Bilzerian in 2019
Daniel Brandon Bilzerian
December 7, 1980
Tampa, Florida, U.S.
|Other names||"Blitz"[better source needed]|
|Citizenship||United States (1980–present)|
|Relatives||Adam Bilzerian (brother)|
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 Armenian descent through his father. His father was a corporate raider on Wall Street who set up trust funds for both of his sons to live on. 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.[unreliable source?]
Bilzerian played in the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event, finishing in 180th place. In 2010, he was voted one of the funniest poker players on Twitter by Bluff magazine. 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.
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. In November 2013, Bilzerian posted an unconfirmed claim that he won $10.8 million from a single night of playing poker, 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." Bilzerian has featured on Joe Rogan's podcast on social media platform Youtube explaining the run up to his poker career.
Bilzerian runs the company Ignite International Brands Ltd., which sells electronic cigarettes, CBD oils, water bottles and vodka, among other products. Ignite is a public company, headquartered in Toronto, Canada, that began trading in January 2019 under the BILZF ticker. The company reportedly lost over $50 million in 2019, mostly on marketing and office rental expenses.
In 2014, Bilzerian sued the producers of the film Lone Survivor. His lawsuit states that although he lent the production team of that film $1 million in exchange for a minimum of eight minutes of screen time and 80 words of dialogue, his role was reduced to less than one minute and has just one line. His lawsuit demanded $1.2 million (the original loan amount plus a 20 percent penalty). The lawsuit was later dropped, with Bilzerian reportedly making $1.5 million on his investment due to the film's commercial success.
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." Castano later filed a lawsuit against Bilzerian for her injuries. 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.
In December 2014, Bilzerian was embroiled in a legal matter with pornographic actress Janice Griffith, whom he threw off the roof of a house and into a pool as part of a photoshoot for Hustler magazine in April 2014. She fell short of the pool, hitting the edge, and broke her foot. The 18-year-old Griffith asked Bilzerian for $85,000 for her injuries, which was rejected. She then filed a lawsuit against both Hustler and Bilzerian, to which 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. 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.
On December 9, 2014, Bilzerian was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on unrelated bomb-making charges. 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." 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. 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.
In July 2020, former Ignite president Curtis Heffernan sued Bilzerian for wrongful termination after Heffernan was fired for what he claims was pointing out Bilzerian's misappropriation of company funds for his personal expenses.
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." In his final two videos, he was heading home, stating "I don't think there's much I can do."
He was widely criticized for his actions. Later, other videos of him that night appeared. One showed him searching a police car and another showed him running back towards the shooter before asking police for a gun and being refused one.
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. 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 did 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.
Many of the properties Bilzerian claims to own are, in fact, rented by using the money of 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."
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.
Due to his drug abuse, Bilzerian reportedly suffered two heart attacks before the age of 32.
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. On that same trip he visited the Republic of Artsakh where he visited a shooting range, and fired weapons there. 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. Two years later, Blizerian 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".
In June 2015, Bilzerian announced his bid to run for President of the United States in the 2016 election. After an unclear end to the campaign, Bilzerian endorsed Donald Trump, citing Trump's unfiltered and politically inflammatory statements as factors in his support.
|2013||Olympus Has Fallen||Uncredited|
|2014||The Other Woman||Handsome Man at Bar||Uncredited|
|2014||The Equalizer||Teddy's Guy|
|2014||Cat Run 2||Cordray|
|2016||War Dogs||Himself||Uncredited cameo|
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He ordered his friend, the professional poker player/bon vivant Dan Bilzerian....
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I do venture capitalism work....
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Media related to Dan Bilzerian at Wikimedia Commons