Hand and Foot Card game is one of the most popular and easier version of Canasta, a game similar to Rummy.
The game of Hand and Foot is generally for the beginners and includes over 5 to 6 decks of playing cards.
The game can be played between 2 to 6 players.
In this game, the players are dealt 2 sets of cards – the Hand (played first) and the foot (played later). The best part about the game is that it has no standard rules and comes with variations. The main objective of the game is to play the hand and foot while making needed melds. Here are some basics about the game –
Objective of the game – Play the hand and foot while making the needed melds.
Number of Players – 2 to 7 Players
Number of Cards – Five 54-card deck (52 Cards + 2 Jokers)
Rank of Cards – A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
Type of Game – Canasta/ Rummy
Audience – Adult
If you are a newbie in playing cards, you can start your journey with this simple yet fun game. Scroll down to know how to play hand and foot card game and hand and game card rules.
Setting up the game
To start the game, first of all an initial dealer is chosen. For this, each player is given a card from the shuffled deck and the one who receives the highest card becomes the first dealer. In case of a tie, a repeated deal is undertaken.
Once the initial player is chosen, they have to shuffle the deck and the player sitting to their right cuts it. Then the dealer passes 2 sets of 11 cards to each player in the clockwise direction. The first set of 11 cards is called as the Hand and the second set of 11 cards is called as foot.
The rest of the cards are placed down as stock pile and the top card of this stock is turned upright and placed aside to form discard pile. The game is played in teams and the players of one team sit opposite to each other. Foot stacks are placed around the stock pile and discard pile and the players pick up their hand. There are in all 4 deals and the dealer position rotates clockwise.
Given below are the value of cards in the game. The below values will be counted for you if they are melded. However, they will be counted against you if they are not at the end of the game.
· Joker – 50 points each
· 2s & Aces – 20 points each
· 8-King – 10 points each
· 4-7 – 5 points each
· Black 3s – 5 points each
· Each Clean Book: 500 points
You will also be given bonus points along with the card values if you collect them.
· Each Dirty Book: 300 points
· Wild Book: 1500 points
· ‘Going Out’: 100 points
· Each Red 3: 100 points
Every deal needs to fulfill a certain minimum requirement for total point value of cards that make up the first meld in partnership.
· Deal 1: 50 points
· Deal 2: 90 points
· Deal 3: 120 points
· Deal 4: 150 points
· Red 3s and complete book bonuses do not count.
Books – In the game of Hand and Foot, a pile of 7 cards is known as a book. If in this pile, none of the cards are wild, then it is called a Red book. However, if there are any wild cards in this pile, then it is known as a Black Book. When books are made, the card with the color same as the book is placed face up on the top of the pile which is faced down.
Going Out – If the teams have made a red and a black book, they are then allowed to go out. Also, the other condition to go out is that they must have played all of their cards in both the hand and foot.
How to Play:
As said earlier, once the game is setup, the play begins from the player to the left of the hand dealer and then goes ahead in clockwise manner. This play continues until someone goes out. Before you begin your turn, red threes must be placed face-up on the table. The number of these red threes placed should be replaced by the equal number of cards drawn from the stock.
In a turn, the following events are expected –
1. Drawing 2 cards from the top of Stock Pile.
2. Melding Cards – Start a meld or add to a meld.
3. Discard a single card faced up to the top of Discard pile.
Red threes drawn from the stock are to be placed face up on the table and a new card has to be drawn from the stock pile. You may or may not start a new meld. On your turn you have to choose what action you want to take.
In case you do not want to draw 2 cards from the stock, then you can draw 7 cards from the discard. If the pile contains less than 7 cards, you can collect the entire pile. If you are willing to draw, here is what is needed –
1. The top card of the discard can’t be black three.
2. You have to hold 2 cards of same rank as the top card of the discard.
3. At least 3 cards must be immediately melded – 2 of equal rank already in hand and the other on top of the discard.
One can complete their turn by discarding a single card to the Discard pile.
The meld set down on the table has to meet the least meld value requirement, which is the sum total of the value of cards played. You can start multiple melds to reach this requirement point. In case you are picking up from the Discard pile, then 3 cards to meld have to be counted toward this stipulation.
But, the other 6 cards that are drawn will not be counted. The cards in the initial meld can be wild cards. The partners in this game are not allowed to have 2 incomplete melds of equal rank. You must complete a book before you start a new meld of the same value.
Once you are done with all the hand cards, you can then pick up your foot cards. You can pick the foot cards in 2 ways –
1. All cards in the ‘hand’ are melded, the foot is pick up and a single card from it is discarded
2. Or, only 1 card of the hand is melded and the last card is discarded and the foot is picked up.
Note that, there will be no penalty in this version of hand and foot game for discarding a wild card.
End of Game
The hand and foot game comes to an end in one of the 2 situations –
1. If a player successfully goes out as mentioned above
2. Or if the stock pile is depleted and players do not wish to draw from the discard.
In case your partner does not allow you to go out, after melding you should have 2 cards left – one to discard and the other to continue playing with.
In the end, the team having the highest number of points wins. The score is calculated by the player’s books and melds along with the bonus points.
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about Hand and foot game rules –
What is the penalty for mistakenly starting a third run?
There is no penalty for mistakenly starting a third run in Hand and Foot game.
Do I need a scoring sheet to tally the points?
You can use a scoring sheet to keep things easier. However, you do not need to keep the running or cumulative score as the scoring is done only once in the game.
What are the rules for 3 person game?
The rules for a 3 person game of hand and foot are the same. However, for a game with an odd number of players like 3, there is no partnership and the players play individually.
Does the going out team have to be in their foot before one of them can go out?
Yes. As mentioned above, you will need to fulfill 3 requirements if you wish to go out – 1. Players should have completed all the needed books, 2. Partner of the player must agree for them to go out, and 3. Both players must have their feet and the players not going out must have played at least one turn from it.
Can you discard a wild card to get into your foot?
Yes, you can. In the game of Hand and foot, there is no penalty for discarding a wild card so as to get the foot.
What is the sitting arrangement for 6 players play and three teams of two persons around the table?
In Hand and foot game, the players of the same team sit opposite to each other.
In hand and foot, if a card in the stock pile is accidentally face up, do you take the card when it is your time to draw or bury it in the stack?
If you see a faced up card in the stock pile, first of all see if there are no other cards faced up. And if there are, reshuffle them. If you have only one card that is accidentally faced up, you can either reshuffle or bury the card in the stock again.
If you are down to 1 card, can you pick up 4 cards from the Discard Pile and one from the deck?
No, you cannot. In this game, a player can draw 2 cards from the stockpile, or 7 cards from the discard pile for which they will have to first meet the said requirements. No player can choose to draw less than 7 from the discard and cannot split their draws between the two piles.