Kings Cup

There are different drinking games that you can engage in during a party with friends. These games do not only lighten the mood but also provide a lot of fun — especially when the drinks start pouring in. One of the most common games played with alcohol and a deck of cards is the Kings Cup drinking game which also goes by the names of Circle of Death, Donut, and Ring of Fire.


The objective is to avoid taking many drinks and landing with the King’s Cup.

Guidelines For Gameplay

Several items are needed for the Kings Cup drinking game, starting with a deck of cards and alcoholic beverages of the players’ choosing. Although this game can be played with an unlimited number of people, it is best to keep the groups small. There is a two-person minimum when it comes to this game. Apart from ordinary drinking cups, there should be a large cup which will act as the King’s Cup, hence the name of the game.

A deck of cards, minus the jokers, have four suits each with 13 different playable faces. A specific rule or action will be predetermined for each of these 13 cards. Once a card is drawn, the player should perform the action correctly. If not, he or she will be obligated to take a drink. The cards are shuffled and all participants sit in a circle where a card is dealt turn after turn. For each turn where the first three kings are drawn, a shot of alcohol is poured into the King’s Cup. The person that draws the fourth king gets the King’s Cup.

There are variations to this element of the game, though. For each drawn card with the corresponding action performed correctly, the player gets to position the card atop the King’s Cup. As more cards pile up, and as the players get drunker, the one who tips over the card pile gets to consume the contents of the King’s Cup. Those who fail to perform the corresponding action must hold on to their card and when the game ends, the players with the remaining cards in their hands battle it out to see which one has the cards with the lowest value. If no one tips over the cup-piled cards, the loser then drinks whatever is in the King’s Cup.

Variations In Rulings

There are different rules that can be assigned to each of the 13 cards. There are commonly played rules and there are those that carry slight variations. The usual instructions per card, and their variations, are as follows:

Ace: Waterfall. Everyone drinks but the person to the right cannot stop drinking until the person to his or her left finishes their beverage.

Ace Variation: The player must put the card on his or her forehead and drink until it falls off.

2: There are two drinks that the player can assign to another player to consume. In this case, two other people instead of one can also be chosen.

2 Variation: Everyone takes a drink and the last one to finish takes another beverage.

3: The player must consume three drinks.

4: The player hands out two drinks, either to one or two people, and then consumes the other two beverages.

5: Set a rule. The player creates a specific rule to follow. For every 5 card drawn during the game, there must be no repeats of past rules.

6: Thumbs. In a discreet manner, the player should place his or her thumb anywhere on the table and this action must be followed by the rest. The last one to do so will be obligated to take a drink.

7: Heaven race. The last person to raise their hands to heaven has to take a shot.

8: The player chooses a buddy who will drink while he or she drinks throughout the entire game.

9: The player starts with a word, which should then be followed with a rhyming word by the next person, followed by the next and so on until the entire round table is completed. The one who fails to rhyme will get a drink.

10: The player thinks of a category and all other participants must provide a word that falls under that category. Fail and you drink.

10 Variation: The 10 can also act as a “break card” wherein only the people that draw 10s will be allowed to go to the bathroom.

Jack: All men take a sip.

Queen: The ladies take a sip.

King: The first three kings drawn means that shots are poured by three players into the King’s Cup. The drawer of the fourth king consumes the contents of the cup.


As with any drinking game, a player should be alert, especially in the racing and rhyming games, and be swift when performing the card tasks. When it comes to drink distribution rules, it is best to hand out the two drinks to one person only.


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