Rules for the Mexican Dice Game 21

By Andrew Todd ; Updated April 12, 2017
Two dice are required to play the game.

The game 21, also known as Mexico or Mexican, is a drinking game, often played at parties by three or more people. The object of the game is to roll a lower combination of dice than the previous roller, or deceive the players of the game into believing that combination of the dice is lower. Although the game was designed to involve alcohol, other beverages such as water, soda or juice can and should be used, as binge drinking is a very dangerous activity. Furthermore, if any players are under the legal drinking age, a non-alcoholic beverage should be consumed in place of alcohol.


To play the game, you will need two six-sided dice, a non-clear cup and at least three people. To ensure clarity over whose turn it is, sit or stand in a circle, usually around a table. To begin the game, each player rolls one die. The player roll the highest number goes first.

Playing the Game

The first player rolls both dice in the cup, then looks at the result, but does not show any other players. The player can announce the true numbers displayed on the dice, or he may lie.

Do not add the dice. In 21,the higher number is always used as the first digit. For instance, if a one and a six are rolled, the total is not seven, it is 61.

The next player must roll a lower combination of numbers than the previous roller. If the player fails to roll a lower combination, he can lie to the player whose turn to is next about the results. If that player believes that the combination is lower, then the turn is over and he rolls, attempting to obtain a lower combination than the previous roll. If he does not believe that the player is telling the truth about the value of the dice then he may look at the dice in the cup. If the player who rolled is caught lying, he must drink one-third of his drink, however if he is telling the truth, the player who looked at the dice must drink one-third of his drink.

Whenever a player drinks, the dice total resets to zero for the next turn.


When two of the same number are rolled, the combination is always more valuable, or “lower,” than combinations. For instance, two sixes will be considered lower than if a one and a four were to be rolled. If two ones are rolled (or said to have been rolled), the roller can tell any one person to drink one-third of his drink. If a two and a one are rolled, the direction of play reverses. For example, if the game is moving clockwise, it will switch to moving counterclockwise. The combination of a two and a one is called "Mexico" and gives the game its name.

Special Rules

Special rules can be set to each game, however, there are standard rules that typically apply to most games. If a die is dropped from the cup, the player dropping the die must drink. If both dice are dropped, the player must drink twice. Other drinking standards may be set for instances in which the cup is broken, a die is lost or if the player names an impossible total, such as 23 (because a two and a three would be 32). There is no set ending to the game, however one can be set, depending on the player preferences.

About the Author

Andrew Todd has been writing since 2006. He has written for the Consumer Search website and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida. Todd has a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from the University of Central Florida.