In a move as notable for its timing as much as for its impact, GGPoker has not only quietly ended its relationship with blatant misogynist “King of Instagram” Dan Bilzerian, but has seemingly done so on International Women’s Day (March 8).
Bilzerian was originally signed by GGPoker as a social-media influencer in December of 2020, with an eye on tapping into “Bilz”‘s eight-figure following on Instagram. In addition to his party-all-the-time lifestyle, Bilzerian is probably best described as a semi-pro poker player, having played in elite and private West Coast games for many years.
GGPoker hoped the combination would result in a surge of new signups, though the deal sorrowed on virtually its first day, when Bilzerian insulted long-time GGPoker affiliate Vanessa Kade in a highly sexist way, calling her a “ho” while telling her to shut up when she protested his signing. Among other misdeeds, Bilzerian had allegedly kicked a woman in the face in a Miami nightclub in 2014.
The conflagration with Kade resulted in her being released from her affiliate deal on technical terms, and she moved on, for a little over a year, to being a sponsored player at Americas Cardroom. Kade’s departure notwithstanding, Bilzerian’s behavior gave GGPoker a public black eye, and there was conjecture in its wake as to how much account churn took place, meaning other players who left the site in protest perhaps balancing out whatever new signups Bilzerian drew in.
Bilzerian took Instagram hiatus
However, another significant factor in Bilzerian’s dismissal may be that he stopped actively posting on Instagram. Bilzerian’s last post on Instagram was in November of 2021. In late January, InsideHook reported on Bilz’s Instagram absence, stating that he wanted to step away from the limelight.
““I just lived in the circus for so long that I kind of just — I really needed a break,” he told the site, omitting the fact he created the circus himself. Bilzerian has also allegedly been working on a book, called The Setup, which has been called an ode to himself and his lifestyle.
Despite his claims of having won tens of millions of dollars at poker, Bilzerian’s wealth has long and widely rumored to have been received from his father, Paul Bilzerian, who was sentenced to four years in prison in 1989 for several white-collar crimes, including conspiracy and securities-law violations. The SEC ordered the elder Bilzerian to disgorge $62 million in alleged illegal revenue from his schemes, though he declared bankruptcy, never paid the money, and in 2007 renounced his American citizenship while moving to the Caribbean.
Playboy background aside, Dan Bilzerian’s cessation of posts on Instagram gave GGPoker added reason to jettison the controversial figure, who had likely long ago attracted all the new account signups to GGPoker he was ever going to generate. During his tenure at GGPoker, Bilzerian notably ghosted the winner of his own birthday tournament, Alex O’Brien, resulting in more embarrassment for GGPoker, though GGPoker took steps to make O’Brien whole. Bilzerian was also not active in helping GGPoker’s other promotions and rarely appeared on the site’s behalf. He made one appearance at a GGPoker party held at the WSOP’s 2021 home, the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, attending a Voodoo Lounge rooftop party thrown by the site.
As to whether, as some have conjectured online, Bilzerian simply pocketed GGPoker’s money, his tenure at the site appears over. All mentions of Bilzerian on GGPoker’s site appear to have been scrubbed away, and choosing to do so on or around International Women’s Day might have been an intentional extra touch. To date, GGPoker has not chosen to issue a statement regarding Bilzerian’s seeming exit from the site.
Featured image source: Facebook / Dan Bilzerian