…a fella named Andrew DeCaluwe from Mount Prospect, Illinois. He tops the list of The National Beer Pong* League’s new ranking system, boasting the highest score of over 2,400 ranked players from around the world.
While I’m no fan of beer pong*, I have to admit the NBP*L has built a slick little mousetrap here.
Let’s start with the ranking system, which tracks more than just wins and losses. It’s based on the Elo rating system, which was originally developed to rank chess players based on their individual skill, not just tournament wins and losses. In the case of the NBP*L’s system, it tracks by how many cups the winner bested his or her opponent, adding an additional layer of data into the rankings that make them more reflective of an individual’s true skill level.
And here’s where it gets interesting – these stats are tracked in real-time. Each player is issued a QR code when they join the league, and their stats are recorded in real-time as league-affiliated competitions unfold. They even have a Android smartphone app so you can follow the standings on the go, say while playing in a beer pong* tourney. Players can also affiliate themselves with a team, their frat, their school, their town, etc. in the ranking system.
The NBP*L also sponsors the World Series of Beer Pong, which is happening right now at the Flamingo hotel in Las Vegas. Apparently a few hundred more frat boys aren’t a big deal in Sin City, so I guess it makes sense they’d host it there. There’s serious money to be had as well, with a prize pool of at least $65,000, with a $50,000 grand prize going to the winning team.
This just goes to show you that even the most inane pursuit can be turned into big business.
Of course there’s one major thing missing from the competition and the ranking system, and that’s the beer. You see, this form of beer pong* deserves an asterisk, because there’s no beer involved! Here’s Article IV, Section B of the Official NBP*L rules:
For the World Series of Beer Pong main event, 24 ounces of beer or water will be used per team and will be distributed evenly in the 6 front cups. The back 4 cups will be filled 1/3 with water. These water cups are not for consumption–they are to be reused every round. All official World Series of Beer Pong Satellite Tournaments must abide by all local laws concerning beer pong.
While beer is mentioned, substitution with water is allowed, which kind of defeats the whole purpose. Many places where tourneys are held don’t allow beer to be in the cups at all, so the majority of contests (where the bulk of the data for the ranking system is generated) are beerless, which makes this something other than beer pong. But I guess if Kraft can call Velveeta “cheese” (they actually use the term “pasteurized prepared cheese product”) I guess these guys can call this ping-pong-ball-and-water game whatever they want.
That said, we all know that alcohol has an effect on motor skills and decision making, and I’d be curious to see how the rankings would sort out of beer were used in the cups. My guess is Andrew DeCaluwe would be dethroned by Frank the Tank!
*Not really “beer pong” if there’s no “beer”