Walking into El Cajon’s Nice Rack (a pool hall—not a pair of particularly honkin’ knockers), you wouldn’t think that amid the sea of dudes in baggy cargo shorts and Chargers jerseys would stand a man with a talent so great it’s earned him the respect of his tattooed peers. Jason Kreutzer is neither a brain surgeon nor a magnificent ballet dancer. He’s a champion beer-pong player.
The 24-year-old, who earns a living as a licensed Realtor, started playing the frat-house sport competitively three years ago and has since garnered around 20 championship titles at local tournaments, mainly in East County.
Jack Wilson, a bartender at Nice Rack who runs the weekly tournament, calls Kreutzer one of the best at the bar’s event, consistently coming up on top while still playing a “gentlemanly” game. Many of the younger players try to distract their opposition by putting their hands or T-shirts over the cups during someone’s shot. Kreutzer says those tactics are “all in desperation.” He doesn’t feel the need to sink to that level.
As much as natural ability has been key to his success, Kreutzer says that practice has indeed made perfect.
“I get lots of practice—not just at the bar, but at home, too,” explains the friendly titan. “I have two or three tables at home, and we have mini tournaments. I try not to think of it as practice but as fun.”
Still, there must be an x-factor that makes this seemingly regular guy so damn good. Kreutzer says that excellent hand-eye coordination is a major component. And confidence—not cockiness—also gives him an edge over the rest.
But maybe there’s something else that makes this mere mortal the conqueror of the red Solo cup?
“You have to get a good buzz going to play to your prime,” he confides. “For me, it’s a few beers, a couple bong hits and a few shots in between.”
On this particular night, Kreutzer and his partner, a random dude who happened to be at the bar, were up against 20 other worthy adversaries. Within five minutes in the first game, Kreutzer and Co. had leveled the opposing team to less than half of their cups.
And he had a grin on his face the entire time.