How did Dan Bilzerian accumulate a $200m net worth?

Jon Sofen
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Posted on 01/16/2021

Dan Bilzerian has an estimated $200 million net worth, money he claims he made through poker, but is that actually true?

Bilzerian, dubbed the “King of Instagram,” has over 32 million Instagram followers. He’s all over social media posting pictures with beautiful half-naked women, his massive collection of guns, and living the luxurious lifestyle the rest of us can only dream about.

And that’s what makes him so appealing to such a large audience. He lives the life most fantasize about while growing up. But it would be virtually impossible to accumulate $200 million in net worth simply from social media.

Bilzerian, however, doesn’t claim that is where he’s made his money. He has repeatedly said he earned his wealth in high-stakes poker home games against loose, wealthy businessmen and celebrities, mostly in Southern California.

The social media playboy claims he once made $10.8 million playing poker in just one night. However, his poker prowess and winnings have never been substantiated by any top pros, at least not publicly.

Bilzerian doesn’t grind the high-stakes games at the casinos in Las Vegas. You won’t find him at the Bellagio, inside Bobby’s Room (now “Legends Room”) sitting next to Doyle Brunson splashing around some six-figure pots. And you also won’t catch him grinding the live tournament circuit. He only has one career recorded tournament cash; a $36,000 score for 180th place in the 2009 WSOP Main Event.

Bilzerian’s brother, Adam Bilzerian, finished 47th for $138,568 that year. Adam does have a few additional tournament cashes totaling nearly $900,000.

Dan Bilzerian is a different story, and he’s a different person compared to his brother. Adam doesn’t strut his stuff all over social media like his older brother. Dan, however, loves to let everyone know just how wealthy he’s become mostly because of poker. But his claims are a bit questionable and hard to believe.

Doug Polk is one of many top-level pros who disputes Bilzerian’s claims. In 2017, he addressed the issue of the social media icon’s poker skills in a YouTube video. And let’s just say he wasn’t exactly raving about Bilzerian’s ability to read his opponents.

So, if Bilzerian didn’t accumulate his wealth through poker, where did he get all that money that he loves to flaunt? Many believe he received it in an illegal way, although this is just a reasonable theory from his critics.

Did Dan Bilzerian illegally inherit his money?

We can’t prove Dan Bilzerian made or didn’t make his money from poker. There aren’t any players in the high-stakes games he competes in who have come forward saying yes or no. And the poker pros like Polk who dispute these claims are only making assumptions.

But there is one thing suspicious about his rise to fame and fortune. Paul Bilzerian, Dan’s father, is a former wealthy corporate takeover specialist who was sentenced in 1989 to four years in prison and slapped with a $1.5 million fine after being convicted on nine counts including conspiracy and securities law violations.

The Wall Street felon was also ordered to pay back a $62 million judgement to the SEC. He instead filed bankruptcy and claimed to have just $15,000 in assets and $140 million in debt.

The money was never collected and the SEC gave up its fight to retrieve it in 2014. Paul Bilzerian only spent 13 months of a four-year sentence in prison, and eventually left the US to live on an island in the Caribbean.

And that brings us to his multimillionaire son, Dan Bilzerian, who somehow accumulated such a massive net worth in a rather short period of time. Many have theorized Dan received a massive inheritance from his father, which allegedly included money from the missing $62 million.

Bilzerian has long denied that claim and no one has proven it to be true — or false. Dan has admitted some of his money came from a trust fund he received in his 30’s (he’s now 40 years old). But he adamantly claims the bulk of his wealth came from poker.

Many critics in the non-poker media have argued that Bilzerian made his money through an inheritance. Most high-stakes poker pros agree. But Bilzerian continues to claim he became rich through poker and not his father. The truth may actually be somewhere in the middle.

Featured image source: Flickr