Old Maid

Old maid

Old Maid is a Victorian-era game for two to eight players. The late 1880s saw the first published sets, but the rest of the game’s past is a mystery. Therefore, we can’t say who developed it.

Old Maid may have originated as a drinking game. Ironically, it’s a popular children’s card game similar to the European card game Black Peter.

Old Maid’s rules can be modified. To keep things simple, let’s go over the game setup.

Players: 2-12

Game set up

Using regular playing cards instead of bespoke decks changes the game’s setup. If so, the dealer must take one card from the top of the deck.

This action can be done with any card. However, Queens are most prevalent.

Shuffle the deck, then remove the top card. This is a funny twist on Old Maid. If you peek, no one will know what the Old Maid card is until the game is done.

The dealer must combine the remaining cards after eliminating one. You don’t need to remove a card using a personalized deck of Old Maid cards. Instead, give them to the players.

Each participant should get one card at a time until all are gone. Some players may get fewer cards, but the game can continue normally.

How to play

  • The dealer best starts with turn-based Old Maid. You must discard two identical cards on your turn. Standard playing cards couple red and black suits.
  • Two diamonds match two hearts, for example. You can reject several pairings. In Old Maid, you must match symbol and character cards.
  • After discarding all pairings, fan out your remaining cards. Face-down, give them to your left-hander. This player picks a random card and tries to make a pair.
  • If possible, deliver it to your opponent. If you can’t, give your left-hand opponent your face-down cards. Continue until all pairable cards are discarded.
  • One player will be left with an Old Maid card they can’t pair. That player’s out, and everyone else’s in. Old Maid’s simple rules and quick tempo make it a great family game.

How to win

To convince their opponents to pick a certain card, players may act ridiculously and try to get them to choose the Old Maid.

A single player is left only with Old Maid until all pairs have been set down. As long as you have more pairs than everyone else, you win!

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  • The normal 52-card deck has a Queen eliminated from it.
  • Cards are dealt one by one to each player until there are no more cards.
  • All players look at their hands and put any face-up pairs they have to the side.
  • Left-handed players begin by putting their hands face-down on the table for the other players to see. The other player then chooses a card from their hand.
  • The player who acquired the card will examine the newly acquired card to see whether more pairs can be formed. It’s game over if not.
  • Only one player remains in the game after eliminating all the others.
  • The loser is the one who possesses an unpaired Queen.


The game’s mechanics do not change, but the person who possesses the odd card (the last Queen as well as Jack or even the Old Maid card) is the winner after all the other players have run out of cards.

Frequently asked questions

Approximately how many playing cards are in an Old Maid deck?

A deck of Old Maid cards has 52 cards in it.

Is it possible to play Old Maid online?

Several Old Maid simulators may be found online, including a couple optimized for mobile devices.

Exactly what is the Old Maid’s objective?

Old Maid is a two- or more-player card matching game using a normal 52-card deck. The game’s goal is to have all of your cards paired up and not have a single Queen left at the end of it.

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