Registration for GE 2018 is open!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Hand and Foot

No, this is not "Fifty Shades of Green."  Hand and Foot is a card game popular with some of the long-time Great Escape attendees.  It's a lot of fun! Several years ago I wrote up the rules, and thought I would share them with you. 

Directions for playing “Hand and Foot”

Use one more deck of cards than the number of people playing.  Leave the Jokers in the packs. The decks should have unique back designs so that you can sort them out later.  Otherwise, it's a lot of work!

If you have an even number of players (4, 6) play the partner version, it’s much faster.


Shuffle all the decks together – pass half your deck to the person to the left, she shuffles hers and yours together.  After a few passes all the decks should be successfully shuffled together.

Divide the cards into as many piles as players.  Arrange them in a circle in the center of the table.  The discard pile will be in the center.

Each player takes some cards from the top of a pile, aiming to take exactly 22.  Divide cards into two piles of 11 each.  If you have more, put them back, if fewer, take that number more.  (If you take the 22, you get 100 points.)  Do not look at the cards at any time!

Your left pack is given to the player on your left.  That’s their “Foot.”  The pack you keep is your “Hand.”  You may pick up your hand after the pass.  Leave the foot on the table.

Play travels clockwise.  One partner is the keeper of the books, if playing partners.

Values and scoring:

Black 3

Red 3

- (minus) 500
4 – 7

8 – K


Clean Books

Black Books (books with wild cards)

First to go out


To PLAY:  Players EITHER take two cards from any unused pile

OR, if there are at least 7 cards in the discard pile, and if player has 2 cards in hand matching the top card on the pile in her hand, she may take the seven cards from the top of the discard pile.  The top card must be played immediately with the other two matching cards (plus one or two wild cards, if desired)  to make a book.

“3”s can’t be booked.  A 3 played on the top of the discard pile prevents the next player from picking up discards, as do discarded wild cards (2s and Jokers.)

A turn is finished when the player discards one card on the discard pile.

MELDS (minimum point value for first book(s) played on the table.

A meld must be made before a player can make books at will.  (Either partner can meld in the partner game.)

Minimum amount for meld (first time putting book(s) on table.)

First hand
50 points
Second hand
90 points
Third hand
120 points
Fourth hand
150 points

After meld, books can be started (by either partner in partner game) with at least two cards and a wild card, or three cards of a denomination.

Closed books – consist of seven cards.  Clean books (also called red or natural) are seven cards of the same denomination.  Black (dirty) books must contain 4 natural cards (up to 3 may be wild cards)   A book in progress must always contain more natural cards than wild cards.

Books are piled neatly and left in view of the players.  Closed books in top row, open in bottom row.  Books to be “closed” must be declared closed, and all plays made, prior to discard. Natural books are signified by placing a red card on top.  Black books signified by black card on top.

Additional cards of the denomination can be added to a closed book during play, but no wild cards can be added to a closed book.  You may not start another book of the same denomination.  If you have a closed book of a denomination you may not pick up a top card of that denomination (even if you have two in your hand.)


When you have played all cards in the “hand” you can pick up your foot and play from that.  If you play all the cards in your hand before discard, you can use the foot on that play.  If you discard your last card, you can pick up the foot and look at it, but you must wait until your next turn to put cards from foot on table.

When three Clean and three Dirty books have been closed, player (team) may go out by discarding the last card in their hand. It’s unlikely and undesirable to go out before foot(s) have at least been picked up.  Partners must ask partner for permission to go out (to avoid partner being caught with red three in hand.)  Cards left in hand and unclaimed foot are subtracted from scores.

1 comment:

  1. A perfect way to pass the day!
    Thank you so very much for your input on painting my front door. Alas, rain is predicted through Tuesday but it WILL eventually be done!
    Have a lovely weekend!