Old Maid

OBJECTIVE OF OLD MAID: Don’t become the Old Maid!

NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2-5 players

MATERIALS: Standard 52 card deck minus 1 Queen, 51 cards total

TYPE OF GAME: Discarding



Old Maid is a children’s card game popular in the United States. In France, the game is called Vieux Garçon (Old Boy) and Le Pouilleux (Lousy).


The Deal

A player shuffles the cards and deals them, one at a time, to each player. Cards are dealt evenly between players until they are all used. It is not necessary for players to have exactly even hands.

The Play

Players remove all their pairs from their hand and place them face-down on the table in front of them. In the event you have a three of a kind, you may only set down two of those cards. After each player has finished this, the dealer begins the next phase of play by allowing the player to their left to choose a card from their deck. This is done by spreading out the card, face-down, in hand so that the other player can choose any single card from the dealer’s hand. After, the player who picked a card must remove any new pairs from their hand. They then offer their hand to the player to their left. This continues around the table until all but one card is paired- the single Queen. The player left with the last Queen is the Old Maid! 


In France (and other countries), where the name of the game is male, a Jack is removed from the deck as opposed to a Queen. The loser of the game holds the last Jack after all pairs have been accounted for.

Old Maid, and similar games, can be played in reverse. As opposed to the holder of the Old Maid being the loser, they are actually declared the winner of the game.





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