Image from asianage.com
The self-proclaimed “King of Instagram,” Dan Bilzerian has been an important name in poker circles for some time now. He may not be a professional player by the strict definition, but he certainly spends a lot of time with and around poker.
While some may not agree that Bilzerian belongs in the same group as proper poker pros, there is at least one major entity in the poker world that begs to differ: GGPoker.
One of the fastest growing online rooms decided to sign on Dan Bilzerian as one of their ambassadors, and the decision created quite a turmoil in the community.
It raised many questions, including whether they really wanted someone like Dan Bilzerian to represent their brand?
All personal feelings aside, Blitz is somewhat of a wildcard just as a high VPIP poker player, as he’s the kind of guy you never know what to expect from next.
In the past, he’s been connected to many scandals, and it’s a pretty safe guess there are many more to come in his future.
His overall attitude in real life and social media and his statements that often come off as quite misogynistic is just the tip of the iceberg.
So, is having Dan Bilzerian as a GGPoker ambassador really a good thing for the room, and, more importantly, what does it mean for poker on the larger scale?
Who Is Dan Bilzerian And His Net Worth?
To properly answer this question, it’s necessary to go back to the roots and dig into Bilzerian’s past.
You may know him for his lavish lifestyle that he just loves to share on Instagram for everyone to see, and everyone knows that kind of a lifestyle costs money.
So, what’s Dan Bilzerian net worth, and how can he afford all of it?
The only real answer is that nobody actually knows. He didn’t earn money in any conventional ways. Blitz didn’t start any successful companies or came up with some life-changing invention that would secure his financial well-being.
The word on the street is that he inherited a lot of money from his father, Paul Bilzerian. Paul was convicted of a $60+ million fraud, but he only ever paid back a few million. The rest of it seems to have vanished in thin air.
Many believe that Bilzerian Sr. was able to put away a lot of the money into trust funds in Dan’s name, and that’s where the bulk of the money comes from.
Of course, it’s all speculation as there is no hard evidence, and Dan doesn’t like to comment on the topic (can’t really fault him for that one).
All of this, though, makes it very hard to say what Dan Bilzerian net worth really is.
Some estimates put Dan Bilzerian net worth around the $200 million mark, but it’s impossible to say for sure.
Dan Bilzerian Poker Adventures
It is both amusing and confusing how Bilzerian came to be an important figure in the poker world. Whatever he may say about his Texas Holdem game, it certainly wasn’t for his extraordinary skills.
It wasn’t for his results, either. Some people happen to run hot and win a big tournament or two to put them on the map. However, Dan Bilzerian has just one small tournament cash on the record.
There are plenty of millionaires who play poker, but they’re regarded as the “fish,” But Bilzerian seems to enjoy a somewhat different status.
According to many interviews, the Dan Bilzerian poker story started a while back, during his time at the University of Florida.
At this time, he still didn’t have access to any of the trust funds, and he claims he came to a point where he was almost broke.
This doesn’t seem too far-fetched, given all the available facts.
He was already familiar with the game at this time as he’d enjoy a few poker hands here and there, but he’s never taken it seriously before.
Pushed against the wall, Bilzerian returned to online tables with $750 from selling some of his possessions. The way he describes it, he proceeded to turn that $750 into $10,000.
He then took all of that money with him to Las Vegas and proceeded to win heaps more, bringing the Dan Bilzerian poker bankroll to over $180,000.
He returned to Florida but continued to focus on poker above everything else, playing in cash games after classes. He never graduated, but it seems that fact didn’t have much impact on his life anyway.
That’s the story of Dan Bilzerian poker beginnings the way he tells it. Like so many things about him, it’s up to you whether you want to believe it or not.
The Suitcase Guy
Around the time he turned 27, Bilzerian finally got access to the trust funds. At this point, he got his nickname, “The Suitcase Guy,” although you’ll hardly hear that one these days.
In 2007, Dan Bilzerian got to the Lake Tahoe hotel and casino located on the border between Nevada and California.
His personal luggage included a suitcase filled with $100,000 in cash.
In the days to follow, Bilzerian would jump in and out of poker games at the casino, and this was his first public appearance of sorts.
According to those who were present at the time, Dan wasn’t playing a loose and aggressive style that many expected from a guy carrying around 100 grand in cash. Instead, he played patiently, waiting for pocket aces and other good hands, not forcing the action.
He didn’t stick around for long.
Apparently, he was annoyed by the idea that most players saw him as a rich fish that was there to give his money away. But this was just the start of the Dan Bilzerian poker saga.
During his first appearance in the WSOP Main Event in 2009, he caught the commentating crew’s attention, which helped make him famous in the poker world.
He ended up finishing in 180th place for $36,626, which he was really disappointed about, but his performance and his antiques at the tables put him on the map.
What’s the Real Truth of Dan Bilzerian Poker Winnings?
The only real information the public has about Dan Bilzerian poker winnings is that single cash from 2009. To cash for $36,000 in a $10,000 tournament is hardly a huge achievement.
However, Bilzerian is best known for tooting his own horn, and his poker exploits are no different.
In many interviews, he claimed to have won millions playing poker. The reason no one can either confirm or deny these claims is that these winnings came from private poker games.
If he’s to be believed, he has access to juicy private games involving rich businessmen and celebrities. That part isn’t that hard to believe.
He also claims to win huge in these games regularly.
In an interview back in 2014, Bilzerian claimed to have won $50,000,000 playing poker in the past 12 months alone.
It’s a huge amount of money to be won playing poker, and many have challenged the statement, trying to figure out just how these games play if these kinds of amounts can be won. Dan offered very little in the way of explanation, but he sticks to his story to this day.
So, the question of how did Dan Bilzerian make his money remains a mystery of sorts.
The skills he presented in public don’t quite fit the narrative of a poker crusher. On the other hand, he claims to have access to super juicy games where his skill level may be more than enough to win big.
It really boils down to what you want to believe.
Blitz definitely doesn’t shy away from high stakes action, as evident from some of the posts on his Instagram profile. What his actual results are like is up in the air.
Dan Bilzerian Net Worth & Public Profile
Whatever the Dan Bilzerian poker narrative might be, he didn’t become famous because of poker or his intense studies of tools like Poker Tracker 4 or others. His exploits on the felt are just a small part of his public profile.
Over the years, Bilzerian has become a very controversial persona, building up a huge following on his Instagram account, sharing details of his luxurious and unrestrained lifestyle.
At the moment of writing this, more than 32 million people follow Dan Bilzerian on Instagram.
The kind of posts he shares isn’t to everyone’s taste. Dan enjoys posing with young female models in various “not-safe-for-work” situations. He also shares pictures and videos of his expensive cars, personal arsenal (Bilzerian is crazy about weapons), and similar.
You get the picture.
In 2014, he got a lot of heat from the public for the video of him throwing a completely naked porn actress off of the roof into the pool.
The stunt didn’t quite go as expected as she hurt her leg in the process and ended up suing the millionaire playboy for damages.
Despite the public’s rage, accusing him of treating women as objects and attacking his lifestyle, Bilzerian played it cool for the most part.
Not only he doesn’t seem to care that he’s perceived as a “douche” by many out there; he might actually enjoy it, which, I guess, is his prerogative.
It’s a Dan Bilzerian net worth of $200 million, and he’s entitled to squander it away as he sees fit. But, can such a person really be a good ambassador for poker?
Dan Bilzerian Poker Ambassador – Is It a Good Idea?
GGPoker’s announcement of signing Dan Bilzerian as their latest ambassador coincided with his birthday on December 7. So, to celebrate, they set up a $100,000 birthday freeroll.
The news divided the poker public. GGPoker’s first man, Daniel Negreanu, endorsed the partnership, stating that no one has a bigger reach than Bilzerian and that he’s won millions playing cash games, making him a great fit for the role.
Leaving the questionable Dan Bilzerian poker history aside for the moment, there are some bigger issues here.
As soon as GGPoker broke the news, many in the NVG poker community raised their voices against it.
Dan’s past and many controversies he’s been involved with rubbed many people the wrong way over the years.
This is especially true for women in poker as Bilzerian’s posts and statements are often viewed as sexist and offensive.
And whenever he’s called out for it, Bilzerian doesn’t even try to pretend he’s sorry. He tends to respond to any complaints with even ruder and completely dismissive comments.
I guess you could say that’s his personal brand, and he has to right to do with it as he likes. But, is GGPoker doing the right thing by associating themselves with Blitz?
A Lot of Attention – But Is It for the Right Reasons?
In their PR, GGPoker toots Bilzerian as an experienced player who is deserving of the role. To be frank, this seems like smoke and mirrors.
The more likely scenario is that they decided to take him on for his 32+ million followers. Negreanu is right in one thing – Bilzerian does have a huge reach.
There is no doubt he can generate heaps of interest, bringing new players to the room and motivating the existing ones to come back and play.
Many players would certainly jump at the opportunity to sit across the virtual felt from the King of Instagram and take him on.
Looking purely at the numbers, the decision makes a lot of sense. The question is, will it hurt the GGPoker brand in the long run?
Many pros have voiced their outrage over this decision and the fact Negreanu supports it, including Vanessa Selbst and Melissa Burr.
But, it’s quite clear GGPoker isn’t targeting the pro section of the poker community. Their platform is geared more towards recreational players, and recreational players, for the most part, don’t care as much.
They want to play some poker, and what better place to choose than the one where they have an opportunity to come across the King of Instagram himself?
Dan Bilzerian can bring numbers, and the kind of buzz he can create when he sends a message out to millions of his followers is unparalleled. The question is, is this all that matters?
The truth is, while many pros may be outraged in public, they’ll continue to play on GGPoker – and they’ll especially play there if there are armies of recreational players invading the room for whatever reason.
Where there is “fish,” pros always follow.
It’s just the natural order of things in poker. In the current climate, most people who rely on poker to make a living can’t really afford to completely boycott one of the largest rooms based on the principle, even if they wanted to.
What of WSOP & More Women in Poker?
GGPoker has been one of the fastest-growing online poker rooms in recent years. In fact, their presence has become so strong that they were the official partner of the World Series of Poker for the first-ever WSOP online.
This means that GGPoker and WSOP brands are now connected, and anything the room does might reflect on WSOP as well.
WSOP officials refused to comment on Dan Bilzerian becoming an ambassador for GGPoker. You’d imagine they weren’t thrilled to hear about it but then again, who really knows?
Imagine the kind of buzz that ensues when fans hear that Dan Bilzerian is playing poker in a WSOP event. It’s good for business from the numbers’ perspective.
On the other hand, there’s been a lot of talk about bringing more female players to the tables and creating an environment where they feel comfortable and relaxed.
Signing Dan Bilzerian as a poker ambassador for one of the two largest brands around certainly doesn’t help the cause and sends a completely different message.
It’s very simple. Perception is the reality for most people, and signing someone like Bilzerian sends a message that’s not very inviting for aspiring female players.
You could argue that none of it really matters. Those who want to play poker, male or female, can do so. It’s a jungle out there anyway, so those who can’t hack it perhaps don’t belong there in the first place.
This argument holds some water for sure, but it also significantly narrows the game’s potential target audience.
It’s good for everyone that people see poker as a fun and relaxing activity, and major brands, like in any other industry, play a huge role in creating this environment.
It’s a complex issue, and I don’t want to go too much on a tangent in this article. But things are rarely that black and white, and just like playing credit card roulette, it can surely go both ways.
Potential Dan Bilzerian Poker Effects
Bilzerian has only been a GGPoker ambassador for a short while, so it’s too early to try and make any suggestions about the effects of his involvement.
Considering his reach and the fact he is no stranger to the (self) promotion, it’s quite likely this partnership will help GGPoker significantly grow their player base.
As to why Bilzerian decided to go with it, it’s anyone’s guess.
Perhaps Dan Bilzerian’s net worth isn’t what it used to be, so he’s looking for an additional source of income.
His recent business endeavors have gone sideways, so it’s not unfathomable he could use some extra cash.
Plus, Blitz loves poker – that much is clear. So, why not partner up with a major poker room, get some exposure, and have a blast doing it?
It’s unlikely that Dan Bilzerian will start a new poker boom, but he’ll likely create interest for the game among many who aren’t currently playing online. That is a good thing.
He may not be the ideal candidate for a poker ambassador. Well, he just isn’t; no need to sugarcoat it. But that doesn’t mean he can’t bring some positives to the table as well.
Dan Bilzerian playing poker online will likely motivate many to follow in his footsteps and join him in the room he represents.
On the flip side, there are always those looking to attack poker with any arguments they have, and this can provide them with some much need ammunition.
When someone represents a brand, their actions will always reflect on that brand. And when that brand comes under scrutiny and happens to be one of the top operators, it’s a hit against online poker in general.
Dan Bilzerian & Poker: Summary
Only time will tell what kind of an impact Dan Bilzerian will have on poker now that he is an ambassador for a major brand.
There are some positives and some negatives, and it’s hard to say how it all balances out. It’s also anybody’s guess how long this partnership will last.
Bilzerian is used to doing things his way, and he’ll likely keep it like that.
While you might argue that any press is good press, he may become too much for GGPoker, and they “decide to part ways.”
One way or the other, it’ll be interesting to keep up with this story and see how it develops in the future. It’s just like with Mike Postle cheating scandal, no one knows how things will turn out.
Bilzerian is the kind of character you won’t find even in the wildest poker movies, so it’s really hard to say what comes next: for him, GGPoker, and the partnership.