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The ANZAC tradition: Two-Up

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No annual pastime sums up our nation’s love of a punt quite like Two-Up. The game has a simple set of rules, but over time has become steeped in tradition. 

Believed to have originated around the 18th Century amongst English and Irish settlers, Two-Up quickly became a mainstay as a form of gambling among Australia’s poorer citizens. The game soared in popularity during the First and Second World Wars, and despite the fact that this form of gambling was very much illegal, many authorities turned a blind eye.

The aim of the game is by no means complicated. Two coins are tossed sky-high (game rules demand at least 10-feet) using a small wooden bat known as a kip, by a nominated spinner. As a punter, you bet against a fellow punter on the outcome of the flip: Double-Heads or Double-Tails. If the coins come up split, or a coin strays from the circle, they are flipped again. The game is controlled by the ring-keeper, who selects the spinner, the coins, and maintains the integrity of the game.

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A humble game that was once played on a quiet patch of dirt fields during the War, has grown into one of Australia’s favourite annual traditions. A Thunder Dome like experience, that is enjoyed at RSL’s and other licensed venues across the country. The game is so popular in fact, that a special NSW Government decree made the game legal year round in the outback town of Broken Hill!

We’d be ashamed of ourselves were we to not mention the true meaning of April 25th. ANZAC Day marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War and is a chance for us to give thanks, and salute the men and women of our armed forces, who put their lives on the line for our freedom.

So this Tuesday, set the alarm for an early wake-up call and head down to your local dawn service, and then head down to RSL for a traditional ANZAC breakfast, and to try your hand at a bit of Two-Up.

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