Beer pong

Erin McKean posting on Facebook this morning:

Ok I JUST REALIZED why my grocery store puts these two items so close together


Ping pong balls, crappy cheap beer. All that’s missing is the red Solo cups.

From Wikipedia:

Beer pong, also known as Beirut, is a drinking game in which players throw a ping pong ball across a table with the intent of landing the ball in a cup of beer on the other end. The game typically consists of opposing teams of two or more players per side with 6 or 10 cups set up in a triangle formation on each side [but there are other possibilities]. Each team then takes turns attempting to shoot ping pong balls into the opponent’s cups. If a ball lands in a cup (known as a ‘make’), the contents of that cup are consumed by the other team and the cup is removed from the table. The first team to eliminate all of the opponent’s cups is the winner.

… The game was originally believed to have evolved from the original beer pong played with paddles which is generally regarded to have had its origins within the fraternities of Dartmouth College in the 1950s and 1960s, where it has since become part of the social culture of the campus. The original version resembled an actual ping pong game with a net and one or more cups of beer on each side of the table. Eventually, a version without paddles was created and the names Beer Pong and Beirut were adopted in some areas of the United States sometime in the 1980s

As with origin stories about items of popular culture in general, there are disputes about the story. And of course lots of variants in details of play and alternative names.

In particular, the number of cups varies. Apparently, 6 (the 3rd triangular number) and 10 (the 4th), with the cups in V formation, are the most common, but other numbers are possible. The 6-cup alternative:


And in an illustration of alternative strategies for shooting the balls, a 3-cup alternative:


Ah, the red Solo cups: From Wikipedia:

Leo Hulseman, a former employee of the Dixie Co. in the 1930s, created the “Solo Cup”, a paper cone he made at his home and sold to bottled-water companies. He founded the Solo Cup Company in 1936, and developed other products, like wax-coated cups and the plastic Cozy Cup. The wax-coated cups were added to its lineup in the 1950s, as fountain sodas gained popularity.

It was sometime in the 1970s that Hulseman’s son, Robert Leo Hulseman, came up with the now-ubiquitous red Solo cup. The red Solo cups are made of thick, molded polystyrene. They are known for being able to withstand drops, easily stackable, and disposable while price accessible. Their characteristic red color may conceal the drinking contents.

Robert Leo Hulseman … died December 21, 2016. [NYT obit here.]

Solo Cup customers include Starbucks, Dairy Queen, Così, Walmart, Whole Foods Market, Einstein Bros. Bagels, and Tim Hortons, as well as many universities.

The red plastic cups are notably used in American college and university games such as beer pong and flip cup. This usage is referenced in Toby Keith’s country music song “Red Solo Cup”. The red party cup outsells the blue variety by a wide margin.

They are also used by the cannabis growing community as small pots and are also the inspiration and the preferred growing container in alternative online-community cannabis growing competitions

From Kim Darnell, a related drinking game, on Wikipedia:

Quarters is a drinking game which involves players bouncing a quarter off a table in an attempt to have the quarter land in a certain place, usually into a shotglass (or cup) on that table. It is also played in South America, where it is called “monedita,” Spanish for little coin.

The player bouncing the quarter is referred to as the “shooter.” In some variations the glass is empty and each player has a separate glass to drink from, while in other variations the glass that the shooter is aiming for contains an alcoholic beverage.

The quarter is customarily bounced on the face whether heads or tails. Some games may allow a player to bounce the quarter on the edge, particularly by rolling it down their nose

It’s a big world, drinking games.

One Response to “Beer pong”

  1. Kim Darnell Says:

    I had heard of beer pong, but never seen anyone actually play it. Perhaps I didn’t spend enough (i.e., any) time in fraternities or sororities while in college… Quarters, though… Heck, I learned that game in high school, where parties always had plenty of crappy beer and Solo cups. You can always find someone with a quarter, but not everyone has ping pong balls lying around.

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