Ponytail Canasta - Game Play - Melds

Melds

The object of the game is to score points by melding cards. A valid meld consists of three or more cards of the same rank (any rank from four up to ace), such as three kings, six fives, etc. Melds belong to the team partnership, not to an individual player. They are kept face up in front of one of the partners. Typically, a partnership will have several melds, each of a different rank. A player can add further cards of the appropriate rank to any of their side's melds, whether begun by them or by their partner, however they can never add cards to an opponent's meld.

Wild cards (jokers and twos) can normally be used in melds as substitutes for cards of the appropriate rank. For example Q-Q-Q-2 or 8-8-8-8-2-joker would be valid (dirty) melds. There must always be more natural cards than wild cards in the meld at any time with a maximum of three wild cards in any one meld. For example, a meld of 6-6-2-2 would not be allowed. Threes cannot be melded at any time.

For each partnership, during a hand when they put down one or more melds, is called their initial meld. When making the initial meld for their partnership, players must meet a certain minimum count requirement, in terms of the total value of cards that they put down. Players are allowed to count several separate melds laid down at the same time in order to meet this requirement. The initial meld must be made entirely from their hand after they draw, or from their hand plus the top card of the discard pile to satisfy the minimum count, before picking up the remainder of the pile. Before players have made their initial meld, the discard pile is frozen to them, they must have two naturals of the same value in their hand to pick it up.

The initial meld requirement applies to a partnership, not to an individual player. Therefore, after either a player or their partner have made a meld that meets the requirement, both of them can meld freely or add cards to an existing meld for the rest of that hand.

Each team must make its own initial meld, meeting the required point value for that team. That is to say each team can have a different minimum point value for their initial meld, based on the teams accumulated score from previous hands. If a players partnership has not yet melded, then in order to meld, the total value of the cards they lay down must meet a minimum count requirement. This requirement depends on their partnership's cumulative score from previous hands.

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