Play Canasta online free. 2-8 players, No ads (2024)

Players: 4, as 2 teams

Summary

  • Teams score points by creating melds (sets of cards of the same rank)
  • Twos and Jokers are wild cards
  • Red Threes are played immediately and score bonus points
  • If a Black Three is on the top of the discard pile, the pile cannot be picked up. Black Threes can only be melded if the player has only Black Threes in hand
  • A canasta is a meld containing at least 7 cards. A player cannot empty their hand entirely until their team has a set number of canastas
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The Deck and Dealing

Canasta uses two standard decks, plus a set number of Jokers.

Each player is dealt a hand of 15 cards. The rest are placed in a draw pile face down.

Play

The top card of the draw pile is turned face up to begin the discard pile.

A player begins their turn by drawing a card from the draw pile. Alternatively, they may also pick up all the cards in the discard pile, if they can use the top card of the stock in a meld or lay it off immediately.

They then try to construct groups of cards called melds and lay down valid melds face up on the table in front of them. Melds are made up of at least three cards of the same value. Teams share melds and can play cards from their hand onto their existing melds. This is called laying off. Players cannot lay off on opponents’ melds.

At the end of their turn, players must discard a card from their hand into the discard pile.

The first meld a team makes in a round must have more than a certain value, determined by the team’s current score.

Initial Meld Requirement for Current Score

  • Negative Score - No minimum
  • 0 to 1495 points - 50 point minimum
  • 1500 - 2995 - 90 point minimum
  • 3000+ - 120 point minimum

Twos and Jokers are both wild cards. These cannot form their own melds, but can be used as cards of any rank in other melds.

The discard pile may also become ‘frozen’ - a frozen discard pile can only be taken by a player who already holds two cards of the same rank as the top card of the discard pile. The discard pile is frozen to a team until they lay down a meld, and is frozen to everyone if the top card is a Black Three or if there is a wild card anywhere in the pile.

Threes also follow special rules:

  • When a player draws a Red Three, they must immediately place it down with their team’s melds and draw another card to replace it. These cards score points, but do not count as a meld.
  • If a Black Three is on top of the discard pile, the pile becomes frozen. Black Threes can only be melded if the player has only Black Threes in hand

Teams require a set number of canastas laid down before they can end the round. A canasta is a meld containing 7 cards. If a team has those canastas, then the round ends when one of its members gets rid of all their cards (called ‘going out’). Until their team has the correct number of canastas, a player cannot make plays that would leave them with no cards in hand.

Scoring

Teams score points based on the cards in their melds. There are also bonus points for meeting certain conditions. The value of the cards left in hand is subtracted from the team’s score.

Each card has a points value, as follows:

  • Jokers - 50 points
  • Aces and Twos - 20 points
  • 8 to King - 10 points
  • 4 to 7 - 5 points
  • Black 3 - 5 points

Bonuses are awarded for:

  • Going out - 100 points
  • Canastas containing wild cards i.e. mixed canasta - 300 points
  • Canastas without any wild cards i.e. natural canasta - 500 points
  • Each Red Three - 100 points
  • Having 4 Red Threes - 400 points (in addition to their individual values) for a total of 800 points

Winning

The game ends when a team reaches 5000 points and the team with the most points wins. The target can also be set to 2500, 7500 or 10000 points.

Variations

Canastas Required

The number of canastas required to close a game can be set to 1, 2, 3 or 5.

Jokers

The number of Jokers in the deck can be set to 2 or 4, or they can be disabled entirely.

Canasta Strategy

Canasta is really popular in United States. You have to pay close attention to the previous melds and the top card of the stock as the game progresses. More detailed strategy coming soon...

Card Game Basics

A deck of cards consists of 52 cards, with 4 distinctive subgroups. Each of these subgroups is recognised by a symbol and are referred to as suits. They consist of Clubs, Spades, Hearts and Diamonds. Each suit contains 13 cards which, generally, are considered in this order, Ace (A), 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Jacks (J), Queen (Q) and King (K).

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Play Canasta online free. 2-8 players, No ads (2024)
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