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There are no agreed upon “official” rules of Hand & Foot but we believe these instructions are the most fun and competitive version.
Note: If you are still playing Hand & Foot with old fashioned playing cards these rules can be applied but 2s will replace the 20 point wild cards and Jokers will replace the 50 point wild cards.
4 – 8 Players – With teams of 2 players or 3 - 6 players with teams of 3 players.
Play with one more deck of cards than the number of players. The backs of each deck are color coded to help you quickly adjust the number of decks you are playing with.
Each game consists of 4 rounds with the highest score winning.
Place one or two draw piles on the table with a discard pile between them with one card face up. The first card on the discard pile cannot be a wild or a three.
The object of the game is to accumulate the most points by laying down melds with the goal of creating books.
What are melds and books?
A meld is 3+ cards of the same value from 4 through Ace. A meld of seven cards or more is a book. Books cannot be made with 3’s.
Clean book - Seven identical cards is a clean book and is worth 700 points. For example, seven 8’s is a clean book.
Dirty book - A book that includes up to two wild cards is a dirty book and is worth 300 points. For example, a book of five 8s and two wilds is a dirty book while four 8s and three wilds would not be valid.
Wild book - A book of 7 wild cards. Cannot be used in a team’s inital meld.
Tip: Shuffle thoroughly! Shuffling with the cards face up and spread out on the table will help you spot groups of like cards to be separated. Poor shuffling creates a poor game experience.
To begin form teams and ensure teammates are not sitting next to each other.
Each player then takes a small portion of a draw pile and, without looking at them, counts out two stacks of 11 cards each. A 100-point bonus is awarded if a player picks up exactly 22 cards. 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 playing continuing clock-wise.
On each turn the player must pick up two cards and discard one. The only exception is to “go out” (end the round) you must play your final card.
The top three cards in the discard pile can be picked up as long the top card can immediately be played with two natural cards from your hand.
A player cannot pick from the discard pile if he/she has already picked a card from one of the draw piles.
Red threes are worth 100 points and should be immediately laid down, face-up at the top of the individual’s play area and replaced with a card from the draw pile.
Black threes are -100 points and should be discarded before all other cards.
Your team can “be in the game” by laying cards down when one teammate holds a meld, or melds, that total at least the minimum point values as shown below. All team members will now play on these melds and hand additional melds to the opening player.
First round: 60 points
Second round: 90 points
Third round: 120 points
Fourth round: 150 points
If you lay your cards down to meld and discover you do not have enough points you must pick them up and it will cost your team 500 points.
When laying down cards you must leave them visible to your opponents. 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 threes, if any.
Dirty books must have a wild card placed vertically on top.
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 natural card.
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.
The first team to have one team member go out by playing all cards from their hand and foot, plus having the team complete at least two Clean books and at least three Dirty books, receives a 100-point bonus for ending the round.
Once a player goes out all cards left in the other players’ hand and/or foot are to be counted as negative points. Cards they have laid on the table are positive points.
At the end of the round the score keeper will first record the points each player has in books and red threes.
Example: 3 red Threes and one clean book is worth 1000 points.
Example: 1 red Three and one dirty book is worth 400 points.
All red Threes are then discarded.
The individual card values are now added, if they were laid down, or subtracted if they are still in the player’s hand and/or foot.
Tip: Match, and discard, a positive card equal to any negative cards. With the remaining positive cards count out piles of 100 points each. This is the fastest and easiest way to calculate scores.
Provide your total to the scorekeeper and start helping to shuffle for the next round.
To Lay Down (Meld):
Round 1: 60 Points
Round 2: 90 Points
Round 3: 120 Points
Round 4: 150 Points
Red 3: 100 Points (If laid down, -100 if caught in your hand)
Black 3: (-100) Points
4 – 7: 5 Points
8 – K: 10 Points
Ace: 20 Points
Wild: 20 or 50 Points
Clean: 700 Points
Dirty: 300 Point
Wild: 1,500 Points
Picking 22 Cards: 100 Points
Going Out: 100 Points