Canasta is a card meld game where the goal is to "go out" with the most accumulated meld points.
When at least one of the players accumulates 5000 points, the match is over, and the player with the highest score wins.
The game uses two regular decks of cards including the two jokers, for a total of 108 cards. The eight twos and four jokers are treated as wild cards.
In two player Canasta, each player is dealt 15 cards. In four player, each player is dealt 11 cards.
A normal turn consists of two parts:
When it is your turn, you can either :
- Draw a card from the card deck (1 or 2, depending on the options set)
- Take the entire discard pile, IF you can use the top card in the discard pile in your meld, either by adding to an existing run that has less than 7 cards, or by creating a new run with cards from your hand and the top card is not a wild card or three.
- Meld out. Meaning, meet the minimum meld points and canasta requirements and play all the cards in your hand to your meld, without or with a discard.
Once you have draw a card from the deck or discard, you must discard a card to end your turn, unless you have only one card left, and you have not yet met the minimum requirements to go out (one or two canastas).
Cards are shuffled, and one card in the deck is put in the discard pile, face up. If the card is a "wild" card (Joker or 2), the discard pile is considered frozen, and cards are drawn from the deck till an ordinary card is revealed.
- First Player takes turn.
- Second player takes turn.
- Hand continues until either one player melds out, or there are no more cards in the deck to draw.
- Black Threes :
Threes of Clubs or Spades cannot be used for a run UNLESS, your hand contains only black threes, and you can meld out with the threes.
- Red Threes
The point value of threes of hearts or diamonds does not count towards fulfilling your minimum meld.
In Games where the player needs to go out with canastas on specific card values (Kings, sevens, etc):
Make sure that you play one wildcard at a time so that the system will allow you place the wilds where you want.