How to Play Mexican Dice

By Contributing Writer

In the thousands of years since dice were first fashioned out of excess animal bones, dice have lost none of their ability to pass the time and lighten the wallet, from Vegas to Vanuatu. While most games of dice require an ample supply of luck, the dice game known as "Mexican dice" requires more in the way of bluffing and strategy.

Seat all of the players around the table, and have each player roll the two dice. The player with the highest roll will play first when the game begins. In Mexican Dice, the highest roll is 2:1 (also known as Mexican), followed by doubles: 6:6, 5:5, 4:4, 3:3, 2:2, and 1:1. Underneath doubles are 6:5, 6:4, 6:3, 6:2, 6:1, 5:4, 5:3, 5:2, 5:1, 4:3, 4:2, 4:1, 3:2 and 3:1.

Have the first player roll two dice, but obscure the roll underneath a cup. This player then announces the value of their roll, although they need not actually look at the results. The first player then passes the cup gently to the player on the left, so that the order of play continues clockwise. Ensure that the act of passing the cup from player to player doesn't change the roll of the dice. Disturbing the dice during a pass or challenge leads to a loss for the rolling player. If the rolling player never even looked at the roll in the first place, however, the player is free to roll again.

Have the receiving player either accept, or challenge, the value of the previous player's roll. If the roll is accepted, the player passes on the cup to the next player while announcing an even higher value. If players accidentally announce an equal or lower value, those players forfeit their turn and lose a point. Players can either roll the dice again under the cup, or pass on the original roll. If rollers announce "Mexican," however, the receiving player can only challenge or roll again. If the player rolls again, they must also announce "Mexican" before passing it on to the next player.

Continue each round until the dice are challenged. If the roll is challenged, the cup is lifted off the dice to reveal their true value. If the value of the dice proves to be less than the announced value, the previous player loses. If the value proves to be equal or greater than the announced value, the challenger loses. Win or lose, the receiving players roll the dice for the next round. Challenges that disturb the dice result in a loss for the challenger.

Continue play until a predetermined point. Players can start the game with six points, for example, and lose points until they reach zero and are booted from the game. One version has each player place a dollar bill on the table, and players fold over a corner of their dollar bill after each loss, until all of their corners have been folded. The last remaining player wins the "pot."

About the Author

Jonathan has taught astronomy to school children on California mountaintops, strapped pre-teen Syrians and Lebanese into flight simulators in Turkey, trawled for mesozooplankton on oceanographic research vessels, dispensed libations in dive bars, scrutinized disease vectors, dissected bodies, and worn a badge in the Bronx. He is, obviously, a gigantic geek.