One of the new courses being offered by Wilton Continuing Education this fall is Canasta, named after the card game participants will learn and play during four weekly classes beginning Thursday, Oct. 25.

Canasta is a fun and easy-to-learn card game that combines the ease of rummy with the challenge of bridge.

Norwalk resident Fran Rackson will instruct the classes in Room 150 at Wilton High School from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. each Thursday through Nov. 15.

Rackson said canasta is “essentially a version of rummy,” but it’s “played with partners and with a lot more strategy, which makes it more like bridge.”

Canasta is played with two decks of cards and four players. In teams of two, players work together to collect sets of seven cards of the same number, known as “canastas.”

There are rules for opening, laying down cards, going out, picking up, and so on, said Rackson, and certain have “special characteristics and rules in the game.”

“After each hand, score is calculated based primarily on the canastas started/completed, but lots of other things affect the score as well,” she said. “The first team to 8500 points wins.”

Rackson said she played canasta as a child and picked the game back up about two years ago after people in her mah jongg group wanted to learn.

“I knew that my mom and a friend were teaching canasta classes on Long Island [so] I asked my mom if she would come to Connecticut and teach us, and she of course said yes,” said Rackson.

“We found a date and 12 women signed up — mostly from my mah jongg group — who wanted to learn. Almost all of us [have] been playing ever since, and loving it.”

Rackson said she loves the game, “but mostly, I love the friends I’ve made while playing it.”

“It’s a fun and social way to spend an evening or an afternoon,” she said.

Rackson said she enjoys teaching and is “happy to be able to introduce people to a great social activity that is easy to learn and fun to play.”

There is a $90 class fee and a $15 discount for Wilton residents for Wilton Continuing Education’s Canasta class.

For more information or to register, visit wiltoncontinuinged.org.