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The Memphis Staycation Guide

15th April, 14:00

Editor's note: As we go to press with our Staycation package, there are an unprecedented number of closings due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We encourage everyone to be safe and take every necessary precaution. When the time comes to get out and enjoy the city again, please call locations to confirm their hours of operation. Thank you.

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Chicken $#!+ Bingo

I've driven out to 3210 Old Hernando Road, just off Brooks Road, and arrived at Hernando's Hide-A-Way just in time. Dale Watson is holding court on stage with his Lone Star Band and guest artist James Intveld. And it's time for Chicken S#!+ Bingo! (Yes, that's how they spell it.) "Form a line, single file!" Dale calls out. "One ticket per person. We want you to win and nobody else! Single file. A poultry two-dollar donation!"

A massive line forms instantly along the wall and around the corner. For this is the Mother of All Chicken S#!+ Bingos, held during the weekend of the Ameripolitan Music Awards. The club is packed. So is the chicken in the coop outside, we hope. We each buy a ticket with a number between 1 and 54, corresponding to the randomized grid of numbers on the floor of a chicken pen, right there by the stage. After the tickets are sold, the chicken is placed in the pen until it does its doodie.

Dale calls for the number, and the band chimes in, "Number ... number ... number!" in perfect harmony. The winning ticket is announced, and Dale leads the band in an improvised singalong, "Fifty-four, fifty-four, fifty-four!" When the winner emerges, a fellow named Chris, Dale offers him a deal:

"Chris, I start the day with money in all my pockets. Now, your winnings are $108. Guaranteed! But I'd like to trade you that money for the money that's in one of my pockets. Let me give you some Chicken Sh-t History. I've been doing this for 20 years. And in all that time, the most I've had in my pocket, so far, is $4000. Now it could be more! Now, the least I've had in my pocket, so far: 26 cents. Now, it could be even less than that! What should he do, folks? Keep the money or go with my pockets?"

The crowd goes wild! But it would spoil everything if I said what he chose. You'll just have to go see for yourself ... and trust in the fowl finger of fate. -- Alex Greene

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Hit the lanes at Bass Pro and Billy Hardwick's, among others around town.

It's simple, really; all you need to have a good time in town is a ball, a lane, and a set of ten pins. Luckily, staycationers have a bevvy of themed bowling alleys to sate the competitive spirit, so round up some pals and hit the town.

For starters, one of Memphis' oldest alleys is connected to bowling royalty. Billy Hardwick's, named for the late proprietor and professional who amassed 18 PBA titles during an illustrious career, offers plenty of in-city escapism. Located in the shopping center at Quince and White Station, the alley offers a break from the tedium of daily life and a chance to tap into the childhood joy once reserved for family weekend outings and birthday parties. Some evenings, bowlers can blast off far into the galaxy with star-spangled cosmic bowling (but no bumpers; that's cheating!). After (or during) the game, for something to take the edge off, just pop over to the bar for a specialty Hardwick's cocktail.

Up for a more maritime excursion? Don your captain's hat, as the glistening stainless-steel and glass Bass Pro Pyramid welcomes all comers to the lanes conveniently situated adjacent to Uncle Buck's Fish Bowl & Grill. There are no standard lanes here; a full aquatic experience awaits all comers, and there's no looking left or right without casting a glance over some manner of sea creature. Lanes are modeled after docks and piers (with sharks and squids splaced at each one), while balls take on the likeness of turtles, stingrays, or even the scaly yellow eye of a mysterious deepwater beast. If that's too much nautical nonsense, pop over to the bar for a specialty Bass Pro cocktail. (Are you starting to sense a theme, here?)

Farther out of town, Main Event (7219 Appling Farms Parkway) has a sleek, if standard, set of lanes accompanied by myriad other activities to distract the kids when it's time for the parents to play. Meanwhile, Andy B's in Bartlett (6276 Stage Road) pairs its main activity with a full-blown arcade. It may be tough to pin down which alley is the best, so why not tour them all? -- Samuel X. Cicci

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Put (My Money) In, Coach. Sports betting has arrived in the Mid-South

Your team is going to win. Wanna bet? Now you can, closer to Memphis than ever before.

Sports betting arrived in the Mid-South in August 2018. That's when sports books officially opened in Mississippi. Since then, sports fans have laid down their bread on their best bets at Hollywood Casino Tunica, Gold Strike, and Horseshoe Tunica. In December 2019 alone, more than $12.4 million in bets were placed in the northern region of the state in basketball, football, and cards, according to the Mississippi Gaming Commission.

In January, sports book opened across the M at Southland Casino Racing at teller windows and kiosks. Sports betting was approved in Tennessee last year, though the apparatus to make it happen has not yet been set up.

So, how is it done?

"Trying to understand sports betting without doing it is like trying to understand food without tasting it," John Branston wrote in Memphis magazine in 2018.

But here are a few basic ways to bet on sports, according to the Tunica Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Point spreads: On a sports book board, you might see a New England Patriots-Buffalo Bills NFL game listed with a +3.5 next to Buffalo. That means the Patriots are favored, and if you bet on them, they must win by more than 3.5 points for you to win the bet. If you bet on the Bills, you win if either they win the game or lose by less than 3.5 points.

Over/under: This is a bet on the total points scored by two teams. If the over/under number on that Bills-Patriots game was set at 40.5, then over-bettors would need the two teams to total 41 points or more, and under-bettors would need 40 points or fewer.

Money line: This is a bet on who will win the game, with no point spreads involved. You'll see two numbers on the board, a negative number next to the favorite and a positive number next to the underdog.

In our Patriots-Bills game, you might see -140 next to the Patriots and +120 next to the Bills. Those represent payoff odds. To win $100 on the Patriots, you must bet $100, but if you bet $100 on the Bills, you can win $120. -- by Toby Sells