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Pitching pennies, or in Britain Pap or Penny Up, is a game played with coins. Players take turns to throw a coin at a wall, from some distance away, and the coin which lands closest to the wall is the winner.
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Any number of players line up a fixed distance away from a wall. The players each take a coin of common denomination and take turns throwing them towards the wall. The objective is to throw the coins such that they land as close to the wall as possible. Rolling the coin is forbidden. Some forms of the game require the coin to hit the wall to be a valid throw.
In most variations this is a gambling game, with the winner collecting all the losing players' coins from the ground. Other variations include the game ending in "tips", where the player whose coin lands closest to the wall collects all of the coins and flicks them all into the air. Before the coins land, the player would shout "heads" or "tails" and be entitled to claim those coins landing the corresponding way. The remaining coins (if any) would then be gathered by the player whose coin landed second closest to the wall, who would repeat the throwing and calling of heads or tails. This process would continue until all the coins have been picked up.
Several scoring variants exist. If a coin lands at an angle against the wall, this enables 'Double Money' which causes the prize total to double. 'Triple Money' is rewarded when a thrower's coin is standing vertically against the wall. In Scotland, this is traditionally called "a stauner". If a coin hits another coin this is known as 'Jingle', meaning all shots must be re-taken. Shots must also be re-taken if the two coins that are parallel to a tangent from the wall are the closest. If the coin rolls the thrower has the chance to retake his shot if the coin is stamped on before it stops and lies flat. Each player has a two stamp maximum.
If a player pitches a bad shot and wishes to retake the shot he must yell "crap shot". He is then entitled to take the shot again. Each player can only retake his shot once.
Pitching pennies is a very old game. While the coins used have inevitably changed, the game was known to be played by the Ancient Greeks using bronze coins. It is believed that this game was used in the first olympics but was later removed due to lack of entertainment value and this is where the idea of the Gold Medal comes from.
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