Canasta game glossary is the focus for this rummy skill games article,
part 5 at
gamerisms.The rules, scoring and strategies are included for this card
related to the rummy family.
This classic card game originating in Uruguay in the 1940s means basket
has had many followers over
During the 1950s, this card game was the most played within the Rummy
family. This Canasta Game Glossary with rules is more intricate
other Rummy games plus there are variations such as Samba,
Bolivia and Burraco among others.
Also, as most canasta players also enjoy the game of poker, there are 5
Online Poker Tips at the end of this page.
Canasta Game Glossary
The game is best played with four people who play in partnerships of
though 2-6 players can also play. Two decks with four jokers are used
that are shuffled together to form a 108 card game deck.
Note that jokers and twos or ‘deuces’ are played as wild cards while
the threes are referred to as special cards.
Canasta Game Glossary: Dealing
All the players pick a card and the one with the highest card deals
first. The dealer cuts the pack and starts dealing clockwise with the
cards face down. Each player receives a total of eleven cards if four
players are playing, if three=13 cards and for two=15 cards.
The next card is placed on the table face up to begin the discard pile
while the remaining cards form the stockpile. If the up card is a
wildcard, another card is placed on it until a non-wild card appears.
Other players must also lay out all their red threes before them face
up and pick cards from the stockpile to replace them. More about threes
or treys later.
As a standard, all the subsequent cards that are discarded during the
game are placed face up on top of the upcard so that no other discards
Goal of the Game: Canasta
The basic goal of winning for this card game is simple--you have to
achieve the highest number of points by melding your cards. This is
where the game differs from most other rummy games wherein going out
early or discarding the end card is of higher importance.
Canasta Game Glossary: Rules for Players
player sitting on the dealer’s left begins the game by drawing a
card from either the discard pile or the stockpile. After forming a
meld if possible, he/she has to then toss a card and the next player
takes his/her turn. However, this drawing action is subject to certain
rules that determine whether a player is allowed to draw or not.
Melding is much the same as in standard Rummy. Combination of three or
more cards can be formed. You are only allowed to make a set (meld
consisting of cards of the same rank) and not runs (sequences such as a
2, 3, 4) that are considered invalid in Canasta. All melds must be
placed on the table during the game.
One partnership cannot have more than one meld of the same rank. A meld
comprising totally of wild cards--jokers and deuce is also not allowed.
It must have at least two non-wild cards and a maximum of three wild
If a player has placed a set on the table, he/she may add cards of the
same rank or jokers to the meld but cannot do so to the opponent’s
melds. Finally, all the melds of a partnership are placed before one of
A meld consisting of 7 or more cards including a ‘base’ (four non-wild
cards) is referred to as a ‘Canasta’.
A pure game (all non-wild cards) receives a bonus of 500 points and
must be topped off with a red card.
A mixed game with 1-3 wild cards, earns a partnership a 300 point bonus
and must be topped with a black card.
Canasta Game Glossary: Scoring
Scoring for this card game is applied as follows:
joker=50 points, aces and deuces=20; K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8=10 each;
7, 6, 5, 4 and a black 3=5 points.
Additional points are scored as follows:
For a natural canasta=500 points; mixed=300 points
A red three is worth 100 points and all red threes count 800 points.
100 points for going out and 100 for a concealed hand.
A concealed hand is a hand when a player melds all cards in one turn
and has at least one Canasta in that meld. He/she must not have made
any previous meld or added cards to their partner’s melds.
Canasta Game Glossary: The Discard Pile
A player may pick a card from the discard pile to form a meld after
which he/she also has to:
Put the melded cards on the table and add the top card from the discard
pile to this to form melds.
Take all the cards from the discard pile into his/her hand and form any
melds if possible from these cards and then discard one card from their
hand to indicate the turn has ended.
The discard is frozen for all sides if it contains any wild card or a
red three, which is placed at a right angle to indicate. It is also
frozen against a side before they make their first meld.
A player may unfreeze the discard by taking it. To take the pile, you
must have two non-wild cards that can form a meld with the upcard, or a
wild card to meld the upcard or by melding the upcard with an existing
meld on the table.
Cansta Game Glossary: Going Out
A player can only go out by discarding the last card after they have
melded at least one canasta or if the last card is used to meld one.
There is a trick to keep in mind before going out--you should only go
out if both the partners have discarded all their cards or one has and
the other has a minimum number of cards.
Therefore, strategically it can be profitable to continue play even if
you can go out. Additionally, you may take permission from the partner
in a partnership game before they go out and if they say ‘no’, you
cannot go out.
Cansta Game Glossary: Stockpile
If the stockpile runs out of cards, play ends. In addition, if a red
three is drawn from the stockpile and if it is the last card, the red
three is put face up on the table and play ends there too.
If the last card is not a red three, the game continues as long as a
player is able to form melds from the discarded cards and the pile is
Canasta Game Glossary: Additional Strategies
You should take note of the cards in the discard pile.
It is useful to discard high singles in the early stages as the
opponents needs a certain number of points for the initial meld.
Do not freeze the pile if you have not melded, otherwise you might end
up wasting a wild card.
Ensure that you meld before the stockpile runs out.
Take care before picking up the discard pile. Only do so if you are
sure you can form a Canasta or melds that enable you to go out.
For passionate poker players, 5
Online Poker Tips follows
at Canasta Game Glossary.
Part 2 of More Online Poker Tips #6-10 is here
Picking a Casino: It’s wise
to pick about 5 online casinos in order
to move quickly from one to the other during play. An informed
selection should consider the casino’s reputation, speed of payouts,
ease of depositing and outstanding customer support.
) Picking a Betting Limit:
Specifically $1/2, $2/4 or $5/10 blinds.
Knowing that high-stakes limit tables are not the wisest choice, poker
players are likely to get a better return on their investment at medium
Pick Your Stake: Considering
that players must have a bankroll that
is 50 to 100 times the Big Blind, a larger bankroll not only improves
your table reputation, it also intimidates weaker players.
Picking a Table: It is best
to take 15 minutes or more watching the
poker play and players at each table. Additionally, survey at least
three tables before you play and choose the loosest table. If all
tables are tight, regroup and refer to Tip #1.
Play for 1 Hour: This
strategy allows for a time out resulting in a
sharper focus. Other players not taking this advice will be
exhausted while waiting for that one last win. Check out the Online
followed by 7 Rummy Versions—more to explore.
Other Skill Games Clicks
Terms & Strategy