Playing a Round of Canasta

Determining the dealer:

To determine the dealer, deal out one card to each player until someone gets a Wild Card.They become the Dealer.

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Example of determining the Dealer

Dealing:

The dealer deals the hand to each player: He picks from the pile enough cards to deal out 15 per person. If the dealer gets the correct amount of cards (can include card to lay face-up in discard pile or not) .....……. 100

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Example of Dealing

If the face-up card is a Wild Card or a Red Three it must be covered with another card.

The dealer's partner deals out the foot: 10 cards to each player to be placed around the pick-up and discard piles. The partner is dealing for the dealer, so the first pile he deals goes to the player to the left of the dealer, as if the dealer had dealt it.

Discard Pile, Draw Pile and each "Foot" surrounding them
Discard Pile, Draw Pile, and each players "foot" surrounding them.

Play begins: with player on left-hand side of dealer.

To play a turn you have two choices:

(1) Draw two cards from the top of the Draw Pile. This is the typical play for each turn.

(2) Pick the pile: To do this the player must have at least 2 matching cards in his hand to the top card of the discard pile (by number, not by suit), and he must be able to lay down these two cards with the top card of the discard pile. He then can use any cards from the picked-up pile to along with cards from his hand to build canastas for his team. This is a very desirable thing to do in the game of Canasta as it really boosts your overall score. However, there is a caution: watch out for those black threes!

Every black three is worth 100 points against you at the end of the game and you can only discard one per turn. If you pick up five black threes in the pile, it will take you that turn and four more turns to be rid of them all – and you will not be able to get into your foot until you do. If however you are already in your foot, you need not worry about that.

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Example of Picking the Pile
Note: more times than not, it is to your advantage to pick the pile – especially if it is “juicy” (loaded with cards for you to build canastas with)!

To end your turn: discard ONE card at the end of your turn on the discard pile.

Note: you MUST discard for every turn – even when you are going out!

To open:

(1) Round ONE: 50 point open
(2) Round TWO: 90 point open
(3) Round THREE: 120 point open
(4) Round FOUR: 150 point open
(5) Round FIVE: Canasta open

A player can open only when he or she has the amount of points designated by round in his hand. If he chooses to pick the pile the top card alone from the pile can contribute by point-value (or toward the opening canasta in round FIVE) toward the required amount for the opening of the round.

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How to count points while "Opening"

Once opened, either partner can play onto the table, building canastas.

Building Canastas: One of the partners is designated to build the canastas, the other the book for their team.

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.

To begin a canasta, a player is required to lay down three of a kind or two naturals and a wild. Only one wild is allowed per canasta.

RED canasta is a pure canasta – all naturals/no wilds…………………………… 500
BLACK canasta is a canasta with six naturals and one wild card……………….. 300

Note this playing convention: once you have six cards in your canasta, push it into a pile with either a red card on top or a black card on top, depending whether it is a red or black canasta. This lets your partner know that there is a wild card already in the black canasta or that he can add a wild card to the red if he needs. It indicates the value of the canastas – as reds are worth more than blacks – and allows you to have a sense of which cards you are looking for in your game to best add points to your score.

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Organizing your Canasta

Once a canasta is built (all seven cards are laid), move it to the player who is “building the book”.

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Finishing your Canasta

Note: As much as the cards allow you to do so, put your effort into building your book first (a canasta of
sevens, of wilds, a red, and a black). Place subsequent red and black canastas in two piles: one for the reds one for the blacks for easy counting at the end of the round.

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How to Organize your "Book"

Special cards:

RED THREE: If you are dealt a red three or if you draw a red three, it goes to the partner who is building the book. He creates a pile of red threes to add them up easily at the end of the game in your general points. Draw another card to replace the red three.

(Note: if the red three comes from your foot, you place it in your pile of red threes for points, but you do NOT get to replace it).

Remember: a Red Three is worth ….………………………………….......................................…... 100

BLACK THREE: Is used to freeze the pile………………..............................……………(Demerit) -100

At the end of the game each black three in your hand or foot counts 100 points against you, so you want to use them before the end of the game. But use them wisely – as they will allow you to freeze the pile and prevent the person to your left from being able to pick the pile … and as the game goes on that pile can get good and “juicy” – loaded with cards for building canastas and earning your team points!

Canastas can NOT be made of threes (Red or Black).

Getting into your FOOT:
Once all the cards are used up from the hand the player can go into his foot:

If the player must discard, he must wait until next turn to play from foot.
If the player need not discard, he can continue the play from the foot.

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Example of How to get into your "Foot"

Note: Red Threes do not get replaced from foot, but still count for 100 points.

Going out: The round ends when one member of one of the teams goes out (having built their book and having gone through his foot – no need for the partner to be in the foot) or when pick-up deck runs out.

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Example of How to "Go Out"

If someone actually goes out they get the “Going Out” bonus…………..................................…….. 100

(Note: to “Go Out” you have to have a discard. If you can’t discard, you can’t “Go Out” and you’ll have to keep a card in your hand and the game continues as usual.)