Would You Drink Beer for $50,000?
Long gone are the hammered all-nighters on Fraternity Row sloshing around a table with feeble attempts to sink a ball into a cup of beer. Only in your dreams could you imagine playing a four-day tournament of chucking plastic balls into red solo cups for the chance to win $50,000. Or so you thought.
Welcome to the World Series of Beer Pong, the largest, longest-running beer pong tournament in the world. Last week, the 8th annual World Series of Beer Pong (WSOBP VIII) took place inside the newly renovated Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas where over 800 semi-drunkards tossed balls and tried to block out the obnoxiously loud music that goes along with everything Las Vegas. Music so loud, concentration was nearly impossible. And when a prize pool of $70,000 is on the line, concentration is key, even when consuming mass amounts of PBR. Mass amounts of PBR to the tune of 130 kegs, all for love of the high-stakes game.
Without a qualifying round, any aspiring professional beer pong’er could sign up his or her team in hopes of winning the grand prize and presumably claiming the biggest bragging rights this side of the Heisman. This year’s annual tournament attracted nearly 400 teams from 48 U.S. states and 14 countries, as well as 1000+ spectators in the stands and aisles soaking it all in.
WSOBP allows players to play with beer or any other liquid. During play, two-person teams stand on opposite ends of an 8-foot-long table, where ten 16-ounce cups, filled with roughly 4 ounces of beer/liquid, are placed in a bowling-pin formation. Starting to bring back memories?
Each team takes turns tossing beer pong balls at their opponent’s cup formation. If a ball goes into a cup, the cup is removed from the game. The first team to eliminate all of its opponent’s cups wins. Each team has a guaranteed 12 games over two days and the chance to advance to the finals on day three, which then gets broken down into sporting brackets like Sweet Sixteen and Final Four.
After 50 rounds and 22 games of aggressive PBR-filled competition, Timothy Findley and Mike Seivert, from Sacramento, CA claimed the title as WSOBP VIII champions, pocketing the nice chunk of $25,000 apiece. Under the team name “Drinkin Smokin Straight West Coastin,” the two guys snagged the title from the two-time champions (2009 & 2010) “Smashing Time.” Talk about an event going down to the wire. The final match was decided by the final cup, which was sunk by Mike of “Drinkin Smokin Straight West Coastin” to declare victory over all the competition.
Although their hand-eye coordination was enough to get their balls into the cups, perhaps these teams should consider delegating a portion of their prize winnings to finding a creative team name in future tournaments? Just a thought…
And in case you’ve got a little spare time on your hands, check out the real history of beer pong and start to impress your co-workers. Maybe even sign up for next year’s tournament.
Jayme is a freelance sports and travel writer based in Houston and is currently in a full-court press writing her hugely opinionated sports column, The Blonde Side. Follow her travels for sporting events and check her out on Twitter.