Enjoy a classic card game of Canasta.

In This Game Overview

  • How to play Canasta 
  • How is Canasta different to Rummy
  • Canasta Trivia 


Canasta is a matching card game and is most commonly played by four players in teams of two. When you play online canasta you can choose to play against the computer or between one to five opponents. 

The objective of the game is make 'melds' of seven cards of the same rank (called a 'canasta') and 'go out' by playing all the cards in your hand or discarding them. There are many variations to canasta for two to three and six player games or even teams but some sites allow you to choose rules so you can play the game exactly as you are accustomed to! 

How to play

Canasta is normally played with the standard 52card deck and four jokers. Each card is given a point value with jokers having the highest number of points. Also, Jokers and twos are wild cards so can be used to represent other cards. The remainder of the deck are called 'natural' cards. The first to reach 5,000 points is the winner. 

Each player is dealt eleven cards. The face-down pile of cards placed in the center is called the 'stock' while the face-up pile is called the 'discard pile'. In turn, each player draws a card from the stock, adds it to his/her hand and chooses one to discard. The play ends when a player is able to dispose of all his/her cards, that is, 'goes out'. However, you can't go out until your team has completed at least one seven-card meld. 

How is Canasta different to Rummy

In Rummy the goal is to go out fast so you are trying to avoid having lots of cards in your hand but in Canasta you are trying to build canastas, which means that many cards can be a good thing. Picking up the discard pile can actually be advantageous! 


Canasta is thought to have originated in Uruguay and then spread to Argentina and the United States. It was extremely fashionable in the 1950's and is the Spanish word for 'basket'.

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