Ride the Bus Drinking Game | Rules and Setup

What is Ride the Bus Drinking Game?

Ride the Bus drinking game, also known as Ride the Bus, Bus Driver, or Pyramid, is a popular and entertaining card game that combines strategic thinking, memory skills, and of course, alcohol consumption. It is a go-to at parties and casual hangouts with friends, providing a fun and interactive way to enjoy drinks while testing one’s mental prowess.

The objective of the game is to successfully “ride the bus” by correctly predicting the next card’s value, either higher or lower than the current card while avoiding accumulating too many incorrect guesses.

Each wrong guess results in the player taking a drink or shot, depending on the agreed-upon rules. The game continues until one player successfully navigates through the entire deck of cards or everyone has had their fill of drinks.

Check out our other drinking games in our list of top 15 drinking games.

Ride the Bus Drinking Game

How Many Players Do You Need To Play Ride The Bus?

You need at least 2 players to play Ride the Bus, but the game is more enjoyable and entertaining with a larger group of people. Typically, 4 to 10 players make for a fun and engaging game.

Ride the Bus is a flexible drinking game that can be played with as few as 2 players, but it’s typically more enjoyable with a larger group.

The game can accommodate anywhere from 4 to 10 or even more players for a livelier and more entertaining experience. The more, the merrier, as they say!

How Do You Play Ride the Bus Drinking Game?

The rules for the Ride the Bus drinking game can vary slightly depending on personal preferences, but the basic gameplay is as follows:


Shuffle a standard deck of 52 playing cards and deal a pyramid of cards on the table, starting with one card at the top and adding one more card per row until you reach the desired size (usually five or six rows).

Place the remaining cards in a deck face-down.

First Round

Red or Black: Starting with the player to the dealer’s left, each player takes turns guessing if the top card on the draw deck is red (hearts or diamonds) or black (spades or clubs).

If the player guesses correctly, they give out a drink to another player.

If they guess incorrectly, they must take a drink themselves.

Second Round

Higher or Lower: Continuing clockwise, each player guesses if the next card drawn will be higher or lower in value than the previous card. Correct guesses allow the player to give out drinks, while incorrect guesses result in the player taking a drink.

Third Round

Inside or Outside: In this round, players predict whether the value of the next card drawn will fall between (inside) or outside the values of the two cards drawn in the previous rounds. Again, correct guesses allow the player to give out drinks, while incorrect guesses mean the player takes a drink.

Fourth Round

Suit: Each player guesses the suit of the next card (hearts, diamonds, clubs, or spades). Correct guesses allow the player to give out four drinks to other players, which can be distributed between multiple players or given to one player.

Incorrect guesses result in the player taking four drinks.

Ride the Bus

After the four initial rounds, the dealer flips the bottom row of cards of the pyramid face up. Starting from the bottom row, players must “ride the bus” by flipping over cards in the pyramid, working their way up row by row.

If a player flips a card that has the same face value as an already flipped card, they must take a drink for each card of the same value and start again from the bottom row.

The game ends when a player reaches the top of the pyramid or all players give up due to excessive drinking.

If you prefer to see the gameplay in action, here is a video showing how to play:

Tips to Win Ride the Bus

While Ride the Bus is primarily a game of chance, there are some basic strategies you can employ to increase your odds of success. Keep in mind, though, that the game’s main purpose is to have fun and enjoy the social atmosphere.

Card counting: Pay attention to the cards that have been revealed, particularly in the first round. This can help you make more informed guesses on the likelihood of a card being red or black.

Probabilities: In the second round (Higher or Lower), consider the probabilities. If you have a low card (2-6), it’s more likely the next card will be higher, and if you have a high card (8-King), it’s more likely the next card will be lower. 

Inside or Outside: In the third round, assess the range between your two cards. If the range is wide, there’s a higher chance the next card will be inside. If it’s narrow, there’s a higher chance it will be outside.

Suit guessing: In the fourth round, you can either make a random guess, or you may opt to choose the suit that has appeared less frequently in previous rounds.

Remember, even with these strategies, the game is still largely based on luck,


Some variations of Ride the Bus may incorporate different elements or rules, such as assigning unique actions or drinking penalties for specific cards. This adds a layer of unpredictability and excitement to the game, ensuring that no two rounds are ever the same.

Regardless of the version played, the Ride the Bus drinking game remains a favorite among party-goers and drinking enthusiasts, offering an engaging and memorable experience for all involved.

If you don’y happen to have any cards check our list of the best drinking games without cards!

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