Skip to Content

Can you pick from anyone in Old Maid?

Sharing is caring!

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

When playing the card game Old Maid, the objective is to create pairs of identical cards so that one can discard and empty your hand. The aim is to get rid of the Old Maid card in order to avoid being stuck with it when other players run out of cards.

A player creates pairs by picking a random card from their opponent, and hoping to get a card that completes a pair. The faster someone makes pairs, the quicker the player runs out of cards in their hand.

Can you pick from anyone in Old Maid? No, players are only allowed to pick a card from the opponent on the right side of the player’s hand. 

To start the game, the dealer holds out their cards face down to the player on the left side, who should pick up one card and pass the gameplay to the next player on the left. That means the game follows the clockwise direction in Old Maid, and the player on the right side must fan out their hand out for the player on the left to draw a card. 

Whether you are trying to get rid of the Old Maid, or trying to keep it because reverse rules are implemented, you will always draw from the player on the right. Answered below are frequently asked questions about picking cards from anyone in Old Maid and how to handle specific situations.

Who picks from WHO in Old Maid?

A player always picks from the person to their right. At the start of the game, the player to the left of the dealer begins by picking from the person on the right side.

The dealer takes the first shot by showing the person to their left cards face-down. That player gets to pick one card from the dealer, and if they can form a pair, they are allowed to discard it before the gameplay passes to the next player to the left. 

Then, the player who picked the card from the dealer has to fan out their cards face down to the next player to their left to pick a card. The game continues until all players discard their cards, and only one player is left with Old Maid to lose the game.

What happens when you get Old Maid?

The card is not discardable, and therefore a player cannot pair it with any other cards. If the game is still in play (all players haven’t run out of cards), the player has the chance to pass it to another player before the game ends. 

On their turn, a player can offer their hand to the player to the left and try to play tricks to confuse their opponent. Try to hide the card for the opponent to think the card is valuable, or expose it to an area the opponent is concentrating on for the opponent to pick.

Old Maid is not a card one wants to have when everyone empties their hand. If a player holds the Old Maid card when all the other players discard their pairs, they lose.

However, house rules sometimes allow for a reversal such that the player with the Old Maid card wins instead of losing. If the game ends when the player holds an Old Maid card when rules are reversed, they win.

What are the steps of playing Old Maid?

  • Two to eight players can gather together to play the game.
  • Play with a deck of cards or specialized Old Maid cards. When using a regular deck, either use 52 cards with a Joker, or 49 cards and remove three Queens to create an Old Maid card with remaining Queen.
  • Dealer shuffles the cards and starts dealing one card at a time going around. Some players may have one card extra, but it’s okay.
  • All players look at their hands and remove any card pairs.
  • Starting with the player on the left, the dealer fans out their hand facedown, and the player gets to draw one card from the dealer’s hand.
  • If the card picked forms a pair in the player’s hand, they must discard it before passing the gameplay to the next player.
  • The player has to hold their cards facedown to the next player on their left to pick a card. 
  • The game continues until everybody discards the cards in their hand apart from one player who will have the Old Maid.
  • The player with the Old Maid card loses the game, and everyone else wins. In reverse house rules, the player with the Old Maid card wins the game and everyone else loses.
Can you pick from anyone in Old Maid

Picking Anyone in Old Maid: Conclusion 

There are no reverse cards in Old Maid, therefore the game always goes in a clockwise direction with the player drawing from the person to the right hand side of their position. If the player to the right is no longer in the game, then the draw from the player to the right side of them and do not just pick any random person in the game.

The game Old Maid follows the clockwise direction from the dealer’s side, which means the player to the left gets to pick a card from the player on the right. When picking the card, the player being picked from must hold their cards face down to hide their hand.

Do not disclose you hand to anyone, especially the player to the right, because they can use it to their advantage while drawing the cards. The key to winning or losing the game is the Old Maid card. When official rules are applied, avoid the card by all means. 

The more players continue discarding cards, the higher the chances of picking the Old Maid card. If you come to have the card at any point during the game, apply all the deceiving tactics to get rid of the card before everyone empties their hand and the game end with you as the loser.

Sharing is caring!