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Old Maid

Game Type: Children's
Age: All
Players: 2-12
Deck: Standard, Jumbo Index 52 card deck, play with 51 cards

Old Maid is a constant favorite with children and lots of fun for families playing cards together. Colorful decks made especially for the game are popular, but regardless of the playing cards used, the rules are the same.

Suggested Ages. 4 to 10.

Skills Developed. Matching, pairing, and recognizing numbers.

The Pack. The standard 52-card pack is used, however, one of the four queens is removed, leaving a total of 51 cards.

The Deal. Any player shuffles the pack and deals them around, one at a time to each player, as far as they will go. The cards need not come out even.

Object of the Game. The goal is to form and discard pairs of cards, and not to be left with the odd card (a queen) at the end.

The Play. Each player removes all pairs from his hand face down. If a player has three of a kind, he removes only two of those three cards. The dealer then offers his hand, spread out face down, to the player on his left, who draws one card from it. This player discards any pair that may have been formed by the drawn card. He then offers his own hand to the player on his left. Play proceeds in this way until all cards have been paired except one - the odd queen, which cannot be paired - and the player who has that card is the Old Maid!

Irregularities. If any player is found to have discarded two cards that are not a pair, (thus causing three unpaired cards instead of one to remain at the end), the player who made the mistake loses and becomes the Old Maid.