What Are the Rules in Playing the “Hand and Foot” Card Game?

The Hand and Foot card game follows a specific set of rules that includes the playing of both a “hand” pile of cards and a “foot” pile of cards. Once the hand pile is used, the foot pile comes into play. The object of the game is to use all cards in configurations called “melds.”

This game is most commonly played in two teams of two players. Each player gets a full deck of shuffled cards. A member of one team deals 11 cards to each player. These 11 cards are known as the hand stack. The other member of the team then deals another 11 cards from his deck. These 11 cards are known as the foot stack. From there, dealing moves clockwise.

Cards in the hand-and-foot stacks are used by creating “melds.” A meld is made up of three to seven cards that are equally ranked. Once three cards of a meld are put down, either member of the team can add to it. Once it has seven cards, it becomes a “closed pile.” A “red pile” is a meld that contains no wild cards. A “black pile” is a meld that contains wild cards.

The remaining cards are placed in the middle and form a stack. Cards from the foot stack are put aside until the hand stack is empty. Each player, beginning with the original dealer, draws two cards from the stock, tries to add cards to a meld, then discards one card into a discard pile.

Each game is four rounds long, and in each round, the target value for a meld increases. During round one, the meld must be 50 points or greater. This target increases in round two to 90 or greater, then 120 or greater, and finally, 150 or greater for each following round. Card values are as follows: Jokers = 50 points (wild card); deuces = 20 points (wild card); aces = 20 points; eight through king = 10 points; four through seven = five points; red three = minus 300 points; and black 3 = minus five points

The game ends when one partner has completed two red piles and two black piles, played at least part of a turn from his foot pile and received permission from his partner to “go out.” For a partner to go out, he must meld all but one of his cards and put the remaining card in the discard pile.