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What is Rummy Canasta

Canasta is a card playing game originating from Montevideo, Uruguay and invented by Segundo Santos and Alberto Serrato. In 1939, Segundo Santos was a regular Bridge player who realized he was spending as much time in the Bridge clubs as he was at his job. In an attempt to break his habit, he started developing his own card game to get his mind off Bridge. He combined what he felt was the best parts of three card games, Bridge, Rummy and a different version of Rummy called "coocan" into one game. He asked Alberto Serrato to assist him with developing this game. Eventually they brought on two more players and a conversation helped him develop a name for the game, Canasta. It means "basket" in Spanish. The game spread around the clubs and soon on into Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Peru. It did not stop there, it continued on into New York and eventually spread across the United States and into other countries throughout Europe and Asia. This rummy like card game is still very popular around the world and competes with the popularity of Poker in the United States.

Every country has developed different variations of Canasta rules as people have refined the it over the years. It is more fun if played with four players but can have from two to six players. Four or more players allows it to be played in two teams which changes the rules slightly. It uses 108 cards which is two decks shuffled together including the Joker cards. Points are assigned to different groups of cards and types of plays. Fours through sevens, and black threes are five points. Eights through Kings, would be ten points. Twos and Aces are twenty points and Jokers are fifty points. Red threes are considered wild cards and are worth 100 points unless you have all four, then they are worth 200 points.

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Canasta rules and scoring

The object is to create melds and canastas which can be a minimum of two, three or more of the same card depending on the version. Threes cannot be melded because the reds are wild and the blacks are natural and they have different rules. If playing with four players, each team can add to each other's melds but never to the opponents melds. Wild cards can be added to the melds but one meld cannot have more wild cards than natural cards. A canasta is made when seven or more cards match whether all natural or mixed with wilds and naturals. Natural and mixed canastas are important when the score is added up at the end.

When scoring points, the object is to get 5,000 or more points. Scoring methods depend on the version of Canasta and the way you can score depends on certain limits and factors. If limits are not met, it changes the way the players can score or play. Such as, if a player's score is 1500, the player must make a meld that is worth 90 or more points to be able to use the meld. If a player's score is 1200 the meld must be at least 50 points to lay it down. The scoring is intricate and has rules for gaining points with melds and also going out, which gives it more intrigue and strategy.

Players can draw from either the stock pile or the discard pile and this rule is used in the strategy to keep the opponent from winning. Black threes can stop the opponent from picking up from discards for one turn, but cannot freeze the deck which prevents both players from picking up from that pile. Red threes can freeze the discard pile but are counted differently for points when unfrozen. To unfreeze it, one of the players must have a pair of cards in their hand that matches or melds with the rank of the card that froze the pile. This is the only time threes can be melded.

Going out is how the game is ended. To do this, one or more canastas has to be laid down and the player must use all the cards being held. All the remaining cards must make a meld except one which has to be discarded.

There are more in depth rules, tips, and strategies for this game depending on which version you are playing. A great way to get familiar with the differences is to play Canasta online. Playing Canasta online has become another exciting avenue for many countries which adds to its popularity. There are websites where you can play a free Canasta game to understand the rules and strategies better. This helps you develop enough skill so you can play money Canasta games. Once you get to this level of playing, tournaments are available online to test your skills. Playing Canasta online as much as you can will build your own knowledge and strategy making you a proficient player whether you want to beat your friends at a casual game or play for money online.


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