How to Play King’s Cup Card Game: The Ultimate Guide

King’s Cup Card Game

Drinking games can liven up any party. And you really can’t go wrong with the super enjoyable King’s Cup!

King’s Cup is not just perfect for when you and your friends are having a drink night, it’s also perfect for breaking the ice amongst new people. It is particularly enjoyed by college students.

You might have heard about this game before, maybe as ‘Circle of Death’, ‘Ring of Fire’, or simply ‘King’s’. It has so many variations, and goes by so many names that it’s easy to get confused. Don’t worry, we have gathered up all of King’s Cup’s rules here. Not just that, we will also tell you variations. This way, you’ll know everything you need to know about this famous game, and won’t ever have to be embarrassed at a party.

Read on to find out everything about the Circle of Death card game, and let’s get tipsy!

Okay, This Game Is Awesome, But How Do I Play It?

To play King’s Cup card game, you need two or more players, a standard deck of playing cards, a large cup (this cup is called the king’s cup), and alcoholic beverages of choice for all the players. This game is more fun in larger groups.

Because there are so many King’s Cup rules, it’s very important to pick a rule set before you begin the game, and follow it throughout. This makes sure that everyone is on the same page, and no one feels lost about what’s happening. Although, considering how drunk this game can get you, you might feel lost either way.

To start playing, place a large empty cup at the center of your playing area. Spread all the playing cards evenly around the cup, facing downwards. The players should be gathered around the cards in a circle.

Everyone should have their individual drink with them, As this game goes on, you have to do either of the following; take a sip yourself, make someone else take a sip, or pour some of your drink into the empty cup in the center. If someone’s drink runs out, they have to refill it.

One person draws a card, shows it to the rest of the players, and then does the task assigned to that particular card. When he’s done, he discards that card, and the next person picks one. This is repeated in a clockwise direction, until either the cards finish, or the last King card is drawn.

Now that you have a basic gist of the game, let’s get to the fun part; the action assigned to each card’s rank.

What Do the Cards Mean?

King’s Cup is a very open-ended game because you can assign rules to the cards. We will be sharing with you the most used King’s Cup card rules here.

  • Ace is for Waterfall: The person who draws an Ace must start drinking. Then the person on their left must start chugging their drink. This continues until everyone is chugging, and stops only when the player to their right stops. The person who picked the Ace can choose when to stop drinking. Every other participant can only stop when the person to their right stops.
  • Two is for You: The person who draws a two, chooses another person, and that person must drink.
  • Three is for Me: The person who picks out a three must drink.
  • Four is for Floor: Everyone must touch the floor. The last person to reach the floor must take a sip of their drink.
  • Five is for guys: Every time this card is drawn out, all the guys must chug.
  • Six is for Chicks: This card means that all the girls must drink.
  • Seven is for Heaven: Everyone must raise their hand up in the air. The slowest participant to do this has to take a sip.
  • Eight is for Mate: When you pick this card, you must choose a partner. Your partner will have to drink every time you drink, and vice versa, until another eight is drawn.
  • Nine is for rhyme: The person who draws this card must choose a word. Going clockwise, everyone has to say a rhyming word that hasn’t been used before, until someone is unable to come up with one. This person must drink.
  • Ten is for Never Have I Ever: Every participant has to put up three fingers and play “Never Have I Ever”, in a clockwise direction. Every time a player has done the particular thing from that round, they put a finger down. The first person to put all fingers down must chug.
  • Jack is for Rule: A rule is made up by the person who has drawn the card. This rule could be anything, for example, players can’t show their teeth when they laugh, or they can drink with their left hand only. Everyone must keep following this rule, until the next Jack is drawn. Whoever breaks the rule must drink.
  • Queen if for Question Master: The person who picks this card must ask a question from anyone in the group. That person must reply with another question. This will go one until someone is unable to answer with a question. This person must take a sip.
  • King is for King’s Cup: Every time someone draws a King, they must pour some of their drink into the king’s cup. The person who draws the fourth and last King, must drink whatever is in the king’s cup. This finishes the game.

What If I Want To Switch Things Up?

This is one of the great things about Ring of Fire’s rules, you can switch to a different set of rules. This means you’re not going to lose interest playing the same game over and over again. Let’s have a look at some variations you can incorporate, and keep the fun alive.

  • Two: Pick a player. That player must drink two sips.
  • Four: Drink two sips. Choose a player to also drink two sips.
  • Five: Create a dance move. Every participant must repeat it, and add a spin to it. The one who messes up the move must drink.
  • Seven: You are now the Thumb Master, until another person draws a seven. Every time you put your thumb on the table, everyone must follow. Whoever is the last to do this must chug.
  • Ten: Choose a category. For example, cars. Going clockwise, each player has to name something that falls within this category. The first person who fails to do so must drink.
  • Jack: All players have to drink. You can also choose to play “Never Have I Ever” here.
  • Queen: Ask anyone a question. That person will ask someone else a question. This goes on until someone fails to ask a question.

Here are a few variations on how the game ends. These rules will have the players drinking even more frequently, so you really should try them out.

  • While placing the cards around the cup, make sure that they are evenly placed with no gaps between them. Whichever player breaks this circle while picking up the card, must drink from the king’s cup.
  • Use an unopened can of beer instead of an empty cup. Every time you draw a card, stick it under the tab on the can’s top. The person whose card opens up the can has to chug the entire can.


Now that you know how to play King’s Cup, having drinks with your friends is never going to be boring again. This game is super inclusive and really gets everyone involved. Once you have played this game a few times, and are used to the rules, you can make up your own rules to suit your friends, and have even more fun.

Let this game amuse you, but remember to drink safely and responsibly.

Enjoy your next party guys. Bottoms up!

You can also watch a quick video guide that I found online:

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