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World Series of Beer Pong: The contenders

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The fourth annual World Series of Beer Pong hit the Strip on Friday, Jan. 2, bringing with it more than 800 players and 100 kegs of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Photo: Sarah Feldberg

They come wearing matching sweat suits, team t-shirts and sweatbands. Ear buds channel their favorite pump up music right into their ears. Coaches scream advice from the sidelines - looks of joy and horror alternately splayed across their faces. After months of rigorous training, late nights and exhausted mornings - 414 teams have descended on the Flamingo for the pinnacle of competition in their sport: The World Series of Beer Pong.

The three day tournament will award a $50,000 grand prize to the pair of pong players who's accuracy is unrivaled and skill indomitable. As over 800 beer pongers cheered and chugged on Friday afternoon, Weekly spoke to a few of the contenders to see what it takes to take home the win.

Team Zaun (in red) -- on the left, Adam "Yanni" Johnston and on the right, Matt "Zeus" Church.

Team Zaun

Players: Adam "Yanni" Johnston and Matt "Zeus" Church

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta

Team strategy: "We're going to get the ball in the cup" - Church

Training regimen: The pair used to practice at home with beer, but "it got sloppy real quick." They decided to replace the booze with a less expensive alternative, water.

Victory celebration: Partner sit-ups: Facing his partner, Church jumps onto Johnston and wraps his legs around Johnston's waist. Suspended in the air, Church performs a set of sit-ups.

Team motto: Hockey and beer pong, that's what Canadians do ... eh?

Team USA: James Hayes and Mark Gayhart

Team USA

Players: James Hayes (33) and Mark Gayhart (33)

Hometown: Boston

Team strategy: "The hot shooter shoots." Whoever seems to be playing best shoots more. "Our main strategy is our friendship." - Hayes

Beer or water: "We have our share of the drinks, but we know our limit.

Benefit of beer pong: "We were always tight, but it made our friendship a lot stronger." - Hayes

Mac and Stern: Bryan McLaughlin and Shaun Stern, both of New York.

Mac and Stern

Players: Bryan McLaughlin (24) and Shaun Stern (23)

Hometown: New York

Goal: The final day. "We don't have any expectation as to winning, but we just want to make the final day." The team played in one previous World Series, but was knocked out after two out of three days of competition.

Training regimen: "I have the official table, official balls, official cups. Usually, I don't drink when I practice." - McLaughlin

Team uniform: Team tank tops in blue. The shirts say "MacandStern" across the top, but the team name is actually three words. The company wouldn't print it as such, they said, because some professional athletes already use that name. "Like we're not professional athletes," Stern said.

Game or sport: "Sport. If you find someone who calls it a game, bring them over and I'll straighten them out." - McLaughlin.

Sorry for Partying (SFP): Gary Shullaw and Tim Boarini

Sorry for Partying (SFP)

Players: Gary Shullaw (30) and Tim Boarini (29)

Team Strategy: "The thing about beer pong is you just throw more balls into cups."

Beer pong beer of choice: Coors Light

Player tip or life lesson: "Don't underestimate females in the tournament." - Shullaw. With a record of 3-3, SFP had just lost to pair of female players. The guys said they didn't fight hard enough to win.

Game or sport: "Game, because WSOBP is for people who can't let go of their college years" - Boarini

"Game, because you can play drunk. Golf is the ultimate gray area." - Shullaw

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Sarah Feldberg is the editor of Las Vegas Weekly magazine. A veteran journalist, Feldberg previously worked as the Weekly's web ...

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