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 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?

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


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

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

After you make two shots in WSOBP play, you get one ball back to shoot

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

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

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

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

Three cups in a triangle shape

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

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?