Old Maid Card Game: Examining the Instructions and Variations of This Popular Family Card Game


Finding quality time to spend with family can be difficult in the hustle and bustle of today’s world. An easy way to gather everyone around the table is board games, and specifically, card games. Card games are classic fun that generations of people have enjoyed. Some well known games include Crazy 8s, War, Go Fish, and Old Maid.

You may not remember how to play these classic games, but that is okay because part of the fun is learning together.

Keep reading to read Old Maid instructions, a classic card game that’s worth a revisit.

Breaking Down the Rules – Learn Old Maid Instructions

At its core, Old Maid is a matching game. Specific decks for playing the game usually come with an odd card out, but if you’re playing with a regular deck, just make sure to remove a card so one has no match. In some variations, players don’t know which card was removed, so they don’t know which one is the unmatchable card and thus the Old Maid. This adds an extra challenging element to the game.

The dealer deals out the rest of the cards among the players, and they begin by discarding pairs of matching cards. For example, player one might discard a pair of kings, and player two might discard a pair of jacks. Some ways of playing include matching suit colors, so you wouldn’t be able to discard the king of diamonds with the king of clubs—it would need to be the king of clubs and king of spades.

Each player then shows their hand to the next person, and they blindly choose a card from your hand. Then they make a match from their hand and offer their hand to the next player. This continues until only the Old Maid is left; that player loses the game.

Black Peter and Scabby Queen

It can get boring playing the same game all the time, so why not mix it up? Old Maid has a few variations, including black peter and scabby queen. The rules are like the traditional Old Maid instructions.

Black Peter is a game in and of itself, played with 31 or 37 cards and featuring a chimney sweep or black cat as the odd card out. Scabby queen removes the queen of clubs from the deck, so the player stuck with the queen of spades loses. The loser then receives raps on the knuckles from the edge of the deck—not exactly a friendly consolation prize!

Other variations include taking a new card before giving one up, all players waiting for the dealer to take a turn before discarding, removing the jack of diamonds so the player left with the jack of hearts loses, or adding a joker to the deck, and the player with the extra joker loses.

Add Old Maid to Your Family Game Night

Family game night doesn’t have to be boring. With so many variations, it’s easy to get creative and change things up while still enjoying a friendly card game.

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