Anzac Day in Ballarat: Two-up at the George Hotel

BOOING, hissing and loud roars of disapproval echoed from the back room of the George Hotel this afternoon.

It was hard to tell whether the crowds were yelling at Collingwood's poor opening quarter against Essendon during the Anzac Day AFL classic or whether someone had lost a round of Two-up. 

Yesterday afternoon the Lydiard Street hotel welcomed all to play the game, during one of few times a year when people can legally do so. 

In the back room, men clutching pots of beer momentarily shouted "$20 a head" and "$10 a tails". 

According to seasoned player Matt Himes, winning is easy. 

"Always choose tails and never chop and change," he said.

"Tails holds the money."

About 200 Ballarat drink-happy patrons stood in a circle overseeing the traditional war game. 

Bryan Moorby said he'd been playing Two-up for the past 15 years and enjoyed every game. 

"I'm loving it... there's a lot of love in the room today for the Anzac Spirit," he said. 

The passionate player said there was a lot of trust involved.

"I'd be very surprised if anyone tried to cheat today,'' he said.

While there were some players who mastered the game, others were just testing their luck. 

Ballarat's Andrew Snowden said he had no idea how to play Two-up. 

"I'm just waving my money in the air and people take it off me," he said. 

"Sometimes the money comes back, other times it doesn't."

Friends Amber Jarecki, Kate Colgan and Mel Franks were in the same boat. 

"This is the first time I've played," Mel said. 

"I started with $5... now I have $50."