Old Maid


Old maid is an easy game which is great for younger players, it is also known as Cuckoo or Chase the Ace.


The basics

-Number of players: two or more

-Cards: 51 card (a standard deck with one Queen removed so an odd Queen becomes the Old Maid)

-Ranking: ace high, then King down to deuce. Suits are equal.

-Difficulty: easy


Object of the game

The object of the game of Old Maid is to get rid of all cards in one’s hand by matching them off into pairs. One player will be left with the “Old Maid” (the odd queen), this player is the loser.



Deal and play move clockwise.

After all the cards are dealt, players should look at their cards and remove any pairs from their hand and put them over to the side. Cards are paired according to rank. Suits are ignored in this game. Once all players have eliminated any pairs from their hands, the dealer starts the game.

The dealer must offer his hand to the player to his left. He does so by turning to his left and fanning out his cards face down in front of that player. That player, in turn, must pull one card from the dealer’s hand—without seeing it—and add it to his own hand. If this card makes a pair, the player who pulled the card removes the pair from his hand and places the cards to the side. If the card does not complete a pair, then the card remains in the hand of the player who pulled the card.

Play then continues to that player’s left. In other words, the player who just pulled a card from the dealer’s hand offers his hand, facedown, to the player on his left. That player pulls a card and either discards a pair the card completes, or keeps the pulled card in his hand.

The idea is to get rid of all cards in hand. Once this is done, a player is safe and out of the game.

The play continues until everyone is safe except for one player. That player will be left holding the Old Maid card, which loses the game.


Related External Links

Pagat have a great Old Maid guide, although it is written as Cuckoo in this guide.