Known as the Instagram King, Blitz, or Instagram Playboy King, Dan Bilzerian has become famous as a poker player. Famously bragging that he earned over $10 million in one night playing poker, he rose to fame through Instagram. His life, though, could have gone drastically different had he managed to finish the Navy SEAL training. Undoubtedly, he wouldn’t have ended as rich as he is now if that happened.
Dan Bilzerian was born on December 7, 1980, in Tampa, Florida. He is the older son of Paul Alec Bilzerian, an Armenian-American businessman specialized in a corporate takeover. Paul’s career ended in 1989 when he was sentenced to a prison sentence and a heavy fine for nine counts including conspiracy, making false statements, and securities law violations. His troubles with the law continued after he served his sentence and he eventually declared bankruptcy. For his younger son Adam, that was a turning point. Angered by the government’s action, he abandoned his life-long dream of becoming an Army Green Beret. Instead, he became a professional poker player, a decision that will have a profound effect on his younger brother’s life.
In 2000, Dan Bilzerian started his first of several attempts to finish Navy SEAL training. He was eventually dropped. The reason his instructors gave was a “safety violation on the shooting range.” There are numerous rumors floating around what that really means, but the fact remains that Blitz failed BUD/S course about halfway through. This turned out to be a fortunate turn of events for him.
Following his Navy SEAL failure, Dan enrolled at the University of Florida, seeking a major in Business and Criminology. By the time he finished, his older brother Adam started his professional poker career. Two of them played in the 2009 World Series of Poker. Adam came in 47th, with total winnings of $138,568. Dan fared worse, finishing in 180th place. Next year, Bluff magazine organized a Twitter vote to see who was the funniest poker player and Dan won. This brought him a lot of media attention, which he managed to exploit fully. While his poker winnings can’t really be certified, since he soon after stopped playing against professional players, Dan has made several controversial statements regarding how much money he earned from poker. In one statement, he claimed that he earned $10.4 million in a single night. In a Howard Stern interview, he also said that he made more than 450 million in one year from poker alone. Since these numbers can’t be confirmed without peeking into his tax returns, they shouldn’t be taken into account when estimating Dan Bilzerian net worth. What we know for sure is that he won $385,000 in a race against Tom Goldstein. They raced in a quarter-mile race and Bilzerian won in his 1967 Shelby Cobra against Goldstein’s Ferrari 458 Italia.
In 2014, Dan got embroiled in a legal fight with the producers of the movie Lone Survivor. He claimed that he loaned them $1 million for the film. In exchange, they agreed to give him a role with at least eight minutes of onscreen time and 50 words. Eventually, he withdrew the lawsuit, since he made about $1.5 million from the movie ticket sales.
One of the incidents he is best known for involved a photoshoot organized by Hustler with him and porn actress Janice Griffith. Dan was supposed to throw her off the roof into a pool, but he missed and she landed on the ground, breaking her foot. Both Dan and Hustler refused to compensate her.
That wasn’t the first time Dan ended in court sued by a woman. In 2014 he was accused by a model Vanessa Castano that he kicked her in a face during a fight in a Miami night club. The club eventually banned Dan for life and Castano wanted $1 million for damages. The video of the event features Dan wearing heavy combat boots during the incident. He later claimed that Vanesa attacked a girl he was with, but even if he was defending her, kicking a girl in a face can’t be justified.
In 2015, Bilzerian announced his candidacy for the President of the United States. He dropped out of the race just a few months later and instead announced his support for the Republican candidate Donald Trump.
Dan came under heavy criticism after the Las Vegas shooting in 2017. At first, he ran away from the Strip. Later, he released another Instagram video claiming he went to get a gun and came back. Many didn’t believe them, including Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer who said that Dan’s actions were “disgusting”.
His shenanigans have brought him a massive Instagram following, with more than 40 million followers, which he used to profit from various sponsors. However, a majority of his wealth comes from a trust fund set up by his father. Both Dan and Adam got one. Currently, Dan Bilzerian net worth in 2020 is estimated at $150 million, although that is hard to confirm.