First published on 21 Apr 2012. Updated on 11 Mar 2014.
A true-blue Aussie tradition, the gambling game of two-up is only legal on ANZAC Day. Brought over to Australia as ‘pitch and toss’ by the English and Irish, it was rife through the gold rush days and equally popular with soliders during World War I. As a result it’s become synonymous with April 25, during which pubs across the country will host games.
How to play two-up, trad-style
1. Two coins are placed on a paddle (kip) by the ‘spinner’. You and fellow punters will need to surround them and commence bellowing things like “tennahead!” (read: I want to bet $10 on both coins landing heads up).
2. Want to take that bet? Lock eyes and vigorously wave your ten dollars in the head-better's direction, then give them your cash if they accept (heads holds the money).
3. The boxer (referee) yells ‘come in spinner’, to cease bet-making whereupon the coins are flicked in the air. They have to reach higher than the spinner’s head and fall within the circle to count as valid toss. If it's heads, you lost. Tails? You won! One of each? The spinner keeps tossing till there's a result.
4. Celebrate/console yourself with beer. Repeat.
Where to play two-up
To the ‘burbs with you! This is a proper RSL which means cheap beer and the chance to bet against war heroes. 4 St Georges Rd, Elsternwick 3185. 03 9528 3600.
The Mail Exchange
This huge pub/club draws a big crowd including a lot of folk in uniforms (authentic!) and has a decent range of beers on tap. 688 Bourke St, Melbourne 3000. 03 9903 6880.
It’s a little ritzier than a game of pitch and toss in the trenches, but if you’re planning on making an officer-sized bet, this is the place for you. L1, West End Crown Casino, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank 3006. 03 9292 8888.
Southern Cross Hotel
The pub named after the quintessential Aussie tattoo, the Southern Cross Hotel, will be playing host to games of two up. Kick back with the locals, grab a beer and toss some coins. 78 Cecil Street, South Melbourne 3205
Head to the ANZAC March Assembly Place to get your two up on with the best of them. If you’re not feeling lucky, you can join the crowds and watch the masters at work. Corner Swanston and Flinders Streets, Melbourne 3000