The meteoric rise and controversial fall of Dan Bilzerian: The "King" of Instagram

Dan Bilzerian's empire seems to be crumbling
Dan Bilzerian's empire seems to be crumbling

"King of Instagram" Dan Bilzerian has been infamous for many reasons over the years. Dominating Instagram since 2012 with pictures of his lavish lifestyle, the internet icon's source of wealth has always been a bit of an enigma.

The smoke and mirrors surrounding his success is finally fading. What remains is a castle built on lies.

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Dan Bilzerian's rise and fall


Part 1: The rise of an icon

Daniel Brandon Bilzerian, born on December 7th, 1980, is the son of ex-wall street magnate and convicted felon Paul Bilzerian. At the age of 10, he and his brother Adam Bilzerian had to face the news of their father's indictment and his subsequent conviction. Paul Bilzerian had to serve 13 months in prison before leaving Trust Funds in both his sons' names.

Dan Bilzerian seemed to have lost an interest in traditional schooling. He states that he was expelled from school cause he kept guns in the boot of his car. The troubled teen found his way to military school, but his luck didn't seem to turn for the better.

Suffering two stress fractures during military school, Dan Bilzerian couldn't make the cut and was honorably discharged from his military service. After this setback, he found himself at college. Through his brother and peers, he was introduced to poker. After turning $750 into $180K plus worth of winnings, he was hooked.

Apparently, raking in millions with poker was not enough. He quoted his break-up with his then-girlfriend in 2011 as the catalyst to living a "bucket-list sort of life."

The "King of Instagram" then graced the platform in 2012 and began with tame pictures of him and his brother doing things. They quickly escalated into opulence, and his follower count grew with it.

Part 2: The Fall

Dan Bilzerian's personal brand 'Ignite'
Dan Bilzerian's personal brand 'Ignite'

For a man who has everything, the next step was obvious: build a brand. Going public in 2019, his brand "Ignite" had each share listed at $2.5. Expecting a huge investment boom, Dan Bilzerian had the rug swept from under him as no one invested, and the stocks fell to 54 cents a share.

Banking on a poker player may not have been something investors were too keen on, and the company made a huge loss.


Not only that, the façade of his lavish lifestyle came crumbling down as it was revealed that the $65 million mansion he purchased wasn't actually his. He had been defaulting on rent for a very long time.

Even criticized as being average at poker, Dan Bilzerian's very foundation was in question. People could not trust the icon anymore. There were rumors arising that Dan Bilzerian squandered the trust fund money.

In an interview with Larry King, he stated that he gave it all to his brother Adam. To top it all off, it was revealed that his father, who is a convicted felon barred from any trading, was running the company all along.

All these factors combine to show everyone that Instagram and reality are not the same.

Edited by suwaidfazal