The Most Popular Drinking Game in Every U.S. State

Bottoms up! Everyone loves a good drinking game, especially while we’re stuck at home. Go ahead, pour that beer into that shiny red Solo cup. Now close your eyes and reminisce on those old, nostalgic college memories. Which game did you imagine? Was it a steaming game of beer pong in a crowded fraternity basement, or a heated, passionate game of flip cup in a friend’s apartment?

At Shane Co., we want to take a walk down memory lane and find what the popular drinking games are in every state. Take a peek at how each state gets the good times flowing. 

Methodology

In our study, we used Google Trends search volume to analyze the most popular drinking game in every state between November 2020 and 2021. Nineteen different drinking games were taken into account — from flip cup to king’s cup to drunk Jenga, there are tons of popular drinking games to kick off your party with a blissful, buzzed bang. Just be sure to drink responsibly!

Chart of the most popular drinking games in every U.S. state.

Through our research, we found beer pong, a college campus classic, won the hearts of most states with a full glass order of 13: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington. 

He shoots … he scores! If both players make it into the hoop — we mean, the red Solo cup, the team dunked on must chug. The object of the most popular drinking game is to sink the ping-pong ball into all of the opposing team’s cups before they get all of yours. Depending on who’s hosting, the house rules may vary. 

Fun fact: Beer pong was invented at Dartmouth College sometime between 1950 and 1960 — and yet, it isn’t New Hampshire’s favorite drinking game. 

We don’t know what kids do at parties now, but spin the bottle was our childhood staple game — so much so, New Hampshire, Arizona, Oregon, and Utah are taking it to a tipsy next level. Whether it’s the thrill of potentially bad decisions or you’re simply strategically trying to plant one on your crush, there’s nothing like the thrill of spinning that bottle. The lucky couple it lands on gets to hug or kiss within a certain amount of time. 

Of course, this rousing game tied with the classic card game, screw the dealer. Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York enjoy simple, fast fun! Whether it’s down at the bar or at home with friends, this game is best played with a small group of five to eight people, and a full deck of cards. The dealer will sneak a peek at the top card and let players know if it is higher or lower than their guess. If the guess is correct on the first try, the dealer must drink two. If the second guess is correct, the dealer must drink one. We recommend playing this popular drinking game with your favorite beer. Is it surprising these two games tied for fourth? 

Have a quarter for your thoughts? Alabama, Indiana, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin declared quarters the drinking game of choice, falling in third place after paranoia. During quarters, you must bounce the quarter off the table into a glass of juice. If successful, the player tells any other player to drink, as well as earns another turn. The turn is passed to whoever is next in the circle when the player fails. To make three bounces in a row is a holy grail moment. If a player is fortunate enough to shoot that, anything goes. Some favorites are: “Have a drink before each try,” “Can’t say drink,” or “No saying proper names.”

Scratch that itch and stop the paranoia … It’ll only cost you a drink or two, right? Paranoia squeezed into second place with seven states: California, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. This game involves whispering a question to the person on the right, and the answer must be someone else playing. For example, “Who’s the prettiest girl or the handsomest guy of the group?” The recipient then has to point to their answer.

Chart of most searched overall drinking games

Overall, beer pong won the most with 13 states. But, we didn’t want the landslide win to overshadow the fun of other states’ best drinking games. Ride the bus, chandelier, and drunk Jenga tied for fifth place, three states choosing each. Instead of drinking and driving, safely ride the bus like Louisiana, Minnesota, and Missouri. To play, all you need is a driver, a.k.a. the dealer, a rider, a pack of cards, and the booze of your choice. 

Sia isn’t the only one singing about chandeliers — Alaska, Maryland, and West Virginia are joining her, but instead of mics, they’re holding a pint glass filled with beer. Those glasses must be placed in the middle of the table, then surrounded by as many smaller glasses as there are players. Fill those with beer, then take turns attempting to bounce a ball into the center cup. If done, everyone must quickly drink from their cup, then flip it over. The last player to flip their cup will drink from the center cup. While there is a competitive element to the game, there isn’t a winner or loser. 

Just like spin the bottle, a childhood game is transformed into adult fun. D.C., Iowa, and Mississippi chose drunk Jenga as their most popular drinking game. Simply play Jenga as you always would. As players take turns pulling out the wooden block before attempting to put it on top of the tower, they must complete the task written on it: “Waterfall,” “Take a shot,” or “Girls drink.” 

Thunderstruck, king’s cup, and three man tied for sixth, two states choosing each. Ohio and Pennsylvania chose thunderstruck, a drinking game made from AC/DC’s famous song from their album “The Razors Edge.” Each person chugs until the next song cue. If you get stuck in a dreaded guitar solo, it’s ok to tap out. New Mexico and Rhode Island chose three man, a college drinking game that doesn’t require much of a setup. All you need is some friends, a drink, and a pair of dice. Each player rolls the dice. The first player to roll a three becomes the beloved “three man” until another rolls a three. The three man has the power to determine who’s first. Different numbers have different rules. For example, if you roll a seven, the player to the left of the roller must drink, or nine, everyone drinks. North Dakota and Wyoming chose the king’s cup. Each card in the deck has a different action. Ace is waterfalling your drink, two is picking two people to drink, three is me, etc. Pick a card until there are none. 

Flipping a cup upside down can’t be that hard, can it? Delaware didn’t seem to think so. Also known as “Flippy Cup,” “Tippy Cup,” “Canoe,” or “Taps,” this relay-race game is a college favorite. The rules are self-explanatory. Similar to chandelier, flip cup requires players to turn their cups over perfectly. Players must first chug their beer then place the empty cup on the edge, and proceed to flip. Once completed, the next player must go. Also tied for seventh is power hour. The rules are simple: Take a shot of beer every minute, for one hour. Montana’s favorite popular drinking game isn’t for the faint of heart.

Closing Thoughts

Again, always remember to drink safely and responsibly. Regardless of which drinking game is most popular in your state, our study is about cherishing the intimate memories created while playing. It’s sentimental moments like those that make you think about popping the big question with a gleaming engagement ring from Shane Co.

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