Kings (game)

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Kings Cup.png
Cards during a game of Kings
Alternative names King's Cup
Ring of Fire
Type Drinking
Players 2+
Age range Varies by legal jurisdiction
Cards 52
Deck 1 deck of standard playing cards
Play Clockwise or counterclockwise
Card rank (highest first) Ace (A) – two (2)
Playing time 20 to 40 minutes

Kings (king's cup, donut, jug oval, or ring of fire) is a drinking game that uses playing cards. The players must drink and dispense drinks based on cards drawn, with each card having rule that is predetermined before the game starts. Typically, the first three king cards drawn require every player to pour some of their drink into the "King's Cup" in the center of the table, and whoever draws the fourth king must drink it.

Often groups establish house rules with their own variation of rules.


  • 1 deck of cards
  • Alcoholic beverages – typically wine, beer, or mixed drinks - or non alcoholic beverages
  • A large cup which will be used as the King's Cup


In this game, players perform actions associated with each card.

Usually, cards are shuffled and dealt into a circle around either an empty cup or a full can of beer (or a shot/cup of spirits or wine). Each player takes a turn drawing cards, and the players must participate in the instructions corresponding to the drawn card.

This game is highly open ended and all of the cards can signify any mini-game, the rules and the card assignments are normally confirmed at the start of the game. Generally, the first three king cards drawn require everyone to add some of their drink to the King's Cup, and whoever draws the fourth king must drink the contents of the cup, ending the game.

It is also common for the players to make up and agree on a set of rules every time the game is played.

Common Kings card assignments[edit]

Card drawn Title Instruction
Ace "Waterfall" To perform a waterfall, each player starts drinking their beverage at the same time as the person to their left. No player can stop drinking until the player before them stops.[1]
2 "2 is you" You choose a person who must take a drink.[1]
3 "3 is me" You take a drink.[1][2]
4 "4 is whores" All women drink[1]
5 "5 is social" Everybody drinks[1]
6 "6 is dicks" All men drink[1]
7 "7 is heaven" Every player must raise their hand, and the last person to do so must drink.[1]
8 "Never have I ever" Each player names something they have never done. Any player who has done it must drink.[1]
9 "Bust a rhyme" You say a word, and the person to your right has to say a word that rhymes. This continues around the table until someone cannot think of a word. This person must drink.[1]
10 Categories You come up with a category of things (eg. "cartoon characters"), and the person to your right must name something that falls within that category. This goes on around the table until a player cannot think of anything. This person must drink.[1]
Jack Sentences Going around the table, players take turns to say a single word, telling a story. When a player makes a mistake, the round ends and they must drink.[1]
Queen Questions The player who picks the card starts by asking anyone a question. This player then asks a question in response, to anyone. This process continues until someone fails to ask a question.[1]
King King's Cup + Rules When each of the first 3 Kings are drawn, the person who drew the card puts some of their drink into the King's Cup at the center of the table. When the 4th King is drawn, the person who drew the 4th King must drink the contents of the King's Cup. The first three people to pick a King card can also make a rule, that must be followed until the next King is picked. Some common rules are Buffalo, (must always use left hand) Thumbs, (player puts their thumb on the table silently, last person to do so drinks), In bed, (everyone has to say "in bed" after every sentence) and Teeth (players can't show their teeth when they laugh).[citation needed]

Variations and other rules[edit]

Like almost all other drinking games, Kings has endless variations of rules, and individual drinking groups usually have their own set of card effects. There will be similar rules, but there will most likely always be some that some players have never encountered before. Some games specify that playing a certain card allows that player to make up a new rule which lasts for the remainder of the game.

A major variation in the US, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa or Canada is that the contents of the King's Cup are drunk by the player who breaks the circle of cards (known as the Ring of Fire in the UK).

A popular variation in Australia is for the "2" cards to be "Smoko" or "Toilet" cards. In this version, a player needs to possess a Smoko Card to leave the table to smoke or use the toilet. A player can have multiple copies of the card and they can be traded, typically in exchange for forfeits.

See also[edit]