From beer pong to flip cup, parties are often stacked with drinking games to play. Whether you are playing with just your bestie or 10 of your closest friends, King’s Cup is a great option because the rules are so simple. King’s Cup involves the drinks in your hand (typically beer) and a deck of cards. Each card is associated with an action or mini-game that leads to some fun competition. Bonus: To get you prepared for your next party, here are the King's Cup rules. All you need are a deck of cards and a drink of choice. There are many variations, so feel free to make it your own.

#SpoonTip: Drinking games are fun, but be responsible. Spoon does not promote binge or underage drinking. Stay safe!

What you need: 

Before you can get drinking, you have to have the necessary components to play King's Cup. You need a deck of cards, the King's Cup — aka a large cup for the center of the table — and 1-2 drinks per person. (This can obviously be water or any beverage of your choice. Alcohol isn’t necessary, but if you are opting for booze, make sure your drink isn’t too strong because, believe me, you will be drinking a lot of it.) 

How to set up:

Place your large container or cup in the middle of a table and evenly scatter the cards around it. Once everyone has their own beverage to sip from, you are ready to go.

Illustration by Cailey Tervo.

How to play King's Cup: 

Each player takes a turn selecting a card from the scattered cards in the center of the table. Each card has an action that follows it, like the three card being “me” and eight being “mate.” The action that goes with each card varies, so feel free to make it your own. Here are the most common King’s Cup rules and card meanings:

Ace — Waterfall: Once someone picks an Ace, everyone must start chugging their drink. The person who picked the card can stop when they want; this allows the person to their right to stop drinking whenever. When that person stops drinking, the person to their right can stop. This goes on until everyone is no longer drinking. 

Two — You: The person who picks two points to another person and that person drinks.

Three — Me: If you pick a three, you are drinking. 

Four — "Whores": "Whores" is not the word I would choose, but if someone picks a four, all the ladies drink.  

Five — Never Have I Ever: When someone picks a five, each player puts up 3-5 fingers. The person who picked the five starts with saying something they have never done. If you have done it, you put a finger down. The first person to put down all their fingers, loses and drinks. 

Six — "Dicks": Another subpar choice of words in pursuit of a good rhyme. Six means all the guys take a drink. 

Seven — Heaven: When a seven is picked, every player must raise their hand to “heaven,” i.e. point to the sky. The last player to do so drinks. This is a great time to ask for forgiveness for this game. 

Eight — Mate: This isn't the type of “mate” you want. The person who selects an eight, picks another player to be their mate. When one of the mates drinks, the other has to as well. This rule remains until someone picks another eight. 

Nine — Rhyme: This card will feel a little like a game you would play at summer camp as a kid. Don't get cocky — it's a little harder when you're a couple drinks deep. Whoever picks the nine says a word. The person to the right has to say a word that rhymes with it; this goes on until someone cannot think of a rhyme. That person has to take a drink.

Ten — Categories: The person who picks a ten has to come up with a category (breakfast foods, countries, colors, etc.) and the person to their right has to say something in the category. When someone can't come up with something in that category, they drink. 

Jack — Make a Rule: It might not rhyme, but this card is still fun. Whoever picks the jack comes up with a rule (you can only drink with your left hand, don't use first names, etc.) and whoever breaks the rule throughout the game drinks.

Queen — Questions: The person who picks a queen poses a question to anyone in the game. That person has to respond to the question with another question (What time is it? Is it around midnight?). This goes on until someone does not respond with a question and they (you guessed it) drink. 

King — King's Cup: Finally, the namesake of the game. When the first three kings are drawn, that player pours some of their drink into the King's Cup. The person who draws the fourth and final king drinks the contents of the cup. (Yum!) 

Keep playing until you’re out of cards or you can shuffle and play again. 

King's Cup rules with variations:

In other variations, you can put an unopened beer can in the middle of the table. Throughout the game, you slide the discarded cards under the tab and when the pressure opens the can and has to chug. Additionally, if you’re looking for cleaner language. Six can be “chicks” for females to drink, five is “guys” and four is “Never have I ever.” If you don’t like one of the rules, change it!

Don’t have a deck of cards? Find an online deck of cards like this.

If you’re far away from your friends or have a Zoom happy hour, have one person pick the card from one deck and change the King’s cup to the game of your choice.

Now that you know King's Cup rules, you’re ready for your next party! Again, drinking games can be really fun, but remember to be smart and safe when drinking. Cheers. 

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