How To Play Canasta

Canasta can be played with 2, 3, or 4 players

How to Play Canasta For 2 Players

When played with 2 players, each is dealt 15 cards and is required to make 2 Canastas to go out.  Ultimately, the rules for how to play Canasta are pretty similar for each variation, with just minor changes like the amount of cards dealt.  It’s important to note, the rules on our Canasta Rules page were written specifically for 2 player games.  

playing card suit logo

How to Play Canasta For 3 Players

Playing with 3 players is the most unique form for Canasta.  Rather than teams, all 3 competitors play independently.  In three player Canasta, each is dealt just 13 cards to leave enough cards in the deck.  To clarify, the player to the right of the dealer cuts and the player to his left goes first.  Of course, play goes around the table in clockwise motion.  The Canasta requirement for going out is reduced to 1.  Finally, all other rules stay the same as in a 2-player game.    

playing card suit logo

How to Play Canasta For 4 Players

Similarly, Canasta for 4 is played like the 2-player game, but in two teams of two.  Players opposite of each other play on a team.  Each player is dealt 11 cards on the deal.  As with 2 players, two Canastas are needed to out out.  Additionally, like 3-player Canasta, the player to the left of the dealer cuts, and the player to his right goes first.  Again, play continues around the table in clockwise fashion.  All other rules are conistent with 2-players.

playing card suit logo