These are the Canasta rules as defined by 'Hoyle's Rules of Games'.


  • Your goal is to beat your opponent by scoring more points. You score points by melding cards, and making as many canastas as possible. A canasta is a meld of at least seven cards of the same rank.
  • Each player starts with 15 cards in hand. Yours are visible at the bottom of the window.
  • Both players take turns in drawing one card from the stock, and discarding one card on the discard pile (in that order). Both players take turns in drawing the first card.
  • After drawing a card, a player may meld cards if (s)he wants to. Cards are melded in columns of at least three cards; e.g. you can meld three Kings, or four Fives. You cannot meld sequences like Four-Five-Six. Once a card has been melded, it cannot be taken back into the hand (except with the Undo meld option).
  • When a player has melded his cards, he ends his turn by discarding a card. At that point, his melded cards are checked to see if they conform to the canasta rules. Discarding a card is not necessary if the player can go out by melding all of his cards.
  • Instead of drawing a card from the stock, a player may take the entire discard pile. However, this is only allowed if he can directly meld the top card.
  • A hand is over when one of the players has no cards left in his hand, or when there are no cards left on the stock. The scores of both players are then computed, and a new hand is dealt. A player can only finish a hand when he has at least one or two canastas, depending on the setting of the corresponding option.
  • A canasta match is over when one of the players reaches 5,000 points.


  • If a rank is melded, it must contain at least three cards on the table.
  • It is possible to add a wildcard to a column of cards of any rank on the table. The wildcard is then seen as a card of that rank (but the value remains unchanged). However, there may never be more wildcards than natural cards within one meld.
  • At the beginning of a hand, the top card of the stock is automatically turned around and placed on the discard pile. If this card is a Red Three or a wildcard, the procedure is repeated until the top card of the discard pile is neither a Red Three nor a wildcard.
  • When a new hand is dealt, the hands of both players are checked to see if they contain a Red Three. If there is one, that Three is then automatically melded, and an extra card is dealt to the hand out of which it came. This procedure is repeated until neither player has any Red Threes left in his hand.
  • Black Threes may not be melded, except when the player can go out by melding a column of three or four Black Threes. These Black Threes must then be the last cards to be melded.
  • The discard pile can be frozen by discarding a wildcard or a Red Three. A freeze is indicated by brackets [.] and means that both players are only allowed to take the discard pile if they can meld the top card using only the cards in their hand, as if they had no cards on the table. For example, if the discard pile is frozen and the top card is a Seven, the pile may only be taken if the player has two Sevens in his hand, even though he has a column of three Sevens on the table. Also, no wildcards may be used in melding: if he has one Seven and a wildcard in hand - instead of two Sevens- he may not take the discard pile.
  • If you have taken the discard pile but discover that you cannot use the top card, you can restore the pile by clicking on it. This carries a penalty of 50 points.
  • It is never allowed to take the discard pile when the top card is a Black Three, a Red Three or a wildcard. Thus, Black Threes can be used to freeze the pile for a single turn.
  • The first time a player melds cards in a hand, their value must be at least a certain minimum. When a player goes out in one turn ('goes out concealed'), this requirement does not apply.
  • A player can only go out when he has at least one or two canastas, depending on the 'Canastas needed to go out' setting. If a player has less than this number of canastas, and only has one card left that he should discard, he has to 'pass the discard', i.e., he does not discard that last card.
  • Taking a discard pile that only contains one card is never allowed if you only have one card in your hand.
  • When there are no more cards on the stock a special situation occurs:
    • 1. If the discard pile is not frozen and you can add the top discard to one of your melds, you must take that top discard. Only that card is removed from the pile; you do not receive the rest. You must discard normally.
    • 2. If you can take the discard pile in the normal way, you may. You must discard normally.
    • 3. If you can do neither, press the 'End Hand' button that appears in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. You do not have to discard.

Scoring: Card Values and Bonuses

The cards have the following point values:

Four, Five, Six, Seven, Black Three5
Eight, Nine, Ten, Jack, Queen, King10
Deuce, Ace20
Red Three100

The following bonuses are awarded:

  • A mixed canasta is worth 300 points, a natural canasta 500 points, and a wildcard canasta 1,000 points.
  • The player that goes out gets a bonus of 100 points. If this player had no cards (except Red Threes) on the table directly before going out ('goes out concealed'), this bonus is doubled to 200 points.
  • If a player has all four Red Threes on the table, their score of 400 points is doubled to 800 points.
  • If a player goes out and his opponent has melded nothing but Red Threes, the value of those Red Threes is deducted from his opponent's score.

Total Score

At the end of a hand, the total score is calculated as follows:
  1. The sum of the values of the cards on the table forms the initial score value.
  2. Bonuses for canastas, going out and Red Threes are added to the score.
  3. The values of the cards in hand are deducted from the score.
However, if you have selected Yes in the 'Canasta required for positive score' option, this calculation is only valid if you have at least the number of canastas as it is shown in the 'Canastas needed to go out' setting! If not, a negative score results consisting of the sum of the values of the cards in your hand and on the table. It is therefore always wise to get a canasta quickly, so that you don't run the risk of holding a large collection of cards if your opponent goes out. If you have selected No, the above does not apply.


The first time in a hand that a player melds cards the sum of their values must be at least a certain minimum. This minimum depends on your current score in the following way:

Less than 015
From 0 to 149550
From 1500 to 299590
3000 or more120


  • The values of any Red Threes never contribute to the required minimum. Canastas contribute only if the corresponding option is enabled.
  • If you turn off the option Top card counts for initial meld, you must add the value of the top card to the minimum needed when taking the discard pile. E.g., if the minimum is 50 and you took an Ace from the pile, you must have 50 + 20 = 70 points on the table to get the rest of the pile. The value of the Ace is thus not counted toward the 50 point minimum.
  • If you took the top card of the discard pile but you discover that you cannot use it, you can put it back by clicking on the pile again. This carries a penalty of 50 points.
  1. Parker Brothers Canasta Cards
  2. Canasta Cards Images
  3. Canasta Cards With Points On Cards
  4. Canasta Cards Game

Canasta is a unique South American card game of melds and strategy, and a member of the Rummy card family. It was introduced to the United States in 1949, having started in Uruguay. Within a few months, Canasta became an overnight sensation. For the next several years it was the #1 card game in America. Bridge players, in particular, were enthralled with this new game. The United States Playing Card Company (Bicycle) manufactured special edition decks. All kinds of thematic souvenir products were distributed–including coffee mugs, ash trays, place mats, key chains and other trinkets. Variations on the rules and structure of the game then followed. After a 10-year run, the interest gradually waned and traditional games such as Hearts, Spades, Bridge and Poker regained popularity. Canasta (which means “basket”) still has a loyal following. A similar game called “Hand and Foot” (see separate article) has attracted attention. Canasta is also played online at various sites. Here is the way to play this Classic game.

2. PAIRS: This is the most popular variation. Four players in two partnerships are required to play the basic game. Variations for 2 to 5 players are also popular. Two regular decks of cards and four jokers are combined into one deck. Partnerships may be determined by drawing cards or by prearrangement. The deck is shuffled and cut and 11 cards, face down, are dealt to each player. The undealt deck (called the “stock”) is then placed face down in the middle of the table and the top card is turned over. If the top card is a Joker, Deuce or Three, it must be returned to the stock and a new upcard drawn until a “Natural” card appears. The opponent to the left of dealer plays first and draws a card.



Canasta is played with two full decks of cards, including two Jokers from each deck totaling 108 cards. The main object of the game is to outscore the opposing team, or players. Points are scored by forming melds - combinations of three or more cards of the same rank, with or without the help of wild cards. Online canasta card game; a card game for two players or two pairs played with two decks of cards; the goal is to make melds of seven cards of the same rank Features: live opponents, game rooms, rankings, extensive stats, user profiles, contact lists, private messaging, game records, support for mobile devices. Bicycle® Playing Cards Canasta Set includes unique, value-added card faces with point values on each card, plus highlights on WILD cards. Canasta games play fast and are full of exciting twists. Players attempt to make melds of 7 cards of the same rank, and “go out” by playing all cards.

Each Joker=50 Points
Each Deuce or Ace=20 Points
Each King, Queen, Jack, 10, 9 and 8=10 Points
Each 7, 6, 5 and 4=5 Points
Each Black Three=5 Points
Each Red Three=100 Points

Parker Brothers Canasta Cards

Note: Jokers and Deuces (of all suits) are “Wild.” All other cards are designated as “NATURAL” cards.

Red Threes are “bonus” cards. If a players is dealt any red Threes, he must place these cards face down on the table before the hand commences and replace them from the stock. Subsequently, any player who draws a red Three from the stock (or by picking up the “pile”) must place the red Three on the table. If a team makes no melds when the hand is over, the point value of the red Three is deducted from their score. If any player does not drop a red Three at first opportunity, he is penalized 500 points!

Bonus texas holdem. 4. OBJECT OF THE GAME
Points are scored by completing Melds and collecting Bonus cards. The typical game will have several deals. The point limit is determined prior to the start of the game. The standard limit is 5,000 points; this may be changed by mutual agreement.

Melds (or “sets”) are made up of three or more cards of the same RANK, including wild cards. Sequences, as in Rummy, do not count in the standard game. A Meld must have AT LEAST TWO NATURAL cards and NEVER more than three wild cards. Black Threes are melded only when a player is going out of the hand. Finally, melds are counted ONLY if they are on the table (exposed).

The initial meld of the hand must equal the designated point requirement for that hand. Remember, the individual cards have their own point VALUES. These are added together. The minimum count required for each team depends on their score prior to the deal in progress.

Here is the table:
Negative or Minus Score=0 Points
0 to 1499=50 Points
1500 to 2999=90 Points
3000 (or more)=120 Points

Canasta Cards Images

The partnership plays as a Team. All melds and red Threes are placed in front of one member of each team. After making melds during a turn, a player then discards one card on to the discard pile. Players may drop cards onto their partner’s melds as long as said melds are on the table. Player MAY NOT drop cards onto their opponents’ melds.

Canastas are melds with seven or more cards of the same rank. A partnership must have at least ONE Canasta in order to go out. There is Bonus for each Canasta. Natural Canastas (no wild cards) are worth 500 points and mixed Canastas (with wild cards) are worth 300 points.

Any cards left in a player’s hand are subtracted from their side’s score. A player must always meet the minimum point requirement for his side’s first meld. Illegally melded cards will result in a 100-point penalty. A side may not pick up or take the discard pile until they have completed their first meld.

A side may use the top card of the discard pile to make their first meld. The pile is said to be “FROZEN” if it is topped by a black Three or a wild card. Other cards are then discarded on top of the pile. The pile remains frozen until a player holding a natural matching pair takes it. The pile can always be refrozen by dropping a black Three or another wild card.

Canasta Cards With Points On Cards

When a player discards his last card by melding or dropping a card onto the pile, he “goes out,” meaning the hand ends and the deal is scored. His side must have at least one Canasta on the table.
There are Bonuses that apply here:
Going out=100 points
Each red Three=100 points
Each natural Canasta=500 points
Each mixed Canasta=300 points

Points which remain in the partner’s hand are subtracted from the points claimed for melds and bonus cards. It is possible for a team to have a minus score. There is a lot of strategy in this game. The idea is to create as many different melds as possible. Taking the pile is usually good technique; however, it may backfire if you get stranded with a fistful of penalty points for cards in your hand!

This article is only a primer on this fascinating and complex game. I suggest that you reference one of many published books on the game. As stated above, Variations for 2 to 5 players are popular and worth exploring. Check out these (related) games at your convenience:
Pennies From Heaven
Hand and Foot
Mexicana Canasta

Canasta Cards Game

Written By Joseph Andrews, Spnosored and Copyright Newt’s Games & Playing Cards
No unauthorized reproduction.

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