Introduced in the Victorian Era, Old Maid has been around for a long time. During that time, a woman who never married was called an “Old Maid.” Another variation of this card game is known as “Odd Man Out.” Apparently, “Old Maid” represents the odd woman out.
You can buy commercial decks of Old Maid cards or you can play the game with a regular deck of playing cards and use the Queen for the Old Maid. In a commercial deck, the “Old Maid” represents what you might expect – an old woman while the other matching cards represent other people.
How to Play Old Maid Card Game
When you review how to play Old Maid card game rules, you’ll find them fairly simple to understand so you can start playing the game soon after you open a deck. You can play the card game with 2 to 8 players.
To begin the game, deal the cards to the players. After you deal the cards, everyone, in turn, looks at their cards to find matching pairs. They then lay each matching pair of cards, face up, in front of them. If you have 3 cards that match, you can only display two cards that match and keep the others in your hand. The idea here is only to lay down the pairs of cards that match.
A Longer Variation of the Game
If you’re playing with a regular deck, you can span out the game by pairing cards by the color of a suit and their number value. For example, you might pair an 8 of hearts with an 8 of diamonds as they’re both red cards. However, you cannot do the same, in this case, with an 8 of spades. Instead, you must pair an 8 of clubs with the 8 of spades, as they’re the same color, black.
Getting Rid of All the Pairs – What Comes Next
After you get rid of the matched pairs, each player shuffles the leftover cards in his or her hands. The player on the dealer’s left holds their hand of cards up to the player on their left, displaying the back of their cards.
The player takes one card and adds it to the cards in their hands. If he or she can pair the card with one of their cards, they take the cards and lay the pair down on the table. This goes on until all the cards are matched.
You can also make a slight variation to this rule by taking another card from the player’s hand if you’ve made a match. If you cannot pair up any of your cards, the next player will take their turn.
As noted, this activity continues until all the cards are paired. After all the cards are paired, the player who has the “Old Maid” or “Queen” in their hand is the loser. To declare a winner, name the player who has the most pairs, who does not end up with the “Old Maid,” the winner.
What Card Game Would You Like to Play?
Besides Old Maid, other old-time card games that are fun for just about anyone include Go Fish, Crazy 8s, and Slap Jack. Getting into the habit of playing cards is a good practice. Set aside time for some family fun or a weekly card game among friends.