The 10 Commandments of Pregaming Everyone Must Obey

Pregaming is an art form. It’s the gesso on the oil painting that is the rest of your night, which could end up as perfect as the “Mona Lisa” or like a poor imitation of a Jackson Pollock piece. Either way, it all starts with those first few drinks. Respect the pregame, partiers, and adhere to these: The 10 Holy Commandments of Pregaming.

Thou shalt take it easy.

Remember: The pregame is not the party. This isn’t the time to go out of control or shamelessly confess your love to your crush of the night. Save that for the actual party, when everyone is on the same level of turnt as you. Make sure your pregame dial is set to a 6 or 7—not a 10.

Thou shalt not fall asleep.

As much as the pregame is not the time to be off-the-wall nuts, it’s also not nap time. You might regularly crawl into bed at 10 p.m. on a weeknight, but on a Saturday, 10 p.m. is just the beginning. Use the pregame to snap out of your usual circadian rhythm. Incorporate some energy drinks or caffeine into your chasers—whatever you need to keep yourself awake.

Guy getting dressed
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Thou shalt be dressed and ready to go BEFORE the pregame.

Pregames are for getting ready mentally, not physically. You should arrive dressed, made up and ready to go. Don’t be the person who shows up in sweatpants with a weeklong trip’s worth of toiletries and outfit changes.

Thou shalt carbo-load.

Pregaming is as much about eating as it is about drinking. Prepare for a long night out just like you would prepare for a race: By filling your stomach with carb-heavy foods like pasta or a party sub or, the king of pregaming foods, pizza. You’ll be happy you did when those drinking on an empty stomach are struggling to keep up and you’re still going strong.

Thou shalt create an appropriate playlist.

This is not the time for the mixtape your middle school sweetheart made you back in the day or for your obscure Korean screamo playlist. Play a mix of classic songs people can’t help but like, or at least a playlist of upbeat songs that will set the tempo for the rest of the night. Your Tom Waits compilation can wait until Sunday.

Thou shalt not arrive empty handed.

It’s important to bring something whenever anyone invites you to their home, but it’s especially important when you’re there to pregame. As we said before, this isn’t the party, so don’t expect alcohol and refreshments to be provided. Bring enough booze and mixers for yourself and a few others.

people playing beer pong
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Thou shalt know the rules to any and all drinking games.

In order to be a seasoned pregamer, one must know all the rules to every version of every popular drinking game. When everyone demands a game of Beirut, you know to set the cups up pyramid style, because “Beirut” is just fancy talk for Beer Pong. When no one can recall the rules of Kings, you’re ready to recite them from memory—and you even have a few variations if your friends want options. You are the foremost expert in Flip Cup, the decider of Dice, the queen of Quarters. And you’re always down for a game.

Thou shalt drink out of plastic cups (to make the hungover morning cleanup easier).

Pregame venues get messy. Everyone is drinking, beer pong balls are flying, cups are flipping, and then all of that is immediately dropped and everyone leaves the moment the Uber arrives. Drink out of plastic cups and make the morning cleanup as easy as possible. It prevents the possibility of broken glass and saves the host a lot of dishwashing trouble.

Thou shalt not be a downer.

The pregame is an escape from real world work and stress, so leave all your worries and gripes and Monday morning deadlines behind. Don’t talk politics. Don’t talk breakups. Don’t tell that story about your dead dog. Take a shot, a slug of beer or a slurp from a spritzy cocktail and enjoy yourself.

Thou must attend “the game” with everyone else.

There’s nothing worse than people who hang out and pregame, only to Irish exit before “the game” because something “better” came up or they’re “feeling tired.” A pregame is a commitment. A pregame is a family. It doesn’t matter if Leonardo DiCaprio just showed up at the bar your friends are at and is buying shots for everyone. You do not abandon your family.