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What is Ride the Bus? {#what-is-ride-the-bus?}

In the Ride the Bus Drinking Game, players need to combine logic and luck for them not to get totally wasted by the time the game ends! To play Ride the Bus, players need a standard deck of cards that will be used to make guesses.

The most basic rule to remember is that players must guess correctly or else drink! The player with the fewest cards by the end of the game wins!

The Ride the Bus game is similar to another classic card drinking game, Kings Cup. Both are equally enjoyable and would be great for any game night!

Tip: Playing Ride the Bus is even more fun when the cards are waterproof. No more ruined games or soggy house rules! Check out this waterproof card deck on Amazon:

Available on

👉If you’re looking for another great card drinking game, check out Kings Cup!

How to play Ride the Bus

How do you play Ride the Bus? It’s pretty easy! Even beginners can follow along and learn as they play. After playing a few rounds, they can become experts which makes the game more competitive!

To start a game of Ride the Bus, players need to decide which player will act as the dealer. Choosing a dealer can be as simple as assigning someone to the role. If you are choosing a dealer, make sure that whoever you pick is familiar with the game and can explain to the mechanics once the game starts.

If you want to add a fun twist, you can decide who the dealer will be with a game of chance and alcohol which is perfectly aligned with the theme of Ride the Bus! Hold a mini-game where players drink a glass of beer or their alcohol of choice at the same time. The person who finishes their drink last becomes the dealer! Make sure to prepare enough alcoholic drinks!

Ride the Bus Rules

Once a dealer has been decided, they will randomly shuffle the deck of cards. Before the game starts, players should sit in a circle on the floor or around a table and they should have their drink at hand.

Here are the Ride the Bus drinking game rules to remember:

Round 1 - Red or Black

In the first round of Ride the Bus, the dealer primarily makes the players guess if their card is “Red or black?”. Here’s how it works:

  1. The dealer shuffles the deck and begins to the left. They ask the first player “red or black?”

  2. In front of each player one of the face-down cards is revealed, if the player guessed the right color, they can make another player take the drink.

  3. If the player’s guess is wrong, they must drink.

  4. The first round ends as soon as each player’s card has been revealed.

Round 2 - Higher or Lower

In the second round, the dealer asks, “Higher or lower?” Keep in mind that ace cards have the highest value while two cards are the lowest. Here’s how it works:

  1. Similar to the first round, each player is dealt another card.

  2. Players must guess if their second card is higher or lower than their first card.

  3. If their guess is correct, they may ask another player to drink.

  4. If they give an incorrect answer, they must take the drink.

  5. If their card is identical to their card in the first round, they must drink automatically.

  6. The round continues until all players have seen their second card.

Round 3 - Between or Outside

For the third round, the dealer asks, “Between or outside?”. Here’s how it works:

  1. Similar to the first two rounds, each player is dealt another card.

  2. Players must guess if their third card will be in between the values of their first two cards or outside.

For example:

If a player has a 5 and a King and they say that their third card is “between”, their guess is correct if they get a 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, J, or Q card.

  1. If their guess is correct, they may ask another player to drink.

  2. If their guess is wrong, they must take the drink.

  3. Players who have two identical first cards can claim outside, and will automatically win unless a 3rd identical card is given to them.

  4. If their card is identical to their first two cards, they must drink automatically.

Round 4 - Final Round

In the last round, each player has to guess the suit of the card. (heart, spade, diamond, club).

  1. Similar to the first three rounds, each player is dealt another card.

  2. Players must guess the suit of their fourth card.

  3. If their guess is correct, they may give out 5 drinks to the other players. They can assign the drinks to 5 different people or make one person take the 5 drinks.

  4. If their guess is wrong, they must take the drink.

Build the Pyramid

Once all the players have collected 4 cards, the game proceeds to the pyramid part of the game. We have some suggestions below but feel free to customize this part if you get ideas!

  1. The dealer places a face-down pyramid with 5 cards at the base, then 4 cards, then 3, then 2, and 1 at the top.

  2. Each row has a specific rule assigned to it. You can assign the 5 pyramid cards at the base to be Row 1 with then the 4 cards will be Row 2, etc.

    Suggested read: Ring of Fire

For example:

  • Row 1 (5 cards) - drink once
  • Row 2 (4 cards) - drink 2 times
  • Row 3 (3 cards) - drink 3 times
  • Row 4 (2 cards) - drink 4 times
  • Row 5 (1 card) - drink 5 times
  1. Starting at the base (Row 1), a card is flipped one at a time.

  2. If a player has a matching card in their hand, they may lay their card down on the pyramid and ask another player to drink based on the row where their card matched.

For example:

If one of the player’s 4 cards matches with a card on Row 4, they may ask another player to drink 4 times.

  1. If you have more than a matching card, you can also discard several at the same time, but you can also keep them in the hope of placing them in a higher rank.

Ride the Bus

After the last card of the pyramid has been revealed and all possible cards have been discarded, the remaining cards are counted. This is where you will see how the Ride the Bus drinking game got its name.

🤓 Suggested read: Circle of Death | Drinking Game: Rules & Ideas

The player with the most cards is the loser and must “Ride the Bus”. If two players have the same number of cards, the player with the highest card loses.

The losing player who “Rides the Bus” must now correctly answer the following 4 questions in a row.

  • Red or black?
  • Higher or lower?
  • Between or outside?
  • Guess the suit

If the player guesses correctly, the next question is asked. If they guess wrong, they must drink and start again from the first question.

The game ends when the player correctly answers all 4 questions in a row, or the entire deck of cards has been dealt. The game also ends if the player is completely drunk!

No one wants to “ride the bus” endlessly. Whoever is the last player should try to “get off the bus” as quickly as possible to avoid getting wasted!

👉 In need of more great card games? Find the perfect drinking card game for your next party in our Top 10 Card Drinking Game article!

Other ways to play Ride the Bus

As always, beware when dealing with alcohol. Even if the Ride the Bus game is popular as a competitive drinking game, you can still tweak the mechanics and play it without having to drink alcohol! It’s still a fun-filled game even without people getting drunk!

Of course, Ride the Bus is absolutely perfect to play as a game while you and your friends are on a bus! You could play it on a bus during a fun vacation road trip, or you can play it during a special night out on a party bus!

⚠️ If you’re playing while inside a bus, please do not play this game with the bus driver! Safety first!

Party & Drinking Games

Looking for some fun party games to liven up your next get-together? Check out our collection of 100+ party games for all ages!