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History of Beer Pong: 24 Must-Know Facts (Origins, Controversies,…)

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

Beer Pong is a popular drinking game that is well-loved by college students and adults. It’s easy to play and is popular at college campuses and fraternity parties. Although many people know the game’s basic rules, you might not know some of the below-mentioned facts about this popular party game.

Keep reading to dive into Beer Pong’s rich and complex history and discover some unique facts about this popular table game.

These are 24 historical events and facts about Beer Pong:

1. People Originally Played the Game With Paddles

Just like ping pong, players first played Beer Pong with ping pong paddles. Players would attempt to get the ball into the cups using a paddle instead of tossing the ball with their hands. This was ultimately phased out in the late 20th century, but it is widely-known that beer pong first became popular as a similar variation to traditional ping pong.

2. There Is a Canadian Version of Beer Pong

The Canadian version of Beer Pong is played on an air hockey table. The game is similar to table hockey, where players attempt to get a puck into a cup cutout instead of a ping pong ball. The same rules of regular Beer Pong apply.

3. Beer Pong Most Likely Originated at a College

Many people believe Beer Pong started at Dartmouth College. Like with most games, Beer Pong’s exact origins are largely unknown, but many people think it began around the 1950s in Dartmouth. It makes sense that the game originated in a college, since it’s popular among young people.

4. There’s Debate As to Which College Beer Pong Originated

Some believe Beer Pong was started in the 1970s by the Delta Upsilon fraternity at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. However, as previously mentioned, there are others who claim it began at Dartmouth College. Wherever it originated, we can likely say for sure that its origins lie at a collegial institution.

5. Beer Pong Legacy: Lebanese Civil War

Another theory about Beer Pong’s origin is that it is named after the Lebanese capital, specifically concerning the Lebanese war in the 1980s. This is because one of the many names of beer pong is “Beirut.” People related the balls landing in the cups to bombs from the war that fell on the city of Beirut and the surrounding areas.

6. Beer Pong Was Declared the Official Sport of Las Vegas

As if Las Vegas wasn’t famous enough for its raucous activities, beer pong is one of the most famous bar sports in the region. In 2013, Las Vegas’ former mayor, Oscar Goodman, declared Beer Pong to be the official sport of Las Vegas, adding to its reputation as a party destination.

7. Beer Pong Has Multiple Names

Beer pong has been called many things over the years, and it’s now popularly named Six-cup, 10-Cups, Dartmouth Pong, or Paddle Pong. It’s a fairly relaxed game and is normally reserved for fun nights out and parties, so it’s natural that there are many colloquial names for the game. 

8. People Originally Played Beer Pong With Four Cups

In its early form, players would line up four cups to a side of the table and attempt to get the ball into the cups. Players had to drink the entire cup if the ball landed in the cup. Players had to take just one drink if it hit the rim of the cup.

9. There Is a Professional League for Beer Pong

Since beer pong has now been recognized as a sport (especially in Vegas), BPONG is the official stop for all things related to professional Beer Pong. It was founded in 2001 by Billy Gaines, a college athlete that helped make Beer Pong an official game.

10. There Is a World Series of Beer Pong

Since there is a professional league for beer pong, it makes sense that there’s a World Series. The World Series of Beer Pong, known as WSOBP, was founded in 2006 and is the oldest official organization for professional Beer Pong tournaments. BPONG developed the WSOBP.

11. There Are Official Rules and Regulations for Beer Pong

Since the WSOBP is the official governing body for Beer Pong, this is the same organization that makes the official rules for the game. Game regulations state that players must play the game on an 8-foot Beer Pong-regulated table

12. There Are Two Sets of Rules for Playing Beer Pong

The World Series of Beer Pong has two sets of optional rules for playing Beer Pong. The first set of rules are official tournament rules, and the second set of rules is for house parties and those who are just playing the game for fun.

13. Beer Pong Tournaments Are Traditionally Held in Las Vegas

Since Beer Pong is the official sport of Las Vegas, it makes sense that professional Beer Pong players would travel to Las Vegas to play in the official tournaments. These tournaments are widely attended and popular for many people in the region. 

14. There’s a Time Limit for Shooting the Ball in Beer Pong

Players can’t take all day shooting the ball. The World Series of Beer Pong rules have clear regulations that stipulate that players have no more than 45 seconds to toss their ball. If they don’t throw the ball within this period, they will forfeit their turn.

15. Ivy League Schools Used To Have Beer Pong Competitions

In the 1970s, students traveled between many different Ivy league schools to host Beer Pong competitions with their school rivals. It was as popular then as inter-school chess tournaments are today, and many students took these competitions very seriously.

16. The Term “Beer Pong” Was First Publicly Used in 1979

“Beer Pong” was first used in a Leigh University student newspaper in February 1979. Before then, the game was known under many different names, but since 1979, it is most commonly known by its most modern name, Beer Pong.

17. Beer Pong Started Without Paddles in the 1980s

There are many different beliefs about how the game evolved to being played without paddles. However, the version of the game played without paddles gained popularity in the 1980s. It was more convenient to play the game without the need for paddles, since you can set it up anywhere.

18. Beer Pong Tournaments on Major Television Networks

If you have trouble believing Beer Pong is an official sport, you should know that it’s been featured by ESPN, CNN, Fox, and other broadcasting networks and magazines for many years now. In the same way people enjoy watching darts tournaments, Beer Pong is very popular on TV.

19. There’s a Lot of Money for Professional Beer Pong Players

The World Series of Beer Pong has awarded millions of dollars in prize money for Beer Pong tournaments across the world. During these tournaments, players have the chance to win a small fortune for just one match, adding to the competitive atmosphere of the official games. 

20. Women Weren’t Initially Allowed To Play Beer Pong

Given that Beer Pong originated in college fraternities and remains wildly popular at frat parties, it’s not far-fetched that some people think women weren’t initially allowed to play. Today, men and women alike enjoy the game.

21. There Are Several Variations of Beer Pong

Over the years, there have been several adaptations of the original game. Some transformations include Canadian Beer Pong (alcohockey), mad pong, Civil War Pong, and Russian Roulette Pong. 

Mad pong is similar to regular Beer Pong, except it has challenge cards in the cups. You can only see the cards once you finish the cup full of beer. 

In Civil War Pong, players must drink before they throw. Four to six players divide themselves into teams and face each other with the glasses in front of them. Players also don’t take turns, so once you get a ping pong ball, you can toss it into any of the opposite players’ cups.

Russian Roulette pong differs from the other two versions of the game. With this game, players must fill a barrel of beer. They will spin bottles underneath it and remove the bottle it lands on. Sometimes nothing happens; other times, players will have to drink about two liters of beer if the bottle is full.

22. You Can Play Beer Pong Without the Beer

The Wii launched a beer-less version of the popular alcoholic game that people could play on their gaming systems. It was initially called “Beer Pong,” but without the beer, they changed the name to a more appropriate “Pong Toss.”

23. Georgetown Uni Banned Beer Pong

In an attempt to reduce drinking games on campus, The University of Georgetown banned students from playing the game in 2007. Students weren’t allowed to bring Beer Pong apparatus or regular ping pong balls on campus.

24. You Can Join a Beer Pong Tournament

You don’t have to be a professional to participate in a beer pong tournament. You can enter multiple tournaments, and the WSOBP has many organizations you can join. Some are more casual than others, and some are more competitive.

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who enjoy sharing their knowledge about their favorite games with others!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.