Always drink responsibly.


Waterfall will get you drunk. Quickly. The game gets straight to the point, forcing people to ingest massive amounts of beer at a moments notice. It is one of several drinking games that is more about chugging your beer than about having skill. Watch those aces!

Written by DP | Updated

Friends playing the Waterfall drinking game and learning the rules
Let's put the cards down and play Waterfall instead!

We say massive amounts of beer because there is just no reason to play this drinking game, or any drinking game for that matter, with hard booze. That kind of foolishness ends the party in a hurry. Also, this game plays way, way too fast to use your favorite koozie when playing, so get your mitts ready for some cold brews.

Waterfall Game vs. Action

Before we go too far into the card game, we should let you know that the term "Waterfall", when it comes to drinking, is both a game and an action/consequence. Lets cover the latter real quick.

What is a Waterfall When Drinking?

The term waterfall, when applied to an action or consequence in a game, refers to a group of people who start drinking at the same time and continuously drink (chug) their drink until the person in the game's order in front of them stops. Most of the best drinking games make use of this.

The order of gameplay is usually predetermined, so everyone should know their place in turn. Each successive person can drink as much or as little as they see fit. This leaves the person at the end of the Waterfall, the person NEXT to the person who started it, having to drink a fairly large amount.

Yes, drawing an Ace in the game of Waterfall does in fact create a Waterfall as a consequence. This is also true in the following games below.

So, if someone says they want to play Waterfall, they mean the card game.

If someone says they want to do a Waterfall, they mean the action.

Gear You Need To Play Waterfall

A waterproof deck of cards is handy to have when it comes to drinking games. Call it a hunch, call it experience, call it what you will, but waterproof makes the night's fun last so much longer.

  • A standard deck of playing cards
  • Your beverage(s) of choice
  • Willpower and Determination to overcome several waterfalls
  • A King's Cup (or something like it) | Buy Now
  • Solo Cups | Buy Now

What Are The Rules To Waterfall

The rules of Waterfall are somewhat fluid (pardon the pun), as everyone plays it a little differently. In general, fives, sevens and eights have the most flexibility and interpretation when it comes to the effects of what those cards do. Further, some folks like to consider Waterfall akin to King's Cup or Circle of Death. It has its similarities, but Waterfall does not have a communal cup of punishment in the middle.

For the non-drinkers out there, playing with non-alcoholic beer is fully acceptable.

Kings/Kings Cup/Circle of Death all the same type of Waterfall drinking game

King's Cup

Want to drink a waterfall of beer in a hurry? You're in luck with the King's Cup drinking game.

Buy Now

So, feel free to create a set of House Rules for your apartment or college dorm. These are the rules that were passed down to us in college, so hopefully they work for you.

To note, the Thumb Rule and Never Have I Ever were not part of the version of Waterfall that we played. You can swap them out as you see fit. We saved those for Kings/Circle of Death.

A pack of Bicycle Playing Cards for playing drinking games with

Cards for Waterfall

A deck of 52 crisp playing cards are your best friend in college. And, more important to bring to the party than your roommate.

Buy Them

How Do You Play Waterfall

A dealer shuffles a deck of cards - any regular deck of 52 playing cards will work - and then spreads them somewhat haphazardly on a table, keeping them face down. Each player then draws a single card when it is their turn and displays the results to the rest of the players.

The effects of the cards are as follows:

A drawn Two in Waterfall
Two in Waterfall

When You Draw a Two

If you select a two from the deck - You can make another player take two sips of their beer. Because of the way the game works, you shouldn't feel bad about drawing a 2 and handing out two sips, as the person you give them to will almost be thrilled that two sips is all they need to consume considering how crazy the game can get.

A drawn Three in Waterfall
Three in Waterfall

When You Draw a Three

If you select a three from the deck - You drink 3 sipes of your beverage. It's a fun game and it could be worse. Don't worry about picking a 3.

A drawn Four in Waterfall
Four in Waterfall

When You Draw a Four

If you select a four from the deck - All the ladies drink. We are going to abstain from explaining why ladies drink with a 4 card. You can look it up on Google if need be.

A drawn Five in Waterfall
Five in Waterfall

When You Draw a Five

If you select a five from the deck - You get to make a rule. All players who break your rule must take a sip of their drink due to their unabiding, scofflaw ways. Making a rule is one of the most fun parts of any drinking game.

Funny Drinking Rules

  • Animal Sounds. People can only make the sounds of a certain animal
  • Saying a Name. If you say a certain player's name, the person saying the name must drink.
  • Kings/Queens. If a King is drawn, boys drink. If a Queen is drawn, girls drink.
  • Salute. If anyone uses a military title when speaking, everyone salutes. For example, "Generally speaking ..."
A drawn Six in Waterfall
Six in Waterfall

When You Draw a Six

If you select a six from the deck - All the guys drink. Same thing applies here, you can Google the reason why guys drink with a 6 card.

A drawn Seven in Waterfall
Seven in Waterfall

When You Draw a Seven

If you select a seven from the deck - All players point to the sky. Last person to point to the sky takes a sip of their beer. If you need a reference, just watch any Major League Baseball player as they trot between third base and home plate on a homerun.

Pouring a little out for Biggie and 2Pac never hurt anyone either.

A drawn Eight in Waterfall
Eight in Waterfall

When You Draw a Eight

If you select an eight from the deck - You choose a mate. This is another player of the game that must drink whenever you do.

The eight/mate rule is one of the conundrums of the game. If you go after your mate in a waterfall, must they start drinking again because you are? These are the type of existential questions you shouldn't worry about when playing drinking games.

A drawn Nine in Waterfall
Nine in Waterfall

When You Draw a Nine

If you select a nine from the deck - Nine Nine Bust a Rhyme. Players, starting with the one who drew the nine, and thus created the first rhyme, must continue rhyming until a player breaks the chain. This results in that player needing to drink for their poor flow, as Jay-Z we can't all be.

Not giving a rhyme within a reasonable amount of time is also grounds for failure with nines.

A drawn Ten in Waterfall
Ten in Waterfall

When You Draw a Ten

If you select a ten from the deck - The person who drew the 10 sets a category of some random topic before giving the first example by themself. Every player, moving clockwise, must continue adding new items within topic to the growing list. The first to repeat an answer or go beyond what would be a reasonable time to come up with an answer must drink.

Category Examples

Categories come into play in so many drinking games. Here's a few good examples.

  • Colleges
  • Drinking Games in the Beer Olympics
  • Funny Movies
  • Party Themes (ex. Pimps & Hoes)
  • Pro Sports Teams
  • Types of Drinking Games (so meta)
  • Rock Songs from the 80s
A drawn Jack in Waterfall
Jack in Waterfall

When You Draw a Jack

If you select a Jack from the deck - Jacks Go Back. The previous player to draw a card must drink.

A drawn Queen in Waterfall
Queen in Waterfall

When You Draw a Queen

If you select a Queen from the deck - Questions. The player drawing the Queen must turn to another player and ask any question they want. That person must then ask another player any question that they want. This continues until a person does not respond with a question, or, an unreasonable amount of time has passed. The person who failed must take a sip of their drink.

We suggest you make funny faces or something to get people to break character. Or, be as outlandish as possible in your question asking.

And, it's important to know that you cannot ask the person who asked you the question. That disqualifies you as well.

A drawn King in Waterfall
King in Waterfall

When You Draw a King

If you select a King from the deck - You take a sip. When the second king is drawn, you take two. Third gets drawn you take three. And when the final King gets picked, you take four sips.

A drawn Ace in Waterfall
Ace in Waterfall

When You Draw a Ace


The person who drew the Ace starts a waterfall by chugging their beer. In order, each person must continue chugging until the person prior to them in the order stops chugging. The waterfall ends when the last person in line decides to stop chugging their beer.

Besides the danger of over-serving onesself, which we DO NOT recommend you do, the waterfall is sometimes hard to pull off as the game goes by considering that everyone is at a different stage in how much beer they have remaining in their can or cup, or stein, if you're at an Anything But a Cup party.

It is for that reason that all players must have reinforcements on hand, preferably in a koozie, when an Ace is pulled from the pile, as you never know when someone is going to be a jerk and chug an entire beer in front of you in the waterfall line.

Wrapping up

Waterfall is a heck of a drinking game. It is a great way to pregame an evening at home with a few friends and just as much fun to break out mid party.

References & Sources


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