Poker is such a volatile game that it’s tough to estimate how much professional players are really worth. Take Dan Bilzerian, a high-stakes player and self-described “King of Instagram.” While over 32 million followers enjoy watching his alpha persona on full display, no one can quite figure out how wealthy he is. Nor can they figure out how he got his money in the first place. How does he maintain a lifestyle that involves private jets, bevies of babes, and a shady stockpile of weapons? We’ve studied some clues about Dan Bilzerian’s net worth—read on for our estimate, and find out what we discovered along the way.
Dan Bilzerian Has A Wild Lifestyle With Many Questionable Antics
It’s hard to pinpoint the moment Bilzerian gained mainstream notoriety. Some say it’s when he was seen getting his beard stroked by a young woman at the 2013 World Series of Poker. Others think it’s when he posted videos from the 2017 mass shooting at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Another fraction of the population never heard of him until he announced his (obviously failed) presidential candidacy in 2016.
One thing we can say for sure is that Bilzerian has always been an attention seeker. He’s never denied it nor apologized for it.
“Basically I didn’t get a ton of attention as a kid,” Bilzerian once said. “I guess that’s why I’m such a flashy lunatic.”
For years, Bilzerian has used social media to document an over-the-top lifestyle that’s heavy on women and weapons. His shameless flaunting and antics have predictably gotten him in hot water at times. In 2014, the former Navy SEAL trainee was arrested for possessing bomb-making materials. Days later, he was sued for kicking a woman in the face at a Miami Beach nightclub. And then, a week after that, he was sued by 19-year-old porn star Janice Griffith for breaking her foot by throwing her off the roof of his Hollywood Hills mansion. The stunt was for a Hustler photoshoot gone awry.
But those are just standard problems for a guy as outrageous as Bilzerian. And either due to luck or great lawyers, he never seems to pay a price for his behavior. To this day, he continues to post pics and vids of his excessive, indulgent life. It leaves many people wondering how he even got to this level in the first place.
Dan Bilzerian Claims To Have Acquired His Wealth Mainly Through Poker
Bilzerian claims that his lifestyle is financed by his poker winnings. In an interview with the Daily Dot, he said he began playing the game while enrolled at the University of Florida. He went broke after two years, then rebuilt his bankroll from $750 to $187,000.
In 2007, he literally upped the ante and began playing high-stakes games in Las Vegas. Now, he mostly sticks to private games played by billionaires and celebrities. Check out this anything-but-humble-brag posted on Instagram back in 2014.
But critics and internet sleuths find fault with his self-made origin story.
For starters, the stats don’t always work in his favor. There’s no way of knowing how much he earns in private poker games, but as far as public tournaments go, Bilzerian has never won more than $36,626—and that was back in 2009.
“He plays poker at really, really high stakes, but he’s not playing in the top games… where million-dollar pots are won and lost all the time,” poker player and writer Jonathan Grotenstein told GQ in 2017. “I think Dan is more about using poker as part of an image that he’s trying to create, and I think there are a lot of people out there who will lend him a private jet, or let him test drive a ridiculous car.”
Professional poker player Doug Polk is another outspoken skeptic. In a post on his website, Upswing Poker, he challenged a number of claims, including a potential tall tale that Bilzerian raked in $10.8 million in one night.
“This quasi-professional poker player does have an interesting life,” Polk admits. However, he adds, “all of [Bilzerian’s claims] are uncontested but not corroborated.”
It’s Rumored That His Father Left Him Around $50 Million In Dirty Money
The more believable story behind Bilzerian’s wealth is that it was inherited, not earned. His father, Paul Bilzerian, is a Stanford and Harvard Business School grad who made his fortune by leading hostile takeovers of various companies in the 1980s. In 1989, he was convicted of fraud, conspiracy, and making false statements to the SEC. In a private lawsuit later that year, he listed his net worth as $81.4 million.
But by 1993, when the SEC ordered the senior Bilzerian to cough up $62 million, he had already filed for bankruptcy. Bilzerian claimed to be penniless, but he is also said to have protected his assets by stuffing them in untouchable offshore accounts and trusts. His two sons—Dan and Adam—benefitted from the latter.
“I would rather starve to death than earn a dollar to feed myself and pay the government a penny of it,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
Bilzerian maintains that he amassed the majority of his wealth through poker. However, he also admits that he benefited from his father’s money. His trust fund kicked in when he turned 30, and more money was released when he turned 35.
The more that people learn about his dad’s history, the more they believe that Bilzerian’s lavish lifestyle is an illusion.
“Does he have $100m?” Grotenstein asked GQ. “No, I don’t think he has access to that kind of money.” The magazine also suggested that Bilzerian doesn’t own a number of high-ticket items that he posts on Instagram, such as his house, Gulfstream IV, and Lamborghini.
Only Bilzerian and his family know the truth.
Dan Bilzerian’s Net Worth
In a 2014 interview with Howard Stern, Bilzerian said his net worth was in the neighborhood of $100 million. He also claimed he made $50 million from poker in that year alone. But Celebrity Net Worth currently estimates that the figure had doubled to $200 million.
We are actually inclined to believe that Bilzerian is worth less than $100 million. In 2017, he founded Ignite, a publicly traded cannabis company; two years later, it posted a loss of $67 million. Some critics speculated that the money went to fund Bilzerian’s lavish lifestyle.
However, it’s worth noting that in 2021, Ignite finally reported gains of $10.1 million—news that Bilzerian shared in his signature NSFW fashion.
And in December, online betting site GGPoker signed him as a brand ambassador. To no one’s surprise, he has already managed to stir up controversy in his role.
Bilzerian can easily build his wealth with smart investments and business moves, but his need for expensive homes, trips, cars, and women will always offset those gains. Continue watching Ignite’s growth—and not his Instagram feed—for a more accurate assessment of his true fortune.