Saturday, July 9, 2011

Canasta with Pretty Cards

Have you ever played Canasta? Before I lived in Mexico, I had never heard of this game. Card games of all kinds from Uno to Rummy are so much fun to play in a group, so when I saw quartets of ladies getting excited about Canasta, I decided to figure out how to play.

That was not an easy task. Canasta in Oaxaca is a big deal and can get pretty competitive. There are rotating hostesses for organized games of Canasta every week. Pick-up games occur everywhere from the pre-school parking lot to the bounce zone. There was never a lot of money at stake; it was all about the thrill of winning, the strategy, and the game.

At first glance, Canasta seems very similar to Rummy. But it has it's own unique rules and scoring.  In fact, I played different versions of the game depending on who was in charge.  The game is played in groups of 4 that consist of 2 pairs. I observed my brilliant Canasta playing friend Lucia many, many times as she played serious Canasta games. Then she showed me some inside tricks and tips and I was set to go.

Once I learned how to play, I was hooked on Canasta. It became the weekly social event. Games could last for hours. It was like a guys’ poker night, except that we played during the day while sipping hibiscus water!

You’ll need two decks of cards, also called a French deck, to play Canasta. Of course my selection is the set from Lilly Pulitzer in the You’ve Been Tagged pattern.

Do you know how to play Canasta? What are your favorite card games? What games to ladies in your neighborhood play on a regular basis?



  1. No but always wanted to learn!!!

  2. I love to play Euchre. It's an easy, fast game that can be played while socializing with friends. I majored in Euchre my freshman year of

  3. I just saw this post, Canasta is a huge game in my family (and it gets incredibly competitive!) I don't know anyone outside of my family who plays, though. xo, LP



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