From a Q & A with Beth Raymer, author of Lay the Favorite: A Memoir of Gambling:
You write that you associated gambling with "some of the happiest moments of my childhood." Where did you grow up?--Marshal Zeringue
We started out in St. Clairsville, Ohio, then we moved to West Palm Beach, Fla. My father was a car salesman. Usually around gambling with my father, everyone was drinking and in a good mood, cocktail waitresses were beautiful with nice clothes and lots of makeup. Being around money was very thrilling, and I understood the power of it.
You held a lot of varied jobs before you got hired by Dink [a professional gambler] in Las Vegas—you worked at a residential home for troubled teenage girls and as an "in-home stripper" for $150 an hour. Did you feel already at age 24 that you needed a second chance?
I wasn’t a good student at all. I never went to class; I basically worked. I liked working much better than going to school. I liked making money. I found a new start in Las Vegas. No one is really from there. People there don’t have family; they’re on their own. They have some degenerate gene in them. That appealed to me.
How long did it take you to learn the lingo of gambling in Las Vegas?
It took a couple of months. I was around people who had been gambling since they were teenagers. Once, I was with all the gambling crew from Dink’s at a Sunday brunch, and the bill came, and they all pulled out wads of money. It was so normal for them to talk about money and in this slang—it was always like, "Oh, I made a decent amount of money," and I always wondered what "a decent amount of money" was. For me that meant about $30, but for them, "a decent amount of money" meant $250,000.
How much did you make?...[read on]