Lotería is a Mexican game of chance, similar to Bingo, but uses images on a deck of cards instead of numbers. Each player has at least one tabla, a board with a randomly created 4 x 5 grid of pictures. There are 54 different images. The caller (cantor, or singer) randomly selects a card from the deck and announces it to the players by its name, sometimes using a riddle or humorous patter instead of the name. The players with a matching pictogram on their board mark it off with a marker (traditionally a soda cork or pinto bean). The first player with four chips in a horizontal row, vertical row, square of four pattern, or the four corners, shouts "¡Lotería!" or "¡Buena!" and is the winner.

The origin of Lotería can be traced back to the 15th century in Italy, where this type of game was organized to collect funds for the poor. From there the numeric game migrated to other countries. The first loterias arrived to Mexico in the 18th century from Spain. In the beginning it was a hobby of the upper classes, but eventually it became a tradition at Mexican fairs.

Lotería cards


Playing Lotería/El juego de la Lotería by Rene Colato Lainez and Jill Arena