Higher Lower Drinking Game: Rules & Fun Variations

Share on:

Looking for an easy but effective game to get your gathering started quickly? Look no further, because the Higher Lower Drinking game might be your best option!

The name of this game explains a lot already; it’s all about guessing a next card as either higher or lower than the previous card. The cards are placed in a specific pattern and if you make a wrong guess, you must drink as many sips as cards that are connected to that card.

Here, we will take you through the full higher lower drinking game rules and gameplay. It’s easy to understand and explain, so you will be playing your first game within a couple of minutes!

Below you’ll also find a fun combination of the Higher Lower drinking game and King’s Cup, which adds challenges and tasks on top of the standard drinking rules.

Your Game Information

Number of Players: 2+

Equipment: deck of playing cards, jokers removed

Duration: 5-10 minutes

Area: indoor

Tabletop: yes

Drinking: yes

How to Play the Higher Lower Drinking Game

Before explaining the rules and gameplay, we’ll shortly discuss the setup of the game, as this is a key element.


  • To get started, remove the jokers from your deck of playing cards, so that you have 52 cards left.
  • Place the cards in a grid as shown in the image below.
  • Make sure that everyone has a drink.
higher lower drinking game setup:


The objective is to start from one of the corners and gradually reveal the facedown cards. Players take turns guessing whether the next card will be higher or lower than the visible card.

Before starting the game, all players randomly draw one of the remaining cards. The player with the highest card starts as follows:

  • Choose one of the corners to begin the game.
  • The player chooses a card that is connected to one of the corner cards, and announces whether it will be higher or lower.
    • If they guess correctly, the turn goes to the next player.
    • If the guess is incorrect, they must drink a number of sips equal to the connected cards to the one that is revealed.
  • The turn then goes to the next player on their left.
  • This player can decide to start in a different corner, or take up where the previous player left off by choosing a card connected to the previous card.
  • This continues until all cards have been revealed.
  • There is no real winner; it’s all about sips.

Higher Lower Drinking Game Rules & Tips

  • The highest number of cards connected to yours in one turn is six, so this means that you must then take six sips!
  • When faced with a facedown card between two revealed cards, players guess “inside” or “outside” instead of “higher” or “lower”.
    • In case of four revealed cards, you must choose “inside” or “outside” for both the vertically and horizontally connected cards, meaning that you must guess both right.
  • Counting connected cards for sips includes cards that are horizontally, vertically, and diagonally connected to the guessing card.
  • You guess cards using only cards that are horizontally or vertically connected to that card.

Higher Lower x King’s Cup Drinking Game

In traditional Higher Lower, you don’t really have a winner. On top of that, it’s purely about receiving sips based on your guesses. If you’re looking for a more interactive version of the game, you should really try the King’s Cup variant!

In this game, you also guess cards as higher or lower and take sips based on the number of connected cards. However, in this game every card comes with a challenge or task. Therefore, this game is perfect for stimulating social interactions and creating memorable moments with your friends.


  • In addition to the deck of playing cards, you’ll also need a King’s Cup that will be chugged by the loser of the game.

The setup is a little bit different as shown in the image below:


  • All cards start facedown.
  • The game starts with one player revealing one of the six outer cards.
  • This player must then perform the task that belongs to that card face. The card rules are shown below.
  • The next player chooses to continue with one of the connected cards, OR starts with another outer card.
  • In case of a connected card, the player first guesses it as “higher” or “lower” and then reveals it.
    • If they are wrong, they drink as many sips as cards connected to that card.
    • If they are right, they don’t have to drink.
  • After this, they perform the task or challenge that comes with that card.
  • In case of another outer card, they reveal the card and play the rule of that card. The turn then goes to the next player.

In short, this means that choosing an outer card and only playing the rule can only be chosen six times. All other turns include both doing the challenge and guessing “higher” or “lower”.

  • This continues until a player draws the fourth king. This player then drinks the King’s Cup and is the loser of the game.

Card Rules

  • Two: Choose who drinks
  • Three: You drink
  • Four (Thumbs): At a random moment, put your thumb on the edge of the table. Everyone must follow. The last player drinks. 
  • Five (Quizmaster): No one can answer your questions. If they do, they must drink.
  • Six (Drinking buddy): Whoever draws this card chooses someone who must drink every time they do so. 
  • Seven (Sevens game): Players take turns in collectively counting up from 1 until a player counts a non-allowed number. You must skip any numbers that include 7 (7, 17, etc.) or are multiplications of 7 (14, 21, etc.). Instead of these numbers, they must say “skip”. The first person who makes a mistake must drink. 
  • Eight (Pointy Fingers): Everyone points their finger in the air. At the count of 3, everyone points at someone who must drink. The person who receives the highest number of votes must drink. 
  • Nine (Rhyme). This player says a word, and everyone takes turns going around the circle saying rhyming words. The first player to fail must drink.
  • Ten (Category game): Choose a category. Each player takes their turn to name something in that category. The first player who takes too long or names a double must drink.
  • Jack (Add rule): Make up a rule that everyone must follow before taking a sip. This count both for game sips as normal sips. For example, touch your nose before you take a sip. Anyone caught not following the rule must drink. These rules stack.
  • Queen (Rise of the Queen!): At a random moment, you must throw your hands in the air and shout, ‘Rise of the Queen!’. Everyone must follow. The last player drinks.
  • King (Kings Cup): Pour some of any drink into the King’s Cup. The player who draws the fourth King card must drink the contents of the King’s Cup.
  • Ace (Reverse order): It’s now the turn of the player before you, as the playing order is switched.

Wrap Up

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get your party started, the traditional Higher Lower drinking game is your perfect choice. However, it can be really fun to add some elements that stimulate social interactions and having great laughs. In that case, you should definitely go for the Higher Lower x King’s Cup variant.

The Higher Lower game is just one of the many fun drinking games that you can play. Take a look around on our website and be amazed by how many good drinking games there are. Some have a much higher drinking intensity than this game, such as Roll the Dice. Other games evolve more around the social aspect of drinking games.

Remember to always drink with moderation. Know your limits and make sure that everyone is doing okay. Prevent others from going beyond their own limits and never push anyone into drinking if they don’t want to.

The main goal of drinking and party games is to just have a good time. If others want to join in but don’t want to drink, let them do so.

Have fun!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top