What you need to know about Old maid card game

Old maid card gameThis children’s game is known by various names in many parts of the world, for example it is Schwarzer Peter(Black Peter) in Germany, Vieux Garçon or Le Pouilleux in France, Ekae in Thailand. Old Maid is a classic children’s card game. It can be played by two or more players of almost any age using a standard deck of cards or one of the many specialized decks available. This is a great game to play by anyone. It reinforces matching skills and has everyone actively participating without the need for much training.

The Objective

The objectives of the game is to not get caught holding the odd card out.

The Players and Cards

It can be played by two or more players. From a standard 52 card pack remove one queen leaving 51 cards. It is also possible to play with a special pack. Deal and play are clockwise.

The Setting

If using a standard 52 card deck remove one queen leaving only 51 cards. Deal the cards clockwise. This is also the direction of play. Some players may end up with more cards than the rest. This is fine and does not affect play.

The Play

The dealer deals out all the cards to the players (generally some will have one more card than others – this does not matter). The players all look at their cards and discard any pairs they have (a pair is two cards of equal rank, such as two sevens or two kings).

The dealer begins. At your turn you must offer your cards spread face down to the player to your left. That player selects a card from your hand without seeing it, and adds it to her hand. If it makes a pair in her hand she discards the pair. The player who just took a card then offers her hand to the next player to her left, and so on.

If you get rid of all your cards you are safe and you take no further part. The turn passes to the next player to your left, who spreads his or her cards for the following player to draw one. Eventually all the cards will have been discarded except one queen (the old maid) and the holder of this queen loses.

How to play

There are retail card decks specifically crafted for playing old maid card game, but it is just as easy to play with a When using a regular deck, a card is either added or removed, resulting in one unmatchable card. The most popular choices are to remove the ace of clubs or queen of clubs or to add a single joker. The unmatchable card becomes the “old maid,” and whoever holds it at the end of the game is the loser. It is possible to discard a single card from the deck face-down; if this is done, players cannot know which card is the old maid.

The dealer deals all of the cards to the players. Some players may have more cards than others; this is acceptable. Players look at their cards and discard any pairs they have (e.g., two kings, two sevens, etc) Players do not discard three of a kind. In common variants, the suit colors of a discarded pair must match: Spades (♠) with clubs (♣) and diamonds (♦) with hearts (♥). When playing with one card removed, this means one unique card is always the old maid instead of it possibly being any of the three remaining cards of that rank.

Beginning with the dealer, each player takes turns offering his or her hand face-down to the person on his or her’s left. That person selects a card and adds it to his or her hand. This player then sees if the selected card makes a pair with their original cards. If so, the pair is discarded face up as well. The player who just took a card then offers his or her hand to the person to their left and so on. A player is allowed to shuffle his hand before offering it to the player on his left. In some variants, all players discard after the dealer has drawn.

The Winning

The objective of the old maid card game is to continue to take cards, discarding pairs, until all players except one have no cards. That one player will be left with the lone unmatchable card; they are “stuck with the old maid” (your chosen card) and lose.

If you paired up and discarded all of your cards you are safe and are no longer in the game. Eventually all cards will be discarded with the exception of the one queen. The holder of this card loses.

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