Anzac Day – word for the wise – the game played is not called “tulip”

2 05 2011

Item’s I have learned today-

The Big Smoke = a big city

Devo = devastated

grog = alcohol

I had a first in my life experience last week.. a 5 day weekend, although one of the UNFORTUNATE joys of being a contractor… my 3 days of holiday had to be taken UN-PAID (meh). The fact however, that there were 3 public holidays in a row was still pretty nice. Friday was a good friday, which classifies as a day off here, Monday was ANZAC day (details below) and Tuesday was a substitute for Easter Sunday. I could seriously get used to 3-4 day work weeks, it was kind of heavenly, except of course for the lack in pay.

So Anzac day (Australian and New Zealand Armed Corps) is similar to Memorial Day for us, although the way it is celebrated is quite different from home. It is listed as a day of remembrance for Australia and New Zealand for those that fought in Gallipoli, Turkey in WWI but has extended to honor all those who gave their lives in military service.
The day starts off with a dawn service (which of course, I slept through), followed by a parade in each state capital. Now here’s the kicker, after the parade the way to honor the soldiers is basically to go to the pub. I’m not joking.
Anzac day is the ONE day of the year where a gambling game called “two-up” is legal. Two-Up was an old past time with the soldiers. It took me a little bit to understand, though the rules are relatively simple. I will attempt to explain in pictures.

It starts with putting money on your head.

It starts with putting money on your head.

So let me set the game up – involves a coin, heads/tails and MONEY

The Two Up Group = Balmain Style

The Two Up Group = Balmain Style

Everyone starts around in a makeshift circle. If you want heads you hold the bill you are willing to bet close to your head.. followed by screaming “20 HeaD!!” “50 HEAD”” whatever your dollar amount is. Those that want tails hold their’s above their heads and scream “20 Tail” and so on.. until you have found someone who wants the opposite of you.

Sounds confusing…. but the basic version of the game is.. if you are willing to bet 5 dollars… you hold 5 dollars to you’re head and yell for heads.. and EVENTUALLY someone will come and say 5 for tails, If you are heads you keep the money,…. if you’re tails you pass the money along (to whomever bet heads) and pray for tails.

Lots of people making some change bendin decisions - do i bet? how much?

Lots of people making some change bendin decisions - do i bet? how much?

Next comes the coin toss.. It is either completed by the two what I called “officiators” (of course I didnt bother to read up and figure out what their names are – this ISN’T an f’ing research paper- – thank you very much). So THOSE Guys as we will affectionately call them, will either toss the coin or it will be some person who wants to try his/her luck and money. The crowd can be pretty rough if you dont throw it high enough/far enough/inside the circle/etc. It didn’t end up being compliment-fest for the actual coin throwers… and that’s kind of an under-statement.

giving the guy thats about to toss the coin some advice

giving the guy thats about to toss the coin some advice

So here’s the final rule.. if you wanted heads and the coin came up as heads.. the money was yours… if it was tails.. then you were screwed… and vice versa. Every single pub was pretty much taken over by the game. After I got the basic rules, it was a lot of fun to watch. A first I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of money being shuffled about. A friend gave me 10 dollars that I managed to turn into 20.. but that was it.. I was completely content to be 20 dollars up.

Imagine though, if on memorial day weekend, the national pass time was to go to the pubs and gamble? This is what I have heard the soldiers and veterans love. They will go to morning service, do their marches around states capitals and then after words.. head to the pubs.. to play two-up with the rest of us.. which I do have to say looking back on it was a pretty great experience.

I’m sure I am doing a ridiculously horrible job at describing the game, but honestly I think the best part about it was that EVERYONE – old, young… DIDN’T MATTER.. everyone was there to try and win everyone else’s money in what really was the most light hearted round of gambling I have ever seen.

As far as holidays are concerned.. I gave this one (i know.. dont shoot me) two thumbs up.

melissa and i

melissa and i

the betting and then.............

the betting and then.............


hopefully some sort of winning

hopefully some sort of winning



One response

28 04 2012
A Case of the Blahs « Maria's Blog

[…] week.  The relatively few of you out their who read this on a consistent basis will know that this my second year experiencing ANZAC day. Last year I spent it playing two-up in pubs in Sydney. There is a SIGNIFICANT difference in how it […]

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