Basic information to Canasta

Canasta can be played between two and six players. With up to three players each player plays against each other. With four you form two parties. If there are five players, one must always sit out. To six either two or three parties play against each other. With a three party, however, always one must sit. So canasta is best to play with two or four players. You need two card games for 55 cards. The best way to determine the parties is to draw. Deuces and jokers do not count.

The cards are dealt individually. With two players each player receives 15 cards, with three 13 and with four only 11 cards are distributed per player. The remaining cards are dealt in the talon. His top card is revealed and placed next to the pile.

Canasta is played with 2 * 52 cards and 4 Jokers. Canasta is actually a 4 player game, with 2 players always forming a partnership. They always sit opposite each other as it is in Bridge (N-S and O-W).

Goal of the game:

Together with your partner, you must try to be the first to reach the total score of 5000 before you reach your opponents. Of course, the advantage should also be as large as possible.

In the 4-man game, each player receives 11 cards.

Only sets with the same card value can be laid out. Sequences/sequences, as they are allowed in Romme, are forbidden in Canasta. Such sets of three or more cards are called “messages”. For each message of a card value a maximum of 8 cards are available. In contrast to the Rommè, single card values may also be present twice. For the first report, certain minimum scores must be reached, which we will discuss in more detail later.

Wild card

This includes all 2s and the Joker cards. You can replace any missing card in a message. For example, if you only have 2 Jacks, you can interpret this message by adding a wild card to it. Please note, however, that the wild cards (Jokers) may never be in the plural in a message. 3 natural cards with 4 jokers are not allowed.

Counting values of the cards

Each card value has a point value:

each Joker 50 points
each two and each ace 20 points
King, Queen, Jack, Ten, Nine, Eight 10 Points
Seven, six, five, four, black three Five points

The 3’s are an exception here.

The first report

At the very first entry of a player (party) he must lay out at least 3 cards belonging together and he must reach a certain minimum score. The minimum score of a party depends on the points account. The minimum score at the beginning of a game series is 50 points.

After the first registration, usually in the course of the game further cards are laid out. At the end of the game all values are added and with the additional bonus points for special achievements the score is calculated. Only the card values in the hand are then deducted.

Depending on the current score of a team, its first entry must be of different value:

Minus 15 points
0 – 1495 50 points
1500 – 2995 90 points
3000 and more 120 points

If the top card is taken from the pile, the following must be observed. For the first report, only the top card of the discard pile counts. Further minimum card values must come from the hand and be laid out. Only then may the discard pile be robbed.

Further messages

After a player’s initial entry, a player may, if it is his turn, add cards to an entry or place new entries on the table. Each entry must consist of at least 3 cards. In the 4-person game only one of the partners has to pass the hurdle of the first entry. Both partners then only have joint entries. Cards to the opponent’s entries may not be dealt.

However, nobody is forced to lay out cards if he does not want to. But when the opponent ends the game, the cards in the hand are counted as minus values.

The goal of the game is to form as many “Canasta” as possible and to get bonus points for them.


Canasta is a message with 7 cards. If a Canasta does not contain any wild cards (i.e. it consists only of natural cards), you receive 500 additional bonus points. The card values count of course extra.

If there are wild cards in the Canasta, one speaks of a “mixed” Canasta. This is easier to achieve and is therefore rewarded with only 300 bonus points. A maximum of 3 wild cards may be in a Canasta.

If a party has a Canasta, it can end the game, but it can also continue.

On a finished Canasta, cards may be added if the following is observed:

a) With a natural Canasta only the missing card may be put on, so that it remains natural.

b) If a wild card is placed on a natural canasta, it automatically becomes a mixed canasta that earns fewer bonus points.

c) A mixed Canasta always remains a mixed one, no matter what is created. More than 3 wild cards are not allowed.

It is also not allowed to make 2 mixed canastas out of one natural canasta. This would theoretically be possible (4 natural cards and 3 jokers).

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