Mexican Sweat

Mexican Sweat is a simple poker game that turns poker on its head—instead of betting based on what you think your opponents have and what you know you have, you know exactly as much information about both your hand and your opponents’ hands as they do, which isn’t everything! We’re not entirely clear on what, if anything, this game has to do with Mexico, although the “sweating” is very clear: the suspense while worrying about whether a kill card will pop up next can definitely get you sweating!

Object of Mexican Sweat

The object of Mexican Sweat is to have the best five-card poker hand, out of seven cards, without having a kill card in your hand.

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Setup

Mexican Sweat, like most poker games, requires a 52-card deck of playing cards. We recommend Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards—should your players take the game’s title literally and sweat on the cards, it will be pretty gross, but it won’t ruin the cards. Prior to beginning play, all players should agree on ante or blinds, and betting limits, or lack thereof.

All players ante or post blinds. Deal seven cards face down to each player. Players may not look at their cards. If any player prematurely looks at their cards, they are out of the hand and any ante or bet they have placed into the pot is forfeited. Two further cards are dealt to the center of the table. The first is designated as the kill card—any hand with this card is killed and not eligible to win the pot. The second is the card to beat.

Game play

The player to the left of dealer plays first. They begin flipping cards from their hand face up, one at a time, until they are able to beat a high-card poker hand consisting of the card to beat. For example, if the card to beat was a 7, the player would have to turn up an 8 or higher, a pair of any rank, a flush, etc. Merely tying the card to beat does not actually beat it. After the player has successfully beaten the card to beat, the player immediately stops revealing cards, and a betting round begins, led by the active player. After the betting concludes, the next player to the left begins revealing their hand, but instead of going for a higher hand than the card to beat, they are attempting to beat the exposed portion of the hand of the player preceding them.

If, at any time, a player exposes a card of the same rank as the kill card, they immediately stop revealing cards: their hand is killed and they can no longer win the pot. If a player has exposed their entire hand and is unable to beat the preceding player, or if they reveal a kill card, the betting round is started by the preceding player (or, if the first player to play reveals a kill card, the dealer).

Game play continues until only one player remains, due to all other players getting killed or because they cannot beat the preceding player. This player takes the pot.

Variation

If you feel unsatisfied with the relative lack of knowledge that vanilla Mexican Sweat leaves you with, allow players to peek at one card (usually their last card) prior to the first player revealing a card. This gives the player a small amount of information as to whether the player will be able to make a hand, or allows them to get out cheap if they know they have a kill card.

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