Objective: The objective of Canasta is to score the highest number of points by melding cards and creating sets.


  1. Canasta is typically played with two standard decks of 52 playing cards plus four jokers, resulting in a total of 108 cards.
  2. The game can be played by two to six players, either individually or in teams of two.
  3. If playing in teams, partners should be seated opposite each other.


  1. The game begins with a initial dealer, which can be determined by any agreed-upon method.
  2. Each player is dealt a hand of 11 cards from the shuffled deck.
  3. The remaining cards are placed facedown in the center to form a draw pile.
  4. The top card of the draw pile is turned face-up next to it, creating a discard pile.
  5. The player to the left of the dealer starts the game.

Card Rankings:

  • In Canasta, the cards are ranked as follows: Aces (high), K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.
  • Jokers and 2s are considered wild cards and can be used to represent any other card.

Melding and Play:

  1. On their turn, a player can either draw a card from the draw pile or pick up the entire discard pile.
  2. To meld, a player must have a set of at least three cards of the same rank, such as three Kings or three 8s.
  3. Melds can also include wild cards, and a set can have more than three cards.
  4. Melds are placed face-up on the table in front of the player or team.
  5. After melding, the player must discard one card face-up onto the discard pile.
  6. It is not mandatory to meld immediately; players can hold onto their cards to form larger sets or go out in one turn.
  7. Once a player or team has made their initial meld, they can also add cards to their own or their partner’s melds.
  8. Jokers and 2s are not allowed in the initial meld, but can be added later.
  9. A canasta is a meld of seven or more cards of the same rank. Canastas score bonus points.
  10. Play continues clockwise, with each player taking turns melding and discarding until a player goes out or the draw pile is depleted.
  11. To go out, a player must have at least one canasta and discard their last card. This is called “going out concealed” and earns additional points.
  12. At the end of the round, players or teams tally their scores based on the value of cards melded, canastas, and bonuses.


  • The values of the cards are as follows: Aces = 20 points, K-8 = 10 points each, 7-4 = 5 points each, 3-2 = 20 points each, Jokers = 50 points each.
  • Canastas are worth 500 points if they contain only natural cards, and 300 points if they include wild cards.
  • Bonuses are earned for going out concealed, completing a canasta, or going out in one turn.


  • Keep track of the cards played and discarded to gain insight into which cards are still available.
  • Plan your melds carefully and aim to create canastas for bonus points.
  • Strategically use wild cards to complete sets and go out faster.
  • Be aware of the minimum meld requirement before you can add cards to your own
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