Pyramid Drinking Game


What is Pyramid?

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Who might enjoy a drinking game like this?

Is it a popular option at parties?

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When choosing drinking games Pyramid is a good go-to solution. This is a popular game that many party-goers know and love. This game can be a great icebreaker and can encourage guests at your party to get to know each other while bonding over a fun experience.

As the host of the party, it’s a good idea for you to understand how to play Pyramid before you teach it to your guests. Although many people know this game, not everyone may understand the rules, and it can be a little more complicated than some other drinking games out there.

Read through this article to get a good feel for how to play Pyramid. We’ll give you a quick rundown of the basics behind this game and walk you through the default ruleset for the game as well. From there, we’ll also give you some suggestions for variations you might want to try.

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By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll be ready to host a rowdy game of Pyramid at your next party. Stock up on your favorite alcoholic beverages, grab a deck of cards, and invite your friends over to enjoy this fun and exciting drinking game together!

The Basics

Understanding the basics of this game is a great way to get started playing it. Pyramid is a little bit of a tricky game, especially for those who have never played it before, so brushing up on some of the framework for this drinking game can go a long way toward ensuring you and your guests have a great time playing it.

  • Why is it called Pyramid? This game is called Pyramid simply because the cards are arranged in a triangular “pyramid” shape before playing. This arrangement makes it easy to pay attention to how many sips or shots a player must take per round of the game, as the number increases with each row of the pyramid.
  • What should you stock up on beforehand? Stock up on a lot of alcohol of your choice. Everyone will need their own cup and may need refills throughout the game. You should also have a deck of cards that isn’t missing any pieces before you begin. If you want to keep score, you will need a pad of paper and a pen or pencil.
  • How much and what type of alcohol does each player need? This game should be played with something that players can either sip or take in shots. Beer is the best choice for this game, but some enjoy playing it with sake or tequila as well.
  • How many players should there be? Ideally, you should play this game with about six people. The dealer doesn’t have to sit out the rounds and can join in the game. However, you can also play with just a few people or with a large group, as long as you have enough cards for everyone to have a hand.

How to Play

Learning how to play Pyramid may take a little practice. For this reason, we recommend trying a few rounds with just some soda before introducing alcohol into the mix. This way, everyone will have a good, solid understanding of the rules and gameplay components, and no one will have to feel like they’re losing the game just because they don’t understand how to play it. This is an intermediate skill drinking game and it can get more challenging the more you’ve had to drink!

  1. Shuffle the cards and remove the Joker, if there is one.
  2. Begin by laying cards from the deck in the shape of a pyramid—for example, four cards, then three, then two, then one on top.
  3. Each pyramid level has a different “sip value” per drink. This may be sips or shots, depending on the house rules.
    • The first row (four cards) is one sip per card; the second (three cards) is two sips, and so on. If you’re playing with more rows, you’ll need to adjust the sips/shots accordingly.
  4. First, deal one card to each player. The player with the lowest value is the first player in the round. Add these cards back into the remaining deck and shuffle again.
  5. Next, deal five cards to each player. Players should guard their hands so no one else can see them. In traditional Pyramid, players may look at their cards throughout the game. However, as you will find out later, there are some variations on this that can make the game more fun and more challenging as well.
  6. The first player turns over the first card on the left of the first row of the pyramid to reveal what it is.
  7. If none of the players has a match, then the player who flipped the card over has to drink sips or shots relevant to the number for that row. Matches only count by number or type—for example, an eight or a queen. Color and suit are not relevant in this game.
  8. The next player then repeats the process with the next card in the row.
  9. If the player has a match, they can name another player to take the drinks. However, if that player also has a match, they can try naming someone else. This continues until someone has to take a drink.
  10. If a player has a double match, they can make another player take double the drinks.
  11. The game continues until the final card at the top of the pyramid is flipped over. When someone has to take a drink for this card, they must chug their whole drink.


Now that you’ve learned how to play the basic game of Pyramid, you can change the rules a little bit and make the game more interesting. Of course, house rules always stand, and if you are the one hosting the party, you may want to make other changes as well. Check out the suggestions below to help you get started with some ideas on variations that can make this game even more fun and exciting:

  • Play with more cards for a longer game or to include more players. When doing this, players should be dealt seven cards instead of five—unless you don’t have enough for everyone. In this case, you can stick to just a few cards per player.
  • Don’t allow players to look at their cards after being dealt their hands. If they believe they have a match but get it wrong, they have to take a drink. Players can bluff, but if they are caught bluffing, they have to take a drink as well. If a player accuses someone else of bluffing and is wrong, they have to take twice the drinks.
  • Flip one card per row horizontally instead of vertically. For this card, players have to drink twice the amount for that row. This card holds more weight and is therefore more challenging for players to bluff their way through.

Try these suggestions the next time you have a party for a new experience you’re sure to love. And remember: adults only, and drink responsibly!

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