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Canasta is a card game that is like rummy. It is played with two decks of cards, including jokers.
Object of the Game
The object of the game is to get 5,000 points before your opponents. You get points for making canastas (300 or 500 points), red threes (100 points each, but 800 if you get all four), and for cards melded. You lose points for cards in your hand. Usually, 4-6 hands must be played.
There are terminologies used in the game that you must know before you play:
- Meld: Players score points by forming melds, which are groupings of three or more cards of a similar rank, with or without the use of wild cards.
- Canasta: A meld of seven equal cards is called a canasta. There are two types of Canastas; one with identical cards, and the other with cards of the same colour that follow each other.
- Natural Canasta: A natural canasta is one that has seven or eight cards of the same value without any wild card. Seven or more cards of the same colour that follow each other without a wild card are also called a natural canasta.
- Mixed Canasta: Seven or eight cards of the same value with the wild card is what is called a mixed canasta. Seven or more cards of the same colour that follow each other, with a wild card, is also called a mixed canasta.
When you create a Canasta, square up the pile in a way that the top card remains visible. The pile should have a red as a top card if it’s a natural Canasta, and a black card on the top if it’s a mixed Canasta.
- Wild Cards: These are the jokers and the twos that work as wild cards in the game. They can replace a natural card in the game.
- Special Cards: The Blacks are the cards that help hinder the opponent. You can prevent the opponent from taking the discard pile when you throw this card into the discard pile. The next player will now have to draw a card from the deck (as you have blocked the discard pile). The Red cards bring bonuses to the team that owns them.
End of Game
The game ends when all cards have been drawn or a player "goes out". A player can go out if he has melded or discarded all cards in hand and has at least 500 points in canastas. When the game is ended, players get points for cards melded and lose points for cards in hand. Those points are:
- Jokers: 50 points
- Aces and 2s: 20 points
- 8, 9, 10, J, Q, K: 10 points
- 3, 4, 5, 6, 7: 5 points