Dan Bilzerian’s Early life
Dan Bilzerian was born 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, and has said that half of the Bilzerian family were killed during the Armenian Genocide. His father was a corporate raider on Wall Street who set up trust funds for both of his sons. Bilzerian entered the Navy SEAL training program in 2000; however, after several attempts, he did not graduate. He was reportedly dropped from the program for a “safety violation on the shooting range”.
Bilzerian cashed in the 2009 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, along with ten others including actors Tobey Maguire, Nick Cassavetes, and Gabe Kaplan, were asked to pay back winnings that they had won in poker games against Ponzi scheme operator Bradley Ruderman after Ruderman was sentenced to prison, to help pay back some of the victims Ruderman had stolen from over his criminal career. 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. 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.
In 2014, Bilzerian financially assisted Las Vegas foster parents Brian and Nicole Hammond, who fostered six special needs children. Bilzerian learned of their plight via a YouTube video.
Bilzerian splits his time between homes in Hollywood Hills, California and Las Vegas, Nevada.
Because of his lavish lifestyle and heavy drug abuse, Bilzerian reportedly suffered three heart attacks before the age of 32.
In 2014, Bilzerian sued the producers of the film Lone Survivor. His lawsuit states that although he loaned the production 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).
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 June 2015, Bilzerian announced his bid to run for the President of the United States in the 2016 election. He stopped his run for presidency in December 2015 and endorsed Donald Trump.
- 2013: Olympus Has Fallen
- 2013: Lone Survivor
- 2014: The Other Woman
- 2014: The Equalizer
- 2014: Cat Run 2
- 2015: Extraction
- 2016: War Dogs