Bilzerian was born on December 7, 1980 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. 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. One Navy SEAL reported that Bilzerian was dropped from the program for a "safety violation on the shooting range," and went on to say that he felt Bilzerian's instructors "were looking for any excuse to drop him. " Bilzerian subsequently enrolled at the University of Florida, majoring in Business and Criminology.