# Canasta: Rules to pick up discard pile when frozen or not frozen

Is this a correct understanding of when you are allowed to pick up the discard pile?

If not frozen, you can pick up the discard pile if you can use the top card to make a meld from your hand OR to simply take the top card and put down and add to an existing meld on the table.

If the discard pile is frozen you can only pick up if the top card can make a meld from cards solely in your hand. In other words if the top card is an 8 and you have an existing meld of 8's on the table but no 8's in your hand ( or wild card and 8) -you can't pick up the frozen discard pile?

You are mostly correct; except in your understanding of the wilds.

To determine if you are allowed to pick up the (entire) discard pile; follow these rules:

• If the discard pile is frozen, you can only pick up the discard pile if you can immediately meld that top card along with 2 more of the same card from your hand. A wild cannot help you here; you need 2 natural matches, not including wilds. If you have never melded before; you need to also meet the minimum meld value (by melding whatever else you want from your hand at the same time). You can count the top card in the points for part of that minimum meld; but you cannot count anything else in the discard pile.

• If the discard pile is not frozen, you can only pick up the discard pile if you can legally meld the top card of the discard pile. This could be melding it by just adding it to an existing meld; or melding it along with more cards from your hand (which could include wilds). There is no minimum meld to worry about, because if the discard pile is not frozen, you have already melded.

In either of the 2 cases, if you pick up the top card of the discard pile, you also pick up the entire pile.

The discard pile is frozen (for your team) if either there is a wild in the discard pile, or if your team has not yet melded at all.

• Thanks. I know I sound like a dunce but I want to be crystal clear. If the pile is unfrozen you can take the pile if you can used the top card to make a meld out of the cards in your hand OR you can take the single top card ( and pile) and simply put that single card on an existing meld on the table. In other words if you want say the 8 that is the top card you don't have to have 8's in your hand? – Susan S Feb 6 '18 at 18:25
• That is correct. As long as you legally meld the top card (whether by adding to an existing meld or by combining with cards in hand), you can take the pile if it isn't frozen. – GendoIkari Feb 6 '18 at 21:10