Helaine was the MOST patient teacher I could have imagined! Canasta was overwhelming at 1st...so many rules! But Helaine broke it down week to week into manageable chunks of information. By the end of her lessons, I felt less intimidated and more excited about playing on my own! Knowing that she is always there, whether via phone or email, offers reassurance as I continue on my journey to master canasta! 

Thanks again Helaine; you truly inspired me to play something other than mahjong! 


Helaine, you have changed my world.  I have been obsessed with Mah Jong for the past two years.  However, since you have taught us canasta, I can't stop playing canasta both in person and on line.  Mah Jong has taken a back seat because I just love it!  

You had a very tough task....to teach 13 women all of whom were different levels of card players.  Your ability to handle the different levels surpassed my expectations.  You arrived each week with visual materials and presented the game in a very logical, organized manner and even managed to teach us a lot of strategy of the game.  I found you extremely patient and you were always available to us in person before and after our sessions and via email.  You left the door open to ask questions and didn't judge anyone when they asked you the same question multiple times.  

Thank you so much for sharing canasta with us.  I enjoyed getting to know you.  We will miss you!


It’s been a pleasure having Helaine guide us through the canasta learning journey. She is enthusiastic, kind, fun and very generous with her time. She taught us the rules and basics of the game the first week and built on that subsequent weeks by emphasizing strategy, communication and patience. Her weekly email summaries of the lessons are like an instruction manual for the game and will be a great reference going forward.

Helaine is truly a Masta at teaching Canasta!


If you have any interest in learning Canasta, you have come to the right place.  Helaine's teaching style is simple and easy to understand.  She builds on concepts each week so you are not overwhelmed with too much information at once.  Strategy comes next, and then play away.  Patient, kind and diplomatic, Helaine is your CanastaMasta.


Thank you Helaine!
Your love of the game shines through your teaching. You made this person who was not sure she could ever understand all the rules, into loving the game.
We were a large group, and you took the time and patience to teach us the rules, strategy, and how to be a good partner in the game. 
Our classes were filled with your knowledge, and the follow up e-mails were so helpful. You are extremely generous with your time, you came early for “extra hand holding help” and stayed late.
Helaine also did not disappear between lessons, she offered to play the online game and always encouraged us to e-mail, call or text her with questions
Canasta is a great game, but Helaine makes it exciting. 
Thank you Helaine for making me confident and ready to play.
Joyce O.

Helaine is not only a master canasta player, she is also an excellent teacher.  Our sessions were not always easy, but somehow she was able to break this game down into manageable bites and make it available to us all. I have never been a card player, and only started learning mahjong a few weeks before taking on canasta.  My brain was simply not geared to this type of activity.  But after a few sessions with Helaine, I am now officially addicted to canasta!  I can't seem to get enough!  The game is challenging, fast paced, and fun.  Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but you almost always learn something.

If you are thinking of taking classes with Helaine, do not hesitate any longer.  You will not find a more dedicated, patient teacher on the East coast. You will come away confident in the knowledge that you have learned from the best, and if you ever goof up (and who doesn't?) it will not be because you learned it wrong, it will be because you simply goofed up.  

Cindy S.

I cannot thank you enough for teaching my friends and me the wonderful game of Canasta!  I knew just from talking to you on the phone that first time that you were the one for the job.  You are a pleasure to deal with - always early, ready and prepared for an informative lesson, but three special qualities really stood out to me: (1) you are impeccably organized; (2) your pre-class and after-class emails to the group were exceptional at reenforcing the various concepts covered; and (3) it is evident that you aren't just going through the motions - you really care that we are able to play on our own when our lessons are over.  I will miss seeing you regularly, but feel confident that we are now "mini mastas" and ready to go out on our own.  Thank you.

Carli M.

I was lucky enough to be one of Helaine’s canasta students and I can honestly say that I am hooked! I would never have even thought about learning the game had Helaine not introduce it to me! She is an excellent instructor, very patient and thorough as she walked me through everything from the basics to strategy, time and time again. I look so forward to my weekly game with my friends, and as a recent empty nester, this has been especially important to me. It keeps my mind sharp and my friendships going! Helaine, I can’t say thank you enough! I love canasta and I know that I will be playing until I am old and grey!

Helaine as a teacher can be summed up in one word – PATIENCE!  I took about 8 weeks of classes from Hellie.  There were six of us learning at one time.  I was blown away by her patience as a teacher.  We had a wonderful experience and it’s been about two years since our classes ended and we still play as a group.  It’s a great game, but it has a lot of rules and it takes some time to learn them all.  I am still blown away when I think about how Helaine taught us, how natural it was for her and what an abundance of patience she has!  I strongly recommend Helaine as a canasta teacher!


If learning how to play canasta is in "the cards" for you, then look no further than to Helaine Neiman as your teacher.  

I joined a group 2 years ago on a whim with 5 other local women. Helaine was a superb teacher. She was patient as we learned the rules, supportive as we began playing and was always available to advise us even after our lessons were completed. 
As a group, we have grown from 6 acquaintances into 6 good friends, celebrating life's ups and downs every Monday night and it goes without saying that YES, we've become Masta Canasta graduates thanks to Helaine.