Review: Lay the Favorite

Lay the Favorite: A Memoir of Gambling by Beth Raymer

Publisher: Spiegel & Grau (June 1, 2010)


Source: Goodreads Giveaway


Lay the Favorite is 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.

I had a few friends in college that participated in sports betting and I used to ask them about it all the time because it seemed like an elusive hobby. I was definitely intrigued to see there was a book that would take readers inside the world of sports betting, but I had no idea what was in store for me.

To put it simply, Lay the Favorite was a fast, fun, and thrilling read. Raymer takes the readers behind the scenes of sports betting and reveals all the dirty secrets and truth behind the money and glamour of the gambling world without holding anything back.

Raymer is a great storyteller and the rawness of her words really shines through in the book. She shares with the readers the thoughts and worries of pro gamblers and the addictiveness of gambling. Many try to escape and quit, but most are unable to because they have no idea how else to make money. It’s a high risk high reward lifestyle. One day you can be up by millions and less than three weeks later you can be dirty poor and in debt.

It’s a good read for anyone that is looking to escape from their boring and ordinary life. You’ll be surprised by her impulsiveness as she takes you on her adventure that begins with a waitress job in Las Vegas to becoming a pro boxer in New York and everything in between. She’ll make you want to drop whatever you’re doing, pack your bags, and head to Vegas to embark on a new journey and see what’s in store for you.

[ purchase from amazon ]


Posted on May 8, 2010, in 4 stars, book reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I am almost done with this one! I am with you it is a very well written story and the fact that it is true makes it better. They are making it into a movie and so while reading it I was casting in my head—only one part though and that would go to John Goodman (bet you can guess the part)! Very good review!

    • Oh really? I didn’t know they were making a movie of it. Hahah. John Goodman would be a really good cast for the movie! I can’t wait to see your review of it.

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