Beer Edition: Beer pong: America’s iconic drinking game


(Collegian file photo) beer pong

Taylor Paumen, Sports Director

Imagine you and your buddies decide to throw a party at your house. You’ve sent all the information to your lists of friends, and you start to set up for full-capacity attendance. Couches get pushed to the walls, bedroom doors are locked, expensive and breakable objects are hidden and the LED lights and speakers come out.

Now you have so much space for your night’s activities; however, there’s one essential activity every party needs: beer pong.


The simple cup game has become a national icon in the average college household and brings a level of competition and joy to the party scene. But who do the millions of crazed partiers thank for this revolutionary game?

About 2,000 miles east in the town of Hanover, New Hampshire, sits the luxurious Ivy League Dartmouth College. In the 1950s, a group of Dartmouth students were playing ping pong at a party when people started setting their cups on the table. 

As the liquid was flowing, the players started aiming for the cups instead of each other, and the beginning of an era was born. 

In its early stages of existence, the game was played with pong paddles until a family of fraternity brothers at Lehigh University thought of the amazing idea to throw the ball instead. 

“I love being able to compete in a fun environment and taunt my friends while having a laugh,” said Kassie Rembisz, a junior at Colorado State University.

In today’s modern age, the initial game is played with 10 red solo cups lined in a pyramid on each side of a table. The length of the table is subject to what you have, but the official and most common is 8 feet

During the pandemic, many turned to their creative side as trends on TikTok peaked in customizing your own pong table. Many have put LED lights within the table or patterns of alcohol brands layered with resin for a nice clear finish. 

@baeleyk28 1 week later!! #beerpongtable #foryou #foryoupage #fyp #xyzbca #saturdaysareforthebois ♬ original sound – Olivia

You can play one against one, but normally, you get to pick a pong partner to try and sink the ball into all the cups before the other team. Through the years, the game has developed its own kind of language in order to communicate a team’s next move. 


But the game can be specific to “house rules,” which means the owner of the house has the last say on a call or what is allowed during play. Beer pong has been a great way to gather your friends for some simple competition.

“(It’s) a way to spend time with friends (while) also having a friendly competition, and (you’re) able to play it almost anywhere,” said John Vallejos, a junior at CSU. “It’s always a good way to meet new people.”

Reach Taylor Paumen at or on Twitter @TayTayPau.