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Up and Down The River Drinking Game

by Emma Lily CarterMarch 13, 2022 
Last updated: March 13, 2022

Players Needed

3 or more

Materials Needed

  • 1 deck of cards for 6 players or less, two decks of cards for 7 to 14 players
Take a boat ride up and down this river of alcohol. Fun drinking card game that is easy to play. Take drinks going up the river & give out drinks coming back down.

Very simple and easy to follow rules that don't require much concentration or effort to play Up and Down the River drinking card game.


Before the game starts one person must be designated as the dealer. The dealer has to shuffle the deck(s) of cards. Once the shuffling is done then 4 cards are dealt to each player face up and placed in front of the player.

First Round

Now that each player has 4 cards in front of them (face up), it is now time to begin the journey up the river.

The dealer must now pick a card from the remaining cards in the deck and place it face up. Each player has to compare their cards with this card. If you have a card with the same value then you must drink once, if you have multiple cards with this value then you must drink once for each card.

Example: the dealer reveals a king and you have two kings. You must drink twice, if you have one king then you drink once.

Round Two to Round Four

These rounds are played the same way as the first round, the only difference is the number of drinks. Once again, in round two the dealer reveals another card from the remaining cards in the deck. This time you must drink two times if you have a card that matches the revealed card. In round three, you must drink three times and in round four you drink four times.

Example: In round two the dealer reveals a queen. If you have a queen you must drink twice, if you have two queens then you drink four times. In round three the dealer reveals a jack, if you have a jack you drink three times, if you have two jacks then you drink six times. Finally, in round four the dealer reveals a 10. If you have a 10 then you drink four times, if you have two tens then you drink eight times.

Round Five - Returning Down the River

In this round everyone starts their adventure back down the river. Once again the dealer reveals a card in round five, but starting from this round you now give out drinks to another player if you have the matching card(s). You can give out four drinks for each matching card in round five, and this goes down each round after.

Example: dealer reveals a 9 in round five. If you have one nine then you give out four drinks to another player. If you have two nines then you give out eight drinks but can split these up so one player gets four drinks and another gets four, or you can be a savage and give them all to one player - whatever floats your boat.

Round Six to Eight

These rounds are similar to round five in that the dealer reveals a card each round and you get to give out drinks. The only difference is the number of drinks you can give out each round. In round six you can give out three drinks per matching card, round seven you can give out two, and round eight you give out one.

Example: In round six the dealer reveals an 8. If you have one eight then you give out three drinks, if you have two eights then you give out six drinks, and if you have three eights then you give out nine drinks. Once again, you can split these up for each matching card so three different players can get three drinks each or you can give the whole nine seconds to one player.

Round seven the dealer reveals a 7. If you have one seven then you give out two drinks, two sevens let you give out four drinks. Finally, in round eight the dealer reveals a 6. You can give out one drink if you have a six or two drinks if you have two sixes.

After the eighth round is played, the game is over and everyone returns their cards to the deck. A new dealer can be chosen or the same person can be dealer again. The dealer shuffles the deck(s) of cards then restarts the process for a new game.