How to Play King’s Cup

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King’s Cup Rules & Instructions

king's cup demonstration



  • 3-10


  • Deck of cards
  • Beverages
  • Cup

Additional Setup Notes

  • Supply a variety of drinks for this game, as drinking hard liquor could spell trouble


    King’s Cup, also called “Ring of Fire” or “Circle of Death,” is a classic drinking game that allows groups of players to learn more about one another while completing a series of fun challenges.

    Players will take turns drawing cards, all of which correspond to a King’s Cup rule. Each card in the deck aligns with an action, making for an excitingly unpredictable game with friends old and new.


    Begin by placing the cup in the center of the table. Spread the deck of cards out so that the cards circle the cup. Select which player will go first by either choosing the oldest or youngest player in attendance. The first player will draw a card, and players will take turns going counterclockwise.

    Each turn consists of two actions. First, players will draw any card from the circle. Once the card has been read out loud to the group, the player who drew the card will perform the rule. Some cards demand the entire group perform a task- so make sure to pay attention! A turn ends once a card has been drawn and performed. Place flipped cards in a discard pile separate from the ring.

    The corresponding rules for each card in King’s Cup are as follows: 

    • 2 = You. The player who draws the card will select someone else to drink.
    • 3 = Me. The player who draws the card will take a drink.
    • 4 = Floor. Everyone in the group must touch the ground or floor. The last player to do so must drink.
    • 5 = Guys. All men in the group must take a drink.
    • 6 = Chicks: All women in the group must take a drink.
    • 7 = Heaven. Everyone in the group must point to the sky. The last player to do so must drink.
    • 8 = Date. The player who draws the card must select another player to be their “date.” Anytime the original player drinks, their date must take a drink as well. 
    • 9 = Rhyme. The player who draws a card must select a word. Each player will take turns naming a word that rhymes with the original word without repeating anyone’s answer. Whoever repeats a rhyme or can’t come up with one must take a drink.
    • 10 = Categories. Play a mini-game of Categories with the group. The player who draws the card will select the category and corresponding noun. The player who fails to come up with an answer to the category or repeats someone else’s answer must take a drink. For example: If the category is Tom Hanks Movies. Potential answers could be Forrest Gump, You’ve Got Mail, or Toy Story.
    • Jack = Never Have I Ever. Play a mini-game of Never Have I Ever with the group. The loser of the game must take a drink.
    • Queen = Question Master. Once a player flips the Queen, they become the reigning Question Master. Any players who answer the Question Master’s questions must take a drink, so make sure you don’t forget who drew the last Queen! 
    • King = All Hail the King. If players flip a King, they must do two things. First, they will dump a portion of their drink into the cup in the middle. Second, they will come up with any house rule they’d like. For ex: If you swear or sing along to the music, you must drink. Whoever draws the fourth or final King must drink the contents of the King’s Cup. Yes, this may include a horrific concoction of several alcoholic beverages, but it’s a libation worthy of a King!
    • Ace = Waterfall. Get ready to chug! Starting with the player who flipped the Ace, everyone will begin chugging their drink. The person who flipped the card controls when others can stop drinking because once they stop, the person clockwise to them can also choose to stop. Players must wait till the player to their left has stopped drinking before they can. Yes, this means you don’t want to be the player stuck at the end of the line!


    King’s Cup ends when all of the cards have been pulled surrounding the cup. Alternatively, the game of King’s Cup could end when all players feel sufficiently tipsy or drunk. Don’t underestimate the power of the King’s Cup.

    King’s Cup Variations and Alternate Rules

      There are several variations of King’s Cup, many of which include the same base set of rules above, but feature different setups.

      The commonly compared game Ring of Fire, for example, demands a can of beer to be placed in the middle of the ring of cards. 

      • Ring of Fire: King’s Cup’s commonly compared game Ring of Fire requires an unopened can of beer to be placed in the middle of the ring of cards. After every card is flipped and the action is performed, the player will slip the card under the beer’s tab. With each passing turn, the cards under the tab will increase. Eventually, someone’s card will prompt the beer to crack open. The player must chug the drink, and unless players want to keep the party rolling, this could signify the end of the game.

      • Alternate Rules: Some players will swap 4=Floor with 4=Whores (women drink) and 6= Chicks to 6=Dicks (men drink). In this system of playing, 5 would become “Jive”, meaning the player must bust a move!

      King’s Cup Tips & Strategy

      • Stick with beer or seltzers: King’s Cup requires frequent drinking and at its most insane, lots of chugging. Do you really want to chug Cabernet Sauvignon? Didn’t think so. The same theory applies to hard liquor because that’s a quick way to guarantee a hangover.

      • Stay hydrated: Make sure players are also drinking water while playing King’s Cup to avoid blackouts and bad decisions.


        What happens if the circle of cards gets broken?

        A common house rule in King’s Cup is that whichever player breaks the chain of cards surrounding the cup or beer must take a drink as a penalty. 

        Can players change the rules to King’s Cup?

        Every King is different, and King’s Cup can be easily tailored to include customized rules tailored to your friend group. Don’t hesitate to use the above rules as a launching pad! 

        How many players can play King’s Cup?

        King’s Cup is best played with groups of people, but once 10 players are involved, it can get disorganized quickly. We encourage adding an extra deck of cards to the mix for any games with more than 10 people.


        The Game Farm does not encourage or promote alcohol consumption of any kind. We do not take responsibility for any injuries, damages, or other consequences that may arise from the consumption of alcohol while playing our games.

        It is the responsibility of each individual player to drink responsibly and know their limits. We recommend that players drink plenty of water and take breaks throughout the night to avoid becoming intoxicated.

        If you are underage, please do not drink alcohol. Drinking alcohol underage is illegal and can have serious health consequences.

        We hope you have fun playing our drinking games responsibly!

        writer colin tichvon

        Brian Oddo | Founder

        A beer die expert and the worst foosball player you've ever seen. Brian grew up playing every sport and game under the sun and created this site to help people keep the fun going.

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