Dan Bilzerian starred in movies alongside such stars as Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington, but this isn’t even close to being his biggest achievement. Instagram’s Playboy King is better known for his lavish lifestyle, but is gambling one of his vices?
Dan Bilzerian is a poker player and his passion for gambling is one of the things he’s best known for. He made many exuberant claims about his poker wins over the years, so it’s a bit difficult to separate facts from fiction when it comes to his gambling track record.
Take a look at some of the major milestones of Bilzerian’s poker career, and decide for yourself if his over-the-top claims hold any water.
Kicking-Off Gambling Career
Dan Bilzerian was first introduced to poker while studying business and criminology at the University of Florida. It didn’t take him long to fall in love with the game, but years passed by before he set foot in the actual casino.
While discussing his rise to the top with Wall Street Journal, a Las Vegas-based poker player Todd Witteles recalled that Bilzerian earned the nickname “suitcase guy” after first appearing at Lake Tahoe, Nevada in 2007 with a suitcase full of cash.
“Blitz” could afford this kind of high-stakes gamble thanks to the generous trust fund from his father Paul Bilzerian. He earned an enormous fortune while working as a corporate raider on Wall Street before being convicted of a securities fraud.
Dan Bilzerian never revealed how much of his fortune he owes to his father, but it was just enough to start his gambling career. After taking part in numerous smaller tournaments, he finally managed to make it to the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2009, and walked away with $36,626 after finishing in 180th place.
Brushing Shoulders with Celebrities
Bilzerian’s magnetic personality drew some of Hollywood’s most passionate poker players into his orbit – and trouble followed. He played poker shoulder to shoulder with Tobey Maguire and Nick Cassavetes, who described him as “a guy that lives in a constant state of stimulus”.
High-stakes private games with A-list stars and fellow millionaires became the new normal for Bilzerian, but things went south more times than once. Back in 2011, he took part in a poker game alongside Maguire and Cassavetes, and they were asked to pay back the winnings they won against Bradley Ruderman, after it turned out he was running an illegal Ponzi scheme.
He also publicly defended baseball player Alex Rodriguez after he was accused of taking part in an illegal gambling event. Bilzerian obviously has a soft spot for celebrities and businessmen because they’re playing for fun, and tends to avoid professional players altogether.
Dan Bilzerian made numerous extravagant claims about his gambling triumphs over the years, and it’s difficult to take some of them seriously. Back in 2014, he made headlines after saying he won $50 million over the course of about a year, and this wasn’t the first nor last time he went over-the-top describing his success.
The Instagram star also claimed he won $10.8 million over the course of a single night in 2013 and said the most money he’s ever lost in a single session was $3.6 million. Bilzerian also claimed he had a chance to play against players who would bet cars and planes, instead of the actual money.
Whether his claims are true or not, Bilzerian could definitely use the cash since his lifestyle doesn’t come cheap, but it’s highly unlikely he could afford it if it wasn’t for his trust fund money.
Dan Bilzerian is one of the world’s best-known poker players thanks to his bad-boy antics and lavish lifestyles, which attracted over 30 million followers to his Instagram page. His claims of enormous gambling payouts should still be taken with a grain of salt because he has no way of backing them up.