Mastering the Rules for Playing Hand and Foot: A Beginner’s Guide

If you’re a fan of card games and looking for a new challenge, Hand and Foot might be just the game for you. This exciting and strategic game is a variation of Canasta and offers hours of fun for players of all skill levels. However, before you dive into the world of Hand and Foot, it’s important to understand the rules. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll walk you through the key rules that will help you master this captivating card game.

Understanding the Basics

To begin playing Hand and Foot, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the basic rules. The game is typically played with four players in teams of two, although it can also be played with three or five players by making some adjustments. Each player is dealt two hands – a “hand” consisting of 11 cards and a “foot” consisting of 15 cards.

The objective of the game is to form melds (sets or runs) by combining cards from your hand and foot. A meld can consist of three or more cards of the same rank (a set) or three or more consecutive cards in the same suit (a run). The ultimate goal is to score points by creating as many melds as possible.

Building Melds

Building melds is where strategy comes into play in Hand and Foot. To build a meld, players must meet certain requirements. For sets, each player must have at least two natural cards (no wildcards) in their meld before adding any wildcards. For runs, at least one natural card must be used on either end.

Additionally, each team has its own table where they can lay down their completed melds. Once a team has laid down their initial melds (called “the book”), they can then extend existing melds on their table or create new ones. However, there is a minimum point requirement for laying down initial melds, which varies depending on the score of the team.

Taking Turns and Drawing Cards

In Hand and Foot, turns rotate clockwise starting with the dealer. On your turn, you have two options: drawing cards or playing melds. When drawing cards, you can either pick up from the stockpile or take the entire discard pile if you can use the top card in a meld immediately. It’s important to note that once you’ve picked up from the discard pile, you cannot discard any cards until your next turn.

When playing melds, players can either lay down new melds on their team’s table or add cards to existing melds. However, there is a limit to how many cards you can play in a single turn – usually three cards for sets and four cards for runs.

Scoring and Winning

Scoring in Hand and Foot is based on various factors such as completed melds, red threes (which are worth negative points), and bonuses for going out early. Each completed set or run earns points based on its point value (e.g., fives are worth 5 points). Red threes deducted points from a team’s total score.

The game continues until one team reaches or exceeds a predetermined target score (usually 5,000 points). The team with the highest score at that point wins the game.


Mastering Hand and Foot requires understanding the basics of building melds, taking turns effectively, and scoring points strategically. By following these rules and practicing regularly, you’ll soon become a skilled Hand and Foot player. So gather your friends or family members who love card games and dive into this thrilling game together.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.