You can find information about multiplayer games here: How do multiplayer games work?
You can open a round by clicking on the button “New Game”. You specify who can come to the table, how many players you want to play with, how high the stake should be and the number of points the round should be won by (between 1000 and 5000). Of course you can also join a round already opened by another player.
On the right-hand side of the table, you can see which player's turn it is, the remaining time to take your turn, the number of points to win the game and the stake and your credit. Underneath the names of players, you can see the number of points that each player has scored in the current round. If you click on the eye, you will see which combinations your fellow players have already laid.
You can see the number of cards in the stack and the number of cards your opponents have in their hands next to the respective player name. You can see whose turn it is at the bottom right. You can use the chat function to chat with your fellow players.
By selecting the button “Doubling permitted”, the stake can be doubled during the game.
How the game works
Canasta is played with 2 sets of cards comprising 52 cards each and 4 Jokers (a total of 108 cards). With 4 players, 2 teams are formed that play against each other. Each player receives 15 cards (with 2 players), 13 cards (with 3 players) or 11 cards (with 4 players).
At the start of the game, your cards are laid fanned out on the playing table in front of you. The remaining cards are used to form the pick-up pile. The pile with open cards is the discard pile. Each turn comprises taking at least one card from each of the two piles and discarding a card.
To take a card from one of the stacks or lay a card from your hand in a suitable combination in the middle of the table, click on the desired stack or the card or drag and drop it to the desired position.
To the right next to both stacks, you can see the buttons “Go out” and “Undo”. With the latter, you can place laid out cards back in your hand. To the left of the stacks you can see the button “Quit”.
If the additional option “Doubling permitted” was selected, you will be able to see the button “Double” to the left of the stacks. If you click on this, you will be asked whether or not you really want to double the stake. If you click on “Yes”, the opponent will see a window with the announcement that his/her fellow player wants to double. The player can now click on “Double” in this window or “Quit”. If he/she clicks on “Double”, the stake will be doubled. If he/she clicks on “Quit”, the game will finish and a scoring window will appear.
Special cards / Wild cards
In Canasta, the 2s and Jokers are “wild cards” that can be used in place of any other card. The black 3s are Stopper Cards. The red 3s are Premium Cards. If you pick up a red 3 from the deck, this must be played immediately and another card can be taken in its place. Wild cards can usually only be laid on the stack or in the middle of the playing field using drag and drop. All other cards in Canasta are called natural cards.
Laying / Announcing
After taking a card, you may lay a combination of cards. The requirement is that at least 3 cards must be of the same value (e.g. 3 4s, 3 5s etc.). Wild cards can be used to complete melds, however they may not outnumber the regular cards in the meld. Moreover, there may be no more than 3 wild cards in a meld. In later rounds, you can add to the melds. If a meld is laid that has the same value as one already on the table, they will be combined.
To start a new meld, click on the card or drag it to the middle of the playing field using drag and drop. By clicking on a meld, you can add a card to it (first normal cards, then wild cards if you have no normal cards left). To see your laid cards, click on the desired meld and drag it to the side. Laid cards can be put back in your hand using drag and drop or use the button “Undo” to the right of the stacks.
The limit for the first meld is based on the current points tally for the round and will be displayed on your sheet.
Buy discard pile
You can buy the discard pile by laying the top card on an existing meld or if you can create a new meld with the top card. As soon as you have removed a card from the discard pile and placed it with your laid cards or started a new meld, you will see the button “Buy stack” and you must buy the entire discard pile. To view the discard pile, click on the pile and pull the top card to the side while keeping your mouse button pressed down.
The discard pile is blocked for the next player if the previous player has laid a black 3. If the pile contains a wild card, it will be “frozen”. You can only buy the pile if you have 2 natural cards of the same value as the top card of the discard pile. You must lay these down with the top card.
The discard pile is also blocked before the first meld, i.e. you can only pick up from the pile if you have at least 2 natural cards of the same value in your hand.
The bigger the discard pile, the more valuable it is as you get the chance to make several new melds by buying the stack.
End of the game
If you form a meld of at least seven cards, this is called a Canasta. If there are no wild cards in the meld, this is called a “Pure Canasta”.
It is possible to close out a round if a player can lay all (or all but one) of his/her cards and at least one Canasta. The “Go Out” button will then be active and not greyed out. Following this move, the players’ points are totalled. In accordance with the points system, the laid melds are counted as positive points, while the cards remaining in the hand are negative points.
The cards have the following points values:
- Joker: 50 points
- Ace: 20 points
- 2: 20 points
- King, Queen, Jack, Ten, 9, 8: 10 points
- 7, 6, 5, 4: 5 points
For each red 3, you will be awarded 100 points. If a player has all 4 red 3s, these count for 800 points. For every Pure Canasta (seven cards without a Joker), the player is awarded 500 points. For every Dirty Canasta (with Joker), he/she gets 300 points.
Players who complete a round (go out) will receive an additional 100 points. A player receives 200 points for a Canasta Hand, i.e. a player lays all of his/her cards in one go.