Drinking Game – American

“Ride the Bus”

Ride the Bus is a drinking game that uses a whole deck of cards.  Twenty-one cards are placed face down on a table in a pyramid formation: six cards, then five, then four, then three, then two, then one.  The remaining cards are equally dealt out to the players.  The row of six cards means one sip, the row of five means two sips, the row of four means three sips, the row of three means four sips, the row of two means half a drink, and the row of one card means one full drink.  The dealer starts by flipping over the bottom right card.  If any player has a matching card, he or she can put down the matching card and give any other player however many sips that row is worth.  For instance, if the card flipped over was on the row of six cards and I had a card that matched, I could make any other player drink one sip of their drink.  If a player has two matching cards, he or she can give any other player twice the amount of drinks that the row is worth.  After all the cards are flipped over, any players who still have cards left have to ride the bus.  The dealer gathers all the cards and reshuffles them.  Then he lays out six cards face down.  Number cards mean no drinks, a jack means one sip and the dealer lays down another card, a queen means two sips and the dealer lays down two more cards, a king means three sips and the dealer lays down three more cards, and an ace means four sips and the dealer lays down another four cards.  This continues until the dealer has flipped over all the cards.

My informant learned this drinking game at his fraternity from his “big brother,” a brother in the house who acts as a mentor.  Some of the brothers in the fraternity were playing drinking games one night and his “big brother” had the group play Ride the Bus. My informant says he plays this game from time to time when they want to have a low key night with friends.

My informant says this game can be played by anyone who drinks.  Although it is mainly found in fraternities and on college campuses, other people enjoy playing the game too.  Some people enjoy playing this game with a small group of friends in a quiet room, whereas some play it with strangers at big parties.

My informant says there is a strategy to the game.  The key is to play your cards later in the game, when they are worth more drinks.  For instance, rather than play a jack on the row of six cards where it is only worth on sip, wait until a jack is flipped on the row of two cards where it is worth half a drink.