Go Fish is one of the classic games we played as kids, but makes an even better drinking card game for adults. It is one off those games that is very simple to play at any stage of the night.  But I can assure you it is hard to master.  This is because it tests your memory and skills remembering what everyone else had previously played.

Grab a deck of cards, 2 or more friends, a few of your favorite drinks, and print out the fun rules below for the Go Fish Drinking Card Game.  We first cover the classic rules of Go Fish if you forgot since you were a kid. 

Keep scrolling down to the drunk go fish rules if you remember.

How many Cards to Deal in Go Fish:

Go Fish is a 2-4 player card game. The goal is to be the player that collects the most “books” of cards. A book is all 4 cards of the same card, such as Fives, Eights, Kings, Etc. The player that gets the most books (4 cards) of cards wins.  Suits are not important, only the numbers.  Yes I’m sure you remember it as 2 of a kind when you were a kid, but we’re all adults now!

Start off by drawing cards or a hilarious question to see who is the dealer. Either highest card or the last person to arrive, or the last person who took a poop is the dealer. First cards are dealt clockwise starting from the left of the dealer.

For 2 players deal 7 cards each. 3 players deal 6 cards each. For 4 players deal 5 each. Put the rest of the cards in a pile in the middle of the table.

Classic Go Fish Card Game Rules

It starts off with the player to the left of the dealer who gets to ask any player they want if they have a specific card and goes in a clockwise circle. We can break down the rules now into “asking” and “fishing”.


  • The player who is “Asking” must have at least one card of the rank he asked for in his hand.
  • When asking a player for a specific card, if the player has it they give you “all” their cards of that same number. You can then keep asking the same player, or any other players.  You can ask for the same or different number you want until you are told to “Go Fish”.
  • When you are told to “Go Fish” because the player does not have that card, your turn is over.  Pull a card from the upside-down pile in the middle of the table and the person to your left gets to start asking next.
  • If your request is not successful but you draw a card of the same rank you had asked for, your turn continues.

How to Score Points and Win

The goal of the game is to collect 4 of the same number of card “book” by asking your players. When you have a card in your hand, and you ask another player for this same number and get a total of 4 you get to play this.  The game ends when all thirteen books have been played and whoever has played the most “books” wins!

The strategy and memory parts of the Go Fish Game is watching and remembering which players are asking for, so you know which cards they have. Make sure to pay attention to the players that say Go Fish too, as you know they do not have the card. These parts get a little harder when we go over the Go Fish Drinking Game Rules below.


  • When a player makes a catch (choosing right card) they must reveal then to verify it.
  • When a player gets a fourth card of a book, they place them all on the table face up and continue playing.
  • After asking for a card, and told to “go fish” if you pickup the card that you needed that would have made a book of 4 cards, you must wait until your turn to play it.
  • If a player runs out of cards at any time, draw one card from the deck and your turns ends. If no cards are left in the stock, then you wait for the remaining players to finish the game.
  • The game ends when all thirteen books (sets of 4) have been played. The player with the most books wins!
Go Fish Drinking Card Game Rules Infographic

Go Fishing Drinking Card Game Rules

  • If you “Go Fish”, take 1 Drink for being wrong.
  • If you get caught – Take 1 Drink for every card, you must give away.
  • The players that loose must have 1 drink for every book the winner wins by.  Example you loose with 3 and the winner has 6, take 3 drinks.

Alternative Go Fish Game Rules

There are different versions of Go Fish.  Here’s 2 variations, if you know of others please comment below!

The 2 main variations and alternative rules we see are:


  • Playing Pairs, Versus Books of 4. If you collect all four cards of the same rank, count the second pair as 2 points. Thus, a set of 4 gives you 3 points altogether rather than 2.
  • If you run out of cards before the game ends, your pickup a new set of (7, 6, or 5) cards. This rule can apply at the end of your turn (preferred) or during and then you keep asking.

If you like Drunk Go Fish, then you will also enjoy drunk uno or drunk jenga.

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