Best Drinking Game Ever: "Up the River, Down the River"

Updated on October 15, 2019
Edweirdo profile image

This is my favorite drinking game. And all you need is a few friends, a deck of cards, and a whole lot of beer!

Learn how to play the super fun and very effective drinking game known as "Up the River, Down the River."
Learn how to play the super fun and very effective drinking game known as "Up the River, Down the River." | Source

My favorite drinking game (and the most effective!) is one I learned in Greece from a fellow American traveler.

It's called "Up the River, Down the River," and all you need is lots of beer and a deck of cards. If you're playing with more than four people though, two decks of cards is better.

Dealer, Beware!

In my experience playing "Up the River, Down the River," everyone takes great pleasure in assigning drinks to the dealer. So make sure you're prepared to get wasted if you choose to deal the cards.

How to Play "Up the River, Down the River"

Each player is dealt four cards face up in front of them, and one player is the dealer. The dealer then places a card face up in the middle of the table. If any player has a card in front of him that matches the one dealt, he takes one drink of his beer. The dealer then places a second card face up in the middle, and if anyone has a matching card they take two drinks of beer.

The dealer next places a third card in the middle, and anyone with a match drinks three times. This step happens one more time, and anyone with a match must drink four times from his beer.

This is the end of the "Up the River" portion. Hardcore drinkers may want to add one more rotation of this step, but that can be dangerous, so be careful!

This game is fun and super effective—in fact, it's quite easy for someone (especially the dealer) to get very drunk very quickly.
This game is fun and super effective—in fact, it's quite easy for someone (especially the dealer) to get very drunk very quickly. | Source

Going "Down the River"

Now, the dealer places another card on top of the last one dealt, as we go "Down the River." If anyone has a matching card in front of him, he assigns four drinks to the other players!

These drinks can be split in any manner or all handed out to one player. That person can even assign the drinks to themself if they wants!

This continues in the same manner as "Up the River," with players holding matching cards assigning three, two, and finally one drink to any of the other players.

Rinse and Repeat

Now repeat with another round of "Up the River," and before you know it everyone is drunk! That's what make this one of the best beer drinking card games around!

Do Not Play This Game With Hard Liquor!

You will be drinking a LOT playing this game, and alcohol poisoning is no joke. Stick with beer, or you probably won't last more than a few minutes before you're puking your guts out!

Did you enjoy Up the River, Down the River? Leave a comment!

Submit a Comment
  • profile image


    10 years ago

    These are the only rules worth playing people!

    I've seen several different versions that try to make it over complicated for your average drunk ;)

  • Edweirdo profile imageAUTHOR


    10 years ago from United States

    Thanks for the input, IE!

    This is one of first hubs I ever wrote and it gets a surprising bit of traffic but no comments, until now!

    It is a fun game, and as a glutton for punishment I always like to be the dealer ;)

  • IntimatEvolution profile image

    Julie Grimes 

    10 years ago from Columbia, MO USA

    I bet they do enjoy assigning drinks to the dealer!

    I think I'll have to suggest to my next neighborhood Bunko party.

    I'm soooo surprised that I'm the only one so far who has commented on this hub.

    BEER DRINKERS WHERE ARE YOU!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe that will aid in getting more comments thrown this way.


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