Lay the Favourite: A True Story about Playing to Win in the Gambling Underworld by Beth Raymer

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Lay the Favourite: A True Story about Playing to Win in the Gambling Underworld by Beth Raymer

Category: Autobiography
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Peter Magee
Reviewed by Peter Magee
Summary: A gritty, no-holds barred look at the gambling underworld that's also a great read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 240 Date: August 2010
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 978-0099555391

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It was a dream which brought Beth Raymer to Las Vegas, but the reality was that she ended up waiting tables in a low-end diner and living in a distinctly unsavoury motel. A chance meeting brought her into contact with Dink, the self-styled king of the city's sports betting and she moved into what was very much a man's world - of high-stakes gambling and a lot of people you wouldn't necessarily want your daughter to know. This is the story of how Beth learned the trade and moved into the world of the big money where gambling regulations don't apply. Being sharp was what it was all about.

The book was first published in 2010, but it's been brought to the fore again by the 2012 comedy film of the same name starring Bruce Willis and Catherine Zeta Jones and it's easy to see why the film rights were picked up. It's frank, unflinching and gritty, exposing with brutal honesty the world of high-stakes gambling experienced by the author at first hand. She's packed more into her life so far than most people could contemplate in a lifetime. There's a glancing look at the sex industry but it's a real eye-opener about the world of gambling.

It's a very easy read. Raymer is a journalist and she knows how to hold her audience. The book pulls no punches in exposing the darker side of the gambling industry and the people who inhabit that world. It's unusual for the rights to a non-fiction book to be picked up so readily but the book's exceptional in having 'big screen' written all over it but never losing the immediacy on the page. The author knows her subject and the characters are so vividly portrayed that the book will appeal to a wider readership than just those with an interest in gambling and the gambling industry.

I was surprised by how quickly I read the book, but it's not an easy book to put down. If I have a slight quibble it's that some of the gambling (or possibly American) terminology went slightly over my head, but it is a minor quibble in an otherwise very good read.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals then we think that you might also enjoy For Richer, For Poorer: Confessions of a Player by Victoria Coren.

Buy Lay the Favourite: A True Story about Playing to Win in the Gambling Underworld by Beth Raymer at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lay the Favourite: A True Story about Playing to Win in the Gambling Underworld by Beth Raymer at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Lay the Favourite: A True Story about Playing to Win in the Gambling Underworld by Beth Raymer at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Lay the Favourite: A True Story about Playing to Win in the Gambling Underworld by Beth Raymer at Amazon.com.


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