Drinking Games: Why Are We All Obsessed With Beer Pong?

02/26/2014 12:14 pm ET | Updated Feb 26, 2014

Seriously, why do college students spend so much time crowded around a table watching people throw balls into cups? It's an age-old mystery surrounding the game of beer pong.

Legend says the game was originally invented with paddles in the basement of a Dartmouth College fraternity in the 1950's. Bucknell University claims to have invented the version without paddles that eventually came to dominate college campuses nationwide. It was picked up by a visiting Lehigh University frat brother, and later, someone in that Lehigh student's house reportedly named the game "Beirut" through an analogy referring to bombings in Lebanon in 1983.

For those unaccustomed with the more popular version of beer pong, it's typically played with either six or 10 cups shaped in a triangle on opposite sides of a table. There are two teams of either one or two people who throw a ping pong ball into the opposite team's cups. If it lands in your teams' cups, you must drink the beer in the cup and remove it from the table. First team that has to remove all their cups loses. (Might we mention it's an awful lot like the Bozo the Clown bucket game?)

Regardless of whether it's called Beirut or beer pong, and whether paddles are involved or not, the game has a firm position in the lives of American college students, despite all the germs it involves. We spoke with students (over 21, of course!) on HuffPost Live about what makes beer pong so popular, and attempted to explain to an Australian why in this game, the loser gets the prize.

Watch a clip from the segment above, or click here to watch the entire segment on HuffPost Live.

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