Lay the Favorite: A Memoir of Gambling

Front Cover
Spiegel & Grau, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 228 pages
19 Reviews
An eye-popping and hilarious joyride through the underworld of sports betting
 
Beth Raymer arrived in Las Vegas in 2001, hoping to land a job as a cocktail waitress at one of the big casinos. In the meantime, she lived in a $17-a-night motel with her dog, Otis, and waited tables at a low-rent Thai restaurant. One day, one of her regular customers told her about a job she thought Beth would be perfect for and sent her to see Dink, of Dink Inc. Dink was a professional sports gambler—one of the biggest in Vegas. He was looking for a right-hand man—someone who would show up on time, who had a head for numbers, and who didn’t steal. She got the job.

Lay the Favoriteis the story of Beth Raymer’s years in the high-stakes, high-anxiety world of sports betting—a period that saw the fall of the local bookie and the rise of the freewheeling, unregulated offshore sports book, and with it the elevation of sports betting in popular culture. As the business explodes, Beth rises—from assistant to expert, trusted and seasoned enough to open an offshore booking office in the Caribbean with a few associates, men who leave their families up north to make a quick killing, while donning new tropical personas fueled by abundant drugs and local girlfriends, and who one by one succumb to their vices. They lie, cheat, steal, and run, until Beth is the last man standing.

Beth Raymer is a natural storyteller: funny, charming, and fully awake to the ironies around her. But she is also a keen and compassionate observer of the adrenaline-addicted, rougish types who become her mentors, her enemies, her family. Raymer brings to life a world that teems with pathos and ecstasy in this wild picaresque that also tells the story of a young woman’s crazy, sexy, most unlikely coming-of-age.

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It was filled with insights, anecdotes, and honesty. - Goodreads
The writing felt very loose and thrown together. - Goodreads
Man. Stop writing memoirs. - Goodreads

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AlCracka - LibraryThing

Ugh. I thought this'd make a nice vacation from the tougher Shakespeare crap, but it didn't do much for me. It's a memoir of...what, a hanger-on? This chick who spent a little time on the outskirts of ... Read full review

Review: Lay the Favorite: A Memoir of Gambling

User Review  - Kara Jorges - Goodreads

Beth Raymer developed her love of gamblers at her father's knee, and was perfectly suited for the lifestyle by the time she grew up. She made a couple of attempts at “straight” jobs, but somehow ... Read full review

About the author (2010)

Beth Raymer has an MFA from Columbia University. In 2007 she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship. She lives in New York City.

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