Canasta lesson & Strategy



Basic Canasta Strategy for Improving Your Game

Not sure what to do when you get ahead of your opponent?  Are you wondering how you can catch up when you get way behind? This page will walk you through Canasta strategies that should help. 

Remember Always Meld with Substance

Strategy 1: Baiting Your Opponent


Baiting is done by playing a card that is prevalent in your hand, hoping to bait your opponent into playing the same card, thinking you were trying to get rid of it. This tactic may work better against more experienced players.

Strategy 2: Conservative Play


If you happen to be far ahead of your opponent and getting close to 5000 points, you may opt to play a more conservative Canasta strategy in order not to lose the lead. A good strategy at this point in the game would be to meld early and often and just try to go out as quickly as possible, making sure your opponent doesn’t pull you into a long, drawn out game that may earn him/her many points.

Strategy 3: Aggressive Play

Go For It!

If you're behind in the overall game and about to lose, a better strategy would be to play much more aggressively, attempting to increase the discard pile size and increase the amount of points made in the round. Some Canasta strategies here might include baiting the winning player to pick up a pile early, so they run out of good cards to discard or pick the pile. It’s usually an all or nothing play, but when you have nothing to lose, it might be worth an attempt.