Mexico is a fairly basic elimination-style dice game, in which Players agree to play a set number of rounds per the amount of money each Player is willing to gamble.
Players that lose a round will pay a penalty into the pot. Once they have accrued enough penalties to exhaust their reservoir of cash, they are out of the game. The final Player to remain in the game is considered the overall winner.
Mexico Dice is popular as a “pub game”. Pub games are low-stakes gambling games, usually played among a group of regulars at a bar.
How to Play Mexico Dice?
As many Players may play a game of Mexico as are willing, though there must be at least two to play.
Owing to its use as a pick-up game that can be played anywhere with a table, it has a very simple list of materials.
- All one needs to play is a pair of six-sided dice. That’s it.
- It may be beneficial to use a Pen and Paper to better keep track of scores during a round, but it is not required.
At the start of the game, each Player needs to make an agreed-upon equal wager. This wager is not, in actuality, bet entirely at the start.
Instead, this opening wager will make up each Player’s total “Life Points”. Players agree at the start of the game about this lump sum, $30 for example.
This $30 would then be broken into agreed-upon increments, such as $5. These increments can be thought of as “Elimination Wagers”.
Each time a Player loses a round, they must pay that $5 into the pot. If a Player loses 6 times, they will have exhausted their “Life Points” and will be eliminated from the game.
The last remaining Player to still have money in their original cash reservoir is the winner, and they are entitled to take the full value of the pot.
Determining Turn Order
The game begins with each Player rolling a single die to determine the initial turn order with the highest roll taking the privilege. If there is a tie, the tying players will roll between themselves until one has a higher value than the other.
This starting Player is called the “leading” Player. Each round, each Player will take one turn. The Leading Player of a round has a particular privilege.
Players roll two dice on their turn, and the sum of that dice roll is their score for the round. The lowest-scoring Player will be forced to pay their increment into the pot.
However, the Leading Player is allowed to make multiple rolls, up to three. The number of rolls taken by the Leading Player may also be taken by subsequent Players.
- So, if the Leading Player rolls only once in that round, then the following Players may only roll once.
- If the Leading Player rolls three times, then Players are entitled to make three rolls.
If Players are allowed to make multiple rolls, they are not required to. The last roll is always the one that is scored, even if a previous roll was superior, and as such multiple rolls can be risky.
After the Leading Player takes the number of rolls they wish, subsequent Players will roll and re-roll according to the Leading Player’s rolls.
Once the final Player in the Round takes their turn, and finalizes their roll, the Player with the lowest overall roll from their two dice will be considered the loser of the round, and will be forced to make an elimination wager into the pot.
The Player that lost the previous round will always lead the subsequent round, and as such will be able to determine the number of re-rolls for that round.
Rounds continue, with the Player’s opening wager diminishing as they lose rounds and are forced to pay in Elimination wagers. Once a player loses all of the money in their opening wager, they are eliminated from the game. Players are not allowed to play in another round after they lose their opening wager, there must still be money remaining in their opening wager to participate.
Ending the Game
Players are gradually eliminated throughout the game, until there is only a single Player remaining with money left in their opening wager. The game ends at this point, and that Player is the overall winner.
The overall winner takes the full value of the pot. If Players wish, they may organize a second game afterwards, with each Player putting up another equal opening wager.
Mexico is scored in two ways: rounds and overall game.
In a round, the game is scored via the value of the pips on the dice.
The dice are not added together, as one might expect. Instead, each die represents the tens and ones digit of a particular two-digit number. The higher die in the roll will always be the tens place, while the lower will be the ones place.
For example, if a Player rolls a 4 and a 5, then the player has a score of 54 for the round.
Since the higher number will always be the first digit, a score of 34 is not possible, and neither is a score of 45, 12, etc.
These numbers are compared to each other numerically, so a score of 54 is greater than a score of 53. There are two exceptions to this rule.
The “Doubles”, which would be 11, 22, 33, 44, 55, and 66. These numbers all beat the normal numbers, even if they are numerically lesser in value.
For example, a 22 will beat a 64. So, a roll of 2 and 2 will beat a roll of 4 and 6. Doubles only lose to higher valued Doubles, and the Mexico.
The Mexico is a particular roll that equals 21, which occurs when a Player rolls a 2 and 1 on their dice roll. It is an unbeatable roll, and as such a Player that rolls it can never be forced to pay an elimination wager.
If all Players were somehow able to roll Mexicos in the round, then they would be forced to restart the round.
Overall Game Scoring
The overall game itself, however, is scored using money. The value of the money remaining in your opening wager, as described above, can be thought of as your “life points” in the game. Once that money is all gone and you have hit 0, it’s game over, and you are eliminated from the game.
Score is only truly kept by the value of the pot, as this is a winner-takes-all gambling game.
The final Player to remain un-eliminated wins everything, and as such is the only person scored as a “winner.”
During a day of playing Mexico, you can say that your score is the money you left the bar with minus the money you came to the bar with.
Mexico Rules Summary
In short, the rules are as follows:
- Players roll one dice to determine the initial turn order of the first round of a game. After this, the losing Player of the previous round will always lead the next round.
- Players roll two dice on their turn to determine their score for the round. The Player with the lowest score must pay an elimination wager.
- Leading Players in a round may roll up to 3 times before finalizing their score, and other Players may roll the same number of times as the lead Player, should they wish.
- Players who have no money remaining in their lump opening wager are immediately removed from the game. They may not participate in any rounds.
- The last Player remaining who still has money in their opening wager is the overall winner, and takes the whole pot.
Suppose you are the leading Player in a game of Mexico Dice. It is the third round, and you are the last Player to roll.
- The Leading Player took two rolls and finalized a score of 32.
- The Second Player finalized a score of 43.
Suppose that you have taken your first roll, and you have:
4 and 2
A 42 is more than serviceable here, and a re-roll is not recommended. Remember, this is an elimination game, rather than a game of score per se. As such, you do not need to “win” anything in a round. Simply, you must not lose.
This 42 puts you ahead of the worst performing Player. You can’t lose at this point, even if the following Players roll more highly than you did.
Your victory is already assured for this round, simply keep the first roll. You are only placing yourself in jeopardy by rolling again.
The Leading Player has the greatest chance of winning a round
This is because the Leading Player can deny re-rolls to the other Players. Rolling an 8 on your first roll in a Leading round might seem low.
It is only 1 pip higher than the most common two-dice roll (7), but Players will be unable to re-roll if they keep it.
This means they are forced to roll only once. Since they are more likely to roll a 7 and lower than an 8 or higher, keeping this 8 and disallowing re-rolls increases your odds of winning significantly.
Always keep a double if you roll it
Even the worst Double, 11, can only lose to Doubles of a higher value (22, 33, etc). The worst Double beats any other normal roll, and only loses to Mexico and higher Doubles.
- The odds of losing a round when you have rolled a Double are very low.
- The odds of rolling better than the guaranteed Double you already had available are also very low.