What’s Your Favorite Drinking Game?

Quarters Never Looked So Classy.

Last night Roy Halladay looked like a man in need of a beer.  Right after they pumped about six IV bags into him, I would have prescribed a Bud Light.  In honor of that, I thought it would be a good time to discuss drinking games.  I don’t really drink enough to play drinking games anymore, but in my head I would still be awesome at all of them.  Bouncing a quarter into glassware is like riding a bike.  Maybe I’ll rank at the end, but first, let’s just discuss.

I’d break all drinking games into the following categories:  Cards/Quarters/Balls&Cups/Chugging.


Chugging is the laziest, but perhaps the most honest of all categories.  All drinking games to some degree are designed to get people drunk, but these games don’t make any apologies.  There’s very little fanfare here.  Very little equipment or accessories needed.  I’m talking about Boat Race, or Power Hour, Case Race…things of that nature.  I did a few power hours in my day.  The most memorable was played with Beast Ice.  I arrived 10 minutes late, chugged a 16 oz can to “catch up,” and then finished the game.  After the hour, I announced I was “fine,” got up from the table, wobbled, and then had to sit in the corner to “gather myself,” for about an hour.  Good times.


There are probably hundreds of drinking games played with cards.  The card scene I feel like is constantly changing.  I bet the young kids out there are doing things I’ve never hear of.  For me, you really only need to know how to play 3 drinking games with cards.  They serve every occasion.  You want to get drunk in a hurry?  Play Gauntlet.  Six cards on the table and the other person has to play high/low and run the board.  Drink if you miss and start over.  Brutal simplicity.  Then, there’s Circle of Death (Kings).  It’s kind of complicated, but very participatory.  I think it’s the best game for mixed company or a large crowd.  And, of course, the grandfather of all card games is A-hole.  As you might remember I spent my pathetic formative years playing A-hole without even knowing it.  I prefer A-hole among close friends and played at a leisurely pace.  If you want to be militant and wasted, play something else.  Also, it’s the rare drinking card game that you can actually argue takes some skill rather than just blind luck of the draw and a willingness to make a donkey out of yourself.


I think there’s a point in everyone’s life where they walk into a kitchen, look at the counter, and think to themselves, “that’d be perfect for quarters.”  Finding the right surface for quarters is key.  Like with the cards, you’ve got hundreds of variations on the same games.  The best thing about all quarters games is that they are purely games of skill.  There is no luck in bouncing a quarter.  Let’s be clear about that.  Classic quarters games include, Anchor Man, Baseball, and Speed Quarters.  I think Speed Quarters is probably my favorite, because you can gang up on one person at the table.  There’s something incredibly satisfying about stacking someone in speed quarters.  The worst thing about quarters is, if you are really good…you hardly ever drink.  Bring a social.

Balls & Cups:

This category is essentially made up of Beirut, Beer Pong and Flip Cup.  Beirut you throw ping-pong balls into a pyramid cup formation (rules from there vary greatly).  My stock Beirut rules are:  2 balls, hit them both get them back, rearrange the cups, no blowing, no picking, elbow rule, bouncing is embarrassing but allowed, and there’s always a retaliation shot. In terms of actual Beer Pong, played with paddles–not my style.  Maybe I like playing straight-up ping-pong too much. It’d be like playing drunk knockout or something, some games should be left alone.  Flip Cup is the other granddaddy. From my experience you usually either went to a Flip Cup college or a Beirut college.  Flip Cup is much easier to set up, not quite as disgusting,  faster, and still requires some skill.  I didn’t go to a Flip Cup college, so I usually dismiss it, but I understand the appeal of Flip Cup.  It’s kind of like understanding why Europeans like soccer.  It’s just not necessarily for me.


  1. Beirut.  Despite its many limitations and massive equipment/space demands there is still nothing as satisfying for me in terms of  level of competition and intoxication as a nice, well run, Beirut Tournament.
  2. Speed Quarters
  3. A-Hole
  4. Flip Cup
  5. The Gauntlet

I know this was a very cursory explanation, so I’d love to hear about games I’ve missed, rules I’ve butchered, or just a few classic drinking game stories.  One last note on drinking games:  Every single person thinks they are the best at one game and “knows someone” who is the best at another.  The first one is simple enough.  I think I am the best at Beirut.  You might be a Flip Cup person, whatever.  But, no one walks around thinking they are awful at all drinking games.  And, for the other category, it’s more of a one-upping.  If someone brags about a game that you can’t dominate, you’ll go to the “friend story.”  Say you’re getting hammered at quarters.  The natural response is to say something like, “I went to college with a kid who could hit a Snapple bottle from across the room.”  What you’re really saying there is, while you might be losing this particular game, your circle of friends would still win the drinking game Olympics and that’s really the basis for any college kid’s self-esteem.



25 thoughts on “What’s Your Favorite Drinking Game?

  1. In my own mind I am excellent at darts, specifically a version we played that we called cricket, which involved scoring three points in each number consecutively from 20-15 and then in the bullseye, winner is the first to get three points in the bullseye. Perhaps not a drinking game per se in that there are no assigned drinks if you lose but it was the game we played while drinking, and definitely there is a window of buzz where your powers are at their peak, you feel like you can’t miss.

    • Best darts game for drinking is called Around the World.

      You have to score at least one point from 1-20 in order. So if it’s me vs. you I throw my threee darts. Let’s say I hit 1, miss, and then hit 2. You’re up now. First one to get to 20 wins. Couple other things. If you get three in a row at any point, you go again.

      Guy who goes second gets a chance to tie if other guy finishes first. Think of it as a last at-bat.

    • Sounds pretty good and simple. Cricket is pretty similar, except its 3 points from 20-15 in order, plus the bullseye. Same basic principle as around the world. Doubles and triples count as you would expect.

      Wikipedia’s pages on cricket describe a different game, so I don’t know what game the masses think we were playing.

  2. i’m feeling like maybe Halladay had toooo much to drink recently, hence the heat issue? he strikes me as the type who needs help letting loose…

    anyhow, DC, i know what you mean re: peak windows with a buzz. personally, i see this impact my singing both in lyric accuracy and pitch.

    finally, i think a certain adult version of poker would be nice as a drinking game. could give a whole nother meaning to Texas Hold Em. and NO, i dont think drinking is assumed for that version of poker. people probably like that game sober as a fox.


  3. Crazy 8’s? Does that fit in as a card game or a chugging game? Bizz-Buzz? What about trivia based drinking games (or maybe that is just asking trivia questions while drinking?)

  4. haha, Haas, are you implying you still like to think when you are buzzed? you’re a classy minority, i imagine, if so?! although, i’ve had professor who prefer to be buzzed while grading papers and …well, i’ll just stop there.


    • Only one professor who preferred to be buzzed while grading papers? I thought red wine was pretty much standard issue when perusing the old blue books. Do students even write in blue books anymore?

      • haha. typo. plural. sorry, DC…now, i won’t go naming high school teachers. we GV kids have a certain code of ethics r/t confidentiality, no? giggles. as for grad school, my one research teacher was VERY open re: “i like to read your papers ocean side with a healthy dose of tequila.”


  5. I’m not sure about Crazy 8s. That might depend on who you are playing it with. If forced to pick, I’d have to say the cards seem mere accessories to the chugging?

  6. I’m assuming The Gauntlet is similar to what I called Crossing the Bridge.

    I read the brief descriptions, but here’s Crossing the Bridge.

    Five Cards go down, followed by a full beer and then five more cards.

    Flip the first card. If it’s a face card you drink it’s value. Ace is 4 seconds, King 3, Queen 2, Jack 1. It also indicates how many cards you have to put down. So if you flip the first 3 cards and the fourth is a Queen, you drink for 2 seconds and put down 2 cards.

    When you finish the first five cards you chug the beer in the middle.

    When you get to the other side of the “bridge” you draw more cards. If any card on the other side is a a face card, you dink the amount of seconds and lay down more cards. But if you ever have more than five cards on that side you need to put a new beer in the middle and cross the bridge again. And when you cross you have to chug.

    It caused my roommate to puke. It may not sound like a lot, but he’s the one friend we all have who you never saw puke, except for one time. Well, this was his one time.

  7. Gaunlet is a high/low game. It can equally brutal, though. Especially if you have the inclination to stack the deck.

  8. flipcup is my favorite. great group game. beiruit is fun when you are actually playing, but it doesn’t involve as many people.

  9. Yeah…

    One of the problems with Flip Cup is that it is too much out of my hands. I’m not great at it by any stretch, but there’s nothing worse than being on a team with 8 people and the donkey in the three hole can’t flip the damn thing. I can’t tolerate things like that.

    In Beirut, I can convince myself that I can carry even the weakest of teammates.

  10. No mention of dice games? Is it 7-11-doubles” where u roll while the other person chugs and if u get doubles, 7 or 11 you refill their cup and do it over again? Great game, and I’m sure dice games were prominent at other places where I wasnt busy dominating the people who lived in 214 at beirut.

  11. so sensitive, so sensitive. I didn’t mean to give the impression that I only played beirut one on one and never lost.

    Let me give a shout out then to Miha as well.

    Yeah, 7/11 doubles. I forgot about that one. I think there was another one too called Mexican or something. I don’t like the dice games. Who has dice around?

  12. i’ve gotten into the habit of carrying dice to bars on sunday fundays and on day drinking. Its a good way to break the ice and get things moving, and not every bar has beirut available. Cards is too complicated in a bar, so really this has been a revelation later in life. Which basically means i’m going backwards.

  13. Yes, yes i do. And also on Saturdays if it involves day drinking.

    I contend anyone who DOESN’T is a hot mess. At least I’m passing the time, everyone else is just downing booze and fake watching whatever game is on.

  14. Whoa, someone get out the tough guy trophy. She don’t need no reason to day drink, when I feel like drankin’ I drank.

  15. Pingback: SFBKK - Drinking Games Around The World Top 100 Results

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