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Tailgating is among America’s favorite pastimes. You’re out among friends, family, and fans doing nothing but enjoying each other’s food, booze, and company. What’s not to love? But even if you love your fellow fans, tailgaters cannot survive on conversation alone. That’s why games like beer pong have become essential for pepping up your tailgate experience. If we can recommend one piece of essential tailgating equipment, it’s the beer pong table we find most essential.

Tailgating and drinking go hand in hand, and the same should go for the games you play at your tailgate. Sure, you can play cornhole (aka bean toss) with a beer in one hand, and that’s nice. But with a beer pong table, you can combine the game and the drinking into one experience that will help to mingle your tailgaters and get them a bit looser in the process.

What Is Beer Pong?

Beer pong is a college favorite. If you went to a party school, you’ve almost inevitably played this one. But for those of you who were responsible during that period of your life, we’ll give you our in-depth guide on how to play. This is a brief overview. You play beer pong by lining up two bowling pin-style setups of solo cups on either side of a central table tennis net.

You can usually use a ping-pong table, but many people have found that the ideal dimensions for this game workout better if you use a specialized beer pong table. Once set up, the two players (or two teams of players) take turns attempting to toss ping-pong balls into their opponents’ cups to force them to drink a modicum of beer each time a shot is made. The nice thing about beer pong is that if your goal is to drink, there are no losers.

red beer pong cups and ball positioned for a game

Who Invented Beer Pong?

Although today, the balls of beer pong are tossed by hand, the very first version of beer pong was played with paddles. This paddle version originated within the fraternal organizations of the American college, Dartmouth, in the 1950s. The game developed throughout the 1960s and by the 1970s, a version called “Throw Pong” emerged in the record of Bucknell University. Their student newspaper then claimed that the Delta Upsilon fraternity created the game. While this is difficult to verify, by the 1980s the throwing version became what was referenced by the term “beer pong” and is the standard for today.

How to Play Beer Pong

Don’t panic. It’s easy as one, two, three. First, grab some friends, a table, a ball or two, and something to drink (beer is the first choice). Now set up the cups in a triangle, like in billiards, filling each one about halfway with beer. These should be on opposite sides of the table, facing inwards. Now, form teams, usually of two.

Take turns throwing the ping-pong balls into the cups of the other team. If you make it in, then they remove the cup and drink the beer. The first team to empty all the opponent’s cups wins! There are lots of additional rules that you can enforce if you so choose. Some worth looking into include swiping, languages, bouncing, mirroring, and whatever else is colloquial in your neck of the woods.

beer pong table set up for a game

Common House Rules

Everyone plays beer pong a little differently. Sometimes a whole university will share a set of common house rules for beer pong, but very often you will be left to learn what you can and cannot do table by table. However, we’ll include a few of the most common rules you are likely to come across.


At the beginning of many games, the players will agree on a number of “re-racks” that a player or team of players is allowed. When a team declares a re-rack, the opposing team has to reshape their target cups into the shape that the other team declares. E.g., Let’s say that Team A has already cleared half of their opponent’s cups, but now they find it hard to hit their targets with them all so spread out. Team A declares a re-rack and names a diamond as the shape. Now Team B has to push their cups together to form a diamond and Team A has one less re-rack they can use.

Balls Back

If players agree on “balls back” rules, that means that if the throwing team can get to their own missed shot before their opponent does then they get a free shot at the cups again, but they have to toss it from behind their back. This rule is great for keeping players engaged enough to keep balls from flying off. Plus, you can make some epic behind the back shots. Some variants even allow these backward shots to clear off two cups instead of just one.

Wait. Isn’t That the Same As Beirut?

Yes. Beer pong has gone by many names and still does, depending on what region you live in. “Beirut” is the most popular alternate name for beer pong, but there are others. Some schools still keep up the tradition of calling the game “throw pong,” and others have been influenced by  Anheuser-Busch to call the game “bud pong.” Regardless, the game almost certainly originated in America, not the capital of Lebanon which lends it its alternate name.

beer pong cups by the pool

3 Reasons Every Tailgate Needs a Beer Pong Table

First, you need a beer pong table because you can play beer pong. It’s as simple as that. Your party will need activities to entertain your guests and buddies until the big game starts. Beer pong will get everyone in the game day mood. Your party will be remembered as a peak experience for the whole season if you do this right.

Second, it is a versatile table that can serve as many things before, after, and during the big game. You can serve chips and dip, play a quick game of dungeons and dragons, or simply serve your drinks. Everyone will be happy to gather around a big table that is ready for games and fun.

Third, your party will be boring without it. There is a rule in psychology called the Peak-End-Rule. It means that people never remember the beginning of a party. They also do not remember all the details. People remember the best or worst moment, otherwise known as the “peak.” They also remember the end. Having a beer pong table will ensure that your party has a great peak and end even if your team doesn’t win the big game.

Things to Consider When Buying Your Beer Pong Table

Now that you have decided to buy the Best Beer Pong Table, look for the following requirements and considerations. Do you need the table to be portable? Should it pack and fold away for convenience? Or, if you hold your tailgate party at home, then look for a more permanent option. If you are a more serious player, then you might consider regulation dimensions and other equipment such as the ball.

Or, if you want, you could consider getting a custom table with your team logo. Now, if you are going to play in all kinds of weather, you might consider a more durable option, such as a weatherproof table. If you spill, then you might want to get an easy to clean option, especially if your friends are rowdy. Some tables even come with a bottle opener!

Bestseller No. 1
EastPoint Sports Easy Folding Beer Pong Tailgate Tables with Cups and...
  • Lightweight, Sturdy Aluminum Design
  • Water Resistant to handle all the elements and gameplay
  • Easy-Carry Handle for Transportation
Bestseller No. 2
GoPong 8-Foot Portable Folding Beer Pong / Flip Cup Table (6 Balls...
  • UPGRADE YOUR PARTY: Portable 8 foot beer pong table made of high strength yet lightweight...
  • OFFICIAL BEER PONG SIZE: Regulation table for tournament brackets, 8 feet x 2 feet x 27.5...
  • EVENT DAY FAVORITE: The center of attention at house parties, bbqs, tailgates, campsites,...
Bestseller No. 3
GoPong PRO 8 Foot Premium Beer Pong Table - Heavy Duty (Black, 36-Inch...
  • UPGRADE YOUR PARTY: Portable 8-foot PRO beer pong table made of high-strength yet...
  • PRO DESIGN: All black powder coated aluminum frame with unique 36" table height for more...
  • EVENT DAY FAVORITE: The center of attention at house parties, BBQs, tailgates, campsites,...

Ways to Spice Up Your Beer Pong Game

You can spice up your beer pong game in a myriad of ways. Try playing with kombucha for the hippy crowd or hard liquor for a more intense sport. On the other hand, if you want to play with a more family-friendly crowd, you can always try to play with milk or water for the little ones. They love sports too! You can add tons of things, such as swiping, no swiping, changing partners, dipseydi-do, overhand, backward dolphin rules, horse rules. The sky is really limitless when making your own beer pong game. It can even be fun to make a tournament or include the neighbors if you are up to the challenge.

people playing beer pong


If you want to have a rocking party, then you will need games and levity surrounding your party plans. Beer pong is a simple and easy way to just that. Not only will everyone at the party enjoy the game, either through watching or directly playing, your party will be remembered as a hit. You can play this anytime and anywhere at any party to make things a hit.

Just remember your table and a jukebox, because you cannot have a party without some sick tapes for a big splash. So get ready to have some fun with balls, a table, and a keg! Whether it be during a boring halftime performance or a commercial break you would rather ignore, beer pong is the game of choice among fans and friends alike. So, remember, in the end, it is all about the peak!

Last update on 2021-08-29 at 06:10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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