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WSOBP VIII Day One Recap

The World Series of Beer Pong VIII officially kicked off this morning at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. When former Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman opened the competition declaring beer pong the official sport of Las Vegas, the 372 teams in attendance erupted in cheers.

Day One of the World Series of Beer Pong is always a celebration. Every team starts with a clean slate and an equal chance at making a run at the $50,000 grand prize. Everyone is a contender on the first day. Teams do their best to rack up the wins and positive cup differential, positioning them in the best possible spot for a high seed in the third and final day of competition.

At the halfway point, the separation between the contenders and the pretenders begins to widen. While 41 teams remain undefeated win six wins at the halfway point, two teams sit tied in first place with the highest cup differential of +34. presents Clinically Proven and Bangarang are the two teams everyone will chase tomorrow. Chris Kingsbury and Christopher Cross, members of presents Clinically Proven, finished second overall in last year’s WSOBP. Both teams are poised to break the two-year-old cup differential of +60, set by Last of a Dying Breed two years ago.

DanegeRoss, last night’s East vs.West champion, finished the day at 6-0 with a +22 cup differential. Ross Hampton of DanegeRoss was part of last year’s WSOBP VII champion, Seek N Destroy. WSOBP VI champs, Standing Ovation, finished the day at 4-2 with a +20 cup differential. WSOBP IV and V champs Smashing Time, reuniting after last year’s hiatus, also finished the day undefeated with a +16 cup differential.

After the second half of preliminary games tomorrow, 160 teams will move on to the final day of competition. The bottom 64 teams will play a single-elimination round with the winners advancing to 128-team double-elimination pool play. The top 16 teams will advance to the Sweet 16 round, where they will play in two double-elimination brackets. The top 2 teams from there will play for the giant-sized $50,000 grand prize.

Tonight’s side events will feature Men’s Singles and Female Singles competition.

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DanegeRoss wins the East vs. West Tournament

It may be a new year, but it was the same old results for defending World Series of Beer Pong Champion Ross Hampton. Along with partner Dane Ellis, “DanegeRoss” won last night’s East vs. West tournament in the Eldorado Ballroom at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, kicking off the first official event of the World Series of Beer Pong VIII.

Hampton and Ellis, teaming up in their first official WSOBP event, are one of the favorites to win this year’s WSOBP $50,000 main event. The duo outlasted a field of 128 and beat RGVP, Cameron Chappell and Adrian Gonzales, representing, McAllen, TX, in the finals.

Smashing Time, two-time WSOBP champions reuniting for the WSOBP after a brief hiatus, finished third in the tournament. David Glaser and Edan Hemphill finished in fourth place. Kevin Kessler and Vince Catizone (Moment of Truth) tied for fifth place against Bangarang, Thomas Reap and Kris Fraser.

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The day we’ve all been waiting for

As I type this sentence, I am four hours and thirty-one minutes from landing in Las Vegas, Nevada for the World Series of Beer Pong VIII. Thanks to the trusty Wi-Fi from Southwest Airlines, I can tell the rest of the beer pong community is just as excited as I am by looking through my Facebook timeline.

This WSOBP will be a little different for me. For the first time, I will be making the trip out to spectate, not to compete. A veteran of WSOBP III, IV, V, and VI, my flights out to Vegas on the first of January are usually filled with a nervous excitement. Like everyone else, I’ve convinced myself it’s my turn to win the $50,000 grand prize. At this point I’m normally wondering where the cash games will be and who we’ll be facing on Day One.

Unfortunately, last year I could not get off work and had to miss the trip. It was the first WSOBP I had missed in five years. And for the first time, I realized how much it sucked to be stuck at home, living vicariously through my Facebook friends and text message updates. The WSOBP is an event that must be experienced in person to appreciate.

If there’s one thing the WSOBP has lacked over the years, it’s a lack of updates during the tournament. Things start promising enough, but once the ballroom sucks out your cell phone battery, the alcohol starts setting in, and the grind of the tournament starts to take its toll, the updates become few and far between. This year, I’m going to change that.

Later today, I’ll post a list of teams I will be paying particular attention to. While I’m not going to predict a winner at this point, I will highlight the teams I think will go far into the tournament. As the tournament progresses, I will keep you updated on featured matchups, highlights, etc. As there always is, I am sure we will see some sleeper teams play their way into contention. I’ll also do my best to provide updates during the side events as well, beginning with tonight’s East v. West Tournament brought to you by Trudeau’s reusable Red Party Cup.

In the meantime, please feel free to comment below if there are any teams you think I should be following closely.

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It’s a Beer Pong Table, Not a Flip Cup Table

It’s a Beer Pong Table, Not a Flip Cup Table

It’s Friday night and you feel alright and the party is on the Westside. You’re having a great time partying with your friends, drinking, and playing some beer pong. Maybe you have just won or maybe you just lost and quickly signed your name on the inside of an
empty 30-pack to call next game. And then it happens.

“Hey guys, let’s play flip cup instead so more people can play!”

Is there anything more annoying than being nagged about playing flip cup when you’re busy playing beer pong? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind flip cup. It has its moments and it can be fun at times. I especially like “Survivor Flip Cup,” when the weakest link of
the losing team gets voted off after each loss. But flip cup isn’t beer pong.

These days, Americans are too soft. Everyone wants to be politically correct. Every kid in little league these days gets a trophy, because they don’t think anyone should feel left out. Kids aren’t punished or spanked anymore, unless you want your child taken away by social services. Shit, they wouldn’t even let us play dodge ball in high school because they were afraid of kids being hurt. Flip cup is the equivalent of that. Why shouldn’t everyone get the chance to play at once when you’ve earned the right to stay on the table?
The worst is that dude that loses in beer pong and then starts advocating for flip cup.  Let’s call it what it is. Flip cup is for people who aren’t good at beer pong.

Beer pong is truly the survival of the fittest. Everyone gets a chance to play. If you win, you get to continue playing. If you lose, you either need to find a better partner and wait for your chance at redemption, or suck it up and go play Asshole at the kitchen table with
the other people who aren’t good enough to play beer pong.

No one remembers an awesome game of flip cup, but we can all remember with great detail some of our greatest beer pong triumphs. We remember the times we ran the tables all night. We remember how many games we won in a row and how many shots we
made. We remember playing for drinks or money. It’s the greatest combination of getting drunk and playing sports that you can easily find. And since we all think we’re the best, we have no shortage of people willing to challenge us.

And then there are the distractions. I think we’ve all seen in person or on certain websites the things some people are willing to go to distract the opponent. How can you not love watching that stuff? You can’t distract people or talk trash in flip cup. If you’re playing
cards, it’s enough of a task just to remember the rules while you’re playing, let alone talk trash. But it’s half of the fun in beer pong.

Beer pong is also a great way to meet people. If you’re shy, you can use it as an icebreaker. I once dedicated a few shots to a girl at a party and made them. We ended up dating. Who knows, maybe your partner will be impressed with your skill. Even for someone terrible at beer pong, they will still get lucky and make a shot or two. You can’t mingle during a flip cup game. If someone is terrible at flip cup, they will fail at flipping the cup a few times and the game is over. It’s not nearly as fun.

So next time you’re running the beer pong table at a house party and someone suggests flip cup, tell them to find another table. Or a beer pong partner.

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Everything you’ve read about the history of beer pong is bullshit.

Everything you’ve read about the history of beer pong is bullshit.

I’ve read countless articles about the history and origin of beer pong. It seems that every one comes back to some particular fraternity or college. Apparently, modern day beer pong was invented in almost every small liberal arts college up and down the East Coast. To think, some college kids just looking to entertain themselves when it was freezing outside decided to invent a drinking game to play inside. What a groundbreaking revelation!

According to Wikipedia, which is the definitive source for any kind of research, beer pong started at Dartmouth College sometime in the 1950s and 1960s. But at the same time, Bucknell University claims to have invented the game in the 1970s. They called it “throw pong.” What kind of stupid name is “throw pong,” anyway? These are college kids, and the best they can come up with is “throw pong?”

The whole name debate also bothers me. I’ve met maybe a handful of people my entire life who referred to the game as “beirut.” It’s called beer pong. There is no game called “beirut.” If you use a paddle, it’s called ping pong, not beer pong, not beirut. Beirut is the
capital of Lebanon and probably not the best place to spend a Friday night with a 30-pack of Keystone Light. Ping pong is played with paddles and does not include beer, unless you are drinking it on the side. Forrest Gump used to hit ping pong balls into a bedpan
during the Vietnam War. You mean to tell me Forrest Gump was playing one of the earliest forms of beer pong ever documented? I may not be a smart man, but I know what beer pong is.

Too many people try to complicate the simple game of beer pong. It’s not rocket science, guys. Beer pong is throwing a ping pong ball into a cup. If you’re at a house party, you’re probably drinking the contents of said cup afterward. If you’re playing WSOBP rules at a
bar, you probably aren’t drinking the cup because that would be illegal in some cities. Beer pong is like ramen noodles, everyone has their own way. Personally, I don’t like to follow the directions. I boil the noodles, drain the noodles, add the chicken seasoning and add some cayenne pepper and call it Buffalo Chicken Ramen Noodles. It’s delicious.

I know a guy who breaks an egg into his while it cooks. That’s good, too. Not to get sidetracked, but I’m always looking for good ramen noodle recipes, so please share your favorite. But the fact remains: There is no wrong way to play beer pong.

Sure, there is a World Series of Beer Pong which has its own set of rules, but that’s not the only way to play. In case you live under a rock, WSOBP rules basically consist of playing with 10 cups and a special rack to keep the cups in place. There are automatic re-
racks on the six-cup, three-cup, and one-cup formations. If you make both shots, you get one bring-back. When the last cup is made, the opposing team generally gets a one ball and a shoot-till-you-miss opportunity. It can get more complicated, but that’s the basics. Oh yeah, there is no elbow rule. We’ll save that discussion for another time.

While WSOBP rules are fun and all, I still have love for “house rules.” Most of us grew up playing beer pong according to specific house rules. From my experiences, I’ve found most house rules consist of playing with 6 cups or 10 cups, depending on how many people are waiting to play. Usually you get unlimited bring-backs, shoot-till-you-miss rebuttal shots, and rules dictating that you have to drink before you shoot. And no, you can’t lean across the table. If you win, you get to stay on the table. Of course, house rules vary depending on where you are playing, but those tend to be the most common.

There is no right or wrong way to play beer pong. The important thing is that you’re playing beer pong. What rules did you play by? Which rules do you think are the best?

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Beer Pong Players: The Old and The New

Beer pong players are, for the most part, creatures of habit. We like to stand on certain sides of the table. We have preferences over what cup formations we shoot at. We have certain rules and equipment types we like to use while we play. When these preferences get altered, we resist.

And it’s not just beer pong players, but humans in general. Most people reject change. We don’t like to have our way of life disrupted. But without change, it’s impossible to grow.

I’m not sure if Charles Dickens has ever been mentioned in a discussion about beer pong.  Maybe his name was used in a not-so-clever fashion to make a team name, who knows.  But Dickens once wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” And in
terms of beer pong, he couldn’t be more accurate. It’s the best of times and it’s the worst of times.

In a few weeks, hundreds of beer pong players will travel to Las Vegas to compete in the World Series of Beer Pong 8. I think that’s amazing the winning team at the inaugural WSOBP took home only $10,000, while last year’s champions, Seek N Destroy, took
home a giant-sized check worth $50,000. The growth has been impressive, to say the least.

In addition to the overall growth, the beer pong community has, as a whole, never been stronger. The major national tournaments have evolved from a chance to meet everyone to just simply catching up with them in person. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve played someone across the country in a game of Skype pong or you’ve chatted on Facebook or the BPONG forums. It sounds corny, but we’ve all kind of become one big, severely dysfunctional, messed-up family that enjoys playing beer pong together.
In the prehistoric days of competitive beer pong, we only knew each other through one another’s BPONG screen names.

On the surface, everything appears to be going great, right? What’s the problem? For anyone who has been playing since the beginning of the Bush administration (guilty as charged) it’s no secret we have started to see a changing of the guard over the last few years. Speaking only for myself, I’ve now got more grey hairs than tournament wins the last few years. Some of us are getting old, and for the ones that were already old, they’re getting really old. It’s a time when a lot of us have walked away or are seriously contemplating walking away from the game in which we’ve invested so much time, energy and money over the greater part of the last decade.

For older players like me, the change is bittersweet. The Michael Jordans of our beer pong careers are being replaced by the new Kevin Durants of beer pong. Some past WSOBP champions don’t even make the trip out to Vegas anymore. Cash game money goes to the diapers fund for some players. It’s the end of an era for a lot of us.

But it’s also exciting to be ushering in a new era of beer pong. For a lot of the younger players that will be making their first WSOBP appearance, all they’ve known during their legal drinking ages are WSOBP rules and BPONG cups and tables. They never had to adjust their games through years of different table lengths, rules changes, cup sizes, etc.

They’ve had years to post anonymously on YouTube talking shit about how they were going to crush every player at the WSOBP when they turned 21. It’s exciting and I think the beer pong community needs a breath of fresh air.

I love the fact that there will be dozens of young players this year who have no idea who Kessler is or why he is wearing a Duke jersey small enough that his kid will be wearing it in a couple of years. They won’t know who Ron Hamilton is why they should be scared
of him. They’ll see Vince Catizone and wonder what the rest of the Jersey Shore cast is doing while they are in Vegas. Times they are changing, indeed. Hopefully the new players will respect what the older players have given to the sport and start to build their
own legacy.

I can’t wait to see what the WSOBP 8 has in store for us. Will a past champion reclaim his throne? Will a veteran finally earn that coveted WSOBP title? Or will a new player rise from the ranks of the unknown to stake his (or her) claim as the world’s greatest beer
pong player?

We’ll find out in a few weeks…

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WSOBP 8 Countdown

In less than a month, hundreds of beer pong players will travel to the Flamingo Las Vegas Casino & Hotel for the World Series of Beer Pong 8 and a chance for the $50,000 Grand Prize.

The month before the WSOBP is one the most exciting times for any kind of beer pong player. For the casual player, the idea of going to Las Vegas for a week of drinking, debauchery, gambling and a little bit of beer pong is exciting enough. For the serious player, the WSOBP is the culmination of something much more.

Starting with that first beer pong tournament we play in late winter or early spring, most of us have our eyes on the $50,000 WSOBP prize. You start to put feelers out for serious partners and look for the players that will help carry you deep into the tournament. You start the difficult task of finding and winning a satellite to pay for your trip, or if you are one of the top players, amassing a collection of bids to sell to your friends and anyone looking for a discount. Partnerships are formed and friendships are strained, all for the
chance to be the ones holding that novelty check at the end of the day on January 4th.

But things change in the final month leading up to the WSOBP. Shit gets real. When that deadline approaches, it becomes time to put up or shut up. You find out if that dude who has been swearing for months that he will play with you really will, or if you need to scramble at the last minute to find a capable partner. You put in that vacation time at the last second with your boss and hold your breath that it gets approved. You start looking for the cheapest flights possible, even if you need to switch planes four times to get to
Las Vegas.

One of the best parts of signing up for the WSOBP is simply signing up. Once you see your team name pop up on the list of official teams, it all sinks in. You can breathe a sigh of relief and just worry about the holidays and getting ready for Vegas. You start sending Facebook messages to the guys you haven’t kept in touch with often to find out if they are going, when they are going, and who they are playing with. Beer pong players are giddy like school girls the month before the WSOBP. For a lot of us, it’s the only time
of the year we can get away with practicing beer pong every night of the week without getting in trouble or landing in the doghouse.

The greatest thing about the month before the WSOBP is that, for right now, it’s anyone’s game. Have you ever noticed that almost everyone thinks they are the greatest beer pong player in the world? Sure, there’s trash talk and altercations in other sports, but I think we see so much of it in beer pong because most players genuinely think they are the best. We’ll throw down $100 for a cash game without thinking about it because we don’t expect to lose. We’ll qualify our losses by making excuses or blaming our partners.
We think we’re either the best or capable of being the best. And unless you’re heading out to the WSOBP just to dress as a woman, wear a costume or just black out, you think you are going to win. Have you ever seen someone post a Facebook status on January 1st
that said, “Heading to Las Vegas to not win $50,000 playing beer pong?”

The month of excitement ends on January 1st. You’re there. You’re checked in and you have the list of teams you play. You start sizing up your competition and asking anyone and everyone for scouting reports on your competition. And when you get herded into the ballroom like cattle and they call those first games over the speakers, you know it’s time to work. The butterflies in your stomach go away, the beer tastes delicious, and all is right with the world.

Of those hundreds of players heading out to WSOBP 8, only two will be able to win that final game of the tournament and hold up that big ass check.. The rest of us get to sulk on our flights home, swear off playing beer pong for good, and suffer through the almost guaranteed chance of being sick with the Pong Flu.

But for right now, there’s excitement in the air. It’s anyone’s game.