If you’ve come to this guide with your sombrero on, looking for something to keep your group entertained on games night, then you’ve come to the right place.
When I visited Mexico for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were often decks of cards in the middle of the tables in many cafes and coffee shops.
Throughout this guide, I will not only tell you about some of the 7 must-play Mexican card games to enjoy, but I’ll also briefly tell you how to play them.
I also thought it would be cool to look at the history behind Mexican card-playing and find out where their card-playing traditions developed.
Mexican Card Games – History
I learned recently that card playing was a Chinese pastime before other countries jumped onto the hobby.
However, in Mexico, games such as Rummy originated, and other similar games date back to the 1800s.
Many Mexican card games are played using a traditional Spanish deck of cards, consisting of only forty cards, ten of each suit, clubs, coins, swords, and cups. However, some of the games require a standard deck of 52 cards. In this guide, I will provide a mixture of both, so if you need to acquire a set of unique cards, you can pick them up on Amazon.
Now that we know a little bit of the background, let’s look at some of the must-play Mexican games you can enjoy.
Best Mexican Card Games – Most Popular
Ready for some interesante Mexicano games? Here we have listed 7 must play games for you. What are you waiting for? Let us dive right in!
This Mexican card game originates from Spain yet was influenced by a 19th-century French game called Manille.
To play this, you’ll need four players split into couples.
The game involves point-tricking; to play it, you will need a deck of 40 Spanish playing cards. The main aim of the game is to score tricks and points. Each card is worth a different amount of points. For example, the nine is worth 5 points, Ace is worth 4 points, and Jack is worth 1 point.
After the cards have been dealt, each player follows suit (if they can) even if the card is of a lower value, and the game continues until all players have no cards remaining. The player with the highest number of points at the end is the winner.
Loteria is the Spanish word for “Lottery,” though this version isn’t played quite like the lottery you’re probably thinking about. However, it does have some similarities to the bingo-style game.
I absolutely love this game because it gets the group riled up, with everyone feeling excitable with the thrill of shouting out when they.
For this game, you will need a particular set of Mexican cards with imagery of Mexican folk art and characters from the early 19th century.
To play the game, you’ll need to be on the ball, ready to spot the images on your tabla and mark them off accordingly as they are called out.
The person doing the calling out, known as the “singer,” should be trying to distract the other players by using funny puns and entertainment. (The singer can also be playing their tabla at the same time)
The game needs at least three people to play, but I always find the more, the merrier, and things get a lot more lively with a big group. Oh, and don’t forget to shout “LOTERIA” when you’ve won, or you might forfeit.
If you’re learning how to play Conquian for the first time, you will notice that the rules are very simple to that of Rummy.
For this version of the game, you will need a deck of forty cards, and this can be a standard deck with the 8s, 9s, and 10s removed or a classic Spanish deck.
To begin the game, everyone is dealt ten cards each. Any cards left over get placed in the middle of the table as the stock.
The game aims to meld eleven cards, which you do by playing out different combinations. These are based on the card on the top of the stockpile being revealed and used in the meld. As soon as the player has used all of their cards, they win the game.
4. La Viuda
La Viuda is the Mexican version of the American game Whiskey Poker, and it is a game that requires four to seven players and a standard deck of cards, including the jokers. You will also need a set of chips or something in place of chips, such as buttons or coins. These chips will be used for scoring the game.
Each player usually starts the game with two or three chips (if you’re playing for money, ensure you’ve agreed on a chip value at the start of the game). Each player is also dealt five cards, with another five being set aside as a spare hand.
Each hand type has a Spanish name, such as Quintilla (five of a kind,) Tercia (three of a kind,) and Color (flush). By the end of the round, whichever player has the worst hand donates a chip to the pool.
You’re out of the game if you lose all of your chips, and the game continues until only one player is left with chips.
5. Burro Castigado
This game is excellent for a family night because it is much more suited to younger children than some of the more complex games I have discussed.
You will need a Spanish set of cards and between four and eight players to play. The game’s rules are pretty straightforward, involving matching cards of the same value.
Whenever players can’t match their cards, they are given a letter from the word Burro! And the first person to have all the letters from the word is out of the game, and so on.
There are many variations of the Burro game, some of which are more complicated and can be adapted to adults who prefer more challenging games.
6. Ocho Loco
You may already know about this card game but under the name Crazy Eights.
The game involves trying to get a score of as close to seven as possible. However, you can not exceed this number or instantly lose.
To play the game, you will need a Spanish deck of forty cards or a standard deck of cards with the 8s, 9s, and 10s removed.
Unlike other games, where the Jack, Queen, and King are worth some of the highest points, in Ocho Loco, they’re only worth half a point. Whereas the number cards are worth whatever the card says. For example, five is worth points, four is worth four points, etc.
The game has some similarities to Blackjack in that all players are dealt one card at a time, but ask for new cards throughout the game.
The game’s main aim is to match cards using colors and numbers; different cards can be played at a particular time, but eight can be played at any point. You must get rid of all your cards as quickly as possible to win the game.
7. Mexican Poker
Mexican Poker is probably one of Mexico’s most popular and commonly played card games.
Unlike the poker game you might already be familiar with, this Mexican version uses a set of forty cards. At the start of the game, every player is dealt a hand of five cards, one of which is placed face-down.
Throughout gameplay, players take turns placing bets in phases while keeping a single card face down throughout the game. The reason for this is to add an element of risk each time a player raises the bet.
Another thing is that the jokers are used in this game, it’s treated as a wildcard, and if the Joker comes out at any time, it can only be played with Aces, Straights, and Flushes.
I enjoyed learning how to play this Mexican version of Poker and thought it made a refreshing change to Texas Hold ’em style games I’m used to.
So that is the list of the best Mexican card games you can enjoy with your friends and family on your next game night.
As I mentioned earlier, many of these games require a Spanish set of playing cards, but I have a cheat option for you if you don’t want to buy a new set. If you have a standard deck of cards lying around the house, remove the 8s, 9s, and 10s from the deck, disregarding the suits, and you can efficiently work with this.
Also, there are other variations of most of the games I have talked about, and you can put your own twist on them by adapting the rules to suit your group. You could also check out other game versions, such as Rummy, to replace Conquian.