Jan 24, 2017
Dan Bilzerian’s $150m Net Worth Built on Lie - Doug Polk Exposes All
By RTR Dennis
Over the past few years, Dan Bilzerian has seen his fame skyrocket thanks to his lavish playboy lifestyle, which he proudly flaunts on Instagram. But questions still persist about Bilzerian's massive net worth, which is estimated at $150 million.
According to the King of Instagram, he made his money playing high stakes poker. But given the murky past of his father, Paul Bilzerian, a corporate raider who went to prison for stock and tax fraud, it’s hard telling if this is true.
Did Dan inherit his father's dirty money — much of which was never accoutered for — or did he truly feast off high-roller fish?
High stakes poker pro Doug Polk may have answered these questions by dissecting Bilzerian's poker abilities. Let's cover Polk's analysis below and discuss more on Bilzerian's poker history.
Background on Bilzerian
"He claims to have made his money from playing poker, yet his dad, who had a lot of money from corporate raiding in the 80s, went to jail and was forced to play something to the tune of a $50-to-60 million dollar fine," said Polk, "of which he only ended up paying a few million. So the money's missing, and we just don't know where it went."
Polk added, "Dan, however, sticks to the story that he made all of his money from poker. And while that seems to be very unlikely to me, we're never actually going to know for sure because he does play a lot of high stakes poker and probably has won a lot of money there as well."
Sample Hands from Dan Bilzerian
Through a video that's received 300k views already, and has been discussed on mainstream outlets like The Sun, Polk gave some background on Bilzerian's wealth and went through hands that 'Blitz' live streamed from Bill Perkins' yacht.
Before we start with a few sample hands, one interesting thing is that Bilzerian did some blatant multi-accounting by hopping on Perkins' ACR account.
We'll see if there's future fallout from this multi-accounting scandal later, but for now, let's look at a few Bilzerian hands/moves that Polk discussed:
- 3-betting with Q-10 offsuit. Polk says, "Definitely avoid this play in general because you can get 4-bet and put in a bad situation. And also if you call, you get a profitable flat [call w/ bet or raise] and get to play some post-flop action."
- [Same hand] on a board of 6c-Jd-2d-6d-4s, Bilzerian bets 3x the pot with Q-T. Polk says, "I don't totally hate the line, but when you jam the river, you should probably try to have a diamond in your hand, and you might want to pick a more-reasonable [bet] size. However, I'm generally okay with this decision."
- Holding J-8 offsuit on a board of 5h-6s-4s, Bilzerian bets. But then he checks when a 9h turn card hits the board. Polks says, "If you decide to flat J-8 offsuit facing a 3-bet and bet on 6-5-4 when checked to, you absolutely have to run it on a turn 9. You have some straights, some sets, two pairs, and additionally, you have a straight draw like 9-8 or 9-7 you've paired up. So really you don't have that many hands that might wanna bluff. And J-8 is certainly one of the ones you want to go for."
- Holding J-7 offsuit on a board of 8d-Js-4s-Kh-8h, and facing a two-thirds pot bet, Bilzerian decides to call, even though Perkins prop-bets him $5k that the opponent has a king or an 8. Polk doesn't have any advice on this, and instead makes a joke about how Bilzerian was so surprised by the opponent having a king.
- Holding Kh-Jh, Bilzerian flops a set on a board of Qh-2h-Th. He proceeds to value bet his opponent on the flop, turn (5d), and river (7d). Polk says, "Raising on the flop and turn with low flushes does have some merit. You can get some value from some top pairs and overpairs, or sets if they do have a hand like a set, which is kind of rare. But the problem with raising there is that if your opponent's bluffing, you let them fold ... You could consider going for a trap at some point, but when you have this aggressive image and you've been bluffing a lot, I like his play."
As you can see, Polk has mixed emotions about Bilzerian's play.
"All in all, while Dan did play very aggressive, I wouldn't say that he played all that great," concludes Polk. "In fact, there was some serious button clicking going on in this match. I think that maybe he could beat some high stakes, very soft live games. But on the internet, he's a fish in the water."
What We Know about Dan Bilzerian’s Poker Winnings
We can trust Polk's judgement in that Blitz isn't the greatest poker player of all time. Regardless, it's not like we'll ever truly be able to prove that Bilzerian is lying about his poker winnings. So let's look at what's known about his initial fortune, courtesy of the Gazette Review.
After dropping out of the Navy SEALs program twice, a broke Bilzerian sold his guns to generate $10,000. He then moved to Las Vegas and quickly made $200,000 playing poker, before turning his attention to the University of Florida.
Bilzerian continued playing poker on the side, claiming to have made up to $90,000 per week. This encouraged him to drop out of school and play live high-stakes poker games.
Thanks to his charismatic personality, Blitz got invited to games filled with businessmen, professional athletes, and movie stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Tobey Maguire.
As the Gazette Review writes:
"Dan doesn’t consider himself among the world’s best poker players. He has simply stated that he can get to some of the most lucrative games that are being played, and that he can pick them well."
What we do know about Bilzerian is that he indeed played in some of the richest poker games available. Rumor has it that Maguire made $40 million from these same underground games.
Furthermore, Blitz posted an online bank statement in 2013, showing an incoming $10.8 million payment from a poker opponent.
Is It Remotely Possible that Bilzerian Made $50 Million Playing Poker?
Again, it's difficult to prove that Bilzerian isn't one of the biggest poker winners of all time. After all, if you get invited to the right games with whales, there's no telling how much you can make.
Polk proves that Bilzerian isn't a great player by today's standards. But maybe Blitz just never got any better since the late 2000s and early 2010s, when poker was an easier game.
In the end, we'll go with Polk's opinion that Bilzerian is good enough to beat soft games with his aggression, but not good enough to beat internet regs who play hours each day.
Furthermore, with the sketchy circumstances behind Paul Bilzerian's missing money, we have no way of proving that Dan didn't get his initial poker bankroll from offshore accounts.