Giving a toss about tradition: the other side of the coin to Anzac Day

ORANGE came alive with people cheering, yelling and waving money in the air on Friday afternoon, as this year’s huge Anzac Day crowd  unwound with another Australian tradition.

Hundreds of people milled around inside and outside the Great Western Hotel in Peisley Street, as punters tried their luck with the gambling game two-up.

“I’m not big on gambling, but today is different. I think it represents where we come from,”  Matt Roberts said.

The game is led by someone designated as ringer who calls in the spinner, who tosses two or three coins into the air.

Members of the crowd bet with one another on whether the coins will land heads or tails up.

Punters were exchanging $10 and $20 notes quicker than the blink of an eye with each toss.

The game is dependent on luck.

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“I got a couple of losses, couple of wins. It’s just luck I think, fifty-fifty,” Mark Robey, who also made some small bets said.

Others preferred to pick a side and stick with it.

“Tails never fails, mate. That’s my motto,” Mr Roberts said.

“My old man taught me that,” he added.

The game was a popular pastime for Australian soldiers in the First World War. It’s only legal to play outside of casinos on Anzac Day.

The feeling among punters at the Great Western Hotel was that gambling on Anzac Day is more about honouring the diggers than coming away with a bit of extra cash.

“It’s just a special thing for Anzac Day . . . because of the fact that the diggers did it when they were overseas,” Tanya Snowden, who watched without placing any bets said.

“The thing is, you can’t forget why you’re doing it. You can’t forget the day,” said Mr Roberts.

“It doesn’t hurt to have a bit of fun [and] remember everyone from the past.”

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