Poker. Blackjack. Texas Hold 'Em. Canasta. Rook. There are a myriad of card games out there, but only one reigns supreme: Old Maid. Old Maid is a favorite pastime for everyone from children to old maids, and there are a number of reasons for its popularity. For one thing, it's easy to play. For another, anyone can play it. However, it must be admitted that the game also holds some mystical quality that can't quite be placed. It casts a spell over its participants that is only broken when the whole table is laughing and pointing fingers at the lone loser dubbed the Old Maid.

Perhaps you remember playing this exhilarating game as a child and nostalgia is beckoning for you to relearn it; or maybe you want a nice way to spend the rainy day with the kids. It could be that you and the boys are getting bored with Poker and want something more challenging; or maybe you're going to visit Grannie this weekend and want to brush up on your skills so you can totally own her and her clique at the nursing home. Whatever your reason for wanting to learn this high-stakes game, we've got you covered. Here's everything you need to know about playing old maid.

What Is Old Maid?

Before you undertake the incredible journey of learning how to play the #1 game in all the universe, you'll undoubtedly want to understand what exactly it is and learn of its exotic origins. To put it plainly, Old Maid is the world-renowned card game played with 51 cards instead of the standard 52.

There are a few reasons for this, but the best way to explain it is that this is sort of like Old Maid holding one hand behind its back to fight with other games like Poker and Rook. It's also because the point of the game is to leave one card standing, and you can't do that with an even number of cards in play.

The History Of Old Maid

Old fashioned cards

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Old Maid is a Victorian card game, but some believe that it originates from an ancient form of gambling which determined who would pay for the drinks. Just imagine finding yourself in a common tavern in ancient Rome with Tiberius, who busts out a deck of cards and sits you and your buddies down at the table to see who's paying for those cherry cream sodas. OK, we're being ridiculous, but it is true that some claim Old Maid has origins this old and prestigious. So next time you set down for a round or two with Grandma, keep in mind that you're participating in a tradition that could be a thousand years old at least.

Names And Variants Of Old Maid

Vintage Cards

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Northern Europe

Southern Europe

Northern Asia

Southern Asia

Is Old Maid Fun To Play?

Playing Cards

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What's "fun" is totally subjective, and you'll have to play the game yourself to find out if it's for you. If you like matching games, then Old Maid is probably right up your alley. Likewise, if you've acquired a penchant for bluffing after playing Poker, then yeah, Old Maid could work out great. If you enjoy the idea of ganging up on the loser or assigning them a good-natured punishment just for kicks, it could be fun to play at a bachelor party. Children often find the game easy, too, so if you've got kids, you might give it a try! Who knows, you might start a new family tradition that lasts a lifetime.

How You Play Old Maid

Now that you've learned all about the history of Old Maid and its variants played all around the world, it's finally time to get down to business and learn how to play the greatest game known to man. So bust out that deck and crack those knuckles; let's play!

Take A Card, Shuffle, And Deal

Pair 'Em Up



Old Maid is undoubtedly the greatest game mankind has ever known, and the fact that nearly every culture plays a variation of it testifies to its greatness. It's easy to play, and even the kids can get in on the fun. The process is easy: take a card out, shuffle, and deal. Then you pair them up until the last player left standing holds the old maid! Afterwards, you're free to humiliate them mildly. So grab a deck, call Nana, and have her and her clique get ready to game. Now go show her who's who at Old Maid!

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