Instructions for playing cards with hands and feet
What are the guidelines for the Hand and Foot card game? This version of canasta is played with two sets of cards, a hand and a foot, as opposed to traditional canasta which is played with only a hand. Here are your basic game rules.
In Hand and Foot, you choose a partner and sit across from him/her. You will work as a team to defeat the other team. First, shuffle five or six decks together, including the jokers, and deal 11 cards to each player. This becomes their hand. Deal another 11 to each player face down, this will be their leg and cannot be looked at until all the cards in their hand have been played. Place the remaining cards in the center of the table and turn over the first card.
The player to the dealer’s left will take 2 cards from the draw pile and to complete their turn, leave one on the discard pile. Alternatively, you can take cards from the discard pile instead of taking two new cards from the draw pile, but you must be able to use the bottom card and it must be used during this turn.
The object of the games is to get rid of all the cards in your hand and then all the cards from your foot. This is done by melting. A meld is a set of three to seven cards of the same rank placed face up on the table. A meld cannot have less than three cards.
Once a combination of three or more cards is laid down, you continue to add to it until there are seven left. Then it becomes a Book. You can combine cards of any rank from A, K, Q… to 3.
Pairs and wilds in hands and feet are wild. They can be used in melds as long as there is at least one real card more than a wild card in the meld. You cannot have a combination of only wild cards. There are two types of mergers. Pure mixing has no wild places and can become a red book. The dirty mix has wild spots and can turn into a black book.
The melds are placed face up for all to see while the full books are piled upside down and a card is placed on top, face up to show the species, a red card for a clean red book, a black card for a dirty black book . Cards of the same rank can be played on completed books, but wild cards cannot be played on books.
You earn points for cards in combos and books. If you’re not out, you lose points for cards in your hands and feet at the end of the game. Hand and foot card games end when someone gets rid of all the cards in their hand and foot.
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