Game Rules (Traditional) for the Mexican Dice Game

Mexican Dice, also known as Mexicali, or just Twenty-one, is a fun social game based on bluff and deception, where being caught in a lie means being punished, usually by having to drink a small glass of wine, or to do some pushups.

The first player rolls the dice (shakes the phone), then peeks under the cup to see the score of the combined two dice. Only the player knows what's under the cup. The player then claims a score, for example, “forty-one”, before passing the cup carefully over to the next player. Rolls are scored by using the higher die as 10s and the lower die as 1s. For example, a roll of 3 and 5 would be 53. Doubles (e.g. 11, 22, ..., 66) are higher than 65, and what would be the lowest roll 2-1, is called a “Mexican” and is higher than 66.

The next player has two choices. If they believe the previous player, they cannot look at the result, but instead must roll the dice and MUST claim a higher scoring roll, even if it’s not true. If they don’t believe the previous player, the cup is opened, revealing the roll. Either the bluffer (previous player) or incorrect challenger (current player) loses. If you are not careful and call a non-existing roll, like 16 instead of 61, or a roll not higher than the previous player announced, you also lose.

If a “Mexican” (or 21, or however you call a game) is called, the next player has two choices. He or she may give up and drink once (since nothing is higher than 21) without revealing the cup, or challenge the Mexican and risk having to take two drinks. If the previous player lied about rolling a Mexican, then he or she drinks twice.

Please note: All sorts of agreed “punishments” are acceptable, but the loser always has the right to give up and leave the game.



There are as many variants to the game as there are names. Some play it with special rolls: 31 is called “Social” (everyone drinks, cancels all previous rolls), and 32 is called “Reverse” (the direction is changed, cancels all previous rolls).


Interesting Facts

There are exactly 21 different roll combinations, with roll 51 being in the middle from the lowest (31) to the highest (21).

If the previous player calls a 66, just drinking once might be preferable. Can you see why?

The origin of the game is not known, but a similar game Perudo was played in the ancient Inka Empire. Mexican has been around “for ages”, especially among students all over the world. It is known by various names, like Maháček in Czech Republic, or Meiern and Mäxchen in Germany.


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