Duplicate Canasta Game mode

Differences between Modern and Classic Canasta

Canasta, originally developed in 1939 and extremely popular in the 1950s, now comes in two versions.
The modern version has largely replaced the classic version in North America, while the classic version remains popular, in Europe.

Preparations and Dealing

  • Classic version: Players receive 11 cards
  • Modern version: Players receive 13 cards

In the classic version, you placed the first card from the draw pile face up on the discard pile. In the modern version, the 9th card from the bottom is turned 90 degrees to indicate that no more talons are available for initial melds after this point. This allows the first player to choose between picking from the pack or drawing from the pile.

Gameplay Differences

Initial Meld Requirements

In the classic version of Canasta, players need to achieve initial melds worth 15, 50, 90, or 120 points.
In contrast, the Modern version requires higher point values for initial melds, specifically 125, 155, and 180 points.

Melds and Picking the Pack

In the Classic version, there is no need for a clean triple; a combination of one card and a wild card is sufficient to pick the pack. Additionally, players can pick the pack with already melded cards, including completed Canastas.

On the other hand, the Modern version always requires a clean pair to pick the pack. Wild cards can only be in a Canasta that contains at least five natural cards, with a maximum of two wild cards allowed per Canasta. You cannot add Wild cards to completed Canastas, and the opposing team cannot meld cards that correspond to a finished Canasta, making those cards dead.

Specific Card Rules

Aces and 7s: In the classic version, aces and 7s don’t have any special status; you can discard them at any time, and making Canastas of these cards is possible. The Modern version applies special rules to these cards.

Wild Cards: In the classic version, you can add wild cards to any canasta, with a limit of three wild cards per canasta. You can also discard wild cards to freeze the pack. In the modern version, you can add only add two wild cards to a canasta, and you cannot add them once you have completed the canasta.

3s: In the classic version, red 3s are melded and replaced, while black 3s are discarded like any other card. Black 3s cannot be melded unless a player has a triple when going out, making them safe discards. The modern version follows different rules for 3s.

Endgame Differences

Going Out: In the classic version, you must finish one Canasta to go out, and discarding is optional. Unfinished Canastas of aces or 7s are also allowed.
The modern version has different requirements for going out.

Winning the Game: basically, to win a game in the classic version, a team needs 5000 points.
In the modern version, a team needs 8500 points to win. The card values are the same in both versions: cards numbered 4-9 are worth 5 points, cards 10-K are worth 10 points, aces and 2s are worth 20 points, and jokers are worth 50 points. However, the classic version does not impose special penalties for holding 7s or aces, and it does not include special hands.

Learn more about Modern Canasta rules here.

All the Rules concerning Modern American Canasta can be found in: The Ultimate Guide to Modern Canasta which is available just by clicking here!