What are Mexican Card Games?
Mexican card games are popular amongst the public as a pastime. It is common to see the standard 52-card deck on tables in coffee shops around the country. Unlike some of the other countries we’ve covered, Mexico does not have a traditional native card game, but it definitely makes up with modern innovation. Mexican card games are often hailed as the starting point for the worldwide Rummy phenomenon.
What is the History of Mexican Card Games?
Playing cards originated in China during the Song dynasty of the 12th century, with developments being brought over to the West via trade and colonization. As European countries spread their reach across the globe, playing cards were brought along. Each country eventually gained access to the idea of playing cards as a pastime.
Mexico card games are believed to be the birthplace of western Rummy, thanks to the game of Conquian which was introduced in the early 1800s. The name can be traced to Spanish or Chinese origin, but the game itself is strongly Mexican in origin. This variation of Rummy relies on the Spanish deck of 40, with the 8,9 and 10 cards being non-present. This is discussed in further detail below.
Mexican card games’ history was not only based on the Spanish set of the time. A Mexican variation of the Spanish set was nationalized in the early 20th century, designed to be perfect for the Mexican variants of card games. However, most games can be easily adapted to use the standard 52-card deck.
List of Mexican Card Games
Conquian is the birth of Western Rummy, and the rules will be familiar to anyone with experience in Rummy games. 40-card decks are used, with the 8, 9, and 10 cards removed from the standard 52-card deck. Each player is dealt 10 cards, and the remaining cards form the stock. The goal of the game is to meld 11 cards by playing out combinations. Melds are done based on the revealed card from the top of the stock, which must be used in the meld. Once a player ‘goes out’, they win the game.
One of the most popular Mexican card games, Mexican Poker uses a 41-card deck with the 8, 9, and 10 cards removed. Each player is dealt 5 cards, with 1 card being placed face down. Players bet in phases, but one card will always be face-down, adding a layer of risk to each raise. Since the joker is present, it is treated as a wild card if dealt face-down. In the case where a Joker is dealt face-up, it can only be wild with Aces, Flushes, and Straights.
A children’s card game, Burro Castigado is played using the Spanish playing card set, which involves 40 cards. The game is designed for 4-8 players, and the goal is to get cards of the same number. Upon each loss, a player gets a letter from the word ‘burro’, essentially adding to a loss counter. Once a player completes the word, they are out of the game. Special techniques that assist players in winning are to place one’s hand down as a feint.
Malilla is a Mexican card game of point tricking. This game originates from Spain, and is inspired heavily by the French game of Manille from the 19th century. This game uses 40-card decks with the 8, 9, 10s, and jokers removed from the standard 52-card deck. The game revolves around scoring with cards in tricks, with the 7 being worth the most points. The dealer leads the first trick, and each player counters with a card following suit if possible. The game ends once all cards are played.
Also known as La Vida, this game is based on the popular North American game of Whiskey Poker. 4-7 players play using the standard 52-card pack with 2 added jokers. The name “La Viuda”, translating to “The Widow”, refers to a special chip placed in the pool, giving
Translating to “Crazy Eights”, Ocho Loco is a game about getting a score as close to 7 as possible without exceeding the value. This game is played using the standard 40-card deck, which is the 52-card deck with the 8, 9, and 10s removed. The J, Q, and K cards are worth half a point and the number cards give their values as points. Similar to Blackjack, players are dealt 1 card at a time and can request further cards.
This is a Mexican card game of chance and uses cards with pictures. The name Lotería translates literally to ‘lottery’, and the deck consists of 54 images. A player known as the singer will draw a card and announce it to the players, and the other players mark the card on their board if it exists. Similar to Bingo, a player who completes a horizontal, vertical, diagonal, or square pattern will win.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I need to play Mexican Card Games?
Mexican card games typically use the Spanish card set, which consists of 40 cards. This can be made using the standard 52-card pack by removing the 8, 9, and 10 cards from the deck.
What are the most common Mexican Card Games?
Mexican Poker is probably the most popular thanks to its fun gameplay and simplicity, though Mexican Rummy sees play on online gaming platforms.
What is the major difference of Mexican Card Games?
Due to the origins of using Spanish card decks, some Mexican card games regard the 7 as the highest card, as opposed to the King or the Ace.
Are there variations of the decks used?
Some players get the classic 40-card Spanish deck by removing the Jack, the Queen, and the King instead.
Are there variations of the games discussed above?
House rules can be applied as necessary, with some people preferring to play Siete Loco to 7.5 points instead, necessitating the draw of a picture card.