Destined for a brilliant career in academia, Pascal Silver instead decides to be a risk taker. Packing up his unfinished philosophy dissertation, he moves to Las Vegas to pursue his dual goals of winning the World Series of Poker and the only slightly less daunting task of finding the meaning to existence.
Low on cash, Pascal is forced to take part-time work at a private detective agency. Now, with his boss out of town, into his life walks the gorgeous Allegra LaPierre wanting to know who murdered her father, casino owner “Houston Phil” LaPierre.
Employing his uncanny poker skills, Pascal can tell everyone involved has something to hide including Phil’s ex-stripper widow; his knucklehead son, Bruce; and his partner, Fat Johnny, who’s in debt to a local gangster. Complicating matters, Bruce LaPierre is suddenly found murdered and suspect number one is Allegra. Though all evidence points to her guilt, Pascal falls back on the famous wager of faith put forth by his illustrious namesake. He chooses to have faith in Allegra, not just because he’s fallen for her, but because it’s a good bet.
But when representatives of the Chicago mob show up telling him to drop the case, Pascal has to take his greatest gamble yet. With Allegra’s life hanging in the balance, he’ll need to pull off the biggest bluff he’s ever attempted to save her. Even if he does, he’s still left with the question “Who killed Phil?” a question only he is shrewd enough to answer.