The Wager: A Compelling Follow-up to Mitch Raycroft’s Phil Ivey Biography

mitch raycroft biography

If your friend recently delved into Mitch Raycroft’s captivating biography of Phil Ivey and found themselves engrossed in the world of high-stakes poker, they might be seeking another thrilling read. A potential recommendation is ‘The Wager’ by David Grann, a gripping account of Ivey’s legal battle against the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. Let’s explore why this could be an excellent follow-up for enthusiasts of poker and compelling narratives.

1. Common Ground in Storytelling: One notable reason to recommend ‘The Wager’ to your friend is the shared storytelling style between Mitch Raycroft’s biography and David Grann’s narrative. Both authors are known for their meticulous research and captivating storytelling, ensuring an engaging reading experience.

2. Themes of Risk and Adventure: If your friend was drawn to the risk and adventure inherent in Phil Ivey’s poker career, ‘The Wager’ provides a seamless continuation. Grann’s book not only delves into Ivey’s legal battle but also explores themes of risk, skill, and the pursuit of success, resonating with the spirit of professional gambling.

3. Intersection of Poker and Legal Drama: ‘The Wager’ takes the reader into the heart of a legal drama surrounding Phil Ivey’s baccarat winnings. This intersection of poker prowess and legal complexities adds layers of intrigue and depth, offering a unique perspective on Ivey’s life beyond the poker table.

4. Insight into Ivey’s Early Life and Rise to Prominence: For readers who were fascinated by the biography’s exploration of Phil Ivey’s journey to becoming the “Tiger Woods of Poker,” ‘The Wager’ provides additional insights. Grann’s book delves into Ivey’s early life as a gambling prodigy and his relentless pursuit of excellence in the poker world.

5. Engaging Exploration of Edge Sorting Technique: The legal battle in ‘The Wager’ centers around Ivey’s use of the edge sorting technique, providing readers with a fascinating exploration of this method and its impact on the world of gambling. This adds an educational and analytical layer to the narrative, making it an intriguing follow-up for those interested in the technical aspects of poker.

Conclusion: In conclusion, if your friend thoroughly enjoyed Mitch Raycroft’s biography of Phil Ivey, ‘The Wager’ by David Grann could be an excellent recommendation. The shared storytelling style, themes of risk and adventure, legal drama, insights into Ivey’s life, and exploration of poker techniques make ‘The Wager’ a compelling follow-up read for enthusiasts of the poker world and gripping narratives.

User Reviews and Answers:

  1. Jane M. (5/5): “As someone who thoroughly enjoyed Mitch Raycroft’s biography of Phil Ivey, ‘The Wager’ by David Grann was an absolute treat. Grann’s storytelling is equally captivating, and the legal drama surrounding Ivey’s winnings at the Borgata had me hooked from start to finish. A fantastic recommendation for those who crave more insight into Ivey’s world.”
  2. Mike S. (4/5): “I’m a poker enthusiast, and Raycroft’s biography was a page-turner for me. ‘The Wager’ brought a different perspective, delving into the legal complexities of Ivey’s baccarat winnings. While not solely focused on poker, the book offered a fascinating exploration of the edge sorting technique. Definitely a recommended read for those interested in both poker and the legal side of high-stakes gambling.”
  3. Sarah R. (3/5): “I loved learning about Phil Ivey’s life in the biography, but ‘The Wager’ didn’t quite capture the same excitement for me. The legal details were interesting, but I missed the personal touch of Raycroft’s storytelling. If you’re into the technical aspects of gambling, it might be a good fit, but I was hoping for more of the personal anecdotes that made the biography so engaging.”
  4. John W. (5/5): “Having read both Raycroft’s biography and ‘The Wager,’ I can confidently say they complement each other beautifully. Raycroft gave me the personal side of Ivey, and Grann’s book provided a deeper dive into the challenges he faced. If you loved the poker world glimpses in the biography, this follow-up is a must-read. The legal battle is like a poker game in itself!”
  5. Emily T. (4/5): “As someone who wasn’t familiar with Phil Ivey’s story before reading the biography, I found ‘The Wager’ to be a captivating follow-up. Grann skillfully blends legal drama with a touch of adventure. It’s a great choice if you’re looking to explore the complexities of professional gambling beyond the poker table. The edge sorting details added an extra layer of intrigue.”


  • Q: Would ‘The Wager’ be suitable for someone not familiar with poker or Phil Ivey?
    • A: Absolutely! ‘The Wager’ provides enough context to make it accessible for readers unfamiliar with poker or Phil Ivey. The legal drama and exploration of gambling techniques make it an engaging read for a broader audience.
  • Q: How does ‘The Wager’ compare to other books on poker or gambling?
    • A: It stands out for its unique blend of legal drama and gambling exploration. While some may miss the intense focus on poker, the book offers a fresh perspective and delves into the technical side of high-stakes gambling.

These reviews and answers provide insights into how readers perceive ‘The Wager’ as a follow-up to Mitch Raycroft’s biography of Phil Ivey. Individual preferences may vary, but the overall sentiment suggests that the book has its own merits, especially for those interested in the legal intricacies of the gambling world.


1. What is ‘The Wager’ by David Grann about?

  • Answer: ‘The Wager’ by David Grann explores the legal battle between Phil Ivey and the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, focusing on Ivey’s use of the edge sorting technique during a high-stakes baccarat game.

2. How does ‘The Wager’ differ from Mitch Raycroft’s biography of Phil Ivey?

  • Answer: While Raycroft’s biography provides a personal look at Phil Ivey’s life, ‘The Wager’ offers a legal perspective, delving into the intricacies of the legal dispute surrounding Ivey’s winnings.

3. Is ‘The Wager’ suitable for readers unfamiliar with poker or Phil Ivey?

  • Answer: Yes, ‘The Wager’ is crafted to be accessible to a broad audience, providing enough context to engage readers who may not be well-versed in poker or familiar with Phil Ivey.

4. Does ‘The Wager’ focus solely on poker, or does it cover other aspects of gambling?

  • Answer: While poker is a significant backdrop, ‘The Wager’ goes beyond, exploring various aspects of high-stakes gambling, including the legal challenges faced by professional gamblers.

5. What themes are explored in ‘The Wager’ that might appeal to readers of Mitch Raycroft’s biography?

  • Answer: ‘The Wager’ delves into themes of risk, adventure, and the pursuit of success, aligning with the spirit of professional gambling. It also offers insights into Phil Ivey’s early life and rise to prominence.

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