When you're the undisputed "King of Instagram," you best watch the throne. And for his almost 20 million followers, Dan Bilzerian reigns like a goddamn boss. Girls, guns, yachts, cash, supercars—the gazillionaire pro-poker player appears to live the life that us cubicle jockeys can only dream of. Now, he's building off his insanely over-the-top persona with multiple Blitz-branded apps that are sure to make him even richer.
Not everybody is happy about that, of course. Bilzerian freely admits he has just as many detractors as he does loyal subjects. "No one says, 'Oh yeah, that Dan is OK,'" he tells Maxim. "Everyone is like, 'I love that guy!' or, 'Fuck that motherfucker!' No one has a neutral view."
The hate isn't surprising. The 35 year old has been sued by both an adult actress for breaking her foot during a Hustler shoot, and a model for alleged violence at a Miami nightclub. He also admits he's suffered two heart attacks due to a coke-ecstasy-and-Viagra-fueled five-day bender. Let's just say his critics have plenty to work with.
So how does this former Navy SEAL trainee-turned-Instagram provocateur turn absurdly bad behavior into social media domination? Let's let him explain.
How real are your Instagram posts?
I would say it’s 95% organic. Then, for instance, I did that post at the dentist’s office in exchange for him doing the dental work for my buddy. If it’s a paid post or I’m shouting somebody out, then I’ll put together some kind of picture for it, but if it’s a lifestyle one, it’s all real. It’s what I’m doing.
Do girls approach you to be in your pictures?
I mean, yeah….
Are they usually friends you’re just hanging out with?
It really depends on the picture. If it’s me and a girl on there, then it’s a girl that I’m dating, but if it’s a group picture then it’s just a group of girls I’m hanging out with. But I mean, usually there’s some of them who want to build up their following or whatever, because these girls are making money off Instagram now. They’re making $500,000, $600,000 a year. They’re making more than a doctor is, it’s kind of crazy. But usually they don’t come out and say it. If they’re models or whatever, then they’re usually a little more covert about it, as opposed to being like “Hey, I’d really love to be on your Instagram!” I mean, that’s kind of what I get in the DMs, from regular girls.
I bet your DMs are a very interesting place.
Yeah, it’s like a PornHub. It’s crazy. And the funny thing is, sometimes I’ll click on a thing and it’ll be like a married chick or a chick who has a bunch of pictures of her and her boyfriend. And she’s asking me to bang her.
Are the girls in your shots like, “Tag me! Tag me! Tag me!”?
I just try to be authentic. I try not to post a girl I’m not fucking. It’s like, I wouldn’t take a picture with another man’s watch. I mean, if it’s me and a girl and I’m tagging her, then it’s a girl I’m dating or hooking up with. If it’s a group shot, if I got the tags I’ll tag em. Some of ’em I don’t. Some of the girls want to be in a photo but they don’t want to be tagged. Some of them, they’ll be naked. The other thing is I won’t post a picture if the girl doesn’t want it to be posted, so there’s been a lot of pictures that have been taken that haven’t been put up. You guys are getting probably 10% of what’s going on.
Are you ever in the middle of a situation that’s completely crazy, and you’re like “Oops, better stop and take a picture!”?
More recently, yeah. It started as just fucking around, and me doing bucket list stuff, and documenting my life, and now it’s like, fuck. I just looked and I got 177 million impressions last week on Instagram alone. So it’s probably worth taking it seriously.
So much that you see on social media, like Fat Jew's stuff for example, comes from all over the internet. But everything you do is original.
Yeah, I think that’s why nobody gives a fuck about The Fat Jew. I mean, they follow him, but you’ll notice when he posts a picture of himself, no one gives a shit or no one likes it, because nobody cares about him. They just care about his content, most of which is stolen. You gotta be authentic. The internet will pick you apart these days. If there are holes in what you’re doing, or your authenticity, there’s just a million people out there dying to rip you down.
Why do you think that is?
I think the media perpetuates it. I mean look, everyone wants to do the story on the rising star, and when the star is up, they all want to be the one to bring it down because that’s what people care about, right? They only care about the rise and the fall, so it’s extreme positivity and extreme negativity. That’s probably why I’ve become popular, because everyone’s view of me is extremely polarized.
It’s similar with Trump. I mean, you look at this guy and he’s a fucking presidential candidate and half the country would like to fucking see him lynched. You know, how is that possible? I think there’s a lot of jealousy, too. I mean, you work a 9-to-5 job and you’re stuck in a cubicle, and you see some guy posting pictures of… you know, a lot of these rappers posting pictures with their diamonds and stacks of money and cars and Cadillacs, and these people are dying to find a reason to be like “Oh, he’s not that great.”
Totally. It’s a weird thing, where people hate-follow.
I have a lot more of the ghost followers that appear now with the analytics that Instagram provides. That, and plus I think I’m one of the only people who didn’t buy a shitload of followers. They’re buying the likes, and this and that, and then when you look at the views of their videos or the impressions of the pictures, you can’t fake that. Their fake bots aren’t posting views. I guess you can buy views too, but it’s pretty expensive. A lot of stuff has been manipulated, but I think also a piece of it is attributed to the fact that a lot of people are watching my stuff that don’t click the follow button. Like, who’s that big producer? He did Transformers and shit?
Yeah. So that guy, he doesn’t follow me, but then he DMs every chick that I post. For like a year, every girl I posted would get a DM from him, trying to hit them up. And it’s just funny, because I know it’s through me for sure, unless he’s hitting up every single girl on Instagram, which I doubt. But there are a lot of examples like that, you know, maybe a husband who has a wife or whatever who’s stalking my stuff but won’t actually be able to hit the follow button.
You mentioned people showing off all the jewelry and stuff they have on Instagram. Considering what happened to Kim Kardashian in Paris, is that something you worry about?
That’s one of the things that comes with overexposure is that people do know where you are all the time and what you’re doing, with Snapchat and all this other bullshit that’s out there. If people want to rob you, they have your location a lot of times. But who knows? Did she really have $11 million in jewelry or is that just some kind of scam or publicity stunt? You never really know with that crew. And everyone’s fucking everybody. The mother is fucking releasing the daughter’s sex tape to get her famous, so it’s like that family has no shame. Anything they do could be bullshit or a PR stunt or whatever, so I don’t really take anything too seriously that I see over there.
Do you know if your family and the Kardashians knew each other in the old country? You’re Armenian, right?
I mean, my dad is half-Armenian, his father is 100%, and I actually think he has Armenian citizenship. Apparently, the Kardashians and me are the big celebrities over in Armenia.
They must have quite a view of Americans.
Yeah, right! Oh man, fuck. That’s the one time I feel like I’m doing some improvement. If they just thought we were all like the Kardashians, that would be kinda rough.
Tell us about your new lifestyle app.
Yeah, so I’m gonna have some cartoons on there that are going to be all exactly true Hollywood stories. Well, not just Hollywood I guess. I have one where I lost my virginity, and some military ones.
How old were you when you lost your virginity?
I was in 8th grade.
Wow. So basically it’s a cartoon that depicts various moments from your life?
Exactly, yeah. Just kinda like the crazy things that have happened, the crazy stories. You know, it’s basically like when I’m sitting around bullshitting with my friends, some of the stories that I tell, I’ll just tell it recorded exactly how I tell a group of friends, and then they throw the animation behind it. That’s the first cartoon that I’m releasing.
The second one is gonna be one with full characters and voiceovers and all that. You ever see Charlie Murphy’s “True Hollywood Stories”? It’s a similar type of thing. It’s a narrated storytelling. I have animation, he had actors. It’s also got a poker thing on there where you can play poker with me.
So the computer does what your moves would be?
No, I’m actually going to play on there live, so that’ll be kinda cool. I’m also gonna talk about a bunch of things that I never really talked about, because I never really did any kind of interview or anything like that, so I can kind of give people an opportunity to see my unfilitered views on various things. But the biggest piece of it is going to be user-uploaded content, so we’re gonna let people submit videos. Similar to Worldstar, but I’m not gonna upload any shit videos, we’re only going to use the good ones. For instance, the first time I do it maybe I’ll give $50,000, like $10,000 for the top-5 videos. Do some stuff to encourage people to post on there. I think that’ll be good.
What kind of videos?
We’re calling the app BlitzLife, so it’ll be like anything like girls, partying, cars, guns—just whatever is interesting. It wouldn’t even have to be related to me. It could just be some fight, or something crazy that someone caught on video. I’ll feature the top ones each week on Facebook or Instagram or whatever, so if somebody submits a dope video it’s guaranteed to be seen by a lot of people.
And you also have a fantasy football app, right?
Yeah, BlitzFantasy. I’ve been losing money on there so far. I got the biggest contest right now, of any site. I started off with a $10k, then I did a $20K, then $25K. I think you can do ’em all the way up to like half a million or a million on there. Big money.
I saw on Instagram that your pal Lindsey Pelas plays.
Yep. Yeah, she’s hot. I think when I first started hanging out with her she only had 100K Instagram followers. I actually met her at the Playboy Mansion.
Did you meet Hugh Hefner too?
You know what, I briefly met him. But I haven’t really spoken to the guy.
Of all of your Instagram posts, what do you think is the most nuts?
There’s a party picture from my theater which is just me and a bunch of naked girls, and we had come home from the club that night. This is like three or four in the morning. So I kind of slithered off to the theater to sleep, and I woke up to three chicks sucking my dick, and then there was some craziness or whatever. My buddy Jay walked in and started taking some pictures, and we never thought we’d be able to post any of them. He was just taking pictures and it was funny, and then I was kind of like fuck it, I’m just gonna throw it up and they never deleted it, so…
You mentioned Trump earlier, what are your views on this election?
If Trump gets elected, I think I have a legitimate chance. Not a great shot, but an actual chance to become President of the United States, which the craziest fucking thing ever in the world to think about. That there’s an actual percentage chance. It might not be high, but the fact that it actually could happen, is pretty fucking nuts. You know, I got a GED, I dropped out of college, I got thrown in jail in high school. So it’s kind of like if he can do it, fuck man, anybody could.