Up and Down the River Drinking Game

Augustus dean-gately

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Up and Down the River Drinking Game

This game is a straightforward, easy, and very effective way for you and your friends to have a great time. This game is split into two as the first part of the game players go up the river and then in the second half of the game players must descend down the river.

When players are moving up the river they will drink the drinks themselves but as they descend down the river they then give drinks away to other players.

This game is very light-hearted and is entirely luck so don’t feel disheartened when you lose because, on the flip side, you’re winning as you will be the drunkest!

What You Need to Play

  • 3+ players
  • Alcohol of your choice
  • A flat surface such as a table 
  • A deck of cards with the jokers removed (for every 6 players playing you will need another deck of cards)

Card Values

For each round, the card’s value changes but the idea stays the same. Every card except the king and queen is worth the same but the king and queen are double depending on the round. 

Every time a card is flipped over that is a new round and as players go up the river the first round is one drink, the second round is two drinks, the third round is three drinks and the fourth round is 4 drinks

When players are then moving down the river it is then flipped with the first round which is four drinks and the fourth round is one drink. 

Note* Remember the King and Queen Are Worth Double!

picture of a river to represent the game

How to Play Up and Down the River Drinking Game

The game starts with the dealer giving each player four cards and they have to place the face-up in front of them. Then we move onto the first half of the game which is “up the river”.

Up the River 

The dealer shows the first card on the top of the deck and places it face up in the middle of the table.

The first round If a player matches with the number that is shown on the card then they must take one drink. When players are moving up the river they have to drink if they match with the card showing.

Then the dealer repeats the process and flips another card over from the top and the idea is the same if the player matches with that card then they must drink but the only difference is that they have to drink 2 drinks. 

This is then repeated for the 3rd and 4th rounds but the drinks values are more, with the third round players must drink 3 drinks and the fourth round player must drink four (unless a king or queen is shown and a player matches with it and then they have to drink double). 

Down the River

Down the river is the same as up the river except it is flipped and in the first round if you match with a card then it is worth four drinks. 

The only difference with going down the river is that if you match with the card that is shown from the deck then you get to give out the drinks instead of drinking them yourself!

It decreases by one as each round is played and then the fourth and final round going down the river is worth one drink. 

A banner with a light blue background, with Drunk and Wavy logo and Card Drinking Games


Up and down the river is a great game for you and your friends to get drunk quickly! Rounds are fast and players don’t have to strategically think so the drinks go quickly so make sure to have lots. 

The game can be repeated for as long as you want so this game is excellent for pre-drinks or if you’ve got back from an event and want to continue the party! 

Have fun playing and being Drunk and Wavy.

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