1) Even teams, usually 2-on-2. Rarely more than 4-on-4.
2) 10-cup pyramid formation, "re-racking" on 5, 3, 2 and 1. When 2 cups remain, form a forward line. When 1 cup remains, center it in back. "Re-racks" (aka consolodations) can only be requested at the begining of each shooting-round when applicable. "Tightening" can be requested as often as you would like. (eg, "Tighten that rack for me, please.")
3) To see who goes first, a player from each team throws a ball while staring "eye-to-eye" with their opponent. The team that makes the cup goes first. If neither or both make it, then it is a draw and it becomes another team-members turn to go eye-to-eye versus their opponent. "Rock-paper-scissor" is also acceptable.
4) After an opponent sinks one of your cups, you must pick it up to drink, keeping track on drinking order amongst your team-mates.
5) If a ball goes in a cup that should have already been removed from play, whether the shooter intended to hit the cup or not, then it will be counted as a miss.
6) Don't call it "beer-pong." Beer pong is played with paddles.
7) Bouncing a ball in counts as 2 cups.
8) If a team tries to bounce it, the defending team can swat it after the first bounce. If you interfere with any non-bouncing shot then you have to drink the cup -- and if possible, the cup closest to where the ball would have landed. If the interference was an inadvertant result of trying to swat away another concurring bounce-shot, then no cups will be removed from play -- only that shooter gets to re-shoot it.
9) If you knock over a cup, you must fill it back up, drink it, and discard it from play -- no exception.
10) In any game, the team must make at least half of their shots for them to receive a "bring back." On a 2-on-2 game, both players must make their shots to get a "bring back." In a game with 3-on-3, then, at least 2 need to make it. Only team members that made their shots are allowed to shoot again.
11) You must finish your drink before you can shoot.
12) First team to sink all their opponents cups, wins. In tournaments there are technically no ties.
13) Following a team-victory is always a "rebuttal" round, where the losing team must get a final chance for redemption, no matter which team went first. Bring-backs, naturally, are allowed in the rebuttal-round.
14) After a team loses, they must drink the remaining cups on the opponents side. If, after, the "rebuttal" round, they manage to sink the remainders, then, for the sake of tournaments, it is technically still not considered a tie. The team merely avoids having to humble themselves to drinking their opponents cups and it sets up momentum for a probable grudge-match.
15) If a ball starts toilet-bowling around the cup, the defending team is allowed to blow the ball out. Whomever unsuccessfully blows the ball out, should drink it regardless of whos turn to drink.
16) "Courtesy-cups" or wash cups with clean water are mandatory.
17) Distractions allowed -- the funnier and more hostile, the better. No visual impediments allowed.
18) Winners go on to play the next challengers. Losers refill the courtesy-cups.
More tips, surely to be controversial...
Tip #21: Heating a damaged ping pong ball over a lighter will get the dent out. Don't get it too close to the flame or you'll have more than a dent. Submurging the ball in boiling hot water is safer if you have the patience to wait 20 minutes, but the ball gets soft. Ask that naughty ho to suck the dent out.
Tip #18: On a budget? Aluminum foil can be used to make balls. Out of aluminum foil? Use seran-wrap and tape if you have to. Out of seran-wrap? You got problems.
Tip #25: Nine-ball play (re-racking in diamonds) is reserved for beginners of the sport. Eight-ball play (re-racking in pyraminds) is the game most experts play.
Tip #1: A man shall not allow another to drink his cup for him. Most, in fact, would forbid it.
Tips #4: The pineapple/grenade rule is an abomonation to the sport. This was a serendipitous rule created by a kid who needed something to offset his lack of skill.
Tip #13: The elbow-behined-the-table rule is for short people who imagine they are being victimized. (Think of the kid in elementary school who got teased for being short and cried a lot.)
Tip #14: Tall people are free to abuse their height-advantage, at the cost of looking like an unskilled cherry-picking fag. (Think Shaquille O'Neil.) Both feet are to remain on the ground. No hands on the table. Better that you don't lean.
Tip #17: The title of the game is an obvious reference to the ongoing destruction in Lebanon throughout the decades. Now you know.
Tip #12: If the ball bounces back to your side, then you don't get to go again, idiot-boy.
Tip #8: If the ball bounces 4 times before it goes in, it doesn't count as 5. It counts as, 'you're dumb for trying.'
Tip #2: If the cups are so empty that a ping pong knocks any of them over on contact, then it just means that you're not drinking enough. If the ball is securely in the cup upon tipping over, then count it.
Tip #6: The same people who mix up wind surfing with sky boarding, are the same people who mix up beer pong with beirut. They are entirely different sports.
Tip #2: Don't apply rules from other drinking games. For example, the "chicks blow and guys finger," rule is witty, but that's about it. Don't let your insecurities take away from the sport. Your friend's probably already know your gay, anyway.
Tip #7: The sniper rule is where, at any given moment, if a ping pong lands in the cup that you are drinking out of then you must chug it immediately. Sniper shots do not pertain to the game and should not count for or against either team.
Or, better said with enthusiasm:
For further reference:
The movie "Beer Fest," by Broken Lizard adequately illustrates the difference between Beeruit (Beirut) and Beer Pong during tournament play towards the end of the movie.