Less-popular sports: Beer Pong Q&A

Example of Beer pong.  Photo by Benjamin Lin.

Example of Beer pong. Photo by Benjamin Lin.

Kale Rogers, a 25-year-old resident of Victoria, explains the rules of beer pong and his experiences when playing it.

Q: When did you first hear about beer pong?

Rogers: First time I ever heard about beer pong was probably about 10 years ago. I don’t think anybody ever told me about it until I just showed up at a party and started playing. And then, it kind of spread like wildfire because it was an easy game to set up and play, and most social gatherings in high school people were usually playing. And after a while you only ever wanted to go to places that had beer pong set up because well, it was just really fun.

Q: Take me through a game of beer pong.

Rogers: Typically the rules are rather general, but the rules usually vary from place to place and with different age groups. It’s kind of like a game of telephone, I guess, depending on where you are. Generally, there are 10 cups on each side [of the table], and two teams of two players, two balls, ping pong balls. One team starts and if they throw the ball in the cup, the other team has to drink that cup. And then the next guy on the same team goes and if they score again, they again have to drink the cup. That’s the basic gist of it but there are all kinds of rules.

Whichever team scores on all 10 cup,s they obviously win the game. If the same team sinks both balls that they throw into the cups, then they call “callbacks” and they get to throw again. Usually, you are just trading turns. If, during the game, both balls land in the same cup it’s called a “gang bang” and the game’s over. That team that did the shooting automatically wins. There is a reaching rule that your arm isn’t allowed to cross the table when you throw, but if it does go over, the other team gets to play defence and try to block the shot. It just basically eliminates people from reaching across the table, making it so you can’t just do ridiculous things like walking over and just placing the ball in the cup.

When there are six cups left and you’ve got both balls, you can call a reform, which sets up the cups into a triangle form, and if there’s three cups lef,t you can also call a reform as well. You can only call a reform when there are three cups left or six cups left. Near the end of the game, if all the cups are gone, the other team gets a chance for “redemption,” where they throw their balls until they miss the cups. That can definitely change the game, if there’s only one cup left.

Q:Sounds pretty competitive. Have you ever played on a regular team?

Rogers: I have played on a regular team, around when I was 19 or 20 years old. I was living with four friends in one house and we had two teams going. My team, with my buddy Troy Donovan, was two guys, 10 cups and we had shirts made and everything. The other team in the house was called Shake n Bake, which were definitely the underdogs because two guys, 10 cups when 24-0 at one point in time.

Q:That’s impressive. So it sounded like you played it a lot back then. How often do you play these days?

Rogers: I don’t play as much now. I do, however, enjoy it more now that I don’t get to play as often. Probably play about three times a month and it’s usually when a bunch of us just set up the game ourselves on the weekends, because it’s just such a cheap game. All you need is just cups, ping pong balls and beer or water depending if there is a designated driver or if you’re just playing on a week night. It’s still a fun game, no matter what you put in the cups. You could put cereal in the cups and play with your kids before school if you wanted to.

Q:It sounds like a game you could just pick up at anytime. What would you say is your favourite part of the game? Just something that stands out that you like to do the most?

Rogers: It definitely feels really good when you have one of those redemption shots when all your cups are gone and they have one cup left and you or your partner sinks it. It’s definitely just a really good moment. I’ve had a couple great moments when that’s happened, when I was playing on two guys, 10 cups. But really, it’s just because even when there’s nothing to do, you can just pull a couple balls out of the cupboard and some cups and grab a table and get something set up. Then you’ve got yourself a good three-four hours of entertainment.

Q: Is there a single significant moment in your beer pong career that really stands out?

Rogers: Yeah, there’s been a couple moment. One moment that really sticks out is when my friend and I were traveling in Europe. We were in the Czech Republic and we walked into this pub and they had four tables just set up side by side and a group of students from Chicago just walked in and it was just a massive beer pong tournament. After the tournament, wasted as we were, we invited two old fellows who were around 50 or 60 and took them away from their wives, which was pretty cool, because they were pretty into that. To be honest there’s a lot of highlight moments when it comes to beer pong.


  • Avatar
    Reply November 17, 2014

    Mallory O'Neil

    I like the question/answer format you used because I haven’t seen much of that style this term which makes it unique. I also like how serious he takes beer pong, it really is a less popular sport but so fun. Good work!

  • Avatar
    Reply December 8, 2014

    Adam Sekkat

    I like how he mentioned the rules vary from place to place. At the hostels in Australia we had different rules at each one. Q&A format was really good.

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