How to Play Flip Cup

Three Parts:Setting Up the GamePlaying Flip CupFlipping Techniques

Flip cup is a team-based relay-race drinking game. It is also known as "canoe," "taps," "flippy cup," or "tappy cup."[1] You'll need beer (or your beverage of choice), Solo cups, and two teams of at least three people facing each other across a long, sturdy table.

Part 1
Setting Up the Game

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    Arrange the cups. Line up plastic Solo cups along each side of a rectangular table so that each side has the same number of cups. There are two teams in flip cup: one on each side of the table. Players take turn drinking the beer in their cup, then flipping the empty cup on the edge of the table until it lands perfectly upside down on the tabletop.[2]
    • Play flip cup with three or more people on each team – 6+ total. The more flippers on each team, the longer the game will be.
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    Fill the cups. Pour each players drink of choice into his or her cup. If no one objects, simply fill each up 1/4 to halfway up with beer. You can adjust the volume of beer to match the amount that each person wants to drink. Keep in mind, however, that the game will be most fair if everyone has to drink the same amount.[3]
    • If you're going to play multiple rounds of flip cup, consider playing with beer or another relatively low-alcohol beverage. Flip cup is a fast-paced game, and it can be dangerous to play with liquor.
    • If you don't drink alcohol, fill your cups with another beverage of choice. For an easier game, fill the cups with something that you like drinking. For a more difficult game, fill the cups with something that's harder to drink, such as hot sauce.
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    Line up on either side of the table. Find your partner and "match up." When each person's cup is equally filled, he or she looks across the table to find someone to "match with." The teams should be equal, and each person should be standing directly across from someone on the other team.
    • Make sure that everyone knows which direction the flipping will go. This game is a relay race, and each round of flip cup always begins at one end of the table and ends at the other end. Each player should know which two players are starting the round, and which two players are the "anchors" at the end.

Part 2
Playing Flip Cup

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    Touch cups before starting the round. Everyone at the table raises their cup to "touch cups" with the opposing player across from them. Make sure that everyone at the table has a partner and is ready to start the round. Hold cups in the air until everyone is matched up. Then, place all cups on the table, and don't touch them again until it's your turn.
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    Yell "Go!" to begin. The first player from each team drinks the beer as fast a they can from his or her cup. As the first player: when you finish your beer, set the empty cup on the table, open side up, so that it hangs slightly off the edge of the table. The next player on your team cannot start drinking until you flip your cup in the air such that it lands top-side down on the table.
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    Flip the cup. Use your finger to tap the bottom of the cup, flipping it in the air. Try to tap lightly enough that the cup makes only a 180° rotation. You want the cup to land squarely on the table, open side down. If the cup doesn't land right: reset it on the edge of the table, and continue to flip until you get it right. Once you've successfully flipped your cup, tell the next player in line to start drinking!
    • The flipping motion is an act of finesse. You may need to practice your flip many times over in order to get it right.
    • No steadying the cup. Only one hand can touch the cup at one time![4]
    • Remember: the other team isn't waiting for you to flip the cup. This is a relay race. If it takes you more than a few tries to execute the flip, then the race may be lost – unless the other team is also taking a while!
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    Continue down the line until one team has finished drinking and flipping. The first team to finish wins. All of the cups should sit squarely upside down on the tabletop. If you wish to play another round: set the table up exactly as you did the first time, refill the cups, and play again!
    • The second-place team does not need to finish all of their beers, unless both teams agree that this is the rule. If you're playing multiple rounds, consider saving the beer for the next round!

Part 3
Flipping Techniques

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    Tap lightly. The fewer rotations the cup makes in the air, the easier it will be to get it to land squarely on the table. Try to make the motion so gently that the cup almost just "tips" over 180°. The more rotations the cup takes, the more wildly it is liable to land.
    • Adjust your flipping motion. If you notice that you're tapping too hard, tap a little lighter. If you notice that you're tapping too lightly, then go a bit harder.
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    Practice. Before the game begins, try flipping an empty cup on the edge of the table to calibrate your tapping motion. If there's a big flip cup competition coming up, practice flipping cups on your own when you have a free moment. Beyond the drinking game itself, this practice can be a good way to train your hand-eye coordination.
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    Try to keep the table dry. If there is water or spilled beer on the table, it might confound the flipping and landing of the cups. Use a towel to wipe up any spilled beverage before each round.
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    Be patient. It is easy to get flustered if you don't flip the cup on the first try. Take a deep breath, slow down, and find your center amid the frenzy. You will flip better if you're careful and intentional about it.


  • There are various flip cup tournaments around the country that have other steps and game rules, such as Flip Cup Guys or Major League Flip Cup.
  • You don't need to play with beer. It can be juice, milk, other alcohol, and so forth.
  • Remember: only one hand can touch the cup at one time![5]

Things You'll Need

  • Long table
  • 1 plastic cup per person
  • 6 people (at least) to make 2 teams

Article Info

Categories: Party Games