How to Play Team Canasta

By eHow Hobbies, Games & Toys Editor

Canasta is a popular card game and it doesn't have to be just for 2. Canasta can be played between 4 people by having players pair off in teams in a fun, strategic battle of the cards.

Playing

Choose which 2 players will partner up against the other 2 players. Sit around a square table so that the partners are sitting directly across from each other.

Shuffle 2 standard decks of playing cards, including the jokers, together and deal 11 cards to each player. If a player is dealt a red 3, he should play it in front of him and take another card immediately. Place the remaining cards on the table and turn 1 card face up next to it.

Begin play with the player to the left of the dealer. She may draw a card from the deck, place it in her hand without showing the other players and discard a card on top of the face up card next to the draw pile.

Continue play clockwise around the table. Teams can build melds by combining at least 3 of a certain value of card. Jokers and 2s are wild and can be used to create melds, though melds cannot consist of more wild cards than the cards with the actual value on them. Partners meld their cards together.

Take the discard pile if you can meld the top card. You can use all the cards in the discard pile to add to your melds or make new melds.

Freeze the discard pile by discarding a joker or a 2. When a pile is frozen, a player may only take the discard pile if he is holding at least 2 of the same value cards in his hand. He then must meld that top discard when he takes it.

End the hand by going out. A team can go out when they have at least 1 canasta--that is, a meld of 7 or more. When a player wants to go out, she should ask her partner, "May I go out?" The player's partner can then tell her "yes" or "no." This is the only time partners should verbally communicate about the game when playing Canasta. Go out by melding the rest of your cards and discarding your final card.

Scoring

Score 50 points for every joker, 20 points for every ace and 2, 10 points for every king, queen, jack, 10, 9 and 8, and 5 points for every 7, 6, 5 and 4. Score 100 points for every red 3 that a team played.

Award 500 points for every natural canasta. A natural canasta is a canasta in which no wild cards were played. Award 300 points for every mixed canasta.

Give 100 points to the team that went out. Score an additional 200 points to that team if they went out concealed--that is, they went out on the same turn in which they melded for the first time. If the other team had not made a meld before the opposing team went out, that team gets 100 points for every red 3 and 800 points if they had all 4 red 3s.

Keep score this way for several hands. The first team to reach 5,000 points wins.