How To Play The White Elephant Drinking Game

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The White Elephant Drinking Game is a card game that involves players trying to get rid of an effigy as quickly as possible. It’s a great game to play for parties or large events but typically requires copious amounts of alcohol.

What You’ll Need To Play The Game

First you’re going to need an effigy or symbol. This can be absolutely anything in the room. A bottle cap, a stuffed bear, a loved ones ashes, literally anything. Next you’re going to need a shuffled deck of cards placed in the middle of the table where everyone can reach it.

Setting Up The Game

Shuffle the deck of cards and then deal 3 cards to each player. Place the rest of the cards face down where anyone can reach them. Then choose a player to start as the cursed player who begins with the effigy. You can either choose by drawing for highest card, or simply choose someone if it happens to be their birthday or event.

White Elephant Drinking Game Rules

The object of the game is to get rid of the effigy before it becomes too much to bare. Players take turns (clockwise) playing a single card from their hand and then drawing a new card to replace it. Depending on what was played is what happens.


  • If the player plays a club, then whoever has the effigy must drink.
  • If the player plays a heart, then the next players turn is skipped
  • If the player plays a diamond, they themselves must drink
  • If the player players a spade, they may pass the effigy to their right if they have it.


  • If the player plays a jack, whoever has the effigy must discard a card and not replenish it.
  • If the player plays a Queen then everyone at the table must take a sip
  • If the player plays a King then turn order is reversed
  • If the player plays an Ace then the player with the effigy must get one one knee and drink half of what’s left in their drink
  • If a player plays a Joker, they must finish their own drink.

Whenever there is no cards left to draw, whoever’s turn it was to draw must shuffle the discarded cards to reform the deck. Once someone is out of cards they are removed from the game. (Players lose cards when they hold the effigy and Jacks are drawn). Once someone is out of the game they must take a shot or finish their drink. Play continues until only one player remains in the game.

The White Elephant drinking game is based off old South Asian monarch’s who used to gift each other gifts that would be too much upkeep to take care of.