Rules of 2 hand, Hand Foot Canasta

There are many variations of this game. No standard set of rules apply. This game follows those rules common to the most popular variations. Due to the limitations of space on a computer screen, I added a rule that no hand can exceed 40 cards. This is not a common rule of the game but without it, controlling the display is close to impossible.

Object of the Game:

Play all or as many of the cards in your HAND and FOOT before your opponent does and achieve the highest possible score.


This is a 2 handed, game of Hand Foot Canasta. Three standard decks of playing cards are used. Each player has two hands of cards. One is called a Hand which is played first and the other a FOOT, which is played when the Hand is used up. Each hand begins with 11 cards. The cards are spread on the table and each player select a group of cards for their two Hands.

A game consists of any number of hands until a score of 10,000 is reached by one or both players. The player who is behind picks their hands first and starts play.

Each player starts play with their Hand until it is exhausted then picks up their Foot and resumes play until it is exhausted or the deck runs out of playable cards. Once a player has picked up their Foot, they must be carefull NOT to play all their cards until the BOOK Requirement to go out of cards is met. Doing so, creates a severe penalty. When a player goes out, that round is ended. The points are totaled. If play ends because no one could go out and all the playable cards are depleted from the draw pile, a tie is declared. No points are scored for either player.

Going Down and Creating Books:

Each player draws 2 cards from the Draw Pile when it is their turn to play. They can then lay cards down from their Hand (Meld) until they are ready to end their turn of play. At this point the player discards 1 card to the discard pile and their opponent starts their turn of play. This continues until a player goes out or the Draw Pile runs out of playable cards.

Each player has Minimum Point requirements for the initial Meld depending on their score.

0 to 3000 = 50 points minimum
3001 to 6000 = 90 points minimum
6001 and up = 120 points minimum

Each card in the deck has a point value as follows.

4, 5, 6 and 7 each = 5 points
8, 9, 10, Jack, Queen and King each = 10 points
Aces = 20 points
Duces are Wild Cards and = 20 points
Jokers are Wild Cards and = 50 points

Threes are not meldable cards and are used strictly as discards.

Melds are accomplished by laying down 3 or more cards of the same denomination on the table which starts a "Clean" book or laying down a pair of the same denomination with 1 wild card which starts a "Dirty" book. On the initial meld Wild cards can only be used with pairs starting a new book.

The combined point values for all cards layed down on the initial meld must equal or exceed the Minimum point requirement based on their score. They can not start melding until their hand can meet the Minimum requirement.

Once a player has met the minimum point requirement, they are "Down" and then free to make further melds of any point value when it is their turn to play.

Each player creates their own series of books to play on. Once a book contains 7 or more cards, it is closed on the table exposing only one card of the book value. If the book is a Clean book (no wild cards), a Red suited card is placed on top. If the book is Wild, a Black suited card is placed on top. Wild books must contain more straight cards than wild cards.

Closed Clean books earn 500 bonus points each. Closed Wild books earn 300 bonus points each.

Closed book bonus points can not be counted to meet Minimum point requirements for an initial lay down.

Once a player is "Down", wild cards may be played on any book as long as the book ratio remains 1 or more straight cards versus wild cards and the book has not been closed. Wild cards may never be played on closed books or started as book values of their own.

Once a book is closed, the player may continue to play straight cards on the book. This doesn't change the "Clean" or "Wild" status of the book.

You can not play on your opponents books.

Drawing Cards from the Discard Pile:

Certain card values "Freeze" the pile and prevent the player from drawing from the discard pile.

They are:
Any Wild card (Duce or Joker)
Any Three (Red or Black)

If any other card is the top card of the discard pile then:

Each player has the option of drawing 7 cards cards from the discard pile instead of drawing 2 cards from the draw pile when their turn begins. The discard pile must contain 7 or more cards or the attempt to draw will be denied. Players are not required to have pairs of the UPCARD to make the draw or play any of the cards during that turn.

If the draw pile runs out of cards, the discard pile is turned over to use again until all playable cards are used.

Picking up the Foot:

Once all the cards in the Hand have been played, the players Foot cards are moved to their Hand. If the last card played from the hand was a discard, the next player begins their turn. If the last card from the Hand was melded on the table, The player can continue melding until they are out of cards or ready to discard.

Going Out:

"Going Out" means playing all cards in both the HAND and FOOT. When a player goes out, all the melds are totaled. The point values remaining in the Hand and Foot of the opponent is also totaled and deducted from the Meld They made. A bonus of 100 points goes to the player that goes out. It is mandantory that the player going out melded at least 1 "Clean" closed book (Red) and 1 "Wild" closed book (Black).

If a player goes out but their Meld does not contain at least 1 "Clean" closed book and 1 "Wild" closed book then a SEVERE penalty is impossed on the player. If this scenario occures, the player that "Went Out" loses all their meld and sets 500 points. The opponent gets their Meld and is not penalized for any cards remaining in their Hand or Foot.

A players last card may be melded or discarded.


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