Nasida Infact, pravdla accuracy of play demanded by the rules adds drama to the game. All the Jokers and twos are wild cards. Sequences are not valid melds. The principal objective of canasta is to form melds — combinations of three or more cards of the same rank — with or without the help of wild cards.

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The standard values of the cards you play are added to check whether the requirement has been met. We have seen that if you have not yet melded, the discard pile is frozen against you. Therefore, in order to achieve the minimum count, you must either meld entirely from your hand after drawing from the stock, or you must use two natural cards from your hand which match the top card of the discard pile.

In this second case, you can count the value of the top discard, along with the cards you play from your hand in this and any other melds, towards the minimum count. You cannot count any other cards in the pile which you may intend to add in the same turn.

Example: there is a king on top of the discard pile and a king and a queen buried in the pile. You have two kings, two queens and a two in your hand. If your initial meld requirement is 50, you can meld K-K-K, Q-Q-2 using the king from the top of the pile, for 70 points. You can then add the king and queen from the pile to these melds in the same turn if you wish. But you could not make this play if you needed a minimum count of even though the king and queen from the pile are ultimately worth a further 20, you cannot include these towards your initial requirement.

Bonuses for red threes, canastas and so on cannot be counted towards meeting the minimum. Even if you have a complete canasta in your hand, you are not allowed to put it down as your initial meld if the total value of its individual cards does not meet your minimum count requirement.

There is just one exception to the minimum count requirement. Suppose that your team has not yet melded, and that having drawn from the stock you are able to meld your entire hand including a canasta.

In this case you may meld you whole hand with or without a final discard and go out without having to meet any minimum count requirement. In doing this you will score the extra bonus for going out concealed. This option remains available to a player who has exposed red threes, provided that they have not melded anything else.

Threes in Classic Canasta Red threes are bonus cards. You then draw a replacement card from the face-down stock. Although red threes score bonus points they do not count as meld, and do not help you to satisfy the minimum count requirement for your initial meld.

Also they do not prevent you from subsequently scoring the bonus for going out with a concealed hand. Occasionally it happens that a red three is turned up at the end of the deal as a start card for the discard pile.

This freezes the discard pile see below. Black threes are stop cards. By discarding a black three you prevent the next player from taking the discard pile. However, black threes do not freeze the pile. After the black three is covered by another card, it has no further effect, and the pile can be taken in the usual way. Black threes cannot be melded, except in one exceptional case. A player who is going out may meld a group of three or four black threes as part of that last turn. Such a meld of black threes cannot contain wild cards.

End of the hand: Going Out The play ends as soon as a player goes out. You can only go out if your partnership has melded at least one canasta.

Once your side has a canasta, you may go out if you can and wish to, by melding all of your cards, or by melding all but one and discarding your last card. It is legal to complete the required canasta and go out on the same turn. If your side does not yet have a canasta, you are not allowed to leave yourself without any cards at the end of your turn: you must play in such a way as to keep at least one card after discarding.

It is against the rules in this case to meld all your cards except one. You would then be forced to discard this last card, which would constitute going out illegally.

If you are able to go out but unsure whether to do so, you may if you wish ask your partner "may I go out? This question can only be asked immediately after drawing from the stock or taking the discard pile, before making any further melds other than the one involving the top card of the pile if it was taken. Your partner must answer "yes" or "no" and the answer is binding.

If the answer is "yes", you must go out; if the answer is "no" you are not allowed to go out. Another way that play can end is when there are no more cards left in the face-down stock.

As soon as a player is entitled to draw from the stock and chooses to do so, but there is no card in the stock, the play ends. If a player draws a red three as the last card of the stock, the red three is placed face up as usual and then, since there is no replacement card that can be drawn from the stock, the play immediately ends. The player who drew the red three is not allowed to meld nor discard. Classic Canasta Scoring When the play has ended the hand is scored.

The player going out concealed may take the discard pile in their final turn and still score the concealed bonus; if they take the discard pile and partner has not yet melded, they must satisfy the relevant initial meld requirement. If a partnership did not manage to meld at all, then each of their red threes counts minus points instead of plus If they are unlucky enough to have all four red threes and have not melded, they score minus points for these threes.

After the bonuses have been calculated, the cards melded by each team are counted using the standard values - see general rules. Black threes are worth 5 points each.

For ease of counting and checking, the usual method is to group the cards into piles worth points each. Note that in a canasta, the values of the cards themselves are counted in addition to the bonus for the canasta, so for example a natural canasta of seven kings is really worth points altogether - for the canasta and 70 for the kings.

The cards remaining in the hands of the players are also counted using the same standard values, but these points count against the team and are subtracted from their score. A cumulative total score is kept for each partnership. It is possible to have a negative score. When one or both partnerships have a total of 5, or more points at the end of a hand, the game ends and the side with the higher total score wins.

The margin of victory is the difference between the scores of the two sides. Classic Canasta Variations Restrictions on taking the discard pile Two variations are commonly played: A player is not allowed to take the unfrozen discard pile in order to add its top card to a completed canasta. A player is not allowed to take the unfrozen discard pile with one matching natural card and one wild card. Two natural cards are needed. A problem arises if you try to play variation 1 above but not variation 2.

What happens if a player takes an unfrozen discard pile using one natural card and one wild card when the rank of the new meld matches that of an existing canasta that already contains three wild cards? There are at least four possible solutions: Modify the rule against having two melds of the same rank. A meld of less than seven cards is called an open meld, and you cannot have two open melds of the same rank, but once you have completed a canasta you can start a new meld of that same rank.

Remove the limit on wild cards for melds of more than seven cards. You still need at least four natural cards in a canasta, but you can then add wild cards to it without limit. Keep both the rule against two melds of the same rank and the wild card limit, but do not allow a player to take the pile using one natural and one wild card to add to a canasta that already contains three wild cards.

Players should agree in advance which of these solutions they wish to adopt. Discard pile always frozen Some play that the discard pile can only ever be taken by a player who can meld its top card with a pair of matching natural cards from hand. In classic canasta terminology, this is equivalent to saying that the discard pile is always frozen.

Wild Card Melds Some play that it is possible to put down a meld consisting entirely of wild cards. This can consist of twos and jokers in any combination.

A meld of seven wild cards is a wild canasta, and a typical bonus for it is Some increase this bonus if the canasta consists entirely of twos or contains all four jokers.

When playing with wild card melds it is usually illegal for a team that has begun a wild card meld to use wild cards in any other meld until a wild card canasta is completed. In some circles there is a penalty - typically points - for a team that starts a wild card meld but does not complete a wild card canasta.

A mere initial meld does not suffice. A meld must not contain more wild cards than natural cards, thus a meld like Q-Q is not allowed. The discard of such a card is equivalent to the discard of a black three. A player may not claim the bonus for going out concealed if he takes the discard pile. A player with only one card in his hand may take a one card discard pile under the same conditions which would entitle him to take a discard pile of two or more cards.

Since the player will necessarily have no cards in hand at the end of the turn, this can only be done if the team has a canasta and is therefore entitled to go out.

Those who have adopted it enjoy its stricter rules and find the classic version too easy in comparison. I am not sure how widespread this version of Canasta is, but there are significant and growing numbers of players in New York, New Jersey and Florida. It would be interesting to know whether it has taken root in other regions as well. I am grateful to Shirley Schwartz, M Glatt and Lorraine Seman for describing this game to me, to Helaine Neiman , who teaches canasta in Northern New Jersey for her help and advice, and to the former American Canasta Association who briefly published a partial description of the rules on their website in The rules have continued to evolve and the description below reflects my understanding of how the game is commonly played at the time of writing As usual, there are four players in fixed partnerships, partners sitting opposite each other.

The winners will be the first team to achieve a cumulative score of or more points, or the team that has more points if both teams achieve this on the same deal. Two 52 card standard packs plus 4 jokers are shuffled together to make a card pack. Sometimes a special tray is used to hold the draw and discard piles but this is not essential. The undealt cards are placed face down in the centre to form a draw pile. No card is turned face up to start a discard pile - the play begins with the discard pile empty.

The ninth card from the bottom of the draw pile is turned at right angles to the pile. This is known as the turn card. During the game, a player who draws the turn card must announce it so that all players know that there are just 8 cards remaining in the draw pile - the "bottom 8". Meanwhile the dealer takes the cards that were left by the cutter and deals 13 cards to each player, one at a time, placing any remaining cards on top of the draw pile, or taking cards from the top of the draw pile to complete the deal if needed.

The turn to deal passes to the left after each hand.


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Master of Arms Canasta is a card game of the rummy family of games believed to be a variant of Rum. For any kind of Canasta support,visit: And now you can play Canasta for free whenever and wherever you wish! The initial dealer kanassta canasta is chosen by any common method, although it should be remembered that there is no privilege or advantage to being the dealer. The principal objective of canasta is to form melds — combinations of three or more cards of the same rank — with or without the help of wild cards. Sequences are not valid melds.





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