Buffalo or Buffalo Club is a drinking game where participants agree to only drink and hold their glass with their non-dominant hand. If they are caught using the other hand, they must 'chug' (rapidly finish) their drink. The game of Buffalo is commonly understood to continue for the players' entire lives, once they have agreed to play.
People who play the game refer to themselves as "Buffalos", and groups of players may refer to themselves as a "Buffalo club", and the game itself is also sometimes called "Buffalo Club".
The history and origin of the Buffalo Club are obscure and many versions are in existence. A folk origin of the game states that Buffalo Club stems from the gunslinging days of the Wild West where the use of one's right hand (the shooting hand) was at times a matter of life or death. Thus, recreational activities such as playing cards or drinking were done with the left hand only to avoid severe consequences. The game is now popular around the world.
The rules are fairly simple, though widely varying, and involve which hand a player may use to drink. One version of how to play the game:
- A player can only drink with their non-dominant hand. If any other Buffalo players spot them drinking with their dominant hand, they call Buffalo on the player and that player must finish their drink as quickly as possible. If the player hesitates to finish their drink, the other players will usually proceed to make a ruckus chanting "Buffalo!" and banging on the table until the player finishes.
- If the player calls Buffalo on somebody when they are actually drinking with the proper hand, they may return with a call of "False Buffalo" and the player is obligated to finish their own drink. If the buffalo-er does not currently possess a drink, the False caller must drink the nearest alcoholic drink available.
- Once a player begins playing Buffalo, they are playing it for the rest of their life.
- Non-alcoholic beverages must be drunk held in the dominant hand.
- Completing a buffalo with the proper hand can be called a double buffalo, forcing the player to chug two drinks.
- One notable exception to the Buffalo rules exists when a right-handed player is drinking a Left-Hand milk stout. This beer is deemed an “immunity beer”, and a player is allowed to drink their drink with either hand.
- If you are ambidextrous and get caught using a hand and use the excuse "I'm ambidextrous" you have to finish your drink and then a hand will be decided for you.
- The Game (mind game), another game in which the players are perpetually playing.
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