RIDE THE BUS rules title

OBJECTIVE OF RIDE THE BUS: Get drunk and have the least amount of cards in hand.

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 4 to 8 players

MATERIALS OF RIDE THE BUS: Beer, a standard 52-card deck

TYPE OF GAME: Drinking game



Ride the Bus is a competitive drinking game that demands the player’s logical skills and a dose of luck to not get plastered. Famous last words, we say! The basic rule of this game? If you cannot guess correctly, you drink!

As far as drinking game standards, the Ride the Bus rules are a bit more on the more complicated side, but it is still one of the most fun drinking games out there! All you need to play are some handy guessing skills, a deck of cards, and, of course, an alcoholic beverage in your hand. After all, the point of the game is to get buzzed with your friends.

Ride the Bus is a classic drinking game for a reason. So, what are you waiting for? Here are the rules for Ride the Bus!


RIDE THE BUS drinking game

The game utilizes an entire deck of playing cards (all 52 cards minus the jokers), and the goal of the game is to have the fewest number of cards in hand at the end of the round. Sounds simple enough, right?

Prior to starting the game, players must pick one person to be the dealer. All players must sit around a table with a beer in hand.

The dealer may be chosen randomly. Or, to start the game in the spirit of drinking, a chugging contest is in order. All active players chug a beer in unison, the player to finish last (or first) is the dealer.

Don’t like beer? Here’s a list of some other great drinks for this game.


Although Ride the Bus may be a more complicated drinking game at first glance, it’s still a relatively simple game that follows basic rules. The Ride the Bus drinking game is divided into several rounds.

The dealer must hold onto the deck of cards and ensure no players can see the cards.

Note: If the dealer wants to participate as well, they may by dealing themself a card as well when it is their turn.


RIDE THE BUS round 1 red black

The dealer then starts the game by asking each of the active players a question – “Red or Black?” The dealer should ask the question one by one to each player, starting with the first player on their left. Once the first player has guessed a color (red for diamonds or hearts and black for spades or clovers), the dealer then flips over the top card of the pack to the first player. If they are correct in their guess, the first player can pick one player to drink. However, if they are wrong, they must take a sip from their drink alone. This continues around the table until each player has seen their 1st card.

Every player’s first card must remain on the table in front of them.


RIDE THE BUS round 2 high low

The question of round two is, “Higher or lower?” Just like the first round, the dealer asks each player one by one. 

As a reminder, the ace is the highest-ranking card in this game and two the lowest.

In this round, players guess if their next card is either higher or lower in value than their first card. After each guess, the dealer must reveal the first card in the deck and lay it down in front of the guessing player.

Although technically a guess, you can still be strategic about it. For example, if your first card was a Queen, it is more likely than not the next card will be lower. As before, if they are correct, they pick one player to drink. If they guess wrong, they drink alone.

This continues, again, until all players have seen their second card. In the event the second card is of equal rank as their first, this is an automatic penalty, and the player must drink, regardless of what they say. After all, whether they say “higher” or “lower,” they’re technically wrong whatever they say!


RIDE THE BUS round 3 between outside

The question in the third round the dealer poses is: “In between or outside?” Again, the dealer goes around the table asking this question to players one by one. Players guess if their third card will be in between or outside the values of their first two cards.

Again, while this is somewhat based upon luck, through logic and statistics, players can deduce whether or not (to a certain extent) their card will be within or outside the values of their first two cards.

For example, if a player’s first 2 cards were a 10 and an 8, they can assume in the third round, the card will most likely be outside the value of those 2 cards. But, if their cards were a king and a four, it is more likely the card would be in between those 2 cards.

As usual, if a player guesses correctly, they choose 1 person to drink. But, if they guess wrong, they drink. If the card is identical to one of the two cards pulled so far, they drink, again.


In the last round, the players must guess the suit of the final card they are dealt (spades, clubs, hearts, diamonds). If they guess correctly, they can give out 5 drinks. If they are wrong, they must take one sip. Players may split their 5 drinks amongst the players OR force them all on one player. It’s totally up to you!


Hold onto your horses, the game isn’t over yet!

Now, players take all their cards (four cards) in hand while the dealer forms a pyramid (face-down). The pyramid has a 5-card base (then 4, 3, 2, 1… you know the drill).

Each row is assigned a value with alcohol, with the top row being worth more drinks than the bottom ones (the rows ascend in number/potency of drinks). The value can be determined by all the players before starting the pyramid. Here is an example of what the layout of the pyramid drink values can look like:

The fifth row, or bottom row, will have 5 cards in it and can be worth one drink. The fourth row can be worth two drinks. The third row can be worth three drinks. The second row can be worth 4 drinks, and the final row, consisting of one card, can be worth five drinks or a shot!

Beginning with the bottom row, the dealer flips over the cards one by one. Players who have a card in hand of equal rank place their card on top of the same value card in the pyramid and give a player or players the assigned number of drinks for that row. Once a player has placed a card on the pyramid, they cannot pick the card back up.


Once the last card of the pyramid is flipped and all the drinks are drunk, the player with the most cards in their hand is the loser and they must ride the bus.

If there is a tie, the player with the highest-ranking card is the loser. If they are equal, players draw cards, and the highest-ranking cardholder then rides the bus.

When riding the bus, players must complete all four of the questions in a row:

  • Red or black?
  • Higher or lower?
  • In between or outside?
  • Suit?

If they answer a question incorrectly, they must start again from question one (taking a drink for each wrong answer).


The game ends once the entire deck is used OR if they correctly answer all four questions consecutively. If the player is able to answer all the questions consecutively, they win; otherwise, they remain the loser.

As always, when playing drinking games, please drink responsibly and make sure you and your friends all make it home safe!

Do you want to play other similar drinking card games? Check out our game rules for Horserace, President, and King’s Cup!


How Many People Can Play Ride the Bus?

Ride the Bus is a fun drinking game played by 4 to 8 players.

Can Ride the Bus Be Played as a Non-Drinking Game?

You could modify Ride the Bus to be a non-drinking game. Instead of taking drinks, you could pay an ante to the pot, and play Ride the Bus as a betting game. Just as exciting!

Is Ace High or Low in Ride the Bus?

Ace is always played high according to Ride the Bus rules!

What Happens If You Draw a Matching Card While You Play Ride the Bus?

In round one of the Ride the Bus game, there are no other cards to match with. You will have to wait till the second round when your next card is pulled to have the potential to match.

In the second and third rounds of the Ride the Bus game, when you draw the same card as round one, you are penalized and must take a drink.

Nakoa Davis

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