Beer pong is a sport of gentlemen. Rowdy, loud, drunken gentlemen, but gentlemen nonetheless. As such, players are bound by the ethical regulations of their organization, in addition to the following rules:
1.1 Table – USA Table Tennis (“USATT”) Standard
1.1.1The table shall be in surface rectangular, 274 cm. (9 ft.) in length, 152.5 cm. (5 ft.) in width. It shall be supported so that its upper surface, termed the playing surface, shall lie in a horizontal plane 76 cm. (2 ft. 6 in.) above the floor.
1.1.2It shall be made of any material and shall yield a uniform bounce of about 23 cm. (8 3/4 in.) when a standard ball is dropped from a height of 30 cm. (12 in.) above the surface.
1.1.3Advertisements on tables are allowed only on the sides and ends of the table top and each shall be contained within a total area on any face of 200 so cm. Permanent advertisements are limited to the maker’s trademark, symbol, or name once on each half of a side, but the organizing authority of a competition may grant permission for other temporary advertisements, one on each side and one on each end.
1.1.4The net shall be suspended by a cord attached at each end to an upright post 15.25 cm. (6 in.) high, the outside limits of the post being 15.25 cm. outside the side lines.
1.1.5The net, with its suspension, along its whole length, shall be 15.25 cm. (6 in.) above the playing surface. The bottom of the net, along its whole length, shall be as close as possible to the playing surface and the ends of the net shall be as close as possible to the supporting posts.
1.1.6During play, cups shall be placed approximately 27 cm. from the end of the table. In singles play, the cup shall rest on the center line, whereas in doubles play, the cup shall be placed approximately 27 cm from the side of the table. “A paddle in and a paddle up.”
1.2 Ball – USATT Standard
1.2.1The ball shall be spherical, with a diameter of 40 mm.
1.2.2The ball shall weigh 2.5 gm.
1.2.3The ball shall be made of celluloid or similar plastic material and shall be white or orange and matt.
1.3.1The beer shall be produced by a member in good standing of the Beer Institute, successor to the U.S. Brewers Association, in accordance with quality standards promulgated by that body.
1.3.2The beer shall contain a minimum of 2.2 percent alcohol by volume.
1.4.1The Solo Cup Company produces the official cup of beer pong: 16 oz. clear plastic PET recyclable (1) cup. Official cups shall be used in all inter-organizational play.
1.4.2During intra-organizational play, all players shall use substantively similar cups in terms of their dimensions and elasticity.
1.4.3 Contents of Cup – At the beginning of play, each cup shall contain at least 12 ounces of beer and shall be considered to contain four drinks. Any cup emptied during play shall be refilled to contain at least 12 ounces of beer and shall also be considered to contain four drinks when refilled.
2. Order of Play
2.1 Initial Service
2.1.1At the start of service, the ball shall rest freely on the open, flat palm of the free hand and shall be stationary, above the level of the playing surface.
2.1.2The server shall then project the ball near vertically upwards, by hand only and without imparting spin, so that it rises at least 6 inches after leaving the palm of the hand.
2.1.3As the ball is then descending from the height of its trajectory, the server shall strike it so that it touches first his own court and then, passing directly over the net or around or under the projection of the net and its supports outside the table, touches the receiver’s court.
2.1.4If, in attempting to serve, a player fails to strike the ball while it is in play, he or she shall be subject to a toss pursuant to Section 2.5 below.
2.1.5If, in attempting to serve, a player serves the ball such that it does not touch the receiver’s court, he or she shall be subject to a toss pursuant to Section 2.5 below.
2.1.6If, in attempting to serve, a player serves the ball such that it contacts a receiver’s cup, the server shall be subject to a one drink beer penalty. Furthermore, the server shall be subject to a toss pursuant to Section 2.5 below.
2.1.7If, in attempting to serve, a player serves the ball such that it lands in a receiver’s cup, the server shall be subject to a beer penalty in the amount of the number of drinks contained in the receiver’s cup at the time of the service. Furthermore, the server shall be subject to a toss pursuant to Section 2.5 below.
2.1.8Any other failure to execute service in compliance with Rules 2.1.1-2.1.7 shall result in the server being subject to a toss pursuant to Section 2.5 below.
2.2.1The ball, having been served or returned in play, shall be struck so that it passes directly over or around the net and its supports and touches the opponent’s court or cup, except that:
18.104.22.168If the ball, having been served or returned in play, returns with its own impetus over the net, it may be struck so that it touches directly the opponent’s court or cup.
22.214.171.124If the ball, in passing over or around the net, touches the net or its supports, it shall be considered to have passed directly.
2.2.2A player strikes the ball if he touches it in play with his racquet, held in the racquet hand, or with his racquet hand below the wrist. By definition, an empty hand is not a racquet hand.
2.2.3In doubles play, a volley shall generally be directed toward the member of the receiving team who has not most recently volleyed.
2.2.4As a result of the rules in Section 2.3, the understood intention of all volleying players is to hit the ball into the cup of a receiving player. As such, all volleys shall be arched, lobbed, and otherwise returnable, notwithstanding the ball’s contact with a cup.
2.3 Continued Play/Rally
2.3.1A volley which contacts a cup shall result in the assessment of a one drink beer penalty to the receiver, except that the receiver is entitled to attempt a legal return volley. A legal return volley is made if the ball is struck by the receiver (or receiver’s partner in doubles) in accordance with Section 2.2, prior to the ball bouncing twice on the table or contacting another surface. Any successful return volley shall defer the one drink beer penalty to the loser of the rally.
2.3.2A volley which lands in a cup shall result in the assessment of a beer penalty to the receiver in the amount of the contents of that cup. The rally shall be considered to have been lost by the receiver.
2.3.3In view of Rule 2.3.1 above, it should be noted that a ball which contacts a first cup, then contacts or lands in a second cup prior to its second bounce on the table, is still in play. As such, the appropriate beer penalty resulting from the second cup shall also be imposed.
2.3.4Obstruction – A player obstructs the ball if he or anything he wears or carries touches it in play when it has not passed completely over his court and where it has not touched his court or cup since last being struck by his opponent. Because a ball so obstructed has no opportunity to contact or land in the obstructer’s cup, any obstruction shall result in the rally being halted, with play proceeding as if the ball had landed in the obstructer’s cup.
2.4 The Toss
2.4.1Following the assessment of a beer penalty or the loss of a rally, the side assessing the penalty or winning the rally shall be awarded an opportunity to toss the ball at the cups of the penalized side.
2.4.2Any toss which contacts neither the table nor a cup shall result in a one drink beer penalty to the tossing player.
2.4.3Any toss which lands in a cup shall result in the assessment of a beer penalty to the receiver in the amount of the contents of that cup.
2.4.4Any toss which contacts a cup shall result in the assessment of a one drink beer penalty to the receiver, except that the receiver is entitled to attempt a legal return volley. A legal return volley is made if the ball is struck by the receiver (or receiver’s partner in doubles) in accordance with Section 2.2, prior to the ball bouncing twice on the table or contacting another surface. Any successful return volley shall defer the one drink beer penalty to the loser of the new rally. Any failure at a successful return volley shall not be the subject of an additional toss.
2.4.5In view of Rule 2.4.4 above, it should be noted that a ball which contacts a first cup, then contacts or lands in a second cup prior to its second bounce on the table, is still in play. As such, the appropriate beer penalty resulting from the second cup shall also be imposed.
2.4.6Any toss which contacts the table but does not contact or land in a cup may be returned by the receiver at the receiver’s option. Any failure at a successful return volley shall not be considered a lost rally.
2.4.7Obstruction – A player obstructs the ball if the he or anything he wears or carries touches it in play when it has not passed completely over his court and where it has not touched his court or cup since being tossed by his opponent. Because a ball so obstructed has no opportunity to contact or land in the obstructer’s cup, any obstruction shall result in result in the assessment of a beer penalty to the receiver in the amount of the contents of that cup.
2.4.8If play is not resumed pursuant to Rules 2.4.4 or 2.4.6 above, play resumes with service by the toss-receiving side.
2.4.9As a result of the above rules, players are understood to have the intention of tossing the ball into the cup of a receiving player. As such, all tosses shall be arched, lobbed, and otherwise returnable, notwithstanding the ball’s contact with a cup. Any toss not in conformity with this rule shall incur no beer penalty to the receiver. However, any toss which actually lands in a cup shall be considered legal regardless of this rule.
2.5 A Let – A rally is considered a let, and no beer penalty shall be imposed, when:
2.5.1If the ball served, in passing over or around the net, touches it or the net assembly, provided the serve is otherwise good or is volleyed by the receiver or his partner.
2.5.2If the service is delivered when, in the opinion of the receiving player or pair, the receiving player or pair is not ready, provided that neither the receiver or his partner attempts to strike the ball.
2.5.3If, in the opinion of the several players, failure to make a good service or a good return or otherwise to comply with the Rules is due to a disturbance outside the control of the player.
2.5.4If it is interrupted for correction of an error in playing order.
2.5.5Any volley is not arched, lobbed, and returnable.
2.6 Completion of Match – A match shall be complete when:
2.6.1There is mutual consent among the players to abandon the match, such consent indicating that the match is a draw; or
2.6.2A player is unwilling or unable to continue play, such unwillingness or inability indicating that the match has been lost by that player (or the player’s side in doubles).
2.7 Further USATT Rules Applicable – Any USATT rules necessary for equitable play not specifically mentioned herein shall apply in play. Generally, such rules are “common sense rules” like the illegality of double-striking the ball, blinding an opponent, or returning the ball after it has bounced twice on the table. Although not appearing here, these rules shall nonetheless be in effect.
2.8 USATT Rule 24 Regarding Doping Specifically Not Applicable – Appearing below is the USATT’s Rule 24 regarding doping. This rule shall be without effect in all intra-organizational and inter-organizational play. “Doping – There shall be no doping before or during play in any competition. For the purpose of these regulations, doping is the introduction into the body in any way of any of a list of prohibited substances as provided by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and/or the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). A player who fails a doping test shall be subject to disciplinary action per the USATT Bylaws and Standing Rules. It is the athlete’s responsibility to remain informed of lists of banned substances through the USOC Drug Hotline. As of this printing, the Hotline number is (800) 233-0393.”
3. Further Regulations
3.1 Spilled Beer – Any player spilling beer shall drink an amount of beer equivalent to that spilled. Furthermore, that player shall be responsible for cleaning up the playing surface. This cleanup may comprise, but is not limited to, the use of personal clothing items as a zamboni if a zamboni is not otherwise available.
V1.1) “Cheese”. The word “cheese” is used in some circles to refer to a volley which grazes the end or side of the table, leading to no easily-playable standard bounce. When this rule is in effect, such volleys are considered unreturnable pursuant to Rule 2.5.5 above.
V1.2) “Queues”. A “queue” refers to any beer penalty not completed prior to the resumption of play. Under this rule, a player may elect to defer completion of his or her beer penalty to a later point in the match. No more than 12 ounces of beer may be queued, and at least a portion of the queued beer must be consumed every time any other beer penalty is assessed at the table. Furthermore, a player shall present a full cup to his or her opponents at any time that the cup would be full notwithstanding this rule. A player with a queued beer penalty remains vulnerable to further penalty during play in a manner consistent with all other rules.
V1.3) “Pro”. Those sufficiently skilled in the game of beer pong enjoy playing more when the game better allows them to showcase their talents. “Pro” rules interpret the bounce allowed for a return after the ball contacts a cup to apply to any available surface rather than simply the playing surface of the table. Thus, the ball may be returned from the floor directly into an opponent’s cup, amazing and impressing all spectators and players.
V1.4) Players in excess of 4. With mutual consent among the players, 2 teams of any number of players each may compete. A player shall rotate out of the team’s match whenever that player’s cup is empty. Each team must rotate on a “first out, first in” basis.
V1.5) “Free Rotation”. When the number of potential players present would make play under Rule V1.4 impractical, a player shall rotate out of the match when that player’s cup is empty. The person least recently in the match shall enter the match in that player’s place with a full beer.
V1.6) “Dog”. If any dog present is able to get the ball prior to a player, the side from which the ball should have been retrieved shall drink.
V1.7) “Beirut”. Beirut is a game employing a triangular array of beer cups and a ball thrown at that array. As it employs no paddles, engages in no service or volleys, and need not be played with a ping pong ball, it is not correctly considered beer PONG. As such, Beirut is not a legal variant of the game of beer pong.