wikiHow to Play Old Maid

Two Methods:Preparing the CardsPlaying the Game

"Old Maid" is a classic card game that is played throughout the world[1]. In Germany it is known as "Schwarzer Peter" and in France it is known as "Vieux Garcon." To start playing with your friends and family, read on for the rules of the game.

Method 1
Preparing the Cards

  1. Image titled Play Old Maid Step 1
    1
    Start with at least three players and no more than six. This number of players can easily play using a single deck of cards.
    • If you have more players, use two decks but make sure the decks look identical.
  2. Image titled Play Old Maid Step 2
    2
    Take a standard deck of 52 playing cards and remove three Queens. The other Queen will be designated as the "Old Maid."
    • The goal of the game is to avoid being the player who holds the "Old Maid" in your hand when all the cards have been discarded.
  3. Image titled Play Old Maid Step 3
    3
    Choose a dealer. The dealer will shuffle the cards and deal the cards as evenly as possible amongst the players.
    • Some players may have one card more than others. This is fine.

Method 2
Playing the Game

  1. Image titled Play Old Maid Step 4
    1
    Remove any pairs in your hand[2].
    • The pairs should be shown face up on the table so that everyone can see the pairs you had.
    • If you have three of a kind, you can put down two cards as a pair and leave the last card in your hand.
  2. Image titled Play Old Maid Step 5
    2
    Have the dealer fan out his or her cards to the next player. Once all the pairs have been removed, the dealer should fan out his or her cards face down towards the person on his or her left.
    • The player to the dealer's left must take one of the cards and add it to his or her hand.
    • If the card forms a pair with one of the cards in his or her hand, that pair should go on the table with the rest of the discarded pairs.
  3. Image titled Play Old Maid Step 6
    3
    The next player fans out his or her cards. The player who just took a card then fans out his or her cards face down towards the person to his or her left. That person should pick a random card and take it as their own and discard any that are pairs. This should continue clockwise around the table.
  4. Image titled Play Old Maid Step 7
    4
    Take turns clockwise. As pairs go down, the Maid should show up as the last card.
    • Eventually, all the pairs will slowly start to be discarded and players should not have many cards anymore.
    • Once only the "Old Maid" is left, the game is over.
  5. Image titled Play Old Maid Step 8
    5
    The person who is holding the "Old Maid" card is declared the loser.

Tips

  • This is a good starting card game for children because the rules are simple and easy to remember.
  • Bend the rules to your own taste. For example, an English variation on this game is "Scabby Queen" where the person who finishes the game with the 'old maid' card draws a card from the deck and has their knuckles scraped by the deck according to the value of the card.
  • If you are playing with children who like a particular cartoon character, many stores sell special "Old Maid" decks that have popular cartoon characters on them instead of Jacks, Queens and Kings.
  • Use alternate cards and "nicknames" for this game. For example, use Jacks or Kings instead of Queens.
  • It is also possible to play a reverse version of the game. In this version, the person who is left holding the "Old Maid" card is declared the winner[1].

Things You'll Need

  • A standard deck of 52 playing cards with three of the queens removed
  • At least 3 players

Article Info

Categories: Card Games