Mexican Sweat

This easy and enjoyable variation on poker is played without wild cards. It is played with two to seven players and a standard deck of fifty-two cards. The objective, like all poker games, is to win money by betting strategically. There's no bluffing in Mexican Sweat because the players get to see your cards. Players should agree on a minimum bet, which is also the amount of the ante.

Each player antes, then the dealer deals seven cards face down to each player. Players may not look at their cards. If any player does look, she must match the pot as a penalty. The first player to the left of the dealer starts by turning over his top card. This first card shown automatically becomes the highest card. A round of betting occurs, in which each player pays the minimum into the pot. Since the first player turns up a card, and everyone must immediately add the minimum bet to the pot, you can choose to ante twice the minimum bet and forgo this round of betting to speed up play.

Once the betting is complete, the next player turns up his top card. If this card is higher than the previous player's, play stops and a second round of betting takes place, where each player can bet, check, raise, or fold. If this card is lower in value, the player turns another card beside the first, and so on until the hand beats the previous player's card. If, during the roll, the player turns up a pair or better, the minimum bet doubles for all players.

For example, if the previous high card was a ten and you turn over a jack, you stop and a round of betting occurs. If you turn up a nine, you continue turning over cards until you turn over one card that is higher than a ten, or you turn over another nine. You would then stop, and a round of betting would occur.

If the next player turns up all of his cards and cannot beat the previous player's hand, his turn is over, and the player to his left starts turning over his cards. No betting takes place in between turns. Either way, play continues to the next player clockwise and he has to beat the previous high hand showing on the table. For example, once a pair is shown, it has to be beaten by a higher pair, or a higher poker hand of two pair, three of a kind, and so on.

Play continues around the table to the dealer and back to the player on the dealer's left, with each player rolling his cards up to beat the hand that came before him. The game ends when all the players have rolled up their cards or when there is only one player left in the game holding the highest five-card poker hand. Play continues until all players but one have folded their cards or turned up all of their cards. The final player standing is the winner.

Rolling is when you turn up a stack of face-down cards, one at a time, for all other players to see. Rolling occurs most often in games of poker like this one, but you also see it in the kids' game War.

The variation of Midnight Baseball, or Murder, is a combination of Baseball and Mexican Sweat. The deal and play is the same as Mexican Sweat, but the wild cards and structure in Baseball are added to make the game a bit more interesting.

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