Terms for Canasta

Canasta: a set of seven cards all “of a kind” each with the same number or face card.

A Red Canasta: is a “pure” canasta – all naturals/no wilds, worth 500 points. Red does NOT refer to the color of the suits of cards, but rather to the “pure” nature of the canasta with NO wild card present. These canastas are collected and piled with a red card (heart or diamond) on top so that they are easily identifiable for their value as red canastas.

A Black Canasta: is a canasta with six naturals and ONE wild card, worth 300 points. Only one wild card is allowed per black canasta. Once again, black does NOT refer to the color of the suits of cards, but rather to the “tainted” nature of the canasta by the presence of one wild card. These canastas are collected with a black card (club or spade) on top so that they are easily identifiable for their value as black canastas.

Book: four specific canastas together which are required for your team to have before going out.

Red Canasta……………………………………………………………….. 1000
Black Canasta…………...………………………………………………… 1000
Canasta of Sevens……………..………………………………………….. 1000
Canasta of Wildcards…………..…………………………………………. 1000

Each of these is like a “page” of your book.
If you get all four pages of your book you get a bonus…………………… 1000

Note: A completed book is worth ………..................……………….…. 5000

“To Book”: this is the expression used, when a team has “booked” – created a complete book – in a round.

The Hand: is the set of 15 cards dealt out to each player at the beginning of a round. A player must play through his hand before he can “get into his foot”.

The Foot: is the set of 10 cards dealt out to each player at the beginning of a round and is set out in front of the player, beside the draw and discard piles. The player can “get into his foot” once he has first played out all the cards from his hand.

Partners: each player has a partner who sits opposite of him at the table. They work together to build their canastas and books and to score points.

Four-Hand Canasta: this is a game that involves four players. There are therefore two teams of two players, who are called partners. There will be one deck per player used – therefore a total of four decks of cards (complete with two jokers) will be used.

Six-Hand Canasta: this is a variation of Canasta to allow for extra players in the game, such that six people can play. There are therefore two teams of three players. They sit alternating members of each team side by side around the table. In other words, you never sit beside your teammate. There will be one deck per player used – therefore a total of six decks of cards (complete with jokers) will be used.

First Dealer: is determined by first wild card dealt out.

Card Values:

4-7......................………….….………………………. 5
8-K ……………………….….………………………. 10
2 & Ace …...……………...…...............……………. 20
Joker ……………………….………………………... 50
Red 3 ……………………………….……………….. 100
Black 3 ………………………….………...(demerit): -100

Wild Cards: are jokers and deuces (2s) … there are a total of 2 jokers per deck and 4 deuces per deck. Therefore when playing Four-Hand Canasta there will be a total of 24 wild cards, as there is one deck per player. In Six-Hand Canasta there will be a total of 36 wild cards.

Sevens: are important cards as you need to build a canasta of sevens for your book. Remember there are only 16 sevens altogether in a game of Four-Hand Canasta. With each team trying to build a canasta of sevens, 14 sevens are required. It is not uncommon to NOT be able to book because you did not get your canasta of sevens. Be careful NOT to discard a seven by accident – you may be handing over the game to your opponents! (When playing Six-Hand Canasta you have a little more flexibility as there are an extra 8 sevens to contribute toward the cause!)

Draw Pile: these are the cards remaining after both the hand and the foot have been dealt out. They are placed in the middle of the table, face down, and are used to draw cards from throughout the play of the game. If no player has gone out and the draw pile runs out of cards, the game is over and both teams count up their scores as usual. On each turn a player can choose to draw two cards from the draw pile or “pick” the pile – which refers to the discard pile.

Discard Pile: these are the cards that are discarded. The discard pile sits in the middle of the table, next to the draw pile. On each turn a player MUST discard. If he has no discard, he must replay his cards so that he will have a discard – because unless he is able “to go out” he cannot go out of cards in his hands.

“To open”: is the expression used when either partner is able to lay out enough points “to open” their game and to therefore begin to build canastas. Once a team is open, either partner can lay out cards on their team’s canastas.

“To go out”: a team must be “booked” and the player must have gone through his foot in order to go out. His partner need not be in his foot. In order to go out a player is required to discard. If he has no discard, he must retain a card in his hand – and therefore he can not go out – and the play continues on to the next player.