What do you do when you have more money than you could ever need, want, or use? Just ask “King of Instagram” Dan Bilzerian poker pro.
Born in Tampa, Florida, 37-year-old playboy, multi-millionaire, Internet personality Bilzerian is renowned for his lavish lifestyle. Many in the poker world also know Bilzerian for his highly contested claims that he amassed his fortune by playing in private ultra-high-stakes games.
A self-proclaimed asshole, Bilzerian wants people to envy him because “that’s just the way of the world.” This quasi-professional poker player does have an interesting life with many followers on social media who are quite interested in his seemingly endless procession of cars, women, guns, yachts, and other excesses.
Where should I go today, considering Swiss alps, Hawaii, Machu Picchu and the Galápagos Islands
— Dan Bilzerian (@DanBilzerian) March 11, 2018
Many have estimated his net worth at around $100 million. Whereas Dan Bilzerian acknowledges his trust fund that kicked in when he was in his 30’s (he won’t say how much, of course), he asserts that the majority of his fortune was won at poker. As to these winnings, however, there is little corroboration to his claims.
Just don’t tell Dan Bilzerian he’s not a self-made man. He doesn’t like it. Or that he’s not good at poker.
Dan Bilzerian: In the beginning
Apparently, Bilzerian wasn’t well known in 2007 when he arrived in a Lake Tahoe casino with a cash-stuffed suitcase looking for a game. He was thusly dubbed “suitcase guy.” Since then, Bilzerian high-life, globe-trotting ways include playing in ultra-high-stakes private games with billionaires where his superlative poker playing skills are on display. Or so he says.
Dan Bilzerian competed in the 2009 WSOP Main Event and finished in 180th place, winning $36,626—his only recorded live tournament win. From then on, it was cash games. Bilzerian’s brother Adam also plays poker.
As to his poker skills, Bilzerian alleged—on Twitter—that in November 2013 he won $10.8 million in a single night of poker and had won $50 million throughout 2014. Bilzerian claims he doesn’t play against pros anymore. Obviously, all of these claims are uncontested, so draw your own conclusions.
That’s just what Doug Polk did.
The infamous Doug Polk video
Polk’s video on Dan Bilzerian’s poker prowess—or lack thereof—recently surpassed 1.26 million views.
In it, Polk—like many others—questions Bilzerian’s claims that his incredible wealth is the result of his poker playing skills. The consensus seems to be one that Bilzerian inherited his wealth from his father, Wall Street corporate raider specialist Paul Bilzerian.
For those unfamiliar, Bilzerian’s father was convicted of tax laws and other securities violations stemming from unsuccessful takeover attempts during the 1980s and, in addition to serving time in prison, was ordered to pay a hefty fine—somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 million—of which he only paid a few million. Then son Dan ends up with all of this money he allegedly won from playing poker, and, well, it’s quite understandable why many—like Polk—don’t believe that it came from poker.
In the video, Polk examined Bilzerian’s play in a $10/$20 heads-up cash game on the America’s Card Room (ACR) site—playing under hedge fund manager millionaire Bill Perkins’ account—as Bilzerian streamed the match on Twitch. As Polk never played directly with Bilzerian, the former used his hand analysis and heads-up expertise by watching the stream to develop his own conclusions.
Polk’s take on Dan Bilzerian poker
The normally pro-aggressive Polk criticized many of Bilzerian’s uber-aggressive hands, ultimately concluding that most of Bilzerian’s aggressiveness was not great play and that the millionaire—as an online poker player—is simply “a fish in the water.”
At one point Polk mentions that Bilzerian’s play contains a number of basic errors such as “real simple, preflop decisions.” Polk adds that Bilzerian’s story of running up a small bankroll back in the day “is, like, total bullshit” as he saw neither fundamentals nor discipline from Bilzerian. This supports Polk’s—and others’—assertions that Bilzerian’s fortune was likely not the result of playing good poker as Bilzerian repeatedly claims.
Granted, Dan Bilzerian has, in fact, played uber-high-stakes poker in the past and has likely won some money versus the weak players in those games. However, if this online session is any indication of how Bilzerian normally plays, then Polk may be accurate in his assessment of Bilzerian’s success on the felt. Polk adds that the size of Bilzerian’s fortune and how quickly it was amassed is “just insane” and that “the idea that his bankroll didn’t, in some part, come from his family is just nuts.”
At the end of the day, Polk is sticking by his “fair assessment of the facts”—and Dan Bilzerian’s poker play—and leaves what to believe up to the viewer.
Earlier this year, Joey Ingram had Polk as a guest on his Poker Life Podcast where the two men discussed Polk’s video and thoughts about the whole Dan Bilzerian poker “situation.”
If you wish—as many millions of others have—you can follow Dan Bilzerian’s expensive escapades on Twitter, Facebook, and his truly epic Instagram account. Even if his shameless, in-your-face style is off-putting, Bilzerian is good for some laughs. In 2010, Bluff Magazine voted Bilzerian the funniest poker player on Twitter. Here’s a small sampling:
— Dan Bilzerian (@DanBilzerian) August 5, 2018
I got bit in the leg by an alligator at my pool yesterday, aside from that all is good
— Dan Bilzerian (@DanBilzerian) July 23, 2018
So, what are your thoughts on Dan Bilzerian’s fortune?
Poker or daddy? Please share your thoughts below.
Until next time.
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Natalie Faulk is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer/blogger and the author of several books. She is an avid low-stakes (for now) poker player and huge Vegas Golden Knights fan.