Introducing the next great American pastime: beer pong by Rick Reilly

There is only one place I know that combines tiny balls, plastic cups and vats of beer. Besides Jose Canseco’s house, that is.

It’s a beer pong tournament. This is a sport that requires a steady hand, faulty hearing and a titanium liver. It’s believed that 73% of all tuition money goes toward it.

Beer pong is played on a table slightly smaller than Ping-Pong’s, by teams of two. Ten cups, filled about one-third with beer, are set like bowling pins at the ends. As you try to toss or bounce a Ping-Pong ball into the cups on the side opposite yours, opponents jump and yell unspeakables about your mother. If you make it, they must drink it. First team to sink all 10 cups wins. It’s very sophisticated.


But the beer pong I play is nothing like the kind in the World Series of Beer Pong, which I covered recently at the Flamingo Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. That’s where North America’s 414 best pong teams competed for the $50,000 first prize. Second prize: bubkes. Gulp.

You have never seen such large people throw such tiny objects into such small receptacles with such hair-raising frequency. The best teams hit about 70% of their shots on the eight-foot tables. That’s like pitching a quarter into a parking meter slot seven times out of 10.