ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Games, Toys, and Hobbies»
  • Card Games

Hand and Foot - A really GREAT Card Game

Updated on December 29, 2017

This is one of our Favorite Card Games!

Hand and Foot is one of the best card games my family has ever played. We used to keep cards in the car so when we were on vacation we could play in the hotel room. With four players, each game takes forty-five minutes to an hour to play, but we love it.

My in-laws introduced this game to our family more than 20 years ago. Our daughters started playing by the time they were 11. On Christmas break we would sit for hours and play, only stopping for lunch! It's a very addictive game, and easy enough for relatively young children as well as the elderly.

Our family loves it so much that my father-in-law (and now my husband) built card caddies specifically for the game. But whether you have the caddy or not, keep reading! You'll find all the details on how you can have a great time playing! So go ahead, grab one full deck of cards for each player (including the jokers) and have a blast!

Setting up the game

You'll need an even number of folks to play and a full deck of cards for each player (including the Jokers) We use four red decks for four players and add blue decks for additional players. We also never play with more than six players. If eight people want to play, we divide into two different games. Otherwise, it seems like the game never ends!

1. A Hand and Foot Match consists of four games each played and scored as described below.

2. Players sit around the table in teams of two with team players opposite one another

3. All players shuffle cards (We keep trading off 1/2 our shuffling deck to ensure a good mix)

4. Every player is a dealer-each player should deal 2 stacks of 11 cards each

5. Each player keeps one stack and passes the other to the player on his or her left

6. Each player chooses one stack to play first (this one is called the player's hand)

7. The other stack should be set aside where all players can see it (well, the back of it, not all the cards in it) for play later in the game (your foot) - You may not look at your "foot" until all the cards in your "hand" are gone.

8. Any cards not dealt go in the draw pile

How to Play

This is where the fun begins

1. Any player may go first drawing 2 cards from the draw pile.

2. The player should arrange his or her cards in sets of three or more, but sets must be kept in the hand until the desired points are reached. (see scoring below)

3. At the end of the turn the player will discard one card into a pile next to the draw pile.

4. The discard pile should be kept so that only the top card is visible at all times.

5. Play moves around the table clockwise each player drawing 2 from the pile OR after the first round, if the player has at least two cards that match the top card in the discard pile, the player may choose to draw 5 from the discard pile instead. The player MAY NOT see what is under the top card - you'll want to pay attention!

6. As soon as one player reaches the minimum points* for that round they may begin to lay down their sets of three or more. Both players from the team will build on the SAME set of cards. Players may wait until they have more than the goal points for strategy if they desire. As soon as the first player from a team goes down, every player on that team may play on their next turn.

7. When any player lays down the last card in his or her "hand," that player may pick up his "foot." If he picks it up before the discard, he may continue playing cards from his foot. If it is after the discard he must wait until the next round to play those cards.

8. Play continues until at least one team collects two "clean" piles and two "dirty" piles. A clean pile is a set of 7 cards with NO wild cards, a dirty pile is a set of 7 cards with at least ONE wild card and never more wild cards than regular cards. When seven cards of one kind are collected that pile should be stacked so only the top card appears. It is now marked as closed. A clean pile should have a red card on top to mark it closed. A dirty pile should have a black card on top to mark it closed. Cards MAY BE added to a closed pile.

9. A player may not "go out" (discard his final card) until his team has the minimum number of dirty and clean piles.

10. A player must have played every card in his hand and foot and have a discard to "go out."

11. The game is ended when the first player goes "out".

12. A player may hold a discard until his partner is in his foot or has played cards; however, he may go out as soon as he is able.

Keep scrolling down . . . the points are below!

CHH 6 Deck Revolving Card Tray
CHH 6 Deck Revolving Card Tray

This deck holder would be perfect! It's so much easier to use a card holder with so many decks of cards on the table.



No game is complete if you can't name a winner, so you'll want to know how it's done. I've been told it's much like Canasta, but I've never played that game myself. Here's how you decide who wins!

*MINIMUM POINTS PER ROUND-In order to lay down the first sets of three (or more) for his team, a player must individually have the minimum number of points in his hand as follows:

Round one: 60 points - Round two: 90 points - Round three: 120 points - Round four: 150 points

(IE: in Round One of the match, you must have 60 points to lay down your first set(s) of three- You could have three Aces, a joker and two fours, two sets of face cards, etc.)

Cards are scored as follows:

RED THREE (in your hand when the game is over) = -500 points (yes, that's a negative 500 if it's left in your hand after the first player goes out.)

WILD CARD - JOKER = 50 points

WILD CARD - TWO = 20 points

Ace = 20 points

9-King = 10 points

4-8 = 5 points

BLACK THREE = 0 points

After the first player goes out points are added as follows:

  1. Every "clean pile" (seven cards with no wild cards in it-red card on top) counts as 500 positive points
  2. Every "dirty pile" (set of seven cards with at least one wild card -black card on top) counts as 300 positive points
  3. Every red three in a player's hand or foot counts as 500 negative points
  4. Every card that has been played will count for positive points.
  5. Every card still in a player's hand or foot counts as negative points.

Keep track of points in each of the four games. The team with the most points at the end of the four rounds wins the match.

Tips for Play

Tip 1: Avoid the temptation to lay down your matches before you've drawn at least a couple of times. This gives you time to make sure you don't have to put wild cards on every pile. But don't wait too long. Your partner may need you to lay your cards down so he can play his!

Tip 2:Try to be strategic in your creation of clean and dirty piles. Remember, you have to have at least two dirty (with wild cards) and two clean (no wild cards) before you can go out. Sometimes it's tempting to use the wild cards to create piles, but getting in a hurry and laying down all dirty piles can come back to haunt you later in the game. On the other hand, if you need to get rid of wild cards to go into your foot, check every dirty pile to see which ones can afford an extra wild card and close up clean piles if you need to.

Tip 3:Get rid of red threes. Do not hold on to them. They are 500 negative points if they're still in your hand (or your foot) at the end of the game. It's also good to throw away Black threes. Since you can't use them, they will keep you from completing your hand and "going straight into your foot." If you finish your hand with no discard, you may pick up your foot and continue play. If you still have a black three, you'll have to wait until the next turn to play the cards from your foot because play ends with the discard. At the end of the game, when I'm in my foot, I'll often HOLD a black three. If someone else goes out, and I only have a black three, there are no points off!

Want more?

Stop back and I'll share!

Looking for them sooner? Let me know in the space above!

Take the Directions with you!

CLICK HERE to Download a Printable Version of Hand and Foot Directions

What's your favorite Card Game - Have you ever Played "Hand and Foot"?

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 months ago from the short journey

      It's such a fun game! But it's been a while...need to hang on to your post.

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 19 months ago from United States

      My family loves card games but we've never heard of this one. It sounds like it would take a while to learn but I think we are up for the challenge. Thanks for explaining it so clearly!

    • profile image

      Natalie 21 months ago

      Never played it. It sounds interesting though.

    • profile image

      nguongame 4 years ago

      really helpful suggestions, thanks

    • amytrumpeter profile image

      Amy Trumpeter 4 years ago from Oxford

      No, but I would love to! I am the 'Game Night' contributor on Squidoo and I have just given it a boost :-)

    • notsuperstitious1 profile image

      Edith Rose 4 years ago from Canada

      Yes, I have played the game Hand & Foot, and love it.

    • profile image

      pratheeshomnitec 5 years ago

      @Teddi14 LM: Enjoy...

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @Lynne-Modranski: Thank you .

    • Lynne-Modranski profile image

      Lynne Modranski 5 years ago from Ohio

      @anonymous: We have always played that u can make a clean pile dirty at any time. So yes you can discard that clean card

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      we play hand and foot every Friday love the game but wanted to know if there was a rule about if we need one more dirty pile to go out and in my hand I have a card that would make it a clean pile I also have a wild card, can I use my wild card to make it dirty and discard my other card?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I forgot my email address . My friends and I have so much fun playing this, you have no idea. We live in an Over %0's Village, and one day I organised a Round Robin, and residents want me to do it again. My partner and I came 2nd. Great day, and a great game.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @JanetG LM: I am from Auatralia, and was introduced to this wonderful game, and my friends and I cannot get enough of it.Pity we could not play on line with you. Be woderful.

    • JanetG LM profile image

      JanetG LM 6 years ago

      We love, love, love playing hand and foot. Our rules are similar to yours. Thanks for sharing. I love the caddy!

    • Teddi14 LM profile image

      Teddi14 LM 8 years ago

      I loved this game as a kid! I have fav'd this. Thanks so much for sharing.