Canasta is the most traditional and loved card game by all. It is an exciting mix of strategy, luck and skill.
Canasta, and its variations, appeals to card players of all skill levels. The game play is fast and is full of exciting twists. The rules are intricate but not difficult to follow. In fact, the accuracy of play demanded by the rules adds drama to the game.
Canasta in Spanish means “Basket”.
The principal objective of canasta is to form melds – combinations of three or more cards of the same rank – with or without the help of wild cards. (Sequences are not valid melds).
Canasta is a card game of the rummy family of games believed to be a variant of 500 Rum. Although many variations exist for two, three, five or six players, it is most commonly played by four in two partnerships with two standard decks of cards. Players attempt to make melds of seven cards of the same rank and “go out” by playing all cards in their hand.
Canasta for two players is the same as four-handed Canasta, in a two player game, each player plays for himself.
Canasta uses two complete decks of 52 playing cards (French Deck) plus the four Jokers. All the Jokers and twos are wild cards.
The initial dealer in canasta is chosen by any common method, although it should be remembered that there is no privilege or advantage to being the dealer. The dealer shuffles the pack, the player to the dealer’s right cuts, and the dealer deals out 2 hands of 11 cards to each player.The remaining cards are left in a stack in the center of the table.
The player to the dealer’s left has the first turn, and play then proceeds clockwise. A turn begins either by drawing the first card from the stock into the player’s hand or by picking up the entire discard pile. If the card drawn from the stock is a red three, the player must play it immediately and draw another card.
A player “goes out” when no cards are left after a meld or discard. A player is not permitted to go out, however, unless there’s at least one canasta.
In the game of canasta a meld comprising seven or more cards, including at least four natural cards (called a “base”), is a canasta. The side that first reaches a total of 5,000 wins a game.
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