Quarantine Debates Vol. III: Beer Pong vs. Flip Cup

We’ve debated The Office vs. Parks and Recreation, we’ve debated which comedy film from the 2000’s is the greatest, and now it’s time for the classic debate between the two classic drinking games. Quarantine Debates III, let’s go.


First things first, is my drinking game prime behind me? Yes. Also, is it a little bit depressing for a 23 year old, who is nearly two years removed from college, to spend his time debating beer pong vs. flip cup? Probably, but fuck it I don’t have anything better to do right now. The beer pong vs. flip cup debate has been a source of contention for many years now. Over the years, the discourse has raged on in dorm rooms, frat house basements, and wherever else 16 to 22 year old white males spend their time. As a tragically basic white man myself, I have spent many nights playing both of these games and undeniably have some strong opinions on the subject. Sure, both games are similar. And yes, they are essentially just excuses for high school and college aged kids to administer great amounts of light beer into their bodies, but there are some key differences between these games as well. I’m going to explore these differences in great detail, before eventually crowing the true champion of drinking games at the end.

Here’s how it’s going to work: I am going to present the case for beer pong first, then I’ll present the case for flip cup. After both arguments have been made, I will take all the evidence into consideration, and finalize my decision.

(Edit: Ya know, sometimes you find yourself in a situation that forces you to think “I’m kind of a smart person, I like went to college and got a degree, so how and why is this what I’m doing with my time?” Writing about the different merits of beer pong and flip cup—in a genuine manner—in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday, is a great example of one of those situations.)

The Case For Beer Pong:

Beer pong is probably the most famous drinking game in the world. Any time a movie is being made about college kids, and the people making the movie think to themselves “how do we show that these kids are cool and like to drink,” the answer is insert a scene of the characters playing beer pong (usually starring actors who look like they’ve never thrown a ping pong ball before.) The reason for that is everyone knows this game and, for the most part, everyone has played this game. So, popularity is the first major point in the case for beer pong. Although flip cup is definitely popular in its own right, beer pong is just simply the more iconic game.

Another pro of beer pong is that it is just more versatile than flip cup. Beer pong can be played at a pregame, at a party, or just at a more low-key night with a few friends. Also, there’s less rapid drinking in beer pong than there is in flip cup, which makes it a game that can be played at any point from the beginning of the night all the way to the end of the night.

Now, both beer pong and flip cup are inherently social activities. Each game needs multiple participants in order for it to be played. However, I’d argue that, even though flip cup can be played with more people, beer pong is actually more social. The action is slower and the games are much longer in beer pong, therefore there is more room for the players to actually talk to one another. It is also undoubtably a much more interesting game to watch, than flip cup, for those not participating.

The games being longer is actually another thing beer pong has going for it. You can play a couple rounds of flip cup in 15 minutes and then be done with it for the rest of the night. With beer pong, you can play longer games and more games in a row as well. If we’re being honest, you can make an entire day out of beer pong. How do I know? Well, maybe I used to have annual World Cup of Beer Pong tournaments with my high school friends, which involved dozens of teams selecting a country, putting together outfits, and competing against one another. Was I Italy one year, and did my partner and I dress up as Mario and Luigi? Maybe, but that’s not important at the moment. What is important is that beer pong is arguably a much more competitive game than flip cup as well, which is another point in its favor.

Don’t get me wrong, there certainly can be a great amount of competitiveness that goes into a game of flip cup, but it’s just not the same as beer pong. Beer pong certainly isn’t a sport—even if some people, *raises hand*, can take it way too seriously and act like it’s a legitimate competition—but it is at the very least much more of a skill based game than flip cup is. Essentially, beer pong is as much of a sport as something like cornhole is, the same can’t be said for flip cup.

To summarize: Beer pong is more iconic, it’s more versatile, it’s arguably more social, it can be played for longer amounts of time, and it’s more exciting from a competitive standpoint.

The Case For Flip Cup:

So, I think everyone can agree that beer pong is more popular than flip cup. But, as we know from things like movies, television, and music, the most popular doesn’t always mean the best.

The first argument in flip cups favor is an obvious one, it’s easier to get drunk with flip cup. You’re usually going to drink more, and get drunk quicker, when playing flip cup than you will while playing beer game. Even though you are only responsible for the one cup that’s in front of you in a game of flip cup, the rapid fire nature of the games, and the need to chug in order to win usually results in more total drinking. And guess what? The point of a drinking game is to have fun, and to drink.

The next pro flip cup point is another obvious one, flip cup has the capacity to involve so many more players than beer pong. With beer pong, most of the people in the room will just be sitting around waiting to play. With flip cup however, an unlimited amount of players can join the game. Beer pong may be social because it allows for more conversation between players, but flip cup allows for more people to actually participate in the game at the same time.

To continue off of that point, I’d argue that flip cup is a much more accessible game for people. I noted earlier that there is some genuine skill involved with beer pong. This creates some uneven games where one team just simply dominates the other, which ultimately isn’t that fun. It also creates some weirdos, *raises hand again*, who can get too wrapped up in the competition and take it too seriously sometimes. On the other hand, pretty much everyone can play flip cup. Sure, some people are better at chugging and there is some skill involved when it comes to flipping the cup. But, flip cup is still a much more inviting and fun game for people who have never played it. Really what I’m trying to say is it’s harder to be bad at flip cup than it is to be bad at beer pong.

Even the biggest beer pong defenders cannot deny that flip cup brings way more energy than beer pong does. Flip cup can start a party, or help revive a boring one, in a way that beer pong can’t. It gets everyone involved, it gets people screaming, and the fast-paced nature of the games creates a much more exciting atmosphere than beer pong. Even though I argued beer pong was more competitive, flip cup does come with a unique and fun sense of competition as well that may even be better than the competition in beer pong. Competitiveness in flip cup comes in the form of people yelling, screaming, and having a good time. Competitiveness in beer pong comes in the form of people focusing really hard on getting a ball in a cup.

Lastly, flip cup simply requires less things than beer pong does. Both games need some form of plastic cups (non-neanderthals use Solo), but beer pong requires ping pong balls and a table that’s at least six feet long. Flip cup can be played on a table of any size. It can  really be played on any elevated surface if we’re being honest.

To summarize the case for flip cup: It involves more drinking, more people can play at once, there is less chance for a skill disparity between players, it brings more energy to a party, and you don’t need a lot of things to play it.

The Verdict:

I’ll be honest, this is a tough one. I feel like I covered pretty much all the different pros and cons of each game. As it turns out, they’re both really fucking fun and they both have a lot of points that can be made in their favor. When it comes to crowning the true champion of drinking games though, I think you have to look at which game is more fun to play on a consistent basis. In my opinion, flip cup is a game that is super fun to play every once in a while, but it’s not something to play at every single party. On the other hand, beer pong is something that can be set up every single time a group of friends gets together to drink. Flip cup is great, but it’s more suitable for special occasions. Beer pong is the king of drinking games because it can be played anytime and anywhere. (As long as you have ping pong balls, a table, and 20 cups.)

Winner: Beer Pong




2 thoughts on “Quarantine Debates Vol. III: Beer Pong vs. Flip Cup

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