Hand and Foot Rules

Hand and Foot is a version of Canasta in which each player is dealt two sets of cards, known as the "hand" and the "foot". Hand and Foot is closely related to Pennies From Heaven. The normal Canasta rules apply except for the following:

  • The game is typically played by four players in two partnerships of two players each, although it can also be played with numbers of players ranging from two to eight, individually or in partnerships.

  • Use one deck more than the number of players, so for a four-handed game you'd use five 52-card decks plus ten jokers (270 cards).

  • Each player is dealt two separate thirteen-card hands. The first is called the "hand", and the second is called the "foot". Initially, each player plays from their "hand", while leaving the "foot" face-down on the table. The "Foot" is not used until the "hand" is empty.

  • When drawing from the stock, draw two cards at a time.

  • The discard pile may only be taken by a player having a natural pair matching the upcard, or if they're able to add the upcard to an existing meld.

  • In Hand and Foot, a canasta (a meld of seven cards) is called a book, and will take one of the following forms:

    • A red book contains only natural cards (no wildcards). When you make a red book, square up the cards into a pile and top it with a red card. (Some rules refer to this as a clean meld; it is analogous to a "natural canasta" in Canasta.)

    • A black book contains a mixture of natural and wild cards. When you make a black book, square up the cards into a pile and top it with a black card. (Some rules refer to this as a dirty meld; it is analogous to a "mixed canasta" in Canasta.)

    • A wild book contains only wild cards (deuces and jokers in any combination). When you make a wild book, square up the cards into a pile and top it with a wild card. (Some rules refer to this as a wild meld.)

  • Wild cards may be melded as a set of their own (three or more).

  • There is no distinction between jokers and twos; both are wild, and may be mixed freely.

  • A mixed meld must always contain more natural than wild cards.

  • A 7-card meld (a book) cannot be extended. (However, some versions of the rules do allow books larger than 7 cards.)

  • A game is played as four hands. The initial meld requirements are based on the hand number, and not the team's score:

    Hand NumberMinimum Count

  • If you meld the last card in you hand, you may pick up your foot and use it immediately. If you discard the last card of your hand, you may pick up you foot, but not use it until your next turn.

  • To go out, a player must get rid of the last card from their foot, either by melding it or discarding it. However, a player cannot go out until his side has made at least one wild book. Also, a player cannot go out by melding black threes. Also, before going out, a player must as and receive permission from his partner.

  • Each red book is worth 500 points, each black book is worth 300 points, and each wild book is worth 1500 points.

  • Any black threes left in your hand incur a 5-point penalty each. Any red threes left in your hand incur a 500-point penalty each.

  • To go out, a side must have completed, at a minimum, a red book, a black book, and a wild book.

  • Game is 20000 points.

Note: Hand and Foot is a game that hasn't made it into most standardized rulebooks, and there is a good deal of variety in the rules available on the web. The preceding is a good consensus of the rules from various sources. Check out some of the following links for other versions of the game.

Hand and Foot Canasta Links

Hand and Foot Canasta Card Games

Canasta Caliente Complete
Hand and Foot Canasta

Hand and Foot Canasta Software

Hand & Foot Canasta

Additional Information