WHAT THE FLIP: It may look like fun and games, but Michael Litchfield takes his job as ringkeeper seriously.
WHAT THE FLIP: It may look like fun and games, but Michael Litchfield takes his job as ringkeeper seriously. Marian Faa

There's much more to two-up than you think

RINGKEEPING is a job Michael Litchfield only gets to do once a year, so he's determined to get it just right.

When Anzac Day ticks around, Mr Litchfield is sure to have studied up on the history of two-up, a betting game that gave soldiers some light-hearted relief during the war.

"It's mainly just heaps of research from the war memorial website to make sure we are getting all the rules right,” he said.

Mr Litchfield and fellow ring keeper Wayne Trim had the tricky task of managing hundreds of cash bets at the Warwick RSL yesterday afternoon.

The biggest single cash bet in Warwick history is $500.

"We have some regulars who will rock up with ten grand in their pockets,” Mr Trim said.

But while the chance to win big attracts players to the ring, it's the atmosphere they love most.

"I reckon it's the interacting,” Mr Litchfield said.

COINING HISTORY: What does two-up reveal about our national identity? Lots, apparently.
COINING HISTORY: What does two-up reveal about our national identity? Lots, apparently. Marian Faa

"It's not like a poker machine, you're actually with other people spending time with them.”

But there may be more to the Anzac tradition than just a simple flip of the coin.

The symbolism behind two-up reveals more about our national identity than meets the eye, according to sports historian John O'Hara.

In an edition of Sporting Traditions Mr O'Hara writes about how the game reflected Australian values of equality of opportunity.

"Two-up is a game which suited the taste of Australian working-class gamesters because of the rapid turnover of results, the possibility of frequent, if small, payouts based on true odds, and the possibility of a big "jackpot” win for the spinner,” he writes.

"More than anything, however, it was the fairness of the traditional two-up game which gave it its appeal.

"Almost as important was the game's illegality.

"It provided an opportunity for the gamesters to "thumb their noses” at the nation's legislators and their expressions of a morality which saw gambling as a vice and an economically unproductive exercise.”

But as an expensive way to stick it to the man it's lucky it's only one day a year.



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