Canasta was a game that was really popular around the fifties in USA, although it was really complex when compared with some Rummy games. Canasta game variations are several and different and you can play Burraco, Bolivia or Samba. Although you could play many variations, the one that you will probably meet, the original game, is known as Classic Canasta. It is the one that you need to learn first and then move towards other variations because the rules that it has are similar with all the others.
Classic canasta can be played by 2 to 6 players although in most situations 4 people are going to play and they are arranged in 2 teams. The game is played in turns. Each player will mark the start of the turn with the pick up of a card from the stock or from a discard pile. 2 players that are in the same team are never allowed to act one after the other.
2 standard 52 cards decks are used and 4 extra jokers. The cards will be shuffled before the game begins. In classic canasta jokers and 2s are both wild cards and 3s are special, based on their colors. Red Threes count as extra points or penalties while black threes can stop the following player from picking up the discard pile.
If 4 players or more will play a game they receive 11 cards each. If 3 play they will receive 13 cards and if only 2 participate 15 cards are dealt at the beginning of the game. The following card in the pack after dealing ends will be placed face up on the table in order to start a discard pile.
The object of classic canasta is to be the first player or team that reaches a specific target score. The number of games that are played are not fixed as new hands will be dealt until the target score is reached. This basically means that it is not really important to be the first one that goes out, like in other rummy games. It is recommended to mainly focus on getting as many points as possible so that the next round will see you at an advantage.
In order to score points you will need to make melds. There are two kinds of accepted melds: sets and runs. A set is a group of 3 or more cards that have the same numeric value. A run is made out of a minimum of 3 cards and features cards in successive order with the condition of having the same suit. In Classic canasta in order to be able to go out the team needs to have at least one canasta melded. A canasta is a set of 7 cards with a maximum or 3 wild cards. As the game continues there will be an extra point requirement for the initial meld that has to be made. This basically means that if your score is high the first meld will also have to be of more points. Read about Gin Rummy online – it’s a great game and fun to play!
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