Card Games For Dummies, 3rd Edition book cover

Card Games For Dummies, 3rd Edition

By: Barry Rigal Published: 05-16-2022

Do you love card games, or maybe want to get into card gambling? Card Games For Dummies, 3rd Edition is your friendly, easy-to-follow guide on the rules and best strategies. The book includes expert instruction and tips on all kinds of card games, including fun family games, bridge, and gambling games like poker and blackjack.

Articles From Card Games For Dummies, 3rd Edition

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42 results
42 results
Rummy: Understanding the Rules and Starting a Game

Article / Updated 03-15-2022

Rummy is a card game in which you try to improve the hand that you’re originally dealt. You can do this whenever it’s your turn to play, either by drawing cards from a pile (or stock) or by picking up the card thrown away by your opponent and then discarding a card from your hand. You can play rummy with two or more players (for six or more players, you need a second deck of cards). You'll also need a paper and pencil for scoring. Learn how to play rummy and other basics including rules, scoring, and how to win! The objective of rummy Your aim is to put (or meld) your cards into two types of combinations: Runs: Consecutive sequences of three or more cards of the same suit Sets (or books): Three or four cards of the same rank. If you are using two decks, a set may include two identical cards of the same rank and suit. This figure shows some legitimate rummy combinations. This figure shows an unacceptable combination. This run is illegal because all cards in a run must be of the same suit. In most rummy games, unlike the majority of other card games, aces can be high or low, but not both. So, runs involving the ace must take the form A-2-3 or A-K-Q but not K-A-2. The first person who manages to make their whole hand into combinations one way or another, with one card remaining to discard, wins the game. How to play rummy Follow the rules and instructions below to understand how to play rummy from start to finish: Each player is dealt a certain number of cards from the deck. When playing rummy with two, three, or four players, each player gets ten cards; when playing with five players, each player gets six cards. With more than five players, you must use two decks of cards and a hand of seven cards. The two-player game can also be played with seven cards each. Designate a scorer and a dealer at the start of the game. Then, the dealer deals out the hands and puts the undealt cards face-down on the center of the table as the stock, placing the top card, turned upward, beside the stock as the first card of the discard pile. The player to the left of the dealer plays first. They can either pick up the card on the discard pile or the top card from the stock. If they can put some or all of their hand into combinations, they may do so. If not, they discard one card from their hand, face-up onto the discard pile, and the turn of play moves to the next player. The next player can either pick up the last card the previous player discarded or the top card from the stock. They can then meld some or all of their cards down in combinations. The play continues clockwise around the table. When the stock runs out, shuffle the discard pile and set it up again. Other rummy rules and tips Now that you know the objective of the game and the basic instructions to play, here is a small list of additional rummy rules and common tips to abide by: You cannot pick up the top discard and then throw the card back onto the pile. If you pick up two cards from the stock by accident and see either of them, you must put the bottom card back, which gives the next player an additional option. They can look at the returned card and take it if they want it. If they don't want it, they put it back into the middle of the stock and continue with their turn by taking the next card from the stock. When you pick up a card from the stock that you don’t want, don’t throw it away immediately. Put the card into your hand and then extract it. No player, regardless of skill level, needs to give gratuitous information away. Rummying with wild cards You can play rummy with wild cards by adding jokers to the deck, or you can make the 2s or some other number wild. You can substitute the card represented by a wild card when it is your turn to play. So, if a combination including a joker, standing in for the king of clubs is put on the table, the next player can put in the king of clubs and pick up the joker for use elsewhere. If you put down two 8s and a joker, you do not have to announce which 8 the joker represents, but with a run, such as 5-6-joker, the assumption is that the joker represents the 7. When playing with wild cards, you may not want to put combinations containing wild cards down immediately; you don’t want to give another player the use of a wild card by way of the substitution. Of course, if you feel obliged to put down the set or run, try to ensure that the card your wild card replaces has already been played in some other set or run. Once you've mastered the game of rummy, you might want to try the slightly more interesting and challenging gin rummy.

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Card Games For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Cheat Sheet / Updated 02-14-2022

The variety of card games means that you can find one to suit most any situation. Most card players are familiar with some type of poker, though they may need to be reminded of how the hands are ranked. You can play some card games as long as all the players are happy to continue; others end at a particular score, and all are made more enjoyable when players adhere to card-game etiquette.

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Tallying Your Score in Rummy

Article / Updated 01-26-2022

When playing rummy, the first player to be able to put all but one of the cards in their hand into combinations (places all their cards on the table) wins the hand. This is called, "going out." You discard your remaining card as you go out, usually having made the others into one combination of four and one combination of three, if you're playing 7-card rummy. You do not have to make the plays at one turn; you may have put down some cards into sets already, of course. If your last two cards are two 7s, and you pick up a third 7, most people play that you can go out by making a set, without needing a final discard. The winner collects points from all the other players. The winner bases their point total on the remaining cards in the other players’ hands, regardless of whether the cards make up completed combinations or not — which is a good reason to put down melds as soon as you get them. The players put their cards face-up on the table and call out how many points they have left for the winner. You score the cards according to the following scale: 2s through 10s get their face value, meaning that a 5 is worth 5 points. Jacks, queens, and kings receive 10 points apiece. Wild cards cost you 15 points each, if you are playing with them (jokers are usually wild cards, and can complete any set; meaning, the joker can be a substitute for any other card in the deck). Aces, in keeping with their lowly status during the game, charge you 1 point only. Laying all your cards down in one turn is called going rummy, which doubles your score. Obviously, the availability of this bonus affects your decision to put down combinations earlier rather than later. If you think that you can claim this bonus, you may want to delay putting down your combinations. The first player to score 100 points is the winner. For a longer game, you can play to 250 points.

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How to Play Gin Rummy

Article / Updated 01-25-2022

Gin rummy is very similar to regular rummy, but gin has some additional wrinkles that make it a more interesting and challenging game. To play gin rummy, you need the following: Two players: If more than two people want to play, you may want to send the extras out for ice cream or a walk. A standard deck of 52 cards; no jokers are allowed in the gin house. Paper and pencil for scoring. Getting a fair deal Both players get ten cards. The dealer turns the rest of the cards into the stock by placing them in the center of the table and turning over the first card. The upcard, the card turned up to start the game, is offered to the nondealer first. If they don't want the upcard, the dealer may take it, and then play continues. Gin rummy play resembles regular rummy, except for how you go out, and the fact that you do not put down combinations mid-hand. The first upcard is a free card; be prepared to take it, even if it has no relevance to your hand because the option reverts to your opponent if you don’t take advantage of it. If nothing else, taking the card misleads your opponent about the combinations in your hand. You cannot take up the discard and then immediately put it down — just as at rummy. Going gin and tallying your score The most difficult (and therefore rewarding) way to go out and win the game is to put all your cards into melds, which is called going gin. If you go gin, you score 25 points, plus the sum of whatever your opponent fails to make into complete combinations — their unconnected cards, or deadwood. You must pick up a card, either from the stock or the discard pile, before you go gin. To better understand how to score points after you win, take a look at the cards in this figure. The winner collects points from the deadwood in the loser’s hand. The example opponent has 18 points left: two 4s and two 5s add up to 18 points. Together with the 25 points you get for going gin, you score 43 points. You can play to 100 or 250 points, depending on how long you want the contest to last. Knock, knock! Another way to go out The most intriguing facet of the rules of gin rummy, compared to the standard rummy rules, is that you have more than one way to go out. Instead of forming all your cards into combinations, you have the option to knock (which involves literally tapping the table). You knock when You’ve put almost all your cards into combinations and The cards that don’t make melds total less than or equal to 10 points. If you meet these criteria, you can knock (just once will do — no matter how happy it makes you feel) and then put your cards down on the table. After you knock, play stops, and the tallying begins. Your score comes from the deadwood — the cards that aren’t part of combinations. If your opponent’s deadwood exceeds yours, you pick up the difference between your total and theirs. If your opponent’s deadwood doesn’t exceed yours, you must face the consequences. Sometimes your opponent can outdo you when you knock because they have an additional way to get rid of his deadwood. They can put down their melds, and those cards don’t count toward their score. They can also add their loose cards to your combinations. After your opponent adds any loose cards, only their remaining cards count. Take a look at the cards in this figure to get an idea of how to score after you knock. If you count up all the cards in this figure, you see that your 5 points against the opponent's 28 leaves you with 23 points. If you knock, you don’t get 25 points for going out.

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The Basics of Playing Euchre

Article / Updated 11-02-2021

Euchre is an excellent social card game, simple in concept but with a high degree of subtlety in the play. To play Euchre, you need the following: Four players: Two teams, two players to a team. A standard deck of 52 cards: Take out the ace through the 9 in each suit, making a deck of 24 cards for the game. Each player receives five cards, and you play one card at a time; the player who lays the highest card in the suit of the first card played — unless someone contributes a trump, in which case it is whoever lays the highest trump card — collects all four cards together and stacks the cards in front of them, thus taking the trick. In Euchre, you win a hand and score points for taking the majority of the tricks in a hand, which means winning three or more of the five tricks available. You get more points if you take all five tricks. The first to a specified total of points, generally ten, wins the match. You play the game with partners, but under special circumstances, one member of a partnership can elect to go solo, if they think that going alone is worthwhile. Picking partners You play Euchre with two teams of two players, either with prearranged partnerships or with partners selected by cutting the deck. If you cut the deck for partners, the two highest cards take on the two lowest cards. Make sure the partners sit opposite each other. In partnership games, you almost always sit across from your partner, probably to keep you off each other’s throats. Determining the trump suit After the deal is complete, the dealer turns over the top card of the four remaining cards. This is called the upcard, and it determines what the trump suit is for the current hand. The remaining three cards play no part in the current hand. The trump suit represents the boss suit, meaning that a trump card beats any card in any other suit. In Euchre, you have to follow the suit that the first player leads (play a card in the same suit), but if you can’t follow suit, you can play a trump card and win the trick (unless someone plays a higher trump card). The card rankings in euchre The standard ranking order applies: Within each suit, the ace is high, and the values descend to the lowly 9. The only exception to the normal ranking rules lies in the trump suit, which ranks as follows: The highest trump card is the jack of the trump suit, often referred to as the right bower. (In England, you play the game with a joker, which ranks as the master trump. The joker is known as the Benny, or the Best Bower.) The second-highest trump card is the other jack of the same-color suit, often called the left bower. The jack deserts its own suit and becomes a trump card for the hand; for example, the jack of spades ceases to be a spade when clubs are the trump suit — it becomes a club. The remaining five cards in the trump suit are the ace, king, queen, 10, and 9, ranking from highest to lowest in that order. For example, if clubs are the trump suit, the cards rank in the order shown in this figure. Diamonds and hearts rank from the ace through 9 in the normal fashion. Card ranks when clubs are the trump suit Tallying your score The team that chooses the trump suit and then wins three or four tricks scores one point. If the side that makes trump gets all five tricks, it marches or sweeps the hand, and the team scores two points. If the makers fail to fulfill the trick obligation, the defenders score two points (whether they get three, four, or five tricks) — they have euchred the makers. However, the biggest score comes if you go solo and make all five tricks: four points. Serious Euchre players often use a 6 and 4 card to keep their totals. To indicate one point, you turn up the 6 and put the 4 face-down to cover all but one spot, and move the cards as you score points. Euchre strategies After the opening lead is made, the play goes clockwise around the table. You must follow suit if you can, but if you can’t, throw off any card or play a trump card as you see fit. Whoever plays the highest card of the suit led, or the highest trump card if one or more trumps have been played on the trick, wins that trick. Failure to follow suit when you can do so is called a renege. You must correct a renege before the winner gathers the trick. If another player identifies a renege, the innocent side may add two points to its score or deduct two points from the guilty side. If your side is going alone and one of the opponents reneges, the penalty is four points. Part of the game lies in memorizing the cards played. You have to think about who may have what cards left to determine what to lead and what to throw away, when you have a choice. For example, the original trump card is one that you want to remember; if the dealer adds it to their hand, don’t forget it. If you have the opening lead and you have two or more trump cards, consider leading them. You should certainly lead a high trump if your partner called the trump suit because it helps your partner locate the missing cards. Otherwise, lead from a sequence if you have one. Start with high cards to help out your partner so that they don't waste their high cards unnecessarily. For example, if hearts are trump, you could lead the ace of spades or ace of clubs to try to win a trick. Unlike some other card games, saving a winner for a rainy day in Euchre generally has no advantage. Take your tricks when you can, or you may never get them.

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The Basics of Canasta

Article / Updated 10-04-2021

One reason for canasta’s widespread popularity is its use of wild cards, which make the game high scoring and unpredictable. Canasta is also one of the few partnership games (other than Bridge and Euchre) where the players can work in unison, although it also functions perfectly well as a two- or three-handed game. The rules may seem a little cockeyed, but after you learn how to play canasta, you’ll have a great way to pass the time with a few competitive friends. To play canasta, you need the following: Four players: You can also play canasta with five players (two against three, with one player sitting out each hand) or with six players (three against three, with one of each trio sitting out in rotation). Two decks of 52 cards, including the jokers in each deck (108 cards total): The backs of the cards don’t have to be the same, but identical backs do look better. Paper and pencil for scoring: Unless you have a math whiz in the bunch. How to play canasta Before we get into the specifics of properly starting a game, let’s talk about the objective of canasta. Your goal is to beat the opposing team (or opposing players) by scoring more points. You score points by melding cards and making as many canastas as possible. To start a canasta game, follow these steps: Draw cards to pick teams; partners sit opposite of each other. Draw cards to see who plays first and who is the dealer. Deal out 11 cards to each player in clockwise rotation. Build the discard pile. Game begins and players begin melding cards, with teams attempting to build as many canastas as possible. Whichever team has the most points, wins! Picking partners You can pick partners however you want, but serious players will draw cards, with the two highest cards playing together against the two lowest cards. If two players draw cards of the same rank (two kings, for example), the rank of the suits decides which card is higher — the spade is the highest-ranking suit, followed by hearts, diamonds, and clubs. Partners sit opposite each other. Dealing and creating a discard pile After forming your partnerships, each player draws again. The person who draws the highest card plays first, and the dealer is the player to their right. The dealer shuffles, offers a cut to an opponent, and then doles out 11 cards to each player, one by one, in a clockwise rotation. At the end of each hand, the deal moves clockwise one place. Then, the dealer turns up one card to the side of the stock (the remaining cards) to start the discard pile. If the card he turns is a red 3 or a wild card (a joker or a 2), the dealer turns up another card, placing them on top of the discard pile, until they come to one that is neither a red 3 nor a wild card. Moving around the table Next, the game starts. The player to the dealer’s left (who drew the highest card at the start) picks up a card from the stock or the whole of the discard pile (you can’t pick up from the discard pile at all until the move on which you make your first meld). The player can either put down a meld (combinations of three or more cards of the same rank) or hold on to their cards. The player finishes their turn by placing a card face-up on the discard pile, covering all the other cards so that their discard is the only card visible. The play moves in a clockwise rotation, with each player picking up a card, making a meld or holding on to their cards, and then discarding, until a player goes out by getting rid of all of their cards but one, and then discarding the last card, which finishes the hand. Drawing more than one card from the stock carries no penalty. However, you must show the card to all other players, and the next player has the option of taking the returned card or shuffling it into the stock. Discarding is a critical part of canasta; if the discard pile grows to a significant size, one false discard can be disastrous. Err on the side of caution by throwing out what you’re sure your opponents don’t want. And make the dangerous discards early — the cost of an error is much cheaper then. How do you know what discards are dangerous? You can discover what your opponents don’t want by what they throw away and by what they don’t pick up from the discard pile. What is a canasta? A canasta is a meld of seven or more cards. Your partnership must make a canasta before either of you can go out; only one canasta per team is necessary. A canasta can start as a meld of three cards that either you or your partner can build up to the required seven. A canasta can include wild cards. A natural or clean canasta has no wild cards, and is worth more than a mixed or dirty canasta, which includes wild cards. When you make a canasta, square up the pile so that only the top card is visible — a red card if it’s a natural canasta, a black card if it’s mixed. Set the pile off to the side. You can still add more cards to it, of course, but it helps your team’s strategy to know whether the canasta is already mixed. When you start a meld with natural cards only, try not to let it get dirty by adding wild cards, even if so doing can make a canasta. You have two reasons for doing this; it scores more points, and it prevents your opponents from discarding this card — for fear of letting you make a clean canasta. On your turn, you can add cards at any point to your team’s melds, but not to your opponents’ melds, after drawing your card, but before discarding. The partnership’s assets are joint; you add to your partner’s meld. The player who makes the first meld gets to herd the partnership’s stable of melds.

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How to Score Your Hand in Cribbage

Article / Updated 10-15-2020

In a Cribbage game, after you finish playing out the cards, you pick up your hand (the cards you’ve been placing on the table in front of you) and move on to the main phase of scoring. For this scoring phase, both players treat the starter as a fifth card to supplement their hands for pairs, sequences, and combinations of 15, but during this phase, you can’t use your opponent’s cards as you can during the play of the cards. First, you score up the pone’s hand, and the dealer’s follows. After you score both hands, the dealer scores up the crib. The significance of this order of scoring is that toward the end of the game, each player scores three hands in a row (two as the dealer and then one as the pone), which can have a significant impact on the strategy of the game. Because Cribbage is a game of “first past the post,” if both players are close to pegging out, you can score up your hand and win as the pone, while the dealer is impotently waiting to score up his huge hand. The points that you score in the hand and the crib, as dealer, by and large, come from the same categories as those for which you scored points in the play, but a couple of modifications complicate matters. For example, you can use cards, including the starter, in more than one combination. Cribbage scoring chart In Cribbage, you score points according to the following criteria: Cribbage scoring Cribbage Scoring Hand Score Description 15 2 points Each combination that adds up to 15 is worth 2 points (no matter how many cards are involved). Pair 2 points Each pair is worth 2 points Pair Royal 6 points Three of a kind Double Pair Royal 12 points Four of a kind Run 1 point per card Cards in consecutive order (i.e. – 5-6-7-8) Four Card Flush 4 points All four cards in your hand are of the same suit (sometimes the four-card flush does not count, see below) Five Card Flush 5 points All five cards in your hand (and using the starter) are the same suit Go 1 point The last player to lay a card Nobs 1 point Jack of the same suit as the starter. Referred to as “One for his nobs/nob” in the United Kingdom. Cribbage scoring examples and tips Often times, there are certain hands that may cause confusion in how you score them properly, specifically around flushes. Check out the example(s) below to see the proper way to score specific hands: 8-9-10-10 So, with 8-9-10-10 your hand is worth 8 points and the cribbage scoring breakdown looks like: 3 for one run of 8-9-10 3 for the run using the other 10 and 2 for the pair of 10s 3-3-4-5 For 3-3-4-5 with a 5 as the starter card, you have no less than four different runs, two pairs, and two ways to make 15 points — for a grand total of 20 points! You score the crib hand in exactly the same way as your own hand, except for the restriction on four-card flushes. Consider flushes to be a last resort; unless you can’t do anything else, let them go. With all the cards in the same suit, you have no possibility of making pairs. Plus, they don’t count during gameplay. Some numbers in Cribbage are impossible to score — 19, 25, 26, and 27. Because you can’t score 19, referring to a hand as being worth 19 points is a humorous way of referring to a hand worth nothing.

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Playing Canasta: The Special Rules Regarding 3s

Article / Updated 02-28-2020

In Canasta, the 3s are treated differently from all other cards, and the red 3s are not treated the same as the black 3s. Read on for the special rules regarding 3s in a Canasta game. Laying down the red 3s The red 3s are like bonus cards — they play no major part in the strategy of the game, but they can score your side some extra points if you’re lucky enough to draw them. Every red 3 your team has is worth 100 points. If you have both pairs of red 3s, you get a 400-point bonus for 800 points in all. If your side hasn’t made a meld, you subtract the bonus values of the red 3s from your score. As soon as you pick up a red 3, you must put it face-up in front of you and pick up another card from the stock. If you pick up the discard pile and it includes either the 3 of Hearts or 3 of Diamonds, you still put the card down in front of you, but you don’t need to take a replacement card from the stock. If you pick up a red 3 and forget to put the card down at that time, you can do it during a later turn without penalty. If the game ends, however, and you have a red 3 in your hand, you incur a 500-point penalty. Separating the black 3s The black 3s require some special consideration. You have to keep the following things in mind when you come across one of the black 3s in play: Like wild cards, the black 3s block the discard pile, but only for one turn. Do not put them down sideways onto the discard pile — as soon as they are covered the pile is no longer frozen. You can only make black 3s into melds on the turn when you go out. You can’t meld black 3s with wild cards. The 3 of Spades and the 3 of Clubs really play no helpful part in the game for the player who picks them up, other than their tactical value to prevent the next player from having a chance to take the discard pile. The black 3s can be a bit of a drag, because they’re so tough to make into melds. Don’t discard the black 3s prematurely. Save them for the last possible moment, when you think that the next player may take a large discard pile if you put down a helpful discard. As guaranteed stoppers, black 3s have significant strategic value.

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Finishing a Game of Canasta

Article / Updated 02-28-2020

Canasta has some unique rules, but it's still a fun, competitive card game. Just like other aspects of the game, there are special rules that pertain to winning (or finishing) a Canasta game. Here's what you need to know to end a game. Going out You can’t get rid of all your cards and go out until your team makes a Canasta. To go out, you can either make your whole hand into melds, or you can make a discard as you go out — the choice is up to you. The hand stops as soon as one player goes out. Going out without first making a Canasta carries a penalty of 100 points. After picking up your card from the stock, and before you put down your hand to go out, you can, if you want, ask your partner, “May I go out?” You have to abide by your partner’s decision, but you don’t have to ask the question at all. If you don’t abide by the decision, or you ask the question after putting down your cards, you’re fined 100 points, and your opponents can stop you from going out if they want. Similarly, if your partner gives you permission to go out and you can’t, that costs you 100 points. Asking your partner if you can go out gives her the chance to tell you “No” and then put down the melds in her hand on her next turn so she won’t be caught with too many unnecessary points when you go out on your next turn. During play, you can ask the other players how many cards they have left. The answer can help you decide whether to go for a big pick-up of the discard pile; you may not want to be left holding a massive hand if a player from the other team is about to go out. End-game strategy In Canasta, you try to kick your opponents when they’re down; go for the biggest possible hand when you’ve made melds and they haven’t. Conversely, cut your losses if it seems that your opponents have all the cards by terminating the game as quickly as possible. If you use up the whole stock, the game essentially comes to a stop. But it may continue for a short while longer, because the player who takes the last card of the stock throws away a card, and if the next player can take this card and add it to one of his existing melds, he must do so — and take the discard pile, too. He then discards a card, and the same rule applies to the next player. As soon as the next player can’t use the discard, the game ends, and the usual scoring takes place. If the last card of the stock is a red 3, the game ends at that point. You make a force-play by forcing the next player to take the pile of cards by discarding something he must pick up. Create a force-play when you want to land the next player with a big pile of cards that he can’t get rid of. The play has an element of danger to it, but if the player has only a few cards left in his hand, you can be relatively confident that this strategy can succeed. Conversely, if you think that the next player wants to pick up the pile, prevent him from doing so by discarding a black 3 or a wild card, which, as you know, he can’t pick up. Do not always put down your melds as soon as you form them in your hand. You make put down melds easier for your opponents, maybe using up wild cards, if they can see you are close to going out. They may hold sets in their hands, trying to complete clean Canastas but put them down if they can see you are close to going out. Try to surprise them by going out when they are left holding melds in their hands.

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Tallying Your Scores at Canasta

Article / Updated 02-28-2020

At the end of a hand of Canasta, as soon as one player goes out, the scoring starts. Add up the points for the bonuses and melds and subtract the negative points from that score. The bonuses you may be eligible for are as follows: You get a 100-point bonus for going out. You get a 200-point bonus for going out concealed, which means going out without first putting down any melds. If you can go out with a concealed hand after your opponents pick up a large pile, you can reduce the damage caused by the points left in your partner’s hand. Every Canasta is worth 500 if it has no wild cards, or 300 if it is a mixed Canasta, with wild cards. A Canasta of wild cards is worth 1,000 points. Every red 3 your team has is worth 100 points. If you have both pairs of red 3s, you get a 400-point bonus for 800 points in all. If your side hasn’t made a meld, you subtract the bonus values of the red 3s from your score. Then you add up the score for your melds and subtract from that the total negative points that go against you, for the cards left in your hand. Each card has a scoring value, which isn't too complicated: Jokers: 50 points each 2s and aces: 20 points each Kings through 8s: 10 points each 7s through the 3 of Spades and 3 of Clubs: 5 points each You can’t use red 3s in melds. Consider going out if you can to leave yourself just below one of the critical points of moving into a new zone for the initial meld requirement. You are better off having a total score of 1,495, rather than 1,525 because you need fewer points to get started on the next hand. Modern American Canasta is a younger cousin of the game of Canasta explained here. The game is played to a score of 8,500 and has many variations. For the full story, visit this Web site, but following are some of the main differences: Melds of 7s and aces are subject to special rules. You cannot use wild cards to make a meld of 7s at all. Additionally, if you start a meld but do not complete the Canasta, you are subject to penalty. A meld of aces cannot contain wild cards unless it is the initial meld. Again, if you start a meld and do not complete the Canasta, you are subject to penalties. Initial point requirements exist for your first play, but you can get around them by making your first play a natural Canasta or a Canasta of wild cards. Certain special hands allow you to go out after drawing, without discarding. A Straight contains one card of every rank from ace to king plus a joker. Pairs has seven pairs of cards; no jokers or 3s allowed. Also the hand must either have no wild cards or include a pair of 2s, 7s, and aces. Garbage consists of two sets of four of a kind and two sets of three of a kind.

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