King's Cup, King's Cup game rules, title

OBJECTIVE OF KING’S CUP: Drink alcohol and have fun with some friends!


MATERIALS OF KING’S CUP: Standard 52 card deck, lots of alcohol (typically played with beer), 1 large cup (1/4 L)

TYPE OF GAME: Drinking game



King’s Cup, as it is more commonly referred to, also bears the names Donut, Jug Oval, and Ring of Fire. It is a super fun drinking game that uses a standard deck of playing cards, each of which has a rule associated with it.

Rules are predetermined prior to starting the game. Rules vary from house to house and game to game, so it’s pretty common for players to argue about what all the cards mean before and during the game. But that’s all part of the fun! If you simply can’t seem to come to an agreement, that’s where we come in. Here are the most common rules for King’s Cup!


First, let’s properly set up the game. Place a large solo cup in the center of the table – this is the King’s Cup.

After shuffling the deck, distribute the cards evenly around the King’s Cup, like a circle around it. Some players opt to keep the shuffled cards in a deck to draw from one by one: this is dependent upon personal preference. But with that said, for sure, the more common method of play is to create a ring of cards around the cup.

Once the cup and cards are set up, pick a player to start the game. There are all sorts of fun ways to go about this, so get creative! You can pick the youngest player to start or have a chugging contest to kick off the game. This is a drinking game, after all!


King’s Cup is incredibly easy to play. As long as you have the rules for each card written down somewhere, you barely have to think about what you’re doing, making it a perfect drinking card game.

The chosen first player starts off the game by drawing a card from the ring. They must reveal this card to everybody and then follow the rule associated with it. After following the rule, play passes to the left. So, everybody draws a card one by one and follows each rule.

But when you draw from the ring around the cup, be careful not to break the circle! If you break the circle, you must take a drink or shot as punishment.

But what are the card rules?


king's cup rules

Here are the King’s Cup card rules. Keep in mind that while the below rules are standard, you may come across different house rules over time. We have highlighted a few of the more popular house rules.


The prevailing majority of players consider Ace to be waterfall. So, if someone draws this card, they must start drinking from their cup. Then, the person on their left starts drinking, then the next person, and so on. No one can stop drinking until the first player stops drinking, then the next player, and the next player… until everyone is done drinking. Done right, this should all flow like a waterfall!

However, the Australian version, which has seen increased popularity in recent years, has a different use for the Ace.

Whoever picks up the Ace has “snake eyes,” meaning if anybody makes eye contact with them, that player must drink! The snake eyes rules continue for this player until another player draws an Ace.

King's Cup, King's Cup gameplay, waterfall, snake eyes


Two is you, which means the person who drew the card can call on another player to drink. It is also known as Give 2, in which the drawer points at two other players to drink or one player to take two drinks.

King's Cup, King's Cup gameplay, give two


Three is me, the player who drew the card takes a drink.

King's Cup, King's Cup gameplay, three is me


Four is Girls. So, if someone draws this card, either women drink, or it may be played that people who have sex with women drink.

King's Cup, King's Cup gameplay, four is girls


Five is jive or bust a jive. The player who draws a five must come up with a dance move, the player to their right has to copy that same move and add to it, and so on.

This continues until someone messes up, and they must take a drink.

King's Cup, King's Cup gameplay, bust a jive


Six is dicks. Similar to four, either guys drink or players who have sex with guys drink.

King's Cup, King's Cup gameplay, six is dicks


Seven is heaven; players raise their hands to the sky once they notice a seven has been drawn. The last person to raise their hands drinks!

King's Cup, King's Cup gameplay, seven is heaven


Eight is mate. The person who drew this card must pick a mate or partner. And every time this player drinks, the mate must drink, and vice versa, until the game ends! If a mate happens to draw an 8 again during the game, the mates merge and three players must all drink in unison.

King's Cup, King's Cup gameplay, eight is mate


Nine is rhyme or bust a rhyme. The player who draws the card says a word, and players take turns going around the table saying a word that rhymes with the original word. For example, the drawer says “lime,” and players that follow may say dime, crime, time, mime, etc. And no repeating! The first player who is unable to come up with a new rhyming word drinks!

The more advanced version works well with creative groups. Rather than rhyming a single word, try to rhyme phrases or sentences.

King's Cup, King's Cup gameplay, bust a rhyme


Ten is the game categories. The player who drew the 10, picks a category, and then players take turns naming something that fits in that category. Fun categories include: Plants, sex positions, books, types of wine/beer/liquor, painters, types of candy bars, etc.

Similarly to rhyme, the first player who is unable to name something new in that category loses and must take a drink!

King's Cup, King's Cup gameplay, categories


Jack is Never Have I Ever. This is a fairly popular drinking game you may already be familiar with, but if you would like to know the rules in detail, click the link above.

If you’d like a quick reminder, players take turns following the prompt “Never Have I Ever…” and will say something they have not done. If someone in the group has done it, they must put down a finger. Here are 250+ Never Have I Ever prompt ideas if you’re not sure what to say.

When playing King’s Cup, players may play with 5 fingers to start (although the full game is played with 10). The first person to put all their fingers down first is the loser and must drink.

Jack may also be played as Thumb Master. The player who draws the card may place their thumb down on the table at any point during the game, and all other players must follow, discretely. The last player to place their thumb down on the table must drink.

King's Cup, King's Cup gameplay, never have i ever


The player who draws the Queen is the Question Master until another player draws a Queen. As Question Master, the player’s goal is to get someone else to answer one of their questions. If a player answers a Question Master’s question, they must take a drink as punishment!

King's Cup, King's Cup gameplay, question master


Lastly, the king. King is Make a Rule. You can be as creative as you want about the rule.

The first player who draws a king can make a rule for players to follow. They will then pour some of their drink (ideally a third of the cup) into the king’s cup.

Once the second king is pulled, the old rule ends, and the player who drew the second king makes a new rule. They will also fill the cup to about 2/3rds full.

For the third king pulled, it follows the same mechanic. The old rule ends and the new player makes a rule. They will then fill the cup.

If a rule is broken at any point during the game, the violator must drink.

And now, here’s the fun part: The last player to draw a king must chug whatever amount of alcohol is in the King’s cup.

If you are looking for some other fun drinking card games to play with your friends, check out our rules for Ride the Bus and Horserace!


Here’s the thing about King’s Cup: There are many potential rules for all of the cards that you can draw. If you’d like to switch things up with the King’s Cup rules or you’re simply curious to see what other rules are possible with this game, here are the rule variations for different cards in King’s Cup!

  • Ace: Race – the player must pick another player to a race to finish their drinks
  • 4: Floor – everybody must touch the floor, and the last player to do so must take a drink
  • 5: Guys – guys must drink. Or Thumb Master. Or Drive – find the rules for Drive or Vroom here.
  • 6: Chicks – girls must drink.
  • Jack: Make a Rule
  • King: Pour – the player must add some of their drink to the King’s Cup, but there is no extra rule to make a rule.


How Do You Play King’s Cup?

To play King’s Cup, every player should have a drink in their hand. Shuffle a deck of cards and place them around an empty King’s Cup. Players then take turns pulling cards from the deck and following the rules for each card.

As with all drinking games, please play responsibly and make sure you and your friends make it home safe.

Can You Play King’s Cup Without It Being a Drinking Game?

King’s Cup would be pretty difficult to play without it being a drinking game, but it’s not impossible. You could simply play with non-alcoholic drinks! Or you could replace every instance of drinking and replace it with “gains a point.” And the player with the highest point total at the end loses.

How Do You Win King’s Cup?

King’s Cup is a drinking game with no standard winner. However, it is possible to play for a loser. You could say the player who must drink the King’s Cup is the loser of the game!

How Many Cards Do You Use for King’s Cup?

While the standard game is only played with one standard deck of 52 cards, larger groups may need to add a deck or two to make sure the deck doesn’t run out. Alternatively, you could just shuffle the deck when it empties.

Can You Play King’s Cup Without Cards?

No, unfortunately, in order to play King’s Cup, you’ll need a standard deck of cards.

Mia Kim

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