Master the 3 Man Drinking Game: Strategies and Rules for Exciting Gameplay

Are you ready to discover the 3 man drinking game? This classic dice game offers an exciting opportunity to have a great time with family and friends. 

And tell you what, you only need two dice, a crate of beer (or other beverage choices), and a few basic rules to delight in a fun buzz-factor-filled night!  

Read on to learn everything about the three-man drinking game. We’ll explain how to play and provide our insider tips for acing it, along with some exciting variations. Let’s get started!  

What is the 3-Man Drinking Game?

The three-man drinking game is a popular game played by three or more participants. It involves rolling two dice; each player takes turns based on the outcome. 

If a player rolls a sum of three, they become the “three man” and are given a unique role. Then, the “three-man” is required to drink whenever a sum of three is rolled or if their specific number is rolled. 

The other players take turns rolling the dice, and certain combinations or numbers have specific actions assigned to them, such as passing drinks, reversing the order, or drinking themselves. 

The game continues until the players decide to stop or if predetermined rules are met, such as rolling doubles.

Basic Setup: Requirements

Before starting the 3-Man Drinking Game, ensure you have all the necessary equipment and your space has been set up appropriately. 

You will need two dice and unlimited players to play (3 minimum). 

It’s also recommended that each group choose a “Thumbmaster” to ensure game-goers play responsibly. The Thumbmaster reminds fellow players when to drink and should be someone with less influence in the game or sober. 

The playing area should provide lots of room as people sit around in a circle or spread out during gameplay.

How to Play 3 Man Drinking Game

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to play the Three-Man drinking game:

  1. Gather three or more players and a pair of dice. It’s best to have some drinks available for everyone participating.
  2. Designate one player as the initial “three man.” This can be determined randomly or through a mutual agreement.
  3. The game begins with the player to the left of the “three man” rolling the dice. They roll both dice together.
  4. Depending on the outcome, different actions may occur:
  •   If the sum of the dice is three, the “three-man” must take a drink.
  •   If players roll a double, they choose who takes a sip.
  •  If the sum is any other number, the player can assign that number to another player, who becomes the new “three man.” For example, if the sum is seven, the player can say, “Seven goes to the person on my right,” that person becomes the new “three man.”
  1. The three man’s role is crucial. They must drink whenever the sum of three or their assigned number is rolled.
  2. Play continues clockwise, with each player taking turns rolling the dice and following the corresponding actions based on the outcomes.
  3. Additional rules can be added to spice up the game, such as assigning certain numbers or combinations of specific actions (e.g., a sum of five means everyone takes a drink). These rules can be decided upon before the game starts.
  4. The game continues until the players decide to stop or if there are predetermined rules, such as a time limit or reaching a certain number of rounds.

Taking care of yourself and others while playing drinking games is essential. Remember to drink responsibly and be aware of your limits.

Rules For the 3-Man Drinking Game     

When playing the “three man” drinking game, there are some rules players need to follow. So before deciding to play the game, ensure everyone understands the game’s rules.


In the Three Man drinking game, one player is designated as the Three-Man and has to drink every time a three is rolled on any die. They can leverage strategic positioning at the table by aiming for certain dice combinations to minimize their drinks over several rounds.

For example, if two players hold 4s or 6s in front of them with the rest of the numbers spread out, the three-man may select a 5 or 8, as these are less likely to come up when they roll.

Another player may attempt this tactic to influence when or how often either of 2’s rolls affects another player’s hand. 

Players not feeling ready to leave “the hat man” role can lessen their luck of ending up there again by switching between adjacent numbers like 1 and 2 or 7 and 8. Hence, it becomes more unpredictable when someone else lands on 3, preventing them from holding the position twice. 


The four rule of the Three Man drinking game assigns a position to players known as the Thumbmaster. 

The player who rolls a four on the dice is designated as such and has authority over all other players regarding when they must drink or participate in activities assigned by them.

As long as the Thumbmaster keeps their thumb down, everyone else at the table continues taking drinks – though the rules can specify otherwise depending on what variation you are playing.


Everyone at the table must start drinking when someone rolls a six in the Three Man drinking game. The roller of the six is considered the ‘Thumbmaster’ and must put their thumb on the table. 

At the same time, everyone else around it drinks their beer or preferred beverage for as long as they’d like – until either another number is rolled or everyone’s finished their drink.


The Seven Rule is one of the critical rules of the 3 Man drinking game. This rule states that the current Three Man must drink if a player rolls two dice and at least one die shows a seven.

This means that even when doubles are rolled by other players, as long as a seven is involved, it is still the Three-Man drink.


Nine is a unique rule in the 3 Man drinking game as it gives players more chances to drink. This rule is initiated when two dice are rolled, adding up to nine. When this roll occurs, all players must take a drink until the next player rolls and doubles.

If the roller rolls double before other players roll, they become exempt from drinking. However, if another player beats them in rolling doubles first, then they will be doomed to pay the penalty of taking one extra drink.

This rule can lead to some exciting strategies. For instance, purposely trying to go slow or wait out your opponents could cause someone else’s bad luck rather than forcing yourself to have drinks through an unfortunate series of numbers.

Even though it may be better luck avoiding a Nine at times, remember – you have three separate tries per round, creating your bit of fun destiny by ruining everybody else’s. 

Rolling ‘Nine,’ is a surefire way of guaranteeing entertainment– who catches out who?.


Ten is one of the more complex numbers to roll in the Three-Man drinking game. Rolling ten requires you to roll two dice and have each one land on a five or higher. 

If you roll the ten, all players must put their thumb onto the table at any time when instructed by whoever is designated as “Thumbmaster.”

The Thumbmaster changes each time the game moves around the table clockwise. When everyone has their thumbs down, whoever puts theirs up first drinks twice and becomes the new Thumbmaster for that round. 

But beware! Putting your thumb on too quickly leads to penalties like having to drink again.

Another strategy for playing when Ten is rolled involves rolling again while hoping not to get “doubles” (two of the same number). This will result in double drinking for everybody who didn’t take precautions and take off their thumb from the table fast enough.


Double plays an essential role in the Three Man drinking game. During a round, when a player rolls two of the same number on two dice (also known as doubles), they must give one die to each of the two players, and those players then have to roll their respective die—the player who rolls the lowest number has to drink.

Doubles can also be used to create new rules within the game—such as forcing everyone to take turns using their left hand for rolling or drinking. This can add excitement and make it more challenging for everyone playing.

For example, suppose doubles are rolled by someone else before you get your turn. In that case, you may use strategies such as counting/remembering how many times other players had previously rolled with their right hands so that you know if any modifications like this apply while it’s your turn.

The Drinking Rules

In the Three Man Drinking Game, all players must abide by rules that ensure everyone drinks an equal amount and accurately follows the game. 

Breaking these rules may lead to a change in the order of play or even the expulsion of one player from the game, depending on how severe the violation was. 

Any rule that is broken calls for a penalty. These are the most common ones: 

  1. You must roll the dice when it is your turn. If you don’t, you must drink for each missed dice roll.
  2. If everyone else rolls before you are finished drinking, you forfeit your turn, forcing you to drink as punishment.
  3. No double dips! Rolling twice and taking two separate turns is prohibited and may lead to a penalty at the discretion of other players.
  4. It is illegal for any player to hide or sneak away with their dice. If caught doing so, they have to drink as punishment, as this disrupts fairness since everybody has a single set of dice per round.
  5. When playing Six Man and other variations that involve more than three people, a “thumbmaster” per round passes around the table, and players must keep their thumb on it until instructed otherwise by them. Anyone found breaking this rule will be asked to drink, and any fantastic shots can be imposed on them at the discretion of others participating in the game.
  6. Never take more than two drinks while your turn rolls around unless instructed otherwise by the thumb master. Drinking excessively will lead to exclusion from the game, so avoid it at all costs. The exact punishment for excessive drinking depends on the seriousness determined by other players participating in the game accordingly (e.g., loss of turns, extra roll).

Exciting Variations of the 3-Man Drinking Game

Here are some variations of the three-man drinking game:

Playing with Cards or Dice

Adding cards or dice to your three-person drinking game can be fun and exciting. You must have the necessary materials to incorporate either, such as a standard deck of playing cards or a pair of regular 6-sided dice. 

Many popular card games, including Egyptian Ratscrew, War, and Blackjack, can become three-person games.

Re-work the rules for rolling and drinking when using dice. Generally, when one person rolls first, they must drink if they roll two lower than six. 

The roller may also call out their exact role if two of the same number are rolled with both dice. For example, if 6-6 is rolled, they may call “doubles,” and each player drinks from their cup except the roller. 

After all, players have taken a drink from their cups. The roller passes the die to the next player in a clockwise rotation until someone rolls an eleven or twelve, which marks the end of the round and changes the Three Man (or Thumb Master). 

Alternatively, if one of them rolls three, they pass off one of their cups (which denotes them being Three Man) to an unsuspecting player who must take its contents in one swallow before passing on the dice again.

Combining different games with the three-person game can create interesting strategies that add the possibility for reward or penalty depending on specific rolls or combinations you make during your turn. Regardless you should all remember to drink responsibly!

Incorporating Penalties or Challenges

One way to make the 3-Man drinking game more exciting is to include penalties or challenges. 

For example, if you roll doubles, the roller becomes the “thumbmaster” and can put their thumb on the table anytime. The last person to do it must take a drink or face an added penalty, such as coming up with a new rule for the game. 

Also, when someone rolls a three, all players must take a hat from the center of the table. The person who grabs the last one has to drink from an agreed-upon container each turn of play until another three are rolled.

These challenges can add fun and silliness to the game. Still, you should be aware of potential risks associated with binge drinking and excessive alcohol consumption when playing drinking games like this. 

Remember, excessive alcohol consumption leads to long-term damaging consequences for health, including liver cirrhosis, high blood pressure, and certain types of cancer.

Combining with Other Drinking Games

Combining the “thee man” drinking game with other drinking games is a great way to add variety and excitement to the game. 

Several popular drinking games work well when combined with 3 Man. Examples are Friends and Enemies, Fuzzy Duck, and Irish Snap.

The benefits of combining games are: 

  • Adds variety to keep players interested for more extended periods
  • Create unique combinations tailored toward specific occasions
  • Combine house rules from different popular drinking games
  • Creates a platform for spontaneous rule changes throughout gameplay

Examples of rule modifications when combined with other drinking games:

  • An additional drink must be taken if doubles are rolled in either game while playing both together.
  • The player taking their turn must complete two turns instead of one if they roll the same combination on both dice (example 4 + 4).
  • Instead of rolling two dice at once, you can choose which dice rolls apply as part of each round depending on what combination was rolled.

Adjusting the Number of Players

In addition to creating custom rules, the Three-Man drinking game can be adapted by changing the number of players. 

Increasing or decreasing the number of participants alters how intensely the game will run and its overall difficulty level. 

Knowing when and how to adjust the player count will ensure more exciting gameplay for all players.

Here are some examples of how adjusting the number of players affects the game:

  • Fewer Players: With fewer participants, it is possible to complete multiple rounds in a limited time or limit the amount each person must consume per round.
  • More Players: Adding more players requires increased focus and skill on behalf of the participants to finish each round. The rollers may also need to complete more rolls, as there is a long distance around the table.

The number of players also directly impacts which variation can be played successfully. Namely, at least three people are required for an official game to begin, and if only two people are participating, cards should replace dice instead. 

Of course, if your group exceeds twelve people, it might be best to separate into smaller teams and break into rounds rather than continuing with one large-scale game. 

Knowing when and how to adjust your player count appropriately is a critical strategy in becoming a master of the Three-Man drinking game.

Take Pleasure in the 3-Man Drinking Game

The “three man” drinking game is lively and engaging, adding an element of chance and excitement to any gathering. 

Simple rules and interactive gameplay create opportunities for laughter, camaraderie, and friendly competition among the participants. 

However,  remember to play this game responsibly and be mindful of alcohol consumption limits. Ensuring everyone is safe and comfortable is vital to having a good time.

Dan Smullen Beer is my life profile

Hi, I'm Dan, founder of BeerIsMyLife. I've been an avid homebrewer for over ten years, and beer is my true passion. I've traveled all over the world, visiting breweries, tasting beer, as well as making my own batches. I set up this blog to share that experience with you.