ANZAC is an acronym for “Australian and New Zealand Army Corps,” coined during World War I. April 25th, or Anzac Day, is a national holiday in Australia, commemorating all of the country’s military veterans. There are plenty of heartfelt memorials and ceremonies, including the part where fellow citizens take to pubs and restaurants across the country to raise a pint and do a little coin-tossy gambling!
For this day and this day only, the pitch-and-toss betting game of Two-up becomes legal. Played with pennies and brought to Australia by English and Irish convicts, Two-up became famous as the pastime of World War I diggers (soldiers). After an era of speakeasy-style “Two-up schools,” aided by corrupt policemen and guarded by eagle-eyed Cockatoos (lookouts), the game waned in popularity, until it resurfaced legally at a few casinos in the 1970s. Now permitted in all states on Anzac Day, Two-up is considered symbolic of a sense of shared experience with past and present Australian soldiers.
How to Play:
A person is selected as the Spinner (generally greeted to loud calls of “Come in Spinner!” by the rest of the players). The Spinner places two coins on the kip (a small piece of wood)—one coin goes heads-up, the other coin goes tails-up. Then, the Spinner tosses the coins into the air using the kip, until they win or lose.
The basic format of the game:
Two heads means the Spinner wins.
Two tails means the Spinner loses.
Odds means the Spinner throws again.
The Spinner is required to place a bet before the first throw that must be covered (equaled) by another player. If the Spinner wins, they keep the bet and cover, otherwise it goes to the player who covered the bet. The Boxer (the game manager, who doesn’t do any betting) takes a commission out of this bet.
The other members of the group place side bets (bets against each other) on whether the Spinner will win or lose and the result of the next throw.
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