On Anzac Day we solemnly remember the 102,000 Australians that have fallen during war time, as well as all the others that have served this great nation, and following the dawn service, marches and ceremonies the nation gets down to another great tradition, two-up.
Australian Diggers were renowned for playing two-up in almost all theaters of war that we have been involved in, and the tradition grew to become a synonymous with Anzac day, one of three days it is legal to play.
The game also offers the best odds of any gambling, with a fifty fifty chance on every spin.
West Entertainment Group’s Keith Clark knows all about the game, and after acting as ‘banker’ or ‘boxer’ for the last ten years, also knows all about the odds and the fall of the coins.
“It is a great tradition, and on ANZAC day creates a great atmosphere,” Mr Clark said.
“[In 2016] we made 171 legal spins - 87 were tails and 84 heads.”
It is a simple game that is thought to have originated among the peasantry of 18th century England and Ireland, before being modified from one coin to two or three and taken on by Australian soldiers.
‘Australia’s national game’ starts with the ‘ringie’, who controls the ‘two-up school’, places the coins on the ‘kip’ or ‘paddle’, and makes sure that the ‘spinner’ tosses the coins at least ten foot in the air.
The spinner comes out of the crowd and pays for the right to toss the coins, with his money doubling every time they throw a ‘heads up’, up to three times, although a tails up throw results in the end of their turn and money.
Punters that make up the school stand around the circle and bet with each other, where phrases like “tennahead” and “head em up” get yelled out before the ringie announces “come in spinner” to signal that the coins, usually always pennies, are ready to go.
“It is a great tradition on a great day- I look forward to it every year.” ” Mr Clark said.
This year Wests will be holding two-up schools at both Diggers and West Leagues, with any money made by the house on spinners bets, as well as a donation bucket that goes around the circle every hour being donated to the local RSL Sub Branch.
Across town other schools will be held at the Post Office Hotel, The Tamworth Hotel, The Southgate, The Longyard, The Courthouse, The Albert, the RSL and other venues.
So on Wednesday celebrate a win, commiserate a loss, gamble responsibly, and above all remember those that can’t, because they fought and fell for our freedom.
If you miss out on Anzac Day Two-Up on Wednesday, you can always play on Victory in the Pacific Day (August 15) and Remembrance Day (November 11).
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