There are no agreed upon “official” rules of Hand & Foot, but we believe these instructions create the most fun and competitive version.
Hand & Foot is most often played in teams, but we feel playing singles is more strategic and challenging. The rules vary slightly between the two so both sets of instructions are available on handandfootgame.com.
Singles games are played with 3 to 8 Players.
Each game consists of 4 rounds; highest score wins.
The game requires one more deck of cards than the number of players. Hand & Foot Remastered cards are color coded on the back to help you quickly adjust the number of decks you are playing with.
Note: These rules can be applied to play with traditional playing cards but 2s will replace the 20-point Wild cards and Jokers will replace the 50-point Wild cards.
How to Play - Singles
To accumulate the most points by playing all the cards in your hand, and then your foot, to create melds and books.
What are Melds and Books?
A set of 3+ cards of the same rank from 4 through Ace, played face up on the table.
Must always have one more natural card than Wild.
Cannot be played on by other players.
Hand & Foot Remastered eliminated suits as they have no relevance to the game. With traditional cards, melds may have any combination of suits.
A meld of 7+ cards.
A Clean book is seven cards of the same value (e.g., seven 8s).
A Dirty book includes Wild cards (e.g., a book of four 8s and three wild cards).
Books cannot be made entirely with 3s or wild cards.
To “go out” (end the round), you must complete at least one Clean and one Dirty book and play all cards in your Hand and Foot.
Scores are calculated by adding the cards played, minus the remaining cards in the player’s Hand and/or Foot.
Each Hand & Foot Remastered card has the point value on its face. Traditional card values are listed below.
Each player receives points for each book completed and for all individual cards played, including those in books, by the end of the round.
For example, a Clean book of seven 4s would be worth 700 points plus 5 points for each card in the book for a total of 735 points.
Red 3s are worth 100 points and should be immediately played, face-up at the top of the individual’s play area and immediately replaced with a card from the draw pile.
Black 3s are -100 points and should be discarded before all other cards.
Natural cards can be added to complete books, wild cards cannot. This will not increase the value of the book, but it will add the point value of the card to the final score.
Each round of play has a different minimum meld point value requirement. You cannot play any meld(s) until they equal the minimum value. This applies to each player.
For example, three 4s would be worth 15 points and six 10s would be 60 points, for a total of 75 points. This would satisfy the requirement for Round 1.
Minimum Point Value Required to Meld
Complete books and red 3s do not count toward minimum meld requirements.
Tip: Playing your cards too early only helps your opponents as they can see what you are collecting. Of course, waiting too long to play them could leave you a lot of negative points at the end of the round.
Thoroughly shuffle the cards and place one or two draw piles in the center of the table.
Tip: Shuffling with the cards face up and spread out on the table will help you spot groups of like cards. Poor shuffling creates a poor game experience.
Turn one card face up to start a discard pile. If this card is a 3 or a Wild, it is mixed into the draw pile and replaced.
Each player then takes a small portion of the draw pile and, without looking at them, counts out two stacks of 11 cards each.
If a player picks up exactly 22 cards, a 100-point bonus is awarded for a “perfect deal.”
The first stack is the player’s “Hand.” The second stack is passed to the player on the left and becomes that player’s “Foot.”
Each player begins with their Hand and sets their Foot aside, face down, in a location visible to the other players.
To determine the order of play, each player selects one card from the draw pile. The player with the highest card, Aces are high, begins the first round with play continuing clockwise. Cards are then mixed into the draw pile.
To begin each turn, the player must pick up two cards and MUST discard one to end their turn.
You cannot go out without discarding.
You can continue to play with no cards in your hand but that does not end the round unless you’ve also completed your books.
The first card in the discard pile can be picked up as long as that card does not complete a book from an existing meld. For example, if you have six 8s played, you cannot pick from the discard pile if the top card is an 8.
A player cannot pick from the discard pile if they already picked a card from one of the draw piles.
Once a player obtains the minimum point value to play their melds, they may choose to play the cards by placing them face up on the table in front of them during their turn. (See Meld Requirements.)
Our suggested table layout is included later in these instructions.
A player must play their Hand completely before they can play their Foot.
If, to clear their Hand, a player must discard, they must wait until their next turn to start playing their Foot.
If no discard is needed to clear their Hand, they can immediately begin playing their Foot.
There is no obligation to announce that you are playing your Foot. It is up to the other players to be aware of the game.
The first player to go out by playing or discarding all cards from their Hand and Foot, plus completing at least one Clean book and at least one Dirty book, receives a 100-point bonus for ending the round.
When a player goes out, all cards remaining in the other players’ Hand and/or Foot are to be counted as negative points. Cards they have played are positive points.
Tip: Going out doesn’t guarantee that you have the most points for the round. You may want to wait and create more books.
How to Keep Score
At the end of the round, the score keeper will first record the points each player has in books and then the number of red 3s that have been played.
All red 3s are then discarded.
Count the values of the individual cards.
Tip: The fastest and easiest way to calculate scores is to match, and discard, a positive card equal to any negative cards. With the remaining positive cards count out piles of 100 points each.
Provide your total to the scorekeeper and help shuffle for the next round.
Suggested Table Layout
To ensure a fair game where all opponents can see what melds and books they each have, we suggest the following card placement.
Melds are placed in front of you, in ascending order, in a vertical row clearly showing how many cards of each value you have.
Clean books are neatly piled and placed horizontally above the melds next to the red 3s, if any.
Dirty books must have a Wild card placed vertically behind it to indicate it is dirty.