What Are the Rules for the Canasta Card Game?


Quick Answer

Canasta requires at least four players and two standard decks of cards, including the jokers. Players play in teams and their members face across from each other. The overall objective is for the teams to score points by making melds and canastas. The basic rules for canasta are that players start with hands of 15 cards drawn from two decks mixed together to make a total of 108 cards

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What Are the Rules for the Canasta Card Game?
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Full Answer

Jokers and twos are regarded as wild cards. Special rules apply to melds made with three cards depending on which color they are.

Each player draws a card from the draw pile on her turn. One member of each team must make an initial meld. Once this is made, the team members are free to play as many melds and canastas as they would like on each turn. A player is also allowed to pick up the entire discard pile if she can use the topmost card in a meld.

Melds are at least three cards of the same rank. The one exception is a meld containing black threes, which cannot contain any wild cards and can only be melded as the last play of a hand. Canastas are a meld of seven or more of the same rank, and are allowed to contain up to three wild cards.

Cards in melds or canastas are scored individually. Jokers are worth 50 points, aces and deuces are worth 20 points, the eight through king cards are worth 10 points, and all other cards are worth five points.

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