Horse Race Card Game: How to Play & Rules

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In the horse race card game, also known as ‘camel racing’, or the ‘horserace drinking game’, you choose an ace to bet on that will race against other aces. Based on the cards drawn, your horse will either win or lose!

It’s usually played with drinks but can also be played without. It all depends on what stakes you want to play for.

In this post, we will guide you through the full gameplay and rules of this fun drinking game with cards.

What do you need?

  • A standard deck of playing cards, jokers removed.
  • A flat surface to serve as the race track
  • At least three players
  • Drinking game: Enough drinks for each player

The Setup

  1. Clear the Playing Area: Ensure you have a flat, clean surface large enough to lay out all the cards. This will serve as your race track.
  2. Arrange the Track: Place a row of 10 playing cards face down in a horizontal line. This will be the race track.
  3. Arrange the Horses: At the start of the race track, place the four aces (horses) side-by-side in a vertical line, faced up.
  4. Place Bets: Players can now place their bets on the horse they believe will cross the finish line first.
    • Drinking game: Decide the amount of sips you’re betting. If your horse wins the race, you can divide this amount to other players. If you lose, you must drink them yourself.
    • No-Drinks: Choose something else to play for, like money or pieces of candy. If your horse wins the race, you’ll receive the bets from the losing players. If you lose, you must give your bets to the winning player.
  5. Choose the dealer: One person will reveal the cards. This person can also play the game while dealing.
  6. Get ready to start playing.

Instead of choosing your own bets, you can also play for a fixed amount of sips, for example:

  • The first place can hand out 20 sips.
  • The second place hands out 15 sips.
  • The third place hands out 10 sips.

How to Play Horse Race

As soon as all bets are placed and everyone’s ready for the race, the dealer takes over.

  • The dealer draws a card. The suit of the card determines which horse will go one step forward, as shown in the image below.
    • A king of hearts is drawn, so the ace of hearts moves one step forward.
  • When all four horses pass a card on the side of the track, it is revealed. The horse that matches the suit of this card must go one step back. The image below shows this:
    • A two of spades is drawn, so the ace of spades goes forward. This is the last ace to reach the second race track card, so it is revealed. This is a queen of diamonds, so the ace of diamonds moves one step back.
  • This continues until one horse reaches the finish line after passing all ten cards on the race track.
  • All losing players take their betted number of sips, and the winner divides theirs over the losers. Or they give it to one player. This is totally up to the winner.

Horse Race Card Game Rules

  • Players can only bet on one horse.
  • Their bet is final after the game has started.
  • A maximum number of bets per round should be determined before playing. This prevents any unwanted circumstances.
  • When there are 4 or fewer players, it is not allowed to have multiple players betting on one horse.
  • When playing with more players, there is a maximum of one-third of the total number of players betting on one horse.

Final words…

The Horse Race drinking game is a great way to inject fun and entertainment into your party or gathering. With a deck of cards and some bets, you can turn any space into a thrilling horse race.

Feel free to try any of the other fun luck-based drinking game with cards, such as Ride the Bus. This one is a bit more intense, though!

Remember to always drink with moderation and to respect each other’s boundaries. Keep an eye out for each other and let others know if they’re going too far. If someone prefers to play without drinks, let them do so. Never exclude someone from a game just because they don’t feel like drinking.

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