An iconic Australian game, Two-Up involves betting on what will happen when two coins are tossed into the air. The game is thought to have originated in the 1790s and been popular among soldiers in World War I, leading to a tradition of it being played on Anzac Day in Australia as the country remembers those who have lost their lives during conflict. This is the only day of the year where it is legal to play in public, with games taking place in Returned Servicemen League (RSL) clubs and pubs, but Two-Up has also been introduced in casinos in some Australian states for year-round enjoyment.
Two coins are placed on a paddle, referred to as a kip, and players come forward to toss them into the air. Traditionally, the coins have to be thrown ten foot high to be valid, and must land within a specified circle or area. Side bets are then taken on whether both coins will land heads-up or both will land tails-up. If one head and one tail is thrown (known as odds) at this point, the spinner will continue to toss the coins.
The spinner’s aim is to try and throw a pair of heads and they will keep throwing until they toss a pair of tails or they get five odds in a row, at which point the kip will be passed to the next player. A three-coin version, sometimes termed sudden death or ‘swy’, always produces a result of heads or tails depending on which side most of the coins come down and has become more widespread in recent times in an effort to speed up the game.
As a game which is wildly popular, but played only on very limited occasions, Two-Up players in pubs or clubs are encouraged to get into the spirit of the occasion and have fun, so there are few rules on etiquette. Feel free to cheer on the spinner and, when it comes to your turn; just remember to stick to the rules of how high to toss the coins and where they must land. There will be a person known as the boxer who manages the game in addition to someone else who acts as the ringkeeper or “ringie” who looks after the coins after each toss, and their decisions are final.
Make sure to get your bets in when an announcement is made so you are not slowing the game down and behave in a reasonably civilised manner so you don’t offend other patrons.
When betting on the toss of a coin, the only factor in deciding whether you win or lose is luck. However, like with many games offering even-money wagers, many strategies have been put forward about how you can theoretically guarantee success, and they relate to how you increase your stake.
The Martingale strategy, which has been used for a long time in roulette, advises players to set out how much they would like to win and keep doubling their stake when they lose a bet. For example, betting on two tails to come up before two heads, you might place a wager of £5 in the hope of winning a £5 payout. If the first bet wins, you stop gambling. If the first bet loses and then the second bet, of £10, also loses, you will still earn £5 if the third bet, of £20 wins, as you will have spent £35 and won £40.
As a strategy, this might work well with small bets to guard against short losing sequences, but it can quickly become a very dangerous tactic if you are hoping for a bigger reward or you end up suffering a longer losing run, unless you have an infinite amount of cash. It is best to view Two-Up as a bit of light relief rather than a way to make money and just enjoy the game when it can be played.
Two-Up can be played legally in Returned Servicemen League (RSL) clubs and pubs across Australia on Anzac Day, which is observed on 25th April each year. The game can also be found at the Crown Casinos in Melbourne and Perth.
You can find other casino and gambling terms in the Casino Glossary section.
Gamble.net on Facebook
You first need to login to Facebook to view this page because it contains age restricted content.