Canasta, this version of Rum 500, was devised in Uruguay, but that is not the only country where the game remained limited. Since 1939, the game has spread a lot and, in some instances, has created a country-specific version of it, which has gained more popularity with time. For example, there is a US-American version of Canasta, and it is quite popular and widespread around the country. It has a tournament version as well, which is handled by the American Canasta Association. Making this version a part of your How to play rummy tutorial will be able to help a lot because you will get to learn a lot which will help your growth as a player.
The Complexity and Additional Steps Associated with this Game
Despite everything, one has to accept that the relative complexity of the game and the unforgiving scoring rules allow significant penalties for various melds that are acceptable and considered good in other versions. This version cannot be the perfect beginning for a player. Therefore, it will be best if you approach this version of the game after mastering the classic version. This version of Canasta is perfect for teaching players nice habits and shed the ones which can be considered liabilities in this version.
The Differences that are there between Classic and American Version of Canasta
The American Canasta version is played with four players and two-person partnerships. Some of the rules regarding the setup and play of the game you need to know about are:
Each player gets dealt 13 cards in this version, and the discard pile will begin with the one face-up card, which is taken from the draw pile.
The pretty standard draw-two-cards is not used in American Canasta, and one of the players has to go out the score limit is 5000.
Initial meld requirements in this version are the same as the classic version of Canasta which means, -50 for the players who have scored less than 1500 points, 90 for the players who have scored 1500 or more points but haven't crossed the threshold of 3000. One who has scored more than 3000 points will receive 180 points. Melding the complete Canasta always requires meeting the initial meld requirement, which happens regardless of the point values of the cards involved. Such a play won't bring any additional bonus.
The discard pile in American Canasta won't permanently be frozen. There are many groups that do not allow you to take the pile and make the team's initial meld on the same turn. The groups that do not allow this will require a player to make the first meld, and then the pile can be accessed. Amongst this, the meld and access are considered the official rule or the tournaments. Such a result can be achieved with the strength of a pair of natural cars that were already melded in that turn. You can achieve the same results by producing a similar pair from the player's hand after the initial meld requirements are made without them.
When it comes to legal discards, there are some limitations. For instance, red threes cannot be discarded, along with the wild cards, unless the pack has been frozen. If the discard pile is empty, then aces and sevens can't be discarded. It is an unlikely possibility, but there may be a situation where a player may have only wild cards or aces and sevens or wild cards and an empty discard pile. If such a scenario presents itself, then the player will be allowed to make a discard of aces or sevens if possible. The wild cards can only be discarded if there isn't any other option available. If such a thing happens, then the opponent can challenge the legality of the play. In such a case, the player will have to show their hand to the opponent to verify that their play is legal.
The red threes can be played on the table as red threes in the classic version of Canasta, but in this version, such a play is optional. If you draw a three here, you will be drawing a replacement card instead.