Do you know how to play the Canasta card game? This article tells you how. Canasta is a rummy-like game that originated in the 1930s. While the rules and variations of the game were developed in Uruguay, popularity spread quickly and Canasta became the most preferred card game over other games including the Hearts and Cribbage card games. In the early 1950s, this Latino Rummy card game became standardized with a few variations and was labeled Classic Canasta. While Canasta rules will vary based on the country in which you reside and your specific preferences, most versions are similar in form and differ primarily in terms of players and points. In the paragraphs below the original Canasta card game will be discussed to give you a feel for how the game is meant to be played.
Canasta is designed to be played with four players that are playing as partners. While there are versions that can be adjusted for two and three players, the rules mentioned below will be referring to the four-player version. What you will need to play Canasta at home with your friends are two standard decks of 52 cards, and 4 jokers for a total of 108 cards. Each card is assigned a different point value. In original Canasta, the points differ from other versions like the Canasta Caliente card game. Jokers are assigned the highest point value of 50. Aces and twos are assigned 20 points each. Kings, queens, jacks, tens, nines and eights are given 10 points each. In addition, the remaining cards are assigned the lowest point value of 5.
Deuces and jokers are wild cards, while all other cards are considered natural. Wild cards in the standard game can be used to substitute for natural cards of any value. Each player participating will be dealt a pile of cards face up and a pile of cards face down. Like most games, including the Spades card game, the player on the left of the dealer will have the first turn. Going clockwise, players will draw a card from the stockpile and add it to their own face down pile without revealing what they have collected. They will then discard one card facing up for other players to see. This is where the challenge lies in Canasta because players can see what you are giving up but they cannot see what you are gaining.
The purpose of collecting and discarding cards is to create a meld. Melding means you have three or more cards of the same value or rank. Melds must be played after pick up but before discard. A meld of seven cards or higher is called Canasta. A red Canasta is when all cards are pure and natural, as opposed to a black Canasta where wild cards are used. The player that disposes all of their cards from their hand ends play. One team member must have Canasta before going out in the classic game. Although Canasta has existed for over 80 years, there are other versions of the Canasta card game like the Hand and Foot card game, and all versions are extremely popular with players of all ages.