Holiday Poker Drinking Games

Holiday preparation is more than baking perfect gingerbread cookies or developing the best tactic to deflect political arguments at the dinner table. It’s also (supposedly) about coming together and sharing love with family and friends. And what better way to come together than to have a drink (or ten) over a hand (or 20) of poker?

Here are a few of our favorite holiday poker drinking games. So grab your bevy of choice, a deck of cards, and get ready to take your F&F’s money like the Grinch before he had that 3x change of heart. Remember to drink responsibly.

Drink Or Sink, aka Beer Poker

Playing Poker at home with friends

Photo Credit: PJPhoto69

The hand rules are the same as regular Texas Holdem Poker.

Players get 15 chips in either three or five different colors.

Each individual color represents one of the following:

  • 1 Pint of Beer
  • 1/2 Pint of AlcoPop (I’m White Claw Flavored alcoholic beverages with relatively low alcohol content (3–7%). White Claw is my personal preference)
  • 1 Shot

Betting is based on how much you are willing to drink if you lose the hand. If you are already half in the bag while reading this, here’s a further explanation.

For example, at showdown, a player reveals the winning hand after everyone has bet two shots and an alcopop. The losing players must all consume those drinks. Any player who folds before showdown must also take a drink.

These losers drink the amount they raised, the hand winner doesn’t drink, and the last person standing or with the chips wins.

It’s best not to let Uncle Frank play with his 45-year-old scotch; you can imagine it might get a little messy.

Irish Drinking Poker


Author’s Note: To stave off any jokes or discourse about the stereotypes that befall the Irish and their love of libations, let us all note that the writer of this article is, in fact, Irish.

Okay, now for the rules: Each player gets four cards face down in a row. The person to the left of the dealer starts by guessing if their leftmost card is red or black. If they guess right, they hand out a drink to two other players; if they guess wrong, they take two drinks themselves. This continues all the way around the table.

For the second card in line, you guess if it is higher or lower than your previous card. If you guess right, you hand out four drinks; if you’re wrong, drink four. If you get the same card, you must automatically drink.

For the third card, you guess between or outside the two cards you already have. Again, if you guess correctly, you’re safe. The losers drink six, and the winners hand out six. If you get one of your cards again, guess what? You drink.

For the last of the four cards, you must guess the suit of the card. If you are wrong, you drink eight; if you’re right, you hand out eight.

Beware: This game will lead to severe hangovers and late-night snack runs.

Knock-Out Poker

A whiskey glass with a cigar holder in front of playing cards

Photo Credit: Yonge Street Winery

This next game is a sit-and-go poker freezeout tournament. You each start with a set amount of chips and play until one person is left. Those knocked out must consume a particular amount of an alcoholic drink as a punishment for their failure!

Standard sit-and-go Texas Hold ’em poker tournament rules apply, but with a few twists:

  • If a player loses a hand in a showdown against a pair of aces, three-of-a-kind aces, or four-of-a-kind aces, they are required to drink a shot.
  • If a player wins a hand in a showdown with a full house, they can either give a shot to the loser of the hand to drink or select another opponent if they wish.
  • When a player is eliminated, they must down a drink pre-agreed upon by all players before the start of the tournament.
  • When the tournament reaches its climax, and there is a heads-up contest between the two remaining players, they must each take a sip of their drink every time they lose a hand. Naturally, this incentivizes players to bluff and mess with their opponent to avoid a drink!
  • At the end of the game, the runner-up must also down a drink.

This is a really cool twist on a night of playing poker with your mates. It adds pressure to almost every hand, forcing you to make some outrageous plays.

Shot Poker

Photo Credit: Woot

Nothing fancy here; you fill shot glasses with beer or mixed drinks and give everyone 15 or so (unless you’re a hardcore lush, hard liquor is a death sentence).

The gameplay is standard Texas Hold’em, except you bet shots instead of chips, and whoever has the word hand has to drink them all. There’s no penalty for folding, though, so show a bit of restraint!

King's Cup

Kings cup with beer in middle of cards

Photo Credit: NoClueHowTo

Sure, it’s not technically a poker variant, but it’s one of the most well-known card-drinking games and a classic party game that’s easy to incorporate into a holiday get-together.

To play, fan out a deck of cards face down around an empty cup (the “King’s Cup”). Make sure everyone has a full drink of some sort. Players draw a card, then act out the activities below based on the chosen card.

Ace = Waterfall

Everyone must drink whatever they have in front of them–beer, wine, or a spirit and mixer.

The person who drew the Ace has complete control of the round and can stop drinking whenever he or she chooses. Once they’ve stopped drinking, the next person clockwise to them can choose when to stop, and so on. So you must always wait until the person to your left has stopped before you can stop.

Two = You

Two is relatively simple and is the classic ‘you’ (Not the hit Netflix series, although Joe Goldberg does have that poker player look…)

Here, you pick one person to take two drinks or two people to each take one drink.

Three = Me

Another easy one. Three is ‘me,’ meaning you must chug two fingers of your drink.

Four = Give 2, Take 2

Give out two drinks and take two drinks.

Five = Bust a Jive

Here’s a fun one. First, the person that picks up this card must bust out a dance move. Then, the following person must copy the dance move and add an extra spin. This carries on until someone messes up the dance and has to drink.

Drunken uncoordinated dancers? Even better. Make sure you whip out your phone to record for later blackmailing.

Six = Thumbs Down

You put your thumb on the table, and the last person to do so drinks. This is a great card to catch people who need to pay closer attention, especially if the picker doesn’t use the card immediately.

Seven = Heaven

When the person who picked the card is ready, they must reach for the sky with both arms, with the rest of the players following suit. The last person to do so must drink.

Eight = Mate

The player can choose anyone in the game to partner up with, meaning when one of them drinks, they both must.

It’s the perfect way to show your crush that you’re interested in them or just to try to pick on someone to get them drunk.

Nine = Bust a Rhyme

The player who picked the card must say a word, and everybody goes around the circle saying a word that rhymes with it.

This goes on until somebody can’t think of a new word or until someone repeats a word. The loser must drink!

Alternate Rule: Truth or Dare

Some players like to add this one into the mix instead. Challenge someone to truth or dare. If they decline, they must drink.

Ten = Categories

The player who chose the card must pick a category. Then, each player must choose something that fits into that category.

For example, the player who picked up the card may choose ‘types of fruit,’ and the rest of the table will have to pick fruit, such as a lemon or strawberry. Whoever can’t think of anything or makes a repeat must down two fingers of drink.

Jack = Never Have I Ever.

Jack is arguably one of the most exciting cards to pick, as it allows you to learn some of the sordid secrets of the players. Here, the group must play one round after picking up the card.


The Queen is the ‘question master,’ and whoever picks up the card takes on that role. That means that if the other players answer a question asked by the question master, they must drink.

It’s a great way to get creative and trick people. For example, the question master can direct a question to a player and ask, “is it your go yet?”

The question master will remain the QM until someone else picks up a queen, then they will take the crown.

For this one, I like to use a beer cap as a crown, a tall can as a sceptre, and the closest piece of fabric as a cape.

Alternate Rule = Queasy Creation

If you pull a Red Queen, you can combine any three drinks from the table into one shot, then pick someone to take it.

King = Make a Rule (and pour some booze in the middle cup)

Finally, we get to the king! The player who picks a king has the power to make a rule for the game.

This can be anything related to the game; if it’s broken, the offending player must drink.

If you’re stuck, one popular rule is “no first names,” which means anyone who uses anyone’s first name must drink.

This game is a great icebreaker and a fun way to reconnect with friends over the holidays.

Blind Man's Bluff

3 people playing blind mans bluff

Photo Credit: Bicycle Cards

Everyone can see the value of other players’ cards but not their own. So here, they must decide to participate in the round or fold based on their limited knowledge. The end goal is to have the highest card of the round, which would be an Ace.

The player to the dealer’s left decides whether or not to fold first. Once everyone’s locked in their choices, the cards are placed on the table.

  • The player with the highest card wins the round.
  • Any player that folded and had a lower card than the winner has two drinks
  • Any player that folded a higher card than the winner drinks their card value
  • Anyone who didn’t fold and lost drinks the difference between their card and the winner’s card.

Just OG Poker

Stacks of multicoloured chips next to a poker hand showing a royal flush in diamonds

Hard to beat the OG classic. Grab a deck, some chips, and shuffle up and deal.


These poker drinking games are not solely reserved for the holidays. Still, the holidays are the best time of the year to gather together and eat, drink, and play poker. Added bonus if you clean that annoying relative out of their Christmas bonus. With these games, at least you can get toasty enough to block out the cold or your cousin’s newest NFT pitch…


Nikki Sin


Nikki Sin

Nikki Sin is an author, podcaster, burgeoning poker player, and founder of pop culture website Sin does not enjoy long walks on the beach, pińa coladas, or getting caught in the rain, but she does enjoy winning money.
Nikki Sin is an author, podcaster, burgeoning poker player, and founder of pop culture website Sin does not enjoy long walks on the beach, pińa coladas, or getting caught in the rain, but she does enjoy winning money.