The Rise & Dramatic Fall of Dan Bilzerian

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A decade ago, Dan Bilzerian was everywhere in the public eye and on social media. Things have changed today, though, with the “King of Instagram” noticeably absent from from the spotlight.

So, what happened to Dan Bilzerian? We’ll answer this question by exploring Bilzerian’s rise to fame and fortune, his recent controversies, and why he’s currently staying out of the limelight.

Dan Bilzerian
Image: Graham Bensinger

Who is Dan Bilzerian?

Born on December 7, 1980 in Tampa, Florida, Dan Bilzerian is a famous social media personality, poker player, and business owner.

He grew up in the lap of luxury thanks to his dad, Paul Bilzerian, who was an infamous Wall Street corporate raider.

Paul went to prison in 1989 for violations of securities and tax laws, leaving Dan and his brother, Adam Bilzerian, on their own.

Attempts at Becoming a Navy Seal

Dan’s first pursuit after high school involved trying to become a Navy Seal. However, he failed to pass BUD/S training twice and never became a Seal.

The Dan Bilzerian military career is a subject of much debate, with some saying that he was disrespectful to officers and/or late checking in after oversleeping.

By Dan’s account, he physically couldn’t pass the first time due to compound stress fractures in both legs. The second time, he claims to have been dropped for no valid reason.

Dan Bilzerian Poker Career

Failing Seal training may have been a blow to Bilzerian at the time, but it was a blessing in some ways. Dan received an honorable discharge and $6,000 in monthly pay for his leg injuries.

He initially used that money to fund his schooling at the University of Florida, before dropping out after several years to play poker professionally.

As we’ll cover later, Bilzerian parlayed his extravagant lifestyle and celebrity connections to profit from some of the biggest high stakes cash games.

Dan Bilzerian poker
Image: Instagram/danbilzerian

Social Media Star

The biggest way that Dan Bilzerian has become famous is through social media. He earned his “King of Instagram” nickname in the mid-2010s by amassing tens of millions of followers.

Bilzerian gained attention by posting pictures of himself surrounded by beautiful women, shooting guns, and reveling in a lavish lifestyle.

His account (@danbilzerian) currently has 32.3 million followers, despite him not having posted in months (more on this later).

King of Instagram
Image: Instagram/danbilzerian

Businessman

Bilzerian has slowly transitioned away from being a poker pro and social media personality into the business world.

He launched a (formerly) publicly traded company called Ignite International, which sells alcohol, CBD oil, and vape pens.

Bilzerian has seen ups and downs with Ignite, eventually pulling it off the stock exchange in 2022.

Dan Bilzerian Quick Facts

Dan Bilzerian The King of Instagram
Age 43
Height 5ft8 (1.74m)
Net Worth $200 million
Sources of Income
  • Ignite International Brands Ltd.
  • Investing
  • Poker
  • Acting
Wife None (single)
Residence  $5.1M mansion in Las Vegas
Dan Bilzerian
Image: Instagram/danbilzerian

How Did He Get So Rich?

Dan Bilzerian’s net worth is estimated to be around $200 million.

How did he amass such a fortune? You can see the main ways that he rakes in millions of dollars below.

High Stakes Poker

Bilzerian landed on the poker radar after finishing 180th ($36,626) in the 2008 WSOP Main Event.

A few years later, he was playing in the infamous Molly’s Game in the LA area alongside celebrities like Tobey Maguire, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon.

In 2014, he claimed to have made $50 million throughout the year via various high stakes poker games. However, many people believe this is a total fabrication.

By his own accounts, Dan Bilzerian’s poker success has come by beating rich fish rather than him being one of the world’s best players.

Trust Fund

Paul Bilzerian made a fortune through hostile corporate takeovers of major companies. He eventually set up a trust fund for Dan and Adam to be accessible in 2010.

Dan claimed in a 2021 interview that his trust fund dwindled from $96 million to $1.5 million. While this amount pales in comparison to his poker winnings, it still provided a boost to his net worth.

Rumors persist that Paul was somehow able to funnel ill-gotten corporate gains to his sons too, although they still remain rumors at this point.

Extravagant & Controversial Lifestyle

Bilzerian has not directly made money through his lavish lifestyle and social media following. However, he has parlayed his massive fanbase into other opportunities.

For example, he landed a high-profile sponsorship with GGPoker in 2020 thanks to his fame and playboy image.

As mentioned earlier, Bilzerian has accumulated tens of millions of followers through posts on guns, women, fitness, and partying.

Bilzerian with women
Image: Twitter/danbilzerian

Actor & Writer

Dan appeared in several movies from 2013 to 2016.

The biggest Dan Bilzerian movie appearance is his role as Chief Petty Officer Dan Healy in the 2014 film Lone Survivor. He invested $1 million into the film in exchange for a certain amount of screen time.

Bilzeiran would sue the producers for $1.2 million after his screen time was cut to under one minute. He later rescinded the lawsuit while claiming to have made $1.5 million back due to the movie’s success.

In addition to acting, Bilzerian has also written a book called The Setup.

Public Company

In 2017, Bilzerian launched Ignite International Brands Ltd. in Toronto, Canada. He took the company public two years later on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Ignite specializes in selling cannabis, vaping, and nicotine products.

The Fall of Dan Bilzerian

By now you may be wondering what happened to Dan Bilzerian. After all, he hasn’t posted on Instagram in ages and rarely appears in the spotlight today.

Let’s unravel where things went wrong and what started his downward spiral.

Dan Bilzerian House & Lifestyle Controversy

Much of Bilzerian’s allure comes from the idea that he’s a rich playboy who is constantly surrounded by lovely ladies.

However, this image was tarnished when a fired Ignite VP, Curtis Heffernan, blew the whistle on the company’s spending irregularities.

Heffernan’s 2020 lawsuit alleged that the company helped fund Dan’s personal expenditures (eg a $75k paintball field), models’ transportation fees, and $200,000 in monthly home rent.

The model fees and home rental were particularly damning because Dan created the illusion that the models were with him voluntarily, and that he purchased said home for $65 million.

Dan Bilzerian house
Image: Instagram/luxury_listings

Decline of Ignite

Heffernan’s suit started even bigger problems for Bilzerian beyond just hurting his image.

Ignite’s stock prices plummeted from a $2.50 starting price in January 2019 to just $0.28 by October 2020. The company reported losses of $69 million and $19.7 million in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Ignite would experience a resurgence after reporting profits of $78 million in 2021.

However, it quickly declined again after an SEC investigation into accounting fraud on revenues. The stock began falling, reaching $0.37 before Ignite went private.

Dan Bilzerian Wife & Fake Marriage

Perhaps in an effort to revive his social media presence, Dan Bilzerian announced on July 25, 2022, that he had gotten married to model Hailey Grice.

Dan Bilzerian wife married
Image: Instagram/danbilzerian

This post proved a ruse, though, as Bilzerian posted 10 days later that “marriage is a trap” and guys should “stay single.”

Given his already declining image, Bilzerian’s fake marriage didn’t go down well with followers.

Social Media Inactivity

For a guy who rapidly became famous through Instagram, he’s rarely active on social media these days.

Dan Bilzerian African safari
Image: Twitter/danbilzerian

He hasn’t posted on Instagram in 33 weeks to date and only made a handful of posts in 2023 and 2024.

As a result, Dan is losing roughly 100,000 Insta followers on a monthly basis.

Will Dan Bilzerian Rise Again?

Dan Bilzerian built his fame on the idea that he lives a high roller lifestyle that includes numerous women, yachts, assault riffles, endless parties, and a seemingly infinite supply of money.

This same image has suffered a hit in recent years, with the revelations that Bilzerian pays models’ travel expenses, rented his former LA mansion, and heads an unsuccessful company.

Is this the end of Bilzerian’s popularity and fortune?

He doesn’t look to being going broke anytime soon. Some of this is because he’s partially paid for his lifestyle with Ignite company funds.

With an estimated net worth of around $200 million, Dan Bilzerian seems to be doing fine financially.

As for popularity, only time will tell if Dan fades away or makes a comeback.

He explained his limited social media presence through a recent podcast:

“I just don’t care,” Bilzerian said. “I feel like social media is a video game that I beat 8 years ago, and everybody is playing the same game, and I’m tired of it. I look at social media like a cancer. To me, it’s like the worst thing to happen to society.”

With Bilzerian exhausted from social media, it’s likely that he’ll never regain his previous levels of fame. He also doesn’t seem to have many business pursuits left either with the faltering Ignite. Bilzerian may be best off protecting his current wealth and making wise investments.

Jeremy Olson
Sports Betting and Casino Expert
Jeremy Olson
Sports Betting and Casino Expert

Jeremy has been writing about gambling since 2004, when he began covering poker and casino games. He has since written and ghostwritten thousands of pieces involving casino games, poker, and sports betting. While he's covered strategy and news in the past, his key areas of focus today include how-to pieces, promotions, and reviews. Jeremy has also written for BasketballInsiders, Gambling.com, OnlineUnitedStatesCasinos, and Props.com.