Rules of Canasta, How to Play the Card Game


To play canasta you need to:

  • The game is played with four players forming two teams of two.
  • Two decks of 54 cards (two classic 52-card decks with two wildcards)...

How does a canasta game go?

The game of canasta starts with a deal made by the dealer. He distributes eleven cards to each player. The cards that are not dealt constitute a stock that is placed face down on the table. After each player is dealt 11 cards, the dealer turns over the first card from the stock. If the card turned over is a wild card, a red 2 or 3, the card is discarded and the dealer turns over a new card. If a player receives one or more red 3's he must exchange them for another card from the stock. These red 3 cards are bonus cards. 2's and wildcards are wildcards that can assume the role of any card in a combination. Before we play, let's look at the value of the cards in canasta.


What is the value of cards in canasta?

  • The 3 reds are worth 100 points each (hence their title of bonus card).
  • The joker is worth 50 points
  • Ace and both 20 points
  • Figures (jack, queen and king) and cards from 8 to 10 score 10 points each.
  • Cards from 4 to 7 are worth 5 points each.
  • Three black 3 cards are worth 5 points.

How the Canasta game works

Once the deal is made, the game proceeds in a clockwise direction. In each round, each player draws one card from the stock or discard pile. The card drawn from the discard pile must be used immediately to form a three of a kind or to complete an existing combination. The player places a few cards on the mat. To do this, the player's cards must complete a combination of cards that have already been laid down, i.e. they must be cards of the same rank. The player must place a minimum of three cards. For example, a player may choose to complete two queens of diamonds and a queen of hearts with two queens of clubs and a queen of spades. He can also place a wildcard (a 2 or a joker) to complete a combination called a three of a kind (3 to 6 cards) or a canasta (7 cards of the same level). Only one wildcard is allowed in a combination of up to 3 cards of the same level and 1 to 2 beyond that. The purpose of the canasta is to form combinations of seven cards of the same rank. You can add cards of the same level even if the combination of 7 is already formed, but this does not earn more points. After that, the player must discard a card and discard it. The game is over when the player has placed his last card on the discard pile, unless he has just placed his last card on the mat.


What are the 3 blacks for in canasta?

Black 3 cards are used to embarrass the opponent. If a player discards this card at the end of his turn, the next player will not be able to use the discard since it is not possible to make a combination with these cards.


How do you count the points in Canasta?

At Canasta, the values of the cards that make up the combinations made by each player are counted. Then the value of each canasta (three of a kind or 7-card combination) is added up. 300 points for an impure canasta (with one or more wildcards), 500 for a pure canasta (without wildcards), 100 points for a declared red 3, 800 for four declared red 3s, 100 points if a player leaves the table, 200 if he leaves after making a complete three of a kind 7 (canasta). Finally, there are also penalties: -100 points for the team that did not make any combination, the same thing if a red 3 in hand is not declared and -800 points if four red 3 cards in a player's possession are not declared.

How to win a canasta game

The team that wins a canasta game is the one that has reached 5000 points by accumulating its canastas. The value of the cards is added together with the value of the canastas (combination of 7 cards of the same level). A bonus of 100 points is awarded to the team that made the exit, i.e. the team that has the first player with no cards left in their hand.



Audio Video Rules of Canasta, How to Play the Card Game
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