Deal and options
The dealer deals 7 cards to each player. Each player examines his or her cards then chooses two and puts them together, aside, forming a separate group of four cards. The top card of the remaining stack is then turned up. This card indicates two things; the trump suit for the hand, and also the cards which will score for the hand. However, before the play starts, the non-dealer, if he or she does not like the upturned card, is given a chance to change it, or he or she may exchange his or her hand with the four cards that were discarded (the crib).
If the non dealer does not like the upturned card, he or she says, "I beg". The dealer has two options to this declaration. He or she may say, "Take one", in which case the card stands, and the non-dealer scores one point. Or, the dealer may reply, "I give", exchange the card with one in his or her hand, as long as the new card is not of the same suit or value as the previous card. Note that if the dealer's hand is composed of entirely the same suit as the upturned card, he or she has no choice but to say "Take one".
If the non-dealer does not like his or her hand, he or she may say, "I switch". That player exchanges his or her hand for the crib set aside, takes the upturned card, then turns the next card of the stock face up. If the non-dealer neither wishes to "beg" or switch, he or she responds, "I accept", and the play begins.
Play and scoring
If the non-dealer begged or switched in the first part of the hand, dealer leads; otherwise non- dealer plays the first card. Normal ranking of the cards applies, with ace high. Players must follow suit if possible; otherwise, they may play any card they choose. Highest card of the suit lead wins the trick, or if a trump card is played, then it wins the trick.
After the five tricks are played, the non-dealing player examines the ones he or she won and scores 1 point for each trump card he or she took, and 1 point for each card of the same value as the upturned card that he or she took. For example, if the five of spades was turned up, and a player won the five of diamonds, the ace of spades, and the 3 of spades in his or her tricks, that player would score 3 points.
The dealer scores his tricks the same as non-dealer, and also gets to keep any points he or she finds in the discarded cards. For example, using the previous five of spades as an example, if the dealer had won the 6 of spades, and then in the discarded cards found the jack of spades, the five of clubs, and the five of hearts, the dealer would score 4 points. However, the dealer cannot win by the cards found in his or her crib. If the dealer would score more than 15 because of the cards in his or her crib, that player's score is set to 14. Note that the crib is four cards if the non-dealer did not switch, and five if he or she did.
The game is called fifteen as that is the maximum number of points that can be taken in one hand (14 points in the cards captured and found in the crib, and one point given to the non-dealer for begging); it is also the number of points that the players play to.
You can return any comments or questions on the game to Curtis Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org