PLAY YOUR CARDS RIGHT: Booval Canasta Social Club members from left, Cheryl Ryan, Jo Whiteing, Dieter Korth and Grace Norman.
PLAY YOUR CARDS RIGHT: Booval Canasta Social Club members from left, Cheryl Ryan, Jo Whiteing, Dieter Korth and Grace Norman. David Nielsen

Extra hands wanted for Booval Canasta Club

IF YOU know red threes are worth 100 points, unless you have all four, and you can go down without a joker, the Booval Canasta Club wants to hear from you.

Playing around Ipswich for more than 50 years, the club is looking for new members to keep the tradition alive.

"The club started in Ipswich, they met for some years at the RSL, and now we play at the Booval Masonic Temple,” said club president Susan Banks.

"Some members did leave with the various location changes, but now we are much stronger, thanks to the Advertiser Community Billboard, we get a great response.”

Mrs Banks said the club is a great social activity, and is able to accommodate players of all skill levels.

"While some of our players have preferred foursomes, we have others who float between tables each week.”

"The more experienced players are happy to help newer players learn the subtleties of the game.

With broad-based appeal across age and gender, Mrs Banks said Canasta is a great opportunity to meet new friends.

"It is a four-handed game, you play partners, and the rules are relatively straightforward, so it is easy for a new person to pick up.”

Classed as a 'rummy' game, the object is to be the first player to reach 5,000 points, although there are 'penalties' as a player's score increases.

"You need 50 points to go down initially, but that rises as your score increases.”

Points are scored by completing 'canastas' which are either 'pure' - all of the same suit, or 'mixed', where a wild card is added.

While the game is a mixture of skill and luck, Mrs Banks said it also has health benefits for players.

"Canasta is also good for brain exercise, you need to use your memory to remember what cards are in play.

"You must be aware of you are doing, to avoid favouring an opponent, while helping your partner.”

Mrs Banks said the club meets at 9.30am Tuesdays at the Masonic Temple, Eileen Street Booval.

"We have a great venue, thanks to the Masons, and good members, it's fun here.”