The winner of a Canastia match is the player that has the most points after at least one of the players has reached 100 points. Points are rewarded after each game round.
Canastia is played with two standard 52 card packs + the 4 Jokers (two from each pack). Remove all the cards with number 9, 10 and Jacks as well as the red Deuces (2s), red Threes and the red Aces. You should now have removed 36 cards and have 72 cards remaining.
Shuffle the cards and deal out a hand of 10 cards to each player. The leftover cards become the stock pile and are left face-down in a stack in the center of the table. The top card of the stock is taken off and placed face-up, next to the Stock Pile, to start the Discard Pile. Decide randomly who starts to play.
All cards have a value of 1 except Queens and Kings which has 2 and Aces which has 3.
Cards that have been melded on the table have a positive point value and those still in the hand have a negative point value.
Jokers and Deuces (2s) are Wild Cards, the other cards are Natural Cards.
Wild cards and Threes block the discard pile from being picked up.
A turn begins either by drawing the top two cards from the stock into the player's hand or by using the top card of the discard pile in a meld together with 2 cards from the hand and then picking up the entire discard pile - see restrictions and more information in the section Picking up the discard pile.
The player may then make as many legal melds as they wish from the cards in their hand. A turn ends when the player discards one card from their hand to the top of the discard pile. A player may not do any changes after the discard.
Each player keeps separate melds of the various ranks of cards. A legal meld consists of at least three cards of the same rank. Suits are irrelevant. Wild cards (Jokers and 2s) can be used as any rank but a meld must always contain more natural cards than wild cards. Example: K-K-2 is valid but not K-K-2-2.
A meld of seven or more cards can be transformed to a canasta: the cards are squared up, and one of the natural cards forming it is placed on top – a red one to indicate a natural canasta or a black one to indicate a mixed canasta. No more cards can be added to a canasta. Transforming a meld to a canasta is not automatic and can only be done during the player's turn before discarding.
The initial melds of a player is called the opening and has a special requirement of 10 points of card value. If this is not the first game round and the player has scored more points then the opponent(s) the requirement is increased to 15 points. If the player is not able to meld cards that reach the requirement the opening cannot be done.
You are allowed to use the top card of the discard pile along with cards from your hand to satisfy the minimum count, before picking up the remainder of the pile (see Picking up the discard pile, below).
Points for canastas are counted towards the opening requirement.
Examples: 7-7-7-7, K-K-K is 10 points. 3-3-3, A-A-2 is 10 points. 5-5-5-5-2-2-2 is 22 points (7+15 points for the canasta, see below).
At the beginning of their turn, a player may pick up the entire discard pile instead of drawing two cards from the stock. They may only pick up the discard pile if they can use the top card by melding it along with at least two other cards from their hand (one of them can be a wild card). Only the top card is relevant for the player to pick up the rest of the discard pile. In addition, if the player has not yet opened, they must meet the opening requirement using the top card.
If a wild card (Jokers or 2s) or a three is on top of the discard pile, it may not be picked up.
A player may go out by melding all his cards in their hand only if that player has made at least two canastas. This requirement is reduced to a single canasta if it is done the same turn as the opening (also called going out concealed).
Discarding a single final card when going out is optional.
If the player does not have the requirement of the amount of canastas, the player must play in such a way to keep at least 1 card after discarding in order to prevent going out illegally.
Going out ends the current game round immediately and scoring is done.
If the Stockpile is depleted the game round immediately ends and scoring is done. The game ends before the active player can meld any cards or do any changes.
At the end of each game round, the scoring is calculated as follows:
It is possible to be awarded negative points and have a total score value below 0.
If any player has more than 100 points, the winner of the match is the person with the most points.