What is It?

A card game called Basket.

     Some people say it is like Rummy.  Others say it is like Mahjong with regular cards (albeit with two decks).  I personally have played neither, so I cannot really say but it's definitely a more strategy-based card game than that of luck. Grin

To cite Wikipedia:
    Canasta (Spanish for "basket"; pronounced /kəˈnæstə/ in English) is a card game originating in Uruguay but popularized in Argentina (hence the alternate name Argentine Rummy), in which players attempt to make melds of 7 cards of the same rank, and "go out" by playing all cards in their hand and discarding. It is a variant of Rummy and 500 Rum. It is commonly played by four players in two partnerships with two standard decks of cards, but many variations exist for 2-3 and 6-player games or teams

     In general the game involves a fair amount of bluffing, psychology, and memory, but because it is often played in teams, the game is very fun and casual.  To quote one of our members, there is a lot of "fishing" involved to figure out what your opponent has or doesn't want when discarding and a lot of mental or nonverbal communication between teammates to coordinate strategies.  It is best played in four players but is also played often in one-on-one two player games.

     While Canasta is definitely less well-known of a game than it was before (it nearly toppled the popularity of Bridge in the 1950s), it is still very fun to play and actually not that hard to learn if taken a step at a time as we do. Tongue  The variant we play here is called Classic Canasta.  It is also the same variation used at many standard games and online sites such as Yahoo.

     The best way to learn is to come to our club meetings and be taught in person, but you can also skip right over to How Do You Play for a link to the official rules as well as reference sheet we provide to our members.

     For more details on the history of Canasta, see an article titled The Canasta Story, detailing its popularity and spread in the 1950s.

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