Unemployed? Bored? Make Money Playing Beer Pong

Superstars in Major League Baseball’s World Series hit the gym daily to get themselves in peak shape for the competition. Superstars in the World Series of Beer Pong just have to hit the bar.

What started as a college drinking game (and, honestly, never stopped being one) is expanding beyond the frat house. Beer Pong leagues are popping up around the country — and there’s actually some substantial money in the game for expert players.

World Series of Beer Pong
Source: bpong.com
World Series of Beer Pong

Last month, players in Atlantic City competed in a three-day tournament for $25,000. And this Labor Day, beer pong, um, "athletes" in California will compete for $10,000 just outside of Los Angeles.

In January, Las Vegas will host the big showdown, where an estimated 1,000 people will battle in the World Series of Beer Pong, with the winning team (of two) walking away with $50,000.

“The game used to be a big college phenomenon,” says Billy Gaines, co-founder of the Vegas event and bpong.com. “As people who were introduced to the game in college have grown up, the game has evolved and grown. … At the World Series, you have your typical frat guy, but you also have accountants, you have lawyers, you have people who don’t know what they want to do with their lives yet.”

Despite the World Series title, there is no unified Beer Pong league. And the sport is still a long way from getting a commissioner. Competing organizations host rival tournaments around the country, but that hasn’t seemed to dampened enthusiasm.

This will be the fifth ‘World Series’ event. Initially held in Mesquite, Nev. with only 83 teams competing, the series will be held along the Las Vegas strip at the Flamingo Casino and Hotel this year.

Have Some More Beer:

For the most part, anyone can play in the tournaments. For the World Series, winners of qualifying rounds see their entry fee waved, but others can pony up $1,100 for a chance to win. (The price covers a tournament entry fee and five nights at the Flamingo to cut down on liability to the organizers.)

The game, if you haven’t played it lately is pretty simple. Bounce a ping-pong ball into the opposing team’s beer-filled cup. If you succeed, the other team has to down the cup. First team to make its opponents drink all of the beers wins.

In college, it’s a quick way to get drunk. On the competitive circuit, things are a little different.

World Series of Beer Pong
Source: bpong.com
World Series of Beer Pong

Cups in satellite tournaments for the World Series are filled with water. Losers aren’t required to drink, if they don’t want to. And while beer is used at the Vegas event (Pabst Blue Ribbon has been the beverage of choice for the past couple of years), the cups are only 25- to 33-percent full.

Waitaminit. No drinking? No beer? Partially filled cups? Doesn’t that go against the theme of the game? Aren’t liability concerns something a lawyer should worry about, not a beer pong tournament organizer?

Turns out Gaines is both. He recently quit his job as an intellectual property attorney to focus on the World Series of Beer Pong full time.

It’s a money-losing business, but a labor of love. Gaines and his two partners are seeking sponsors for the event, but it’s still early in the process.

“Everything we’ve done has been driven by a love for the game, a love for the sport,” says Gaines.

Their chief competitor, the World Beer Pong Tour, list a few sponsors, but beer giants, such as Molson Coors and Anheuser Busch InBevhave so far shied away from the events. Instead, entertainment retailer F.Y.E., the New York Titans LaCrosse team and several small businesses have lent their names to the action.

Sure, beer pong is just beginning to ping the post-collegiate pop culture radar, but it seems to have some legs to it. After all, on his late night talk show, Jimmy Kimmel has played the game with several guests, including Ivanka Trump (who beat him), Serena Williams (who crushed him) and Betty White (who he defeated — barely).

There’s still a good distance to go, though, before it rivals the national pastime. But who knows? In a few years, you may have stirring poems written about this sport as well…

And somewhere men are laughing and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy in Beer Pong — mighty Casey has passed out.