Who is Dan Bilzerian? To many, the name won't ring a bell; when presented with his picture, all they may see is a semi-naked young man usually surrounded by beautiful women. To anybody with a social media account, however, he is pretty much unavoidable. For the Twitter and Instagram generation, The Blitz is more familiar than their own families.
Bilzerian is one of the top high-stakes poker players in the world, with a personal net worth of over $100 million. He has a lifestyle that most young men would happily lose an eye for, often found surrounded by chicks, booze and money than the average man sees in a lifetime. He is also surrounded by controversy; Bilzerian is an unabashed playboy and he doesn't seem to care what anyone thinks of him. Yet he remains more popular on the internet than the President of the United States.
More than a million people search Bilzerian's name on Google every month, compared to 825,000 for Barack Obama. He also has 300,000 more Instagram followers than Lady Gaga (4.8 million), which means that most internet dwellers probably think that they have seen everything there is to see concerning Dan. However, there are some naughty secrets lurking below the surface of his extremely public life. Here are 15 of the juiciest facts you probably didn't know about this 34-year-old "venture capitalist."
15 He Has Had Serious Heart Problems
It must be thoroughly exhausting being Dan Bilzerian. A lifestyle like his is bound to take its toll on the body, and as much fun as he appears to have on a daily basis, it hasn't all been butterflies and rainbows. The price of pleasure is often pain - and Dan has had his fair share of it.
Bilzerian suffered a double heart attack when he was 25 and a third when he was 32. He was allegedly treated by Michael Jackson's doctor, Conrad Murray, and suffered the last pulmonary embolism when travelling from Las Vegas to Hawaii between poker tournaments. He didn't exactly reign in his behaviour after number three. Dan reportedly discharged himself from the hospital early and asked his million-strong Twitter following to take up a million-dollar bet that he wouldn't die.
14 He Was A Badly Behaved Navy Seal Recruit
How different would Bilzerian's life have been had he spent his time fighting for his country instead of striking it rich on the poker circuit? We were tantalisingly close to finding out; The Blitz almost completed his training to become a Navy Seal.
He had spent 510 days of gruelling Seal training and scored 94/99 in his military exam before getting into a dispute with his commanding officer - specifically, he reportedly called him a "p***y." Unsurprisingly, the Seals don't take kindly to such shenanigans and Dan was honourably discharged just before his graduation.
13 His Cat Is More Popular Than You
Meet Smushball. Bilzerian is as fond of pets as the next man, but the next man probably doesn't have a cat which is more popular than half of all Instagram users. Smushball is a three-legged Persian Doll Face cat with an Instagram following of almost half a million.
Before you question the future of humanity and quietly delete all of the pictures of your dinner that you've been boring the internet with, check out Smushball's account. You have to admit, that's one adorable cat. If you're still jealous of a feline, consider this: Bilzerian has more than one pet. He also owns two goats, neither of whom have their own Instagram account...yet.
12 His Shenanigans Involving Women
Dan Bilzerian isn't universally popular. There are many that think of him as somewhat misogynistic with a track record of treating women in less-than-appropriate ways. Looking at some of the controversies he has embroiled himself in, it's a statement that may hold some water. After all, a man who employs women solely to stroke his beard at poker matches and cut his hair while wearing just a bow-tie is not really creating the best image for himself.
In a stunt organized by Hustler magazine, Bilzerian threw a naked model off his roof into a pool. They both had a close call when she grabbed his shirt at the last moment and ended up breaking her ankle on the side of the pool. He has also been accused of kicking model Vanessa Castano in the face in a Miami nightclub in August of 2014, although he denies the allegations insists he was protecting another woman.
Not exactly helping his case, Bilzerian has also boasted of sleeping with 16 girls in 12 days and Tweeted that "ugly girls hurt (his) eyes." If anything is clear from these bizarre events, it's that Bilzerian might love women a little too much.
11 His Father Went To Prison
Paul Bilzerian was a private equity trader in the 1980s, owning a robotics company amongst other interests. He was also largely absent from his son's formative years, infamously jetting back from a life spent largely abroad to sue Dan's Little League team for slander over a $5,000 donation. When Dan was 10, Paul broke the news to his son that he was being sent to jail.
The reason was a complicated "pump and dump" system of stock fraud where he would artificially inflate a company's worth before moving the investments as share prices spiralled. After his release, Bilzerian was thrown back in the clink due to the disappearance of his half-billion dollar fortune into a network of offshore accounts and charities. He made sure that he filed the balance of his prison commissary account - 23 cents.
10 He Had A Hard Time In School
Dan Bilzerian suggests that his father's legal problems may have shaped his own lifelong hatred of authority; he has admitted that he hated high school and was extremely unpopular as a teenager. He was often lonely and was widely ridiculed by his classmates after his father was jailed.
Bilzerian had a rootless existence during this period. He moved school twice after Bilzerian Sr. was doing time, quickly finding himself expelled from both due to his outrageous behaviour. Bilzerian carried on this stigma of unpopularity into his military 'career' - his father had won a Bronze Star in Vietnam and Dan felt that he was widely disrespected by instructors and fellow grunts alike for his association to the criminal ex-serviceman.
9 He Was Part Of A Mormon Community
After he was expelled from a second school, Bilzerian was sent to a military academy to see if military instructors could straighten him out. With possibly catastrophic timing, Paul Bilzerian was released from prison at this time; he bought a new company and the family was uprooted 2,000 miles to the heart of mormon country, in Utah.
Bilzerian didn't enjoy his Utah experience, reportedly finding life there dull and drab. He was still plagued by loneliness, finding it hard to relate to his more conservative classmates. He eventually found a way to not only get himself expelled, but also asked to leave the state of Utah altogether. (More on that later).
8 He Sued Lone Survivor Over 7 Minutes Of Screen Time
Bilzerian has found a second career as an actor and stuntman. He worked as a stunt double for Gerard Butler on Olympus Has Fallen, and also appeared in the film The Equalizer, with Denzel Washington, as well as the film The Other Woman. However, it was his role with the Mark Wahlberg film Lone Survivor that strained his relationship with Hollywood producers.
Bilzerian invested $1 million into the film in exchange for 80 words of dialogue and 8 minutes of screen time. When the producers decided to cut his role to one line, amounting to less than a minute on screen, Bilzerian was furious and filed a messy, $1.25 million lawsuit against the company - the value of the original loan plus 25% interest. In the end he dropped the lawsuit having made $1.5 million from the film.
7 His Net Worth May Be Up For Debate
Though Bilzerian's self-estimation of a $100 million fortune is widely circulated, many of his high-stakes poker buddies, who are in no way jealous of his fame, suspect that the figure may be a complete fabrication. His winnings are public knowledge, with the most he's ever won in one night stands at $3 million, but he does lead a lavish, expensive lifestyle.
Though he freely admits to being, at best an average poker player, he has fleeced businessmen out of $50 million in private games. Though he has a fabulous mansion, a Gulfstream jet and a range of sports cars, it has been alleged that he rents all of them - the LA mansion is supposedly rented out by a Singapore businessman for $35,000 a month.
6 He's Surprisingly Generous
Though he may or may not be worth the amount he claims to be, Bilzerian certainly isn't mean-spirited when it comes to sharing his wealth. When his father was jailed, Dan put up a third of his trust fund account as bail, incurring the wrath of his slightly ungrateful dad. He has also been known to put up cash for his friends to follow their dreams, investing $2,000 for fellow poker buddy Jay Farber, to enter a national tournament.
He also funded his own 'Robin Hood' project and gave away $100,000 of his prize winnings to victims of Typhoon Haiyan. He has also given away money to a couple who adopted four sick children and a paraplegic.
5 He's Been Arrested On Bomb-Making Charges
Altruistic or not, there's a streak of the berserker running through Dan Bilzerian like a stick of rock. Apparently his desire to enter the military wasn't an isolated incident. He often posts tweets and Instagram photos of his gun collections. As if his fascination with guns wasn't enough of a red flag, then his arrest at LAX International Airport should underline it. On December 9th 2014, he was arrested on unrelated charges of constructing a bomb, of which he was guilty.
4 His Transport Is Way Cooler Than Yours
Rented or owned, there is no denying that Bilzerian nips out for a pint of milk in a far flashier fashion than you do, unless the Sultan of Brunei happens to be reading this. He has a fleet of top of the range sports cars, his favourite being the 1965 Shelby 427 Cobra that he uses to compete in drag races. He also posted a picture on Instagram of his armoured car backed onto some unlucky LA resident's front steps.
As well as his cars - sample licence plates include 'SUCK IT' and 'MR GOAT' - he possesses a Gulfstream IV jet, complete with his personal emblem on the tail; a picture of his favourite goat, Zeus. If it's ridiculous to own your own Gulfstream jet, you may as well go the whole hog and paint a headshot of a goat onto it.
3 He Was A Successful Arms Dealer
While it cannot be implied that Dan Bilzerian is in anyway a real life Tony Montana, the fact remains that he did kickstart his lucrative career of being Dan Bilzerian by selling weapons at a highly exaggerated profit margin. While at college, he was reportedly earning "$90,000 a week" by playing poker. However, hubris saw him lose everything and face bankruptcy.
Our unlikely hero found a novel way of earning cash. He took his gun collection (worth an estimated $750) and sold them for around $10,000. He took this money to Vegas and turned it into $187,000. A short and lucrative stint of dealing arms put him on the road to wealth, fame and fortune.
2 He Values His Beard Over Money
If there is anything that Dan Bilzerian is synonymous with, aside from wealth, poker and fame, then it's probably his beard. Dan was sporting facial fuzz long before hipsters strolled into view and claimed it for their own ironic purposes. Indeed, a Vine of Bilzerian sitting in the front row of a poker tournament, having his beard stroked by a model quickly melted the internet and went viral.
Dan is so attached to his beard that he has refused a fortune to shave it off. One of the Facebook founders - identity unknown - offered Bilzerian $100,000 to let the public see what was lurking underneath his soup strainer but The Blitz values whiskers over wonga and refused. Sadly for him, a film role saw him going clean-shaven only a matter of months later.
1 He Was Jailed as A High School Senior
Remember the incident referred to earlier in the article which saw Bilzerian not only expelled but banished from Utah outright? Remember the small detail of Paul Bilzerian having won a Bronze star in Vietnam? Recall the fact that Dan really, really likes guns? Can you see where this is going?
Dan was so proud of his father's military experiences that he decided one day to show off to the few friends he had and take a souvenir his father brought back from 'Nam with him to school - an M16 machine gun. Unsurprisingly, the school couldn't get him out quickly enough. This incident sums Dan Bilzerian up perfectly - he's flash and crazy but, in his own words, "it's a good thing (he's) rich and doesn't give a f***."