Dan Bilzerian

Daniel Brandon Bilzerian[2] (born December 7, 1980)[3] is an American actor, businessman, amateur poker player, and social media influencer.[4][5][6]

Dan Bilzerian
Dan Bilzerian.jpg
Bilzerian in 2019
Born
Daniel Brandon Bilzerian

(1980-12-07) December 7, 1980 (age 40)
Other names"Blitz"[1][better source needed]
CitizenshipUnited States (1980–present)
Armenia (2018–present)
Parent(s)Paul Bilzerian
Terri Steffen
RelativesAdam Bilzerian (brother)

Early life

Bilzerian was born on December 7, 1980 in Tampa, Florida, the son of corporate takeover specialist Paul Bilzerian and Terri Steffen. He is the brother of fellow poker player Adam Bilzerian. He is of half Armenian descent through his father.[7][8][9] His father was a corporate raider on Wall Street who provided both his sons with trust funds.[10][11][12][13] Bilzerian claims to have subsequently enrolled at the University of Florida and studied there for four years, majoring in Business and Criminology, but it is unclear if he ever graduated.[14][unreliable source?]

Career

Poker

Bilzerian played in the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event, finishing in 180th place.[15] In 2010, he was voted one of the funniest poker players on Twitter by Bluff magazine.[16] In November 2011, Bilzerian was one of those sued over debt of honor winnings they had been paid in no-contract poker games by Tobey Maguire.[17]

That same year, Bilzerian defended Alex Rodriguez publicly against accusations that he had gambled illegally, claiming that he was present when the alleged gambling event had taken place and Rodriguez was not present.[18] In November 2013, Bilzerian posted an unconfirmed claim that he won $10.8 million from a single night of playing poker,[19] and in 2014 he claimed to have won $50 million throughout the year, adding that he "doesn't play against professionals anymore and the most he's ever lost in a single session is $3.6 million."[20] Bilzerian has discussed his Poker career on Joe Rogan's podcast on YouTube.

Ignite

Bilzerian runs the company Ignite International Brands Ltd., which sells electronic cigarettes, CBD oils, water bottles and vodka, among other products.[21] Ignite is a public company, headquartered in Toronto, Canada, that began trading in January 2019 under the BILZF ticker.[21] The company reportedly lost over $50 million in 2019, mostly on marketing and office rental expenses.[21]

Controversies

Legal issues

In 2014, Bilzerian sued the producers of the film Lone Survivor. His lawsuit stated that he invested $1 million in the film in exchange for at least eight minutes of screen time and 80 words of dialogue, but his role was later reduced to less than one minute and just one line. His lawsuit demanded $1.2 million—the original investment plus 20 percent.[22] The lawsuit was later dropped, and Bilzerian reportedly generated $1.5 million in revenue due to the film's commercial success.[23]

In August 2014, Bilzerian was banned from a Miami nightclub for kicking model Vanessa Castano in the face during a brawl. Bilzerian stated that Castano and another woman attacked Bilzerian's female companion. Castano stated, "There were two girls standing next to me at the table that were fighting. People started getting shoved and I tried to separate them. Then Dan pushed me off the banquette and once I fell he kicked me in the face."[24] Castano later filed a lawsuit against Bilzerian for her injuries.[25] It was also reported that Castano has asked Bilzerian for US$1 million to settle the suit citing the possibility of greater punitive damages based on his income if the suit went to trial.[26]

In 2014, Bilzerian was involved in a legal matter with pornographic actress Janice Griffith. Griffith was featured in a photoshoot with Bilzerian for Hustler magazine in April 2014, which involved Bilzerian throwing her off the roof of a house and into a pool. Griffith fell short of the pool, hitting the edge, and broke her foot. The 18-year-old asked Bilzerian for $85,000 for her injuries, which was rejected. In December 2014 she filed a lawsuit against both Hustler and Bilzerian. Bilzerian's attorney responded that Griffith was under contract for the event by Hustler, that Hustler hired Bilzerian for the event, and that Bilzerian was not at fault.[27] In January 2015, Hustler's attorney claimed that the toss was an "act of God" and stated that it was not the publisher's fault that Griffith suffered injuries as a result.[28]

On December 9, 2014, Bilzerian was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on unrelated bomb-making charges.[29] According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Bilzerian was arrested on a fugitive warrant from Nevada and was booked at the LAPD's Pacific Division around 10 pm: "Bilzerian has been charged with violating a law making it a crime to possess an explosive or incendiary device with the intent to manufacture it."[30][31] He was released from LAPD custody on the day of his arrest after charges were dropped but was scheduled to be arraigned in January 2015 in Clark County, Nevada.[32] In February 2015, Bilzerian pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of "negligently failing to extinguish a fire in the open" and was fined $17,231.50.[33][34]

In July 2020, former Ignite president Curtis Heffernan sued Bilzerian for wrongful termination. Heffernan claimed that he was fired for criticizing Bilzerian's misappropriation of company funds for his lavish lifestyle.[35][36]

Las Vegas shooting

On October 1, 2017, Bilzerian was present at the Las Vegas shooting and filmed himself several times that evening, posting his videos to Instagram. In the first, he described the shooting as he was fleeing to safety; in the second, he stated that "had to go grab a gun. I'm f---ing headed back." Other videos from the incident showed him searching a police car and unsuccessfully asking police for a gun.[37] His final two videos showed him heading home, stating "I don't think there's much I can do."[38] Bilzerian was widely criticized for his actions.[39]

Disputed wealth claims

Bilzerian claims that his wealth is the outcome of a successful gambling career. However, this claim has been disputed by various people, including, in a widely seen video, professional poker player Doug Polk.[40] Some have speculated that Bilzerian's wealth was instead inherited from his father, corporate takeover specialist Paul Bilzerian. Paul was convicted of various securities law violations in 1989, and in 1993 was ordered to pay over $30 million of his allegedly illegal profits to the SEC. Paul did not pay the money, having filed for bankruptcy in 1991 and then again in 2001. Paul set up a trust fund for his two children, Dan and Adam; Dan's funds became accessible in 2010, when he turned 30. A judge in 2001 accused Paul Bilzerian of hiding his assets in various companies and trusts, including the trust fund for his children. The 2001 bankruptcy judgment showed that, in 1997, Dan and Adam's trust was worth around $12 million in Cimetrix stock, which was meant to be split evenly between the two sons.[41]

Many of the properties Bilzerian claims to own are rented by Ignite International Ltd. As Forbes reports: "The house and everything else — the models, the flights, the yachts, etc. — is charged to the corporate tab of Ignite International Ltd., the company Bilzerian founded and serves as CEO and majority shareholder, according to Curtis Heffernan, Ignite's recently ousted former president. Paying Dan Bilzerian's $2.4 million annual rent, and paying for everything else Dan Bilzerian does, would be one explanation for how Ignite managed to lose a reported $50 million last year."[42][43]

Personal life

 
Bilzerian in 2013

On March 9, 2011, Bilzerian raced and beat Tom Goldstein for a wager of $385,000 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, with Bilzerian racing a 1967 AC Cobra and Goldstein behind the wheel of a Ferrari 458 Italia.[44]

Due to his drug abuse, Bilzerian reportedly suffered two heart attacks before the age of 32.[45]

In 2014, Bilzerian split his time between homes in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, California,[46] and Las Vegas, Nevada.[47]

In October 2016, American rapper T-Pain released a song named after Dan Bilzerian.[48]

He moved to Bel Air in 2018.[49] On August 28, 2018, Bilzerian flew to Armenia with his brother Adam and father Paul in order to take their oaths to obtain Armenian citizenship and join the Armenian Armed Forces.[50][51] On that same trip he visited the Republic of Artsakh where he visited a shooting range, and fired weapons there.[52] The government of Azerbaijan sent a note of protest to the United States over these actions due to the contested status of Artsakh, and summoned U.S. Chargé d'Affaires William Gill to take an official note of protest addressed to the U.S. Department of State. A court in Baku issued an arrest warrant for Bilzerian and put him on the international wanted list.[52] Two years later, Bilzerian and other members of his family donated $250,000 to the Armenia Fund to support Armenia and Artsakh against Azerbaijan during the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He has also declared that he was "very disappointed that Azerbaijan decided to attack the Armenian people".[53]

Politics

In June 2015, Bilzerian announced his bid to run for President of the United States in the 2016 election.[54][55] After an unclear end to the campaign, Bilzerian endorsed Donald Trump,[56] praising Trump's unfiltered and politically inflammatory statements.[57]

In popular culture

The Swedish rapper Owen released in 2021 a single titled "Bilzerian" that charted in Sverigetopplistan, the official Swedish Singles Chart.

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
2013 Olympus Has Fallen[58] Uncredited
2013 Lone Survivor[22] SCPO Daniel R. Healy Uncredited
2014 The Other Woman[59] Handsome Man at Bar Uncredited
2014 The Equalizer Teddy's Guy
2014 Cat Run 2 Cordray
2015 Extraction Higgins
2016 War Dogs Himself Uncredited cameo

References

  1. ^ Levinson, Sean (March 28, 2014). "All In: Dan 'Blitz' Bilzerian, The Man With The Epic Instagram, Shows What The High Life Is Like (Video)". elitedaily.com. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  2. ^ Romero, Dennis (December 9, 2014). "Dan Bilzerian Arrested at LAX". LA Weekly. Archived from the original on December 30, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  3. ^ "Dan Bilzerian Victory Pros". Victory Poker. Archived from the original on February 27, 2014. Retrieved March 12, 2014.
  4. ^ "Las Vegas Review-Journal". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  5. ^ Whitten, Sarah (December 10, 2014). "'King of Instagram' held without bail in LA". Retrieved August 15, 2017.
  6. ^ Lee, Chris (August 8, 2014). "DJ Steve Aoki balances decadent party image with business dreams". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 9, 2014. He ordered his friend, the professional poker player/bon vivant Dan Bilzerian....
  7. ^ "Dan Bilzerian: Fifty Million in Poker Earnings". Unfinished Man. June 20, 2014.
  8. ^ Reed, Ted (January 15, 1989). "Bilzerian Court Fight May Be A Long One". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  9. ^ Official Facebook-Account. Post from April 24, 2015. Retrieved May 5, 2015
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  12. ^ "Actor, Astronaut, Asshole". bluff.com. BLUFF Magazine. October 2013. Archived from the original on November 9, 2014. Retrieved November 9, 2014. I do venture capitalism work....
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  15. ^ "Tournament Results - Official World Series of Poker Online". www.wsop.com. Retrieved August 15, 2017.
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  32. ^ Serna, Joseph; Hamilton, Matt (December 10, 2014). "'King of Instagram' freed after arrest at LAX". Los Angeles Times.
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  38. ^ "An Instagram star shared a video with his 23 million followers after being caught up in the Las Vegas shooting". Retrieved October 4, 2017.
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  44. ^ "Ferrari 458 Challenge 1967 Shelby Cobra: $ 400,000 up for grabs". Nano Press Motori. March 22, 2011. Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved September 26, 2013.
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  50. ^ "'King Of Instagram' Gets Armenian Citizenship". «Ազատ Եվրոպա/Ազատություն» ռադիոկայան.
  51. ^ http://www.armradio.am/en/2018/08/27/dan-bilzerian-registers-with-armenian-armed-forces/
  52. ^ a b "Baku Summons U.S. Diplomat Over Bilzerian Visit To Karabakh". «Ազատ Եվրոպա/Ազատություն» ռադիոկայան.
  53. ^ "Dan Bilzerian's family pledges $250,000 to Armenia, Artsakh". Asbarez. October 1, 2020.
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External links