Two-up in Australian pubs

What is two-up?

Two-up is a traditional Australian gambling game that you are only permitted to play once a year on a specific date. This game is legal on Anzac day, which takes place on April the 25th. Anzac day commemorates former Australians and New Zealanders who fought and died in the war. It is a remembrance day for those who served for their countries. Typically, the mornings of Anzac day is spent at veteran parades. And the afternoon in the pubs playing twos-up. This will sound very strange to many but to Aussies, it’s a respected tradition that many look forward to. There’s one thing for sure, Anzac day is extremely lively in Australia. So, if you’re a tourist and happen to be in Australia on this day, make sure you take a visit to any pub. You’ll have a lot of fun. The atmosphere is extremely energetic and high-spirited. And there’s sure to be many Aussies making use of the only day two-up can be played in each pub you encounter.

When did it start?

The origin of two-up is unknown. However, two-up is said to be around since the 1850s according to many. Aussies believe it was popular in World War 1 with soldiers. They used this game to pass time and enjoy themselves through the hardships of war. The game eventually became illegal. This was because it was technically an unregulated form of gambling. Although the games still went on, players had to be extremely careful in case police caught them. Each game would have someone on the lookout for the police, often referred to as the ‘cockatoo’ and would warn players of incoming police. It’s popularity continued to grow throughout Australia. So in 1991, the government decided this game could be played annually, for one day a year (Anzac day) after 12pm. The main rule was that it could not be played for profit. And that all proceeds should be donated to charity. And of course, you must be 18+.

What are the rules of two-up

  • First, you will need two coins and a flat wooden board, often referred to as ‘paddle’ or ‘kip’. A designated spinner should be chosen. They will be the coin flipper.’
  • All players that wish to bet should stand in a circle around the table the betting table. This is known as the ‘ring’.
  • You must place a bet on which side the coins will land, heads or tails. So, you might bet that they both land on heads, or tails. Or one lands on heads and one lands on tails (this is known as odds). The spinner must agree to bet the same amount as the rest of the players but on the opposite result.
  • If the coins both land on head, the spinner will win. And if both land on tails, the spinner will loose. If the spinner loses, they will also lose their right to spin. If the coins land on head or tails (odds) then the spinner should throw again.
  • All players that wish to bet around the ring, should decide whether they think the spinner will lose or win. Once everyone has placed their bets and game results, it’s time to begin. Whoever guesses correctly wins the money. Sounds simple, right?

Side note: the two coins must fly atleast 3 metres into the air and not touch any of its surroundings. For example, the roof. It will also have to fall within the ring to count.

It’s important to study the rules before playing two-up. You don’t want to throw money down the drain. Give yourself the best possible chance to win some cash.

Where can I play two-up?

You will find a game of two-up in almost any pub in Australia on Anzac day. It’s very fair that pubs will not have a game organised on this day. Of course, it depends on what type of game you’re looking for. Some quick research will help you to find the biggest two-up games in Australia. Many people enjoy these that are just there for entertainment and not to bet. But of course, if you’re looking for quieter ones, any local pub will do. Just be responsible and enjoy yourself!

Read our top 10 pubs in Australia for an idea of where to visit.