Dan Bilzerian: Poker-Playing Playboy
Dan Bilzerian is your typical playboy. He surrounds himself with beautiful women, fast cars, and just about anything his heart desires. What many people don't know is that he is also a phenomenal poker player, having won millions of dollars over the years through various cash games. He has even cashed out at the World Series of Poker Main Event.
Continue reading this detailed biography to learn more about Dan Bilzerian, his childhood, his poker career, and his personal life. You'll be guaranteed to walk away having learned something you never knew before.
Dan Bilzerian was born on December 7th, 1980, in Tampa, Florida. His father, who was a graduate of Harvard Business School, owned a robotics company and made an impressive 7-figure salary. While he was always willing to buy the family anything they wanted, he was hardly ever present. He missed numerous birthday parties and sporting events because he was either on a business trip or stuck working late at the office. Dan and his brother, Adam, suffered greatly as a result of their father's absence.
Things only got worse when their father got sent to prison on nine accounts of stock and tax fraud. Bilzerian started getting picked on in school and eventually began acting out. He stopped doing his homework and got into fist fights with other students often. He eventually was asked to leave the school permanently.
At his new school that was just a few towns over, Bilzerian had a much better experience. He made lots of new friends and was very involved. He was a key member of the school's football team and was even involved in student council. Things were going great for him until he brought a machine gun on school property. He had no intentions of firing the gun, but simply having it in his car was enough to get him expelled. He had to finish up his senior year from home and wasn't allowed to walk for graduation.
After high school, Bilzerian joined the Navy with hopes of becoming a Navy Seal. He survived the BUD/S (Basic Underwater Demolition/Seal) training, despite suffering from a broken leg. He continued to work hard, undergoing strenuous physical and mental tests. Just a few weeks away from graduation, he was forced to drop out of the military and forfeit his right to become a seal. He was discharged for fighting with one of his officers.
After his time with the Navy, Bilzerian enrolled at the University of Florida where he double-majored in business and criminology. It was during his freshmen year of college that he first played poker. He immediately fell in love with the game, playing with his classmates whenever he got the chance. He also started playing online, which lead to a lot of late nights and little sleep. By his sophomore year of college, he was completely addicted. He even took a loan out on his car so that he could have more money to gamble with.
Poker and Other Gambling Ventures
Bilzerian didn't set foot in a real brick-and-mortar casino until he was 25. After finally receiving full access to the trust fund his father set up for him, Bilzerian packed up a suitcase full of cash and headed to Lake Tahoe. To avoid blowing through his entire trust fund, Bilzerian set a budget for himself and made sure to stick to it.
He started entering in various tournaments, winning a couple thousand dollars here and there. In 2009, he participated in the World Series of Poker Main Event for the first time. He played against professional poker players like Phil Ivey and Joe Cada. He finished in 180th place and won $36,626.
It was that performance that led to a sponsorship with Victory Poker, an online cardroom that is no longer in operation. In exchange for $1 million, Bilzerian agreed to wear a Victory Poker uniform for all of the tournaments he competed in. He also appeared in several commercials to promote the company's name. Despite his efforts, Victory Poker crumbled just after his one-year contract with them had ended.
Since then, Bilzerian has dedicated most of his energy to cash games. Through a series of high-stakes cash games, he was able to turn a $750 investment into over $187,000. He also tweeted that he won over $10 million during one lucky playing session in Las Vegas. There was no proof of this, however, and his Twitter followers were skeptical, as they know he tends to exaggerate.
Bilzerian doesn't just play poker himself, but he also sponsors people who are eager to play in the World Series of Poker but don't have enough funds to cover the buy-in. He gave Jay Farber $2,000 for the 2013 WSOP main event in exchange for 20% of his tournament winnings. When Farber took second place for the cash prize of $5 million, Bilzerian was able to walk away from the deal with an extra million dollars to his name.
When Bilzerian isn't fixated on poker, he loves to make side bets. He once bet a Supreme Court litigator $400,000 that he could beat him in a drag race. Bilzerian clocked in at 10.74 seconds with a top speed of 133 miles per hour. His competition, Tom Goldstein, clocked in at 11.54 seconds with a top speed of 122 miles per hour.
Shortly after that, he bet Bill Perkins $600,000 that he could bike from Vegas to Los Angeles in under 48 hours with no medical assistance. Bilzerian amazed everyone, as he was able to bike that 300-mile stretch in just under 33 hours. Prior to starting his race, he was trained by professional bike racer Lance Armstrong, who agreed to coach him in exchange for a $25,000 donation to his child-cancer charity.
Spreading His Wealth
Bilzerian started "The Robin Hood Project" that he uses to give money to people who are in need of financial assistance. He is willing to donate $10,000 per person, as any donation larger than that is taxable in the United States. One of the first people to benefit from this project was a woman who lost all of her limbs in a bad car accident. Now wheelchair-bound, Bilzerian gave her enough money to be able to make her home wheelchair-accessible.
Bilzerian also hosted a poker tournament in 2015 to raise money for brain research. The tournament took place inside his Las Vegas home and cost $1,000 to enter. Celebrities like Ludacris and Vin Diesel showed up for the event, along with countless others. The winner of the tournament was awarded tickets to the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather fight. In total, Bilzerian was able to raise over $100,000 for charity.
Bilzerian lives in a $3.7 million mansion in Las Vegas complete with a movie theater, a pool, a hot tub, and 11 bedrooms. To go with his mansion, he has an impressive collection of sports cars, which includes a Lamborghini Aventador Roadster, a Bentley Flying Spur, and a 1965 AC Cobra. He also has a personal chef to cook all of his meals and a maid to do all of the housework. His mansion is typically filled with an endless supply of beautiful women who show up for every lavish party he throws.
Social media is a huge part of Bilzerian's life. He has over 20 million followers on his Instagram account and over 1 million on his Twitter account. He is known worldwide for his hilarious posts. In 2010, he was voted as the world's funniest poker player on Twitter by Bluff Magazine. Pictures of Bilzerian and his celebrity friends like Floyd Mayweather, Kanye West, and Steve Aoki can also be found plastered all over social media.
Bilzerian has some interesting political views, as he considers himself to be a constitutionalist libertarian. He thinks both drugs and prostitution should be legalized, as there is a lot of money to made through taxes there. He also believes there should be fewer gun control laws. He thinks guns are the best way to protect yourself against intruders and every natural-born citizen should have the right to be able to own them. Bilzerian owns over 100 different guns himself and actually has a room in his mansion where they are all displayed.
Bilzerian can occasionally be found on the big screen, as he has started to accept small roles in various films. He has appeared in War Dogs (2016), Extraction (2015), The Equalizer (2014), Cat Run 2 (2014), The Other Woman (2014), and Lone Survivor (2013). He is also an executive producer for his new television series, Blitz's Real Hollywood Stories. This animated cartoon is based on real events that have taken place in Bilzerian's life.
When asked in an interview with Square Mile if he has any regrets, this was his response, "Honestly, the things I regret in my life are the things that I didn't try. Not the things I tried and failed, or the things I f***** up. Just the s*** that I wanted to do that I didn't do. Like a hot girl I saw that I didn't talk to, or I wanted to race a car and I didn't do it, or I wanted to skydive. You know? If there was something I wanted to do, and I didn't pull the trigger on it. Those are the regrets I got."