The traditional gambling game two-up has its origins in Australia, where participants like to play it during Anzac Day (a remembrance day for soldiers from both Australia and New Zealand). On this military memorial day, the two-up double coin tossing game is played in various Australian clubs and pubs. Since it is a gambling activity, it is only legal to play this game outside of casinos on special occurrences, from which Anzac Day is the most important one.
A game of two-up all starts with the "spinner", who is the person designated to toss the two coins (pennies in most cases) into the air. Participating players make their bets at forehand. In terms of bets, they can go for double heads up (obverse), double tails up (reverse), or a head and tail outcome that is termed "Ewan".
The reason why pennies were and are mostly used for this game is because of the way these coins are designed. They have an ideal surface, size and weight for a two-up game. Size and weight are beneficial factors because they keeps coins stable on the spinning service (the "kip or paddle"), and the spinner can easily toss them up into the air.
Pennies made before the year 1939 had a design that made it easy for two-up participants to quickly notice the difference between the heads or tails side of a tossed coin. A tails side white cross marking is used in order to keep the more currently used coin sides quickly recognizable. Anzac Day is a great opportunity for coin enthusiasts to see old and new pennies in action, and to learn about the long history of this beloved soldier game.