Dan Bilzerian is perhaps one of the richest and most famous people associated with poker – but not for his poker.
Often referred to as ‘The King of Instagram’, Bilzerian is most famous for flaunting his luxurious playboy lifestyle of girls, guns and money. 

His life exists somewhere between ‘well documented’ and ‘infamous secrecy’ – and what you’re about to read is a summary of the different versions out there. This is the crazy story of poker’s biggest playboy.

Early life  

Daniel Brandon Bilzerian was born on December 7 of 1980 in Tampa, Florida. 
He is the son of Paul Bilzerian, an Armenian American businessman who amassed an immense fortune as a corporate takeover specialist. Dan and his brother Adam was born into wealth but didn’t see their father much, as he was often on business trips or stuck working late at the office.

Their life drastically changed however, when Paul was convicted of security and tax fraud. On top of serving 13 months in prison, Paul was ordered to disgorge his earnings and later declared bankruptcy. What exactly happened to Pauls Bilzerian’s enormous wealth is still unclear, but both Dan and Adam had trust funds, and many believe this to be the source of Dan Bilzerian’s fortune.

This all seemed to spill into Dan Bilzerian’s life, as he became somewhat of a problem child, often getting into fist fights and later being expelled from his school. He had a new start at a different school but was ordered to finish his senior year at home for bringing a machine gun to school.

Dan Bilzerian Poker Player Story

After finishing High School, Dan joined the navy in pursuit of becoming a Navy SEAL. 
He performed really well but was once again stopped right before the finish line as he was discharged for fighting with one of his officers and had to leave the program.

Dan Bilzerian then enrolled at the University of Florida where he spent 4 years studying Business and Criminology. Whether he graduated or not is still center of speculation, but it seems this is where Dan first picked up an interest in poker. He no longer had access to his trust fund, and after selling his collection of guns he turned to poker in order to finance his time at school.

Poker life and winnings

Although Dan Bilzerian is a famous poker player, he hasn’t appeared in a lot of public tournaments.
His first major appearance was back in 2009 where he took part in the World Series of Poker Main Event, playing against professional poker players like Phil Ivey.
Bilzerian finished 180th and collected a prize of $36,000.

His performance at the 2009 WSOP led to him signing a sponsorship with Victory Poker. An online card room that is no longer in operation. Dan Bilzerian allegedly received $1,000,000 from the company for wearing their name on a t-shirt for all the tournaments he competed in that year. He was also featured in the company’s numerous online videos

But Dan Bilzerian reportedly dedicates most of his time and focus to private, high stakes, cash games with billionaires and is alleged to have turned a $750 investment into more than $187,000 in a single game. Not a bad turnaround. He has also once claimed to have put all of his net worth into one game – and won big.

Back in 2013 he once again got people’s attention when posting a tweet saying he had just won 10.8 million in a private cash game.
This win still has not been verified and continues to be debated by many online.

In the year 2015, Dan hosted a poker tournament to raise money for brain research. The tournament took place in his Las Vegas home and had a buy-in of $1000. The tournament drew in a lot of famous people like Vin Diesel and raised over $100,000 for brain research.

According to Dan himself, the most he has ever lost in a single game of poker is 3,6 million dollars. There’s also stories about Bilzerian betting 2,3 million dollars worth of chips on a single coin toss – and losing.

Dan Bilzerian’s total net worth is reported to be a staggering 200 million dollars and according to himself, 50 million of that is from playing poker. 

Crazy lifestyle of Dan Bilzerian

Although Dan claims to be killing it at the private cash games, he is most known for everything outside the game of poker. Cars, guns, girls and parties – the crazy stories just keep coming. The man is still in his 30’s but has already had 3 heart attacks. This should be an indication of the crazy lifestyle of the multi millionaire poker playboy.

Bilzerian owns multiple real estate, but his price jewel is his 65 million dollar home in Bel Air, Los Angeles.
This 31,000 square feet party pad is no doubt the party pad of the 21st century (Sorry Playboy Mansion). The house was named ‘The Most Expensive House in the US’ back in 2017. For more details on Dan Bilzerian’s home, take a look at this video.

No doubt Bilzerian owns some impressive real estate, but he also needs a lot of space to store his massive collection of cars and guns.
And then there’s the girls. Dan Bilzerian’s life seems to be an endless sea of beautiful, half naked, women – dusins at the time. His instagram has more models than Playboy and Victoria’s Secret put together and this seems to be the biggest factor of his fame. 

There’s no doubt this aspect of the modern day Hugh Hefner raises controversy, and Dan has addressed it openly numerous times – like in this interview from 2019.

The many controversies

With a guy as controversial and famous as Dan Bilzerian, you would expect some controversy as well. And Dan’s life definitely isn’t lacking in this department either.
It’s pretty much an endless string of controversy, but let’s focus on just three of them.

Most people with an internet connection have probably heard the story (and seen the video) of Dan Bilzerian throwing a young porn actress off the roof of his house.
Back in 2014 Dan was a part of a photoshoot for the Hustler Magazine which also included the then 18 year old porn actress Janice Griffith. As part of the photoshoot, Dan picked up Janice Griffth and threw her off the roof, aiming for the pool beneath. But Dan’s throw was just a bit too short, so the young porn actress hit the edge of the pool before falling in the water. Griffith broke her foot and the whole thing ended in a lawsuit. 

Dan Bilzerian was also involved in quite a massive story back in 2011 alongside other celebrities like Toby Maguire, Ben Aflleck and Matt Damon. A series of private, high stakes poker games between the stars led to wins and loses of millions of dollars. The problem is that one of the losers of the games, Bradley Ruderman paid his loses with stolen money and was later convicted. This led to a pile of lawsuits as everyone attending these games tried to get their money. 

In October of 2017, Dan was present at the horrific Las Vegas shooting. In true fashion, he posted numerous videos to his instagram account – like the video where he’s seen searching a police car and asking the officers for a gun. Dan Bilzerian was widely criticised for his actions and the way he handled himself during this terrifying night. 

Ignite

Dan Bilzian moved away from poker and into business by creating ‘Ignite’ – a company which sells electronic cigarettes, CBD related products, water bottles and vodka, among other things. It began trading back in January of 2019 and has it’s official headquarters in Toronto, Canada. The company is probably best known for it’s over the top launch parties that obviously seek to give the attendees a glimpse into the lifestyle they see on Dan’s instagram. DJs, models, celebrities and enough alcohol to intoxicate a small country.

Perhaps for this reason, the company reportedly lost $50 million in 2019, mostly on marketing and office rental. 

But by the beginning of 2020 Ignite had a 52M dollar valuation.
This was because CBD products were on the rise, and investors thought the current pandemic would lead to a substantial increase in sales. And it did – but not for Ignite.
And to make matters worse, mid 2020 saw the release of a company report showing numbers from Ignite, that some claim proves that the company paid 67M dollars to ‘fund Dan Bilzerian’s lifestyle. Expenses such as $200.000 a month for his house, $15.000 on a ping pong table, $26.000k worth of Instagram promotions and a whopping $130.000 for a Bahamas photoshoot. Ignite’s money seems to come from issuing/selling stocks and from raising debt which had a lot of people saying  it’s internal finances made little sense. The company’s promotion budget alone was $22M, while revenue was less than half of that. 

Dan Bilzerian himself has famously downplayed this by comparing Ignite to the ride sharing service, Uber, which has operated under financial losses since day one.
But in October of 2020 CannMart, one of Ignite’s main partners and leading distributor in Canada, ended their partnership. This led to Ignite’s stock falling from $1.44 to $0.36 in no time and many analysts believe it’s just a matter of months before the company will go bankrupt – unless they find a way to turn things around.

Disputed wealth claims

Although Dan Bilzerian claims to have won his massive fortune in private poker games against billionaires, many believe the money is from his fathers business.
Paul Bilzerian was ordered to pay over 30 million dollars of his illegal profits to the SEC back in the 90s, but some say he never did. He did, however, set up a trust fund for both his sons. Many speculate that this to be the source of Dan’s fortune and that constant investigation is being conducted by the SEC and FBI.

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Dan Bilzerian Poker Player Story

Dan Bilzerian for President

Back in 2015 Dan Bilzerian announced his intention to run for President in the 2016 election. In classic Bilzerian fashion his “presidential campaign” featured five appearances at nightclubs. In december of 2015 Dan officially canceled his candidacy and instead endorsed Donal Trump who, as we all know, went on to become president.

However, the ‘King of Instagram’ has already said he’s considering running again for the 2024 election and hopes to utilize his massive following. From the looks of it though, the White House looks like a massive step down from his current housing situation.

What’s in store for Dan Bilzerian?

Well, according to Dan Bilzerian himself, he’s pretty much done playing professional poker.
He expects Ignite to gross billions of dollars and hope to donate a large portion of it to charity. It’s of course also going to be interesting to see if he actually runs for president in 2024, and whether his recent allegations of fraud and continuing controversy will put a stop to the ‘King of Instagram’.
Dan has an autobiography coming out soon and perhaps that will give us some answers.

On December 3rd 2020, Dan Bilzerian was announced as the newest brand ambassador for GGPoker, representing the brand both live and online. According to the brands own website, Blizerian will be working with GG to make cash games better for the average poker player out there.

Are you the next Bilzerian?

Want to test your skills against your friends in a free game of private digital poker? The EasyPoker app provides both chips, cards and an unlimited amount of games – for free.
It’s a digital version of a physical poker set that takes care of everything. And so all you have to do is just play your cards.

Dan Bilzerian Poker Player Story

Want more Poker Player Stories?

We’re constantly adding new stories of interesting poker players. Like the one of Daniel Negreanu who went from high school dropout to becoming Kid Poker, one of the best and most famous players of all times. 

Or the one about ‘the Great Dane’, Gus Hansen, who went from the top of the poker world to loosing a record breaking $20.000.000 and having to get a regular job as an accountant.

If you have a suggestion for a story you’d like to read, or something to add to this one, let us know in the comments below or by reaching out to us.
Thank you.

Doug Polk