used to playing on one side of the table, that when they are put into the position of playing on the other side, it throws them off a bit.

Usually, we use rock, paper, scissors or a coin flip to determine who shoots one ball first or two balls second. A forgotten option is to also choose sides instead of choosing shots. It’s kind of like deferring a kickoff in the NFL. I will almost always choose balls if I win, sometimes when I lose I will ask the team if they want balls or sides. A team that you know doesn’t want to switch sides will sometimes give you the balls and keep the side they are on, which allows you to have balls first even though you lost the toss. Sometimes, getting to the table first and taking the preferred side will help increase your chances of earning balls first.

Another element of strategy is choosing one ball first or two balls second. To me, it’s a no brainer to choose two balls second. You can start the game off 3-1 and can immediately back your opponent into a corner. But especially this past year at the World Series of Beer Pong, I noticed more and more teams choosing the one ball first. I don’t know why someone would choose this except if they know they will be shooting 100% and ending the game first, but to each their own. For those of you who choose to shoot one ball first, why do you prefer that?

Another big decision to think about is who shoots third shots? Some teams like to give these shots to the “hot” player or the one who just shot, but others like to play the percentages and give it to the better player. When I play with a player better than me (almost all the time since I’m terrible) I always let them take the third shot. Even if I am having a better game, the odds still favor him making the cup more than me.

Lastly, a decision needs to be made when shooting rebuttals. Do you organize rebuttals so a certain player will be shooting at final cup? Do you let a specific player shoot at a specific rack? There’s a lot to think about.

What are some of the strategic moves you make on the beer pong table?










get-along

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

One of the best parts of playing beer pong is the trash talk. It’s something that draws us to the game time and time again, keeps it interesting and fun, and provides an extra element of intensity that most of us don’t experience in our daily lives.

When I first started playing, I loved talking trash to people. I think I enjoyed the trash talk more than the beer pong itself. I tried to be as funny and clever as I could, with my main goal trying to get the other team to miss. Sure, I got branded as an asshole by most people, but those who knew me off the table knew it was all in good fun and didn’t take it seriously.

Somewhere along the line, however, the line between acceptable trash talk and getting too personal became blurred. Now, it seems like there is nothing sacred on the beer pong table. You can talk about someone’s wife, child, girlfriend, etc. all in hopes of them getting to miss one shot in a game of beer pong.

I realize that, as a society, we have become desensitized to what is considered right and what is considered wrong. It’s easy to spew a bunch of foul shit off on Twitter and Facebook and act like a complete asshole and troll everyone because there are no repercussions. It’s the reason why horror movies have become more graphic, and movies like “The Hangover II” were terrible, because everyone is trying to “one up” everyone else. So your opponent didn’t miss his shot when you made fun of his haircut, so why not make fun of his girlfriend and see if you can get a reaction?

At what point do we say, “Enough is enough?” I mean, we are mostly all grown men and women. Most of us have careers, families, and lives outside of major beer pong tournaments to think about. Aren’t we all past the point where we have to prove our toughness to each other? I mean, people still do that? I’ve been punched, slapped and spit on, and I have just stood there and laughed because I am not going to jeopardize getting arrested or going to jail over a, in the long run, meaningless game of beer pong. Not to mention, I would probably get my ass kicked.

Someone made a Facebook post this weekend about how the crazy beer pong drama and trash talk doesn’t occur as much on the West Coast. I don’t know for certain, but it makes sense. You see those guys at the World Series of Beer Pong and it really looks like everyone is just having fun and getting along. Sure, there are always exceptions, but why is everyone else so damn mad?

I’ll be the first to admit that I am certainly being a hypocrite. I have crossed the line more times than I’d like to admit. I’ve said some things in the heat of competition I certainly regret and am embarrassed of to this day. I’m sure I’ve lost some friendships and people look at me differently as a result, and I understand those are the consequences of my actions.

At the end of the day, though, it’s just beer pong guys. One of the reasons we are all here is because we like competition, we like drinking, and we enjoy the community we’ve all helped build. Can’t we all just get along?










future-of-beer-pong

The Future of Beer Pong

Technology has changed our way of life. We live our lives on the go with laptop computers, mobile phones and tablets. If you’re one of the 1% that doesn’t own such items, you probably aren’t reading this anyway. We can watch live sporting events on our phones, play video games that look realistic, make a cup of coffee in a few seconds, you name it. Pretty much everything from Back to the Future Part II (except the hoverboards) is now available with three years to spare before 2015.

We don’t think of it often, but technology has had a big impact on the sport of beer pong as well. The game has come a long way from playing on a ping pong table with red party cups and scribbling next games on the inside of an empty beer box. You don’t think so? Take it from an old timer like me.

1. Foldable Beer Pong Tables
It was once a rite of passage to go to Home Depot, buy a big piece of plywood and hide it behind a sofa or underneath a bed until it was time to play beer pong. They were awkward and heavy and difficult to transport, not to mention tough to sneak in to a dorm room or on-campus apartment. I was amazed the first time I saw something that resembled a metal suitcase unfold into a glorious, eight foot beer pong table. You guys don’t realize how lucky you are.

2. Beer Pong Racks
When BPONG first introduced the beer pong racks, I kind of rolled my eyes and didn’t appreciate them at first. Seemed like more of a hassle than it was worth. But now, playing with racks is like second nature. Remember how the table used to get wet after a few games, and that last cup just wouldn’t stay still and would keep sliding as you shot? Not anymore. Games run much more quickly and smoothly now. Plus all you leaning assholes don’t have to fix the rack after every shot.

3. Bracket Software
If you’re reading this, chances are you have attended a beer pong tournament where the host or organizer had an awesome bracket set up on a piece of poster board, only to ruin it by filling in the teams straight down. Why don’t you do this? Because you end up playing a team in the winner’s bracket finals that only played one game to get there. Now, with a click of a button organizers can fill out a bracket quickly and properly, with the more advanced organizers using spreadsheets to make tournaments even more efficient. When was the last time you saw a big tournament run without a laptop, and how badly did it suck?

4. Inflatable Beer Pong Tables
Summertime, bikinis, beer pong, and no need for a water cup. Do I need to spell this out?

Yes, beer pong has come a long way in the last decade or so. It’s crazy how such seemingly small changes can revolutionize the sport. Let’s face is, Billy is like the Willy Wonka of the beer pong world, and I personally can’t wait to see what he will come up with next…










3-people

What 3 people would you play beer pong with, alive or dead?

At some point, I’m sure someone has asked you, “If you could have dinner with any three people, alive or dead, whom would you choose?”

I hate that question. Usually it elicits the same canned responses from people. Maybe you’d choose Jesus, Susan B. Anthony, or Martin Luther King Jr. It’s a slick way for people to find out more about the things you value without asking questions that would be illegal to ask in job interviews.

Well, I’ve got a better question. If you could play the upcoming Masters of Beer Pong with any three people, alive or dead, whom would you choose and why? With at least $100,000 on the line, it’s a tough choice. You may want someone that you can get along with for a couple of days, someone talented, and someone able to perform under pressure. Or, you may just want to choose someone down to party nonstop for a couple of days in Vegas. Decisions, decisions.

Here are my three choices:

1. Robert Horry
Robert Horry played 16 seasons in the NBA and stands 6 feet, 10 inches. At 6’10” and no elbow rule, dropping a ping pong ball into a cup 8 feet away is hardly a difficult task. But why him? There are countless NBA players taller than him and more talented than him. I could have picked Michael Jordan or Lebron James or someone like that, but Robert Horry has something they don’t: Seven NBA rings, the most of any player in modern time. I admittedly don’t watch a lot of professional basketball, I root for Lebron and troll for him on Facebook, but that’s about it. But it seems like anytime I’ve watched the NBA finals, there was “Big Shot Rob” hitting a big shot when it mattered most. I can’t think of anyone else I’d want shooting a rebuttal shot in the finals.

2. Ray Lewis
My personal love of Baltimore sports aside, would there be anyone more intimidating to play against than Ray Lewis? He would make Ron Hamilton look like Ron Paul. He scared the shit out of NFL players for the better part of two decades so I’m confident he could get in the heads of some punk college kid beer pong players. I also couldn’t imagine a more supportive teammate. My play would be described by most as “inconsistent” so I’m confident RayRay would be able to pull me aside, whisper a prayer into my ear, do the squirrel dance and get me fired up. I mean, he won a Super Bowl with Trent Dilfer at quarterback. Oh yeah, he may have also killed a guy(s) once, so I may escape Vegas without getting slapped or spit on for once.

3. Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is one of my favorite athletes of all time. I absolutely hate how the media built him up, only to tear him down, only to build him up again. He’s a tremendous competitor in every way imaginable. If the guy can sink 40 foot birdie putts with millions of dollars on the line, I’m certain he can shoot a ball from 8 feet away. But it’s not even about that, I just want to party with him in Vegas. Can you imagine a couple of days at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas? From that Swedish supermodel to the lovely Lindsey Vonn, Tiger Woods has the sexy blonde thing down pat. And he’s got about a billion dollars or so, so chances are good he’d buy a round or two.

So, if you could play the upcoming Masters of Beer Pong with any three people, alive or dead, whom would you choose and why?










never-too-old-to-pong

Never too old to pong

We’ve all been there before. You’re at someone’s family party, barbecue, wedding, etc. and the beer pong table is out. The younger people are playing beer pong or flip cup on the tables and the older partygoers are sitting in lawn chairs just hanging out watching you play. Maybe there is an inflatable table floating around in the pool. Everyone is having a great time.

And then it happens. One or two of them walk over and start asking about the rules. You can tell by that twinkle in their eye that they really want to play, but feel weird asking. After a little prodding you convince them to take a shot or two. Next thing you know, they are calling next game and the older folks are leaving their lawn chairs to come over and play. You’ve lost the table for the rest of the party.

It’s always hilarious when older people play beer pong. I don’t know exactly why, but it is. Most of them seem to shoot a little goofy, and they can’t seem to remember the rules no matter how many times you explain them. The mothers and grandmothers look truly embarrassed to be playing, like their parents just walked in on them making out as teenagers.

Most of us have different personas on the beer pong table. The way we speak and yell in the heat of competition are completely opposite from the way we act around our parents, coworkers, and non-ponging friends. It’s funny; when an older person gets on the table it’s almost as if we have an inner conflict… We don’t want to yell and cuss or talk too much trash, but we also want to tease them a little and have some fun. It’s a fine line to walk between just having fun and making sure not to make ourselves look like complete assholes. No matter how much older we get, most of us still feel like we’re going to get in trouble when we pong around older people.

It’s great when the older players start dishing out the trash talk and hitting cups. You never expect to lose a game of beer pong to someone who doesn’t play competitively, but every once in a while you will play a newbie and find yourself on the ropes. Suddenly everyone is cheering against you and hoping the old guys pull out the win.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome to play in big tournaments like the Masters of Beer Pong with a minimum of $100,000 on the line. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to win that amount of money in a game of beer pong. But sometimes it’s great to see someone new and completely unexpected experience the fun of playing beer pong for the first time. It’s good to think back every once in a while and remembered why we started playing the game: We wanted to have fun.










getting-better-at-beer-pong

Getting Better at Beer Pong

Once upon a time in the competitive beer pong community, you could count the elite players in the country on two hands. Whether you’re located on the West Coast or the East Coast, the same names would come up in every conversation. As the community grew and more and more players were exposed to the competitive levels of the game, something happened: Everyone got good.

The first World Series of Beer Pong I played in was WSOBP III. My partner at the time had made his debut the year prior and he told me we would be a cinch to make Day Three. He told me that players in our region played the best competition throughout the year and we would be so much better than everyone else. Our first opponent on the first day was a guy he had won a lot of money from off of cash games the year before. Those guys that apparently “sucked” beat us by 4 or 5 cups. It was more of the same for the rest of the tournament and we ended up NOT making Day Three, the first and last time I would miss Day Three.

It used to be that you could look at your preliminary schedule and figure out who the “easy wins” would be and what the “touch matchups” would be. You’d ask your friends if they knew any of the teams or players. Not anymore. You can’t underestimate anyone these days. Just because a player isn’t well-known or just because they don’t make a million posts a day in the National Beer Pong Facebook group doesn’t mean anything. Almost everyone who is signing up to play competitively at the WSOBP or Masters of Beer Pong can play and hang with the best.

So how do players become great players? I think there are three ways:

1. Natural Ability

As shitty as it is for the rest of us, some guys are just naturally good. The first organized tournament I ever played in also happened to be the first organized tournament that Sean Foster played in. My friend and I looked at the team Sean ^2 and, given our background in partying, figured it to be an easy win. Well, they smoked us. They finished 2-2 but went on to take second place in their very next tournament a couple of weeks later. Granted, Foster has become a much better player since then, but even from the beginning he was hanging with the best.

2. Practice

Practice anything and you’ll get better at it, right? In the case of Sean Foster, he took beer pong practice to the next level. He invented the “Pong Shot” ball return device. Basically, he’d shoot a ball at cups and it would roll back to him. Rumor has it he would take hundreds of shots a night. We know this because his ex-girlfriend would tell everyone how much he would play with his Pong Shot. While not everyone has a pong shot, we’ve all shot cups by ourselves from one side of the table, retrieve the balls, and shoot from the other side. Some practice with their partners, etc. While practice can’t replace real game experience, it can certainly take a player to the next level.

3. Experience

Neither the highest amounts of natural ability or practice can substitute for true game experience. There’s no preparation for how you’ll feel the first time you make the finals of a tournament. Almost all of us go through the “happy to be here” phase of a beer pong career. You’re in the finals, you’re guaranteed a prize of some kind, and you are just happy to be there. Once you get a taste of victory or defeat you’re left wanting more, but those first couple of times, it’s all good win or lose. But for most of us, it takes a while to get rid of the nerves you’ll experience shooting a big rebuttal shot, or coming back from a deficit with our backs against the wall. It takes a while to learn how to deal with distractions, and on the opposite end, how to get in your opponent’s head as well. In the end, you need to learn from experience how to get better.

There are no easy wins in competitive beer pong anymore. One day soon, if not already, a miss or two will cost you the win. Everyone will keep getting better.

beer-pong-girlfriends

Dear Beer Pong Girlfriends

You are appreciated.

No, I’m not reciting the lyrics to 2Pac’s “Dear Mama.” But I wanted to give a shoutout to all the beer pong girlfriends out there. We appreciate you.

Let’s face it: Most of the time, the payoff for winning a beer pong tournament isn’t much. Maybe we’ll get a trophy, maybe we’ll get some cash, maybe we’ll get a bartab. Chances are, the entry fee and time we spend trying to win come close to balancing out our investment. We may barely break even. Still, we play. And you support us.

Beer pong tends to bring out the worst in a lot of us. We drink too much. We say things in the heat of the competition we would have never guessed we’d say around you when we first met. We act like babies when we lose a tough game. We blame everyone and everything except our own play when we come up short. We lie to you when we tell you it’s our last tournament, that this is it, we’re retiring. Still, we play. And you support us.

When we first started dating, we loved that you came out to almost every tournament. You even DD’ed for us a few times. We appreciated it. We knew there weren’t many girls there, and that you had no interest in making friends with the ones who were there. But still, you came out to watch. Beer pong isn’t the most exciting spectator sport, but you stuck around until the finals. You even sat around when we stayed a little bit longer to play some cash games. It meant a lot to us when you tried to join in on the fun. You called your girlfriend up and you guys entered a tournament. You went 0-2, but you seemed to have fun or at least acted like you did. You haven’t played since. Still, we play. And you support us.

Remember that time we told you we couldn’t take off work to go on that vacation or do that thing with you? You understood and didn’t make a big deal of it. And then January 1st came around, and by some miracle we were able to get off work and fly to Vegas. You understood and didn’t hold a grudge. You may have even fell for it when we convinced you we were going to come home $50,000 richer. You believed us when we told you we had a real chance of winning. When we came home sick with empty pockets and pong flu, you said nothing. Still, we play. And you support us.

Remember that scene in ” The Shawshank Redemption” when Andy Dufresne first comes to prison? The inmates all tease him, call him a “fresh fish” and other names. They express sexual desires to him. Well, this is how most of the guys at the beer pong tournament look at you. You are like a piece of red meat thrown off the boat while the sharks circle. You’re a trooper though. We know it’s going to happen, but we still get mad when those guys mess with you. We end up getting in an argument over you. You break it up and get mad at us for causing a scene. Still, we play. And you support us.

It’s not easy dating a beer pong player, but thank you. You are appreciated.









beer-pong-playlist

What’s on your beer pong playlist?

It’s Day Three of the World Series of Beer Pong. The field is narrowing down, every shot is becoming more and more important. The DJ is spinning onstage and the music is shaking the entire ballroom. You’re watching the teams left in it play under the lights in the center of the room. Some of the guys are feeding off the energy, talking shit to the crowd and the other team. But there’s always that one guy, seemingly as calm as can be, standing at the table with his ear buds in.

I still don’t understand it, to be honest. For me, the greatest part about making Day 3 is feeding off the energy of the players or crowd as the field dwindles. Trash talk doesn’t really affect me, so it’s not like I need something to tune it out. I tend to like the music being played, and even if I don’t, anything sounds great with the alcohol in my system and the adrenaline flowing. I’ve never even tried to shoot with headphones on. I would guess that the wires would bother me too much.

So for the guys who are listening to the ear buds, I’m just curious why? Does it help your focus? Does it drown out the trash talk from your opponent or crowd? Is the music calming your nerves or getting you more amped up? Do you feel like you’re missing out on anything?

I’ve always wondered what you guys are listening to. Hip-hop? Rock? Country? At a World Series of Beer Pong a few years ago, I was curious what someone was listening to so I grabbed his iPod. I looked at the screen and Tool’s “Hooker With A Penis” was playing. Yes, apparently that is a real song and apparently that is what this particular player was listening to. This player may have also dressed up for the WSOBP as a female on several occasions. Not naming names. I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere.

So what makes a great beer pong playlist? At most of our major events, hip-hop tends to be the music of choice. Every now and again something like Carly Rae Jebsen’s undeniable “Call Me Maybe” will sweep in and captivate the beer pong community. For me, whenever Bubba Sparxx’s “Deliverance” comes on, I feel like I can’t miss. I’ve thought of playing with an iPod just so I can listen to that song on repeat all day.

What are some of your favorite songs to shoot to? Let’s build the greatest beer pong playlist ever.










best-players-in-region

Who are the best players in your region?

The first day of spring is only days away. Soon enough, birds will be chirping, the sun will come out, the flowers will bloom, but most importantly, beer pong season will go into full swing. With the year-long wait to the World Series of Beer Pong cut in half by this year’s $100,000 Masters of Beer Pong tournament, things are kicking into high gear even sooner this year.

Springtime beer pong wouldn’t be complete without the annual dramafest on the East Coast, otherwise known as the Beast of the East tournament. Nothing will change your opinion of a beer pong player quicker than seeing how petty, childish, ridiculous and egotistical some of us can be during the Beast of the East team selection process.

For those of you who don’t know, the Beast of the East was the first of the “Best of” tournaments, pitting the best players from each state or region against one another in the battle of world supremacy. While other parts of the United   States have adopted the format, the Beast of the East is the granddaddy of them all.

In a perfect world, each region picks its 10 best players and thus forms its “A” squad. A deep state or region likely has enough players for multiple teams, in a perfect world forming “B,” “C,” and “D” teams, etc. But in the simple game of beer pong, nothing is that easy.

So what’s the problem? I think, in a nutshell, everyone has gotten too good. In most places, there are probably a clear five or six guys that are head and shoulders above everyone else. Take my state, Maryland, for example. Austin, Jordan, Foster, Deryck, Moose and Mantis are, in my opinion, the top six players if we are referring to shooting ability and nothing else. The five or ten guys behind them are close, but not quite on their level. But on any given day, they can beat one of those top players.

So when the “selection committee” convenes and chooses the ten best players, what criteria do they use? Do they base their decision purely on 1-on-1 skill? Do they take into account performances in major tournaments and the final days of those tournaments? Do they base their decisions on who has the hot hand at the time of the tournament? There’s a lot to consider when choosing the 10 best players from a region and I’m not sure what the correct way is, if there is one.

The common sense thing to do would be for all players to “play in” to their respective teams. The problem with that, though, is if one of the “elite” players from your region has a rare off day and a Cinderella story knocks him out. Who do you want shooting the rebuttal shot of the big tournament? The guy who pulled the upset, or the guy who has made that big shot hundreds of times?

Not to mention, several of the “elite” players from around the country have yet to win a major, even when teaming up and forming “dream” teams.

Outside the sport of beer pong, the New York Yankees have only won one World Series since 2000. The Boston Red Sox haven’t won a World Series since 2007. In the NFL, between the two perennial offseason champion Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins, there have been zero Super Bowl titles since 1995. There are exceptions, but in most cases, the sports teams with the best players usually don’t win championships.

The most decorated beer pong of all team, Smashing Time, has two World Series of Beer Pong titles and the final table of another. Right or wrong, most players consider Michael “Pop” Popielarski the “better” player of the two, yet his teammate, Ron Hamilton, has more final table appearances than Pop, while arguably playing with “lesser” players. This doesn’t make any sense.

Does your head hurt yet? Mine does. Clearly, no one is discounting the fact that Ron can make shots. For the sake of argument, let’s say Pop is the better 1-on-1 player. But Ron is clearly bringing something else to the table in those tournaments, making him more successful. So who is the better player, the guy who everyone thinks is better or the guy who has the better resume?

So in picking 10 players, do you want to pick the 10 guys who will form the best teams, or strictly the 10 best players? And what do you use for your criteria as best?

How would you select a “10 best” from your region, or if you already have, how did you do it?










kill-bill

Who’s on your “Kill Bill” list?

Most serious beer pong players have, or have had, a “Kill Bill” list.

In the beginning of the “Kill Bill” movie trilogy, the lead character (played by Uma Thurman, so hot) wakes up from a coma to find the baby she was carrying gone. She creates a “death list” and crosses off each name as she gets revenge on those who betrayed here.

In beer pong, we have our own “Kill Bill” lists. There are always those players or teams you just can’t seem to beat. If you’re an emerging player and you have started to play your way deep into tournaments on a consistent basis, you’re likely to run into those guys you just can’t seem to beat. Maybe they are just very talented players, maybe they know how to get inside your head, or maybe they are already in your head. Maybe you just can’t stand that person so much that you psyche yourself out and prevent yourself from playing well. We’ve all been there.

I believe that confidence plays a huge role in the success of a beer pong player. But a lack of confidence can play an equal role in the failure of a player, too. It’s all part in paying your dues as a player. Most of us don’t have the natural ability to become elite players right off the bat. For most of us, it’s a lot of practice, a lot of tournament entries, and a lot of beer before we can compete with the big boys.

It’s frustrating to keep advancing deep into tournaments only to have the same old teams shoot you right back into the loser’s bracket. It’s deflating to lose to the same people time and time again. It’s the reason why a lot of people stop playing seriously after a few tournaments and, at the same time, the reason why a lot of people get so hooked on the game because they love the competition of it. When you face off against a team you don’t think you can beat, the other team knows they already won.

And when the day finally comes that you manage to cross that team off of your list, everything changes. You have the confidence that you can beat that opponent. The opponent, so used to normally beating you, will usually take you too lightly or have that element of doubt in their heads that wasn’t there before. After that, it’s on to the next one.

So who are some of the players or teams you just can’t seem to beat? Who would be on your list?










team-name

What’s in a beer pong team name?

“Hey, do you have a partner for the tournament on the 16th?”

“Not yet.”

“Wanna play?”

“Sure.”

“What should our team name be?”

We’ve all been a part of that conversation. One of the most fun things about beer pong doesn’t involve playing beer pong at all. It’s figuring out a team name. I’m not sure why it’s so important to us, but we all love coming up with team names for beer pong.

There’s an evolutionary period for beer pong players and team names. When we start playing, we think we are being so creative. We give ourselves names like “Wet Balls,” “Getting Our Balls Wet,” “We Sink U Drink,” “Two Balls One Cup,” “Nice Rack,” “Balls Deep,” etc. Or, we try and capitalize on whatever movie quote or pop culture meme is popular at the time. Then we show up to the tournament and find there are four teams with the same name as ours, and we find out we need to get more creative. Some players don’t put any emphasis on team names at all. There’s no worse feeling than losing to “Jesse + Bill” in a tournament.

There are several avenues to pursue when deciding on a team name. Sexual team names are always fun, but you need to be really creative to come up with something that hasn’t been done already.

Inside jokes always make for great team names. The only drawback, though, is that while you may think it’s the most hilarious thing ever, that puzzled reaction you receive when you tell someone you team name might make you reconsider.

If your partner has an interesting name or nickname, team names that play off that work as well. But some people don’t like letting the partner have all the credit in a team name. Then it’s back to the drawing board.

If all else fails, you can be one of those assholes that name their teams things like, “Table Four.” So when they call “Wet Balls vs. Table Four at Table Eight” you can confuse everyone. Dicks.

The best part of any beer pong tournament (besides winning, of course) is that first time your table is called and everyone hears your team name and laughs. At that point, you know all the hard work and brainstorming has paid off.

Of course, we all know that player who takes the team name a little too seriously. You may not care about the team name at all, but he or she keeps pestering you about it. Every day, it’s “We need to come up with a team name,” or “What should our team name be?” It’s almost like they care more about the team name than actually playing in the tournament. And when they come up with some awkward, terrible team name that you hate, you have to start brainstorming because you know that idiot can’t come up with anything.

So what makes a great team name? What are some of the best team names you’ve heard? And why do we care so much?

momentum

Winning with momentum

You just hit last cup and your opponent has four cups to rebuttal. You’re already thinking about how you’re going to spend that prize money. You and your partner are both relaxed. All smiles.

Your opponent makes the first rebuttal shot, leaving three on the table. You quickly re-rack and roll the ball back. No biggie, no way they hit three more, right?

They make the front cup on the three-rack and just like that, there’s two cups left. A feeling of uneasiness sets in, but you guys aren’t completely worried yet. The other team takes their time shooting at the two. Many players consider two side-by-side cups the hardest rack to hit in beer pong. Usually, it separates the pretenders from the contenders. You’ve been quiet for the last half of the game, but desperation is starting to sink in. You talk a little trash and maybe try a distraction to throw them off. No luck, they sink the left cup and there’s only one left.

The trash talking gets ramped up a little bit now. The crowd is into it, hoping they see overtime. If you’re one of those guys that like to throw cups and smash them and pour water over yourself, now’s the time to do it. All you need is one big miss. You take your time centering the cup and your opponent takes their time preparing to shoot. Everyone is yelling and you are a bit nervous. You thought this game was over a few minutes ago and now you’re helpless. They shoot.

Overtime.

A few moments later, your opponents are now spending that prize money you could have sworn was yours. You didn’t shoot terrible, but once they hit those four rebuttal shots, you didn’t stand a chance.

I don’t have any mathematical data to back up my theory, but in most cases, I believe the team that successfully sinks a series of rebuttal shots goes on to win the game. Momentum and confidence is everything in beer pong. Once you sink four, you know in the worst case, you can sink the three in overtime. Overtime becomes an exercise in jockeying for cup position. The team originally shooting the rebuttals becomes the aggressors, and once they sink the final cup first, it’s usually a losing proposition for the other team.

If you’ve been paying any attention to competitive beer pong, you’re most likely familiar with the finals of the World Series of Beer Pong III. Iron Wizard Coalition hit the final cup with four left for Chauffeuring the Fat Kid to rebuttal. The rest is history. Sorry Baker, I know you’re still haunted by this.

Obviously, there are exceptions to this, but I think in most cases the rebuttaling team uses that momentum to earn the victory. They put the other team back in the spot of making a big shot, and in many cases, once they sink the final cup and think victory is theirs, they lose that intensity needed to battle back in overtime. They get shook and it’s a helpless feeling when you see your opponent continually sink multiple rebuttal shots.

The same theory applies for the team that emerges from the loser’s bracket to earn a place in the finals. This team has already experienced adversity in the tournament. They’ve been playing more and are on a roll. The winner’s bracket finalist likely has been waiting a while to play, and if the loser’s bracket team can win the first game of the finals they normally go on to win the second.

Like in any sport, it’s the “hottest” team, not the “best” team, that usually takes home the trophy.










whats-in-your-cup

What’s in your cup?

Beer pong players are resourceful. You wouldn’t think so by looking at a group of beer pong players at first glance, but when the idea of playing beer pong comes up, us degenerates turn into MacGyver. We can turn almost anything into a beer pong table. No cups or balls? No problem, we’ll figure something out.

But what about what we put into our cups? This is a trickier situation. I’ve never met a beer pong player who was extremely picky about what kind of beer they put in their cups. Obviously, light beer is preferred for most people. Coors Light, Bud Lite, Miller Lite, Natty Lite, Beast Lite, etc. For a lot of us, whichever is cheaper is the best beer to play with.

But playing with the wrong beer can sometimes become a disaster. Some beer is meant for drinking and enjoying, and some beer is made to be pounded in games of beer pong, flip cup, cards, or whatever crazy drinking game you’re playing.

I always think about playing beer pong with the wrong beer every year around St. Patrick’s Day.  A few years ago, I spent St. Patrick’s Day at a bar that had an awesome special: $20 all-you-can-drink Car Bombs and Guinness. That’s impossible to turn down, right? Maybe pre-gaming all morning wasn’t the best way to prepare for it.

As the day went on, someone had the amazing idea to fill the cups on the beer pong table at the bar with Car Bombs. Most of us kind of forget how we used to play “house party” beer pong, when you had to drink before you shoot and making or missing cups meant a lot more. Needless to say, I didn’t play that well and drank way too many Car Bombs. I went to Ireland later that summer and visited the Guinness factory, and the taste still kind of turned my stomach. Years later, I’m only now able to drink it again.

One summer, we ran out of beer and only had Yuengling in the fridge. For those of you on the West Coast, Yuengling is a little darker and heavier than your typical light beer. Before that night, Yuengling was my favorite beer. After a night playing beer pong with it, I could barely stand it.

One of my beer pong pet peeves is when people play with drinks other than beer in the cups. You’ve got girls pouring in Smirnoff, cranberry vodkas, etc. into the cups. Once those people leave the table and you get stuck drinking beer out of those cups, it’s disgusting.

What are some of the worst drinks you ever played “beer pong” with?










true-life

True Life: “I Play Competitive Beer Pong”

Do you try and keep your “real life” separate from your “beer pong” life?

A lot of us try to separate our “beer pong lives” with our real lives. I’ve been asked by people not to use their real names in blogs and articles, because they didn’t want their employers or clients to Google their names and find some less than desirable videos or things written about them. I totally understand that. Some of the things done or said in the heat of the moment on the beer pong table are best not publicized.

For the most part, I’ve always been pretty open about my beer pong hobby. I’m not ashamed of it. I think it’s funny and interesting. The first time I told co-workers years ago that I had won a beer pong tournament I thought they would laugh or judge me. Instead, they seemed fascinated and wanted to come out and watch or play in the next one.

Or, if they kind of laughed at me, they saw the money I made in cash games the night before and suddenly my “hobby” became more credible. Back when I was a better player and played more, beer pong was more lucrative for me. Now, I settle for bar tabs for winning tournaments, but there are many of you that make a decent living solely off beer pong.

One of my favorite parts of being a part of the beer pong community is watching the expressions of casual spectators when they see it in person for the first time. When we’re in Las Vegas for the World Series of Beer Pong, people can spot us from a mile away. They assume we are just there to get drunk and rowdy. Have you ever been in the elevator on your way to the ballroom, and some old lady asks you about the beer pong tournament and the prize money? They kind of laugh at you until you tell them you’re playing for $50,000.

I love the reactions of people who walk into whichever bar or restaurant we’re holding our local tournaments at. At first, they wonder what the hell they got themselves into. But then they stick around after they eat or drink and seem genuinely captivated by what they are watching.

Once, during a league night, my partner and I were playing during a league night and saw a group of older women watching our game. We could tell they were interested, and after a few minutes they came up to us with a question about our game.

She asked us, “Do you have to eat the hard-boiled egg after you make it in the cup?”

This woman thought we were throwing hard-boiled eggs into cups of beer. I can’t make this stuff up.

Have you had any crazy reactions from people about your beer pong hobby?










tell-your-story

Tell Your Story to BPONG!

Are you tired of reading about the same old beer pong players all the time?

Would you like to be profiled on the BPONG.com website?

Are you a rookie training for the Masters of Beer Pong $100,000 Tournament or the World Series of Beer Pong that’s going to shock the world?

Do you have an amazing beer pong story you have to share?

Well, BPONG would love to tell your story!

If you’re interested, please comment below with your name and someone from BPONG will contact you shortly!

Happy Pongin’ this weekend!










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Since U Been Gone

Seeing your pong partner play with someone else is worse than your girlfriend cheating on you.

Isn’t it though?

On all levels of beer pong, it sucks when your partner leaves you for someone else. Sometimes, it’s a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In other cases, you’re getting dropped for a better player.

Remember that time you were running the beer pong table at some house party, left the table to go to the bathroom, came back and found your partner playing with someone else? Couldn’t they have just waited a few minutes? You’ve got to go scrambling to find someone to call next with. Or there’s some girl or guy begging to get on the table and your partner just can’t resist. But at the end of the day, it’s just a house party so it’s not the biggest deal in the world.

Losing a partner in the competitive beer pong world stings a little worse. It’s easy to simplify the simple game of beer pong and completely dismiss the idea of a serious partner, but make no mistake, the best beer pong partnerships are true relationships. Chances are that you aren’t going to win the Masters of Beer Pong tournament with some guy you picked up off the street. Well, unless your name is Ross Hampton.

In the course of a full year, you are probably spending as much time with your pong partner than your significant other. That’s kind of a scary thought. And beer pong relationships are significantly different than intimate ones. When you are playing for high stakes, with alcohol involved, things will get heated. You’re going to get slapped, spit on, punched, or all three in the course of one tournament (thanks Mantis). It’s just the way it is. But when the coin gets flipped for the next round, it’s all love again and you start fresh.

Sometimes, the most dysfunctional partners make the best teams. Look at Michael “Pop” Popielarski and Ron Hamilton. Their team, “Smashing Time,” won back-to-back WSOBP titles, took a break, and came back to make the final table at World Series of Beer Pong VIII a few years later. Lock them in a room together they are likely to kill each other.

bpongpartner

Like a bad relationship, you complain about your beer pong partner all the time, but when they finally leave you, you want them back. You forget about that time you misrepresented your shooting percentage while throwing them under the bus, or the time you passed off that last rebuttal because everyone was watching and you didn’t want to be the one that missed. Like looking for a new job, you start putting out applications before you give your two-weeks notice. No one has dropped a solid beer pong partner without having a back-up plan.

Eventually, the time comes when a partnership has reached its end. Sometimes it’s mutual, but in a lot of cases it’s not. Then what?

I’m sure everyone is different, but for me personally, I want to bury my ex-partner. You want to measure your success against his (or hers). You want to advance further than them, shoot better than them, and appear that you are having more fun than them. Yeah, you may be “happy” for them if they win the $100,000 prize, but would you really be? Maybe you’re a better man than me, but I don’t know if I really would be.

I’m going to make a broad generalization here, but competitive beer pong is a “catty” sport. Let’s face it, most of us who play seriously are guys. Most of us weren’t involved in the day-to-day high school drama most girls went through growing up. But the way some of us talk about our beer pong partners, you’d think we were women in a salon.

And we hate seeing our exes with someone new.