Hand and Foot rules are not overly complicated and the game is a cool adaptation of the classic Canasta rules. Rather than only having the 11 cards dealt into your hand, you also have 11 cards in a foot to be used when all the cards in your hand have been used to create melds of three to seven cards laid face up on the table. There are many versions of both Canasta and Hand and Foot online that make playing and scoring a breeze. The object of the game is to get rid of all of your cards before any other player. It can be played with only two players or with four paired off into two teams.

The Hand and Foot card game directions begin with the simple understanding of how you eliminate the cards in your possession. A meld is a group of three cards such as 4, 4, 4 of any suits or 5, 6, 7, all of the same suit. Once a meld of three cards has been started on the table by either side, more cards can be added to it by either side. A Meld consists of a straight of three to seven cards of one suit or three to seven of a kind. Jokers and 2s are wild. A meld cannot consist of more wild cards than real cards-and wilds cannot be melded alone. Once a meld reaches the seven-card limit, it becomes a book. A Clean meld has no wild cards and when it reaches the seven-card limit, it becomes a Red Book. If a seven-card meld contains any wild cards, it becomes a Black Book. All melds are laid out on the table on your side for the opposite player to lay down a card on his side that continues a number in a straight or a card that adds to a numerical Meld.

Completed Books are piled individually with a red or black card face up on top to indicate the type of Book it is. Equally, ranked cards may be played on books that are complete. Wild cards cannot. You gain points for each card melded and for Books. If you are a player left holding cards when another goes out, you lose points for those left in your Hand and Foot. You do not have to have a discard to go out. In order to go out you must:

1. Completely play your Foot.

AND

2. Possess one or more Black or Red Books.

Hand and Foot scoring:

  • Jokers are 50 points
  • Twos are 20 points
  • All aces are scored at 20 points

Eights through Kings score 10 points

Three through Seven are 5 points (unless the no 3s rule is adopted at the onset of the game)

The play begins with two complete decks of cards for two players and four decks for team play. Hand and Foot partners rules are the same for two players, but the scores are combined for each team.

  • Round Points: 50/100/150/200
  • Round 1 the total of the card points must be at least 50 to play
  • Round 2 the total of the card points must be at least 100 to play
  • Round 3 the total of the card points must be at least 150 to play
  • Round 4 the total of the card points must be at least 200 to play
  • Book Points: 500/1000
  • Red Books are 1000 points
  • Black Books are 500 points
  • The Player who goes out gets 100 extra points

There are many different options and rules for playing the Hand and Foot card game. Try any of the Hand and Foot downloads to see which you prefer. This is an excellent game to start a monthly card club of eight players at two tables. Each person buys in with whatever dollar amount everyone agrees to such as $5 or $10. Rotate partners throughout the evening until each person has collaborated every other player. Keep track of your team scores on your own Hand and Foot score sheet and at the end of the evening the individual with the highest score wins the buy-in pot! Hand and Foot rules may seem difficult if this is your first time reading them, but jump in and you'll get the hang of it in no time.