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Some of you out there are deluding yourselves when it comes to being a professional poker player. We all know that many players that try to become a poker pro will fail. However, many do not recognize the signs of failure or their ego will not allow them to step away. Below are a few signs that you can’t hack it as a poker pro.

You Seldom or Never Get Out of Makeup

For those unfamiliar with the term, makeup in poker refers to money that is owed by players to backers. For example, say that Joe Pro gets money from Mr. Stake to play in 10 tourneys. He borrows $10,000 for a 50-50 split after makeup. Joe cashes 3 times but only makes about $5,000. Assuming that Joe actually pays the entire $5k to his backer, he ends up still owing $5,000 to the backer. That $5k is makeup.

There are a ton of poker tournament players and even cash game players that go into makeup and some are unable to get out. They never have all of themselves in an event and stay in debt.

If you’re in a staking situation and find yourself constantly in debt to your backers, it may be time to make a change or find a way to improve your game.

Related: Poker, Be Grateful for Chino Rheem

You Work a Job to Fund a Bankroll

If you are a “poker pro” but still have to work a job to fund your bankroll, then you had better reevaluate your game. This includes many of us so called “poker media” members that claim they are poker players first. Guess what folks? You are working stiffs that play poker on the side.

Your Seldom Make Your Monthly Nut

When a player refers to making his nut, that means the amount of money that they use to live on each month. Some people only consider their base bills such as rent and utilities when calculating their monthly nut, but you also need to consider groceries, gas and other daily life necessities.

There are a number of players that are unable to make monthly expenses on a consistent basis and struggle just to make basic ends meet. It is recommended that you have a six-month supply of cash on hand for living expenses once turning pro, but if you are not making your monthly nut, what are you going to do after six months?

Some “pros” that cannot meet their basic expenses are forced to make tough choices and that leads to the next point.

You Downgrade Your Lifestyle to Accommodate Your Nut

Going along with the previous point, some players have to downgrade their lifestyle due to what they make at the tables. By this, I do not mean someone that has to move out of a Million dollar home for a home that’s worth a couple hundred grand. I am referring to the players that move out of homes into cheap apartments or even those that have to move into either cheap extended stay hotels or even day by day arrangements.

There is an old school pro that I know in Vegas that fits this description and I lost contact with him a few years back. The only way I have found out that he was still alive was either via a couple of mutual friends that he’s ran into or the rare occasion he makes a live cash and it posts to Hendon Mob. One of the last times I spoke with him, he was moving out of an apt and moving into an extended stay place that provided meals.

It’s one thing if you are on a downswing or you’re not as profitable as you once were and have to make a few adjustments to your lifestyle. It’s entirely another when you’re just scraping by to survive from month to month or even day to day because you don’t have the skill to make a true living at poker.

Not Everyone Is Cut Out to Be a Pro Player

There’s no shame in not being able to make it as a poker pro. Only a small percentage become truly successful and even fewer are able to keep that going for the rest of their lives.

Even if you failed, at least you tried. Not everyone is willing to take that risk. It may be time to reevaluate your life and step away from playing the game for a living and maybe transition back to being a recreational player.

Perhaps with more work you can try again in the future. Don’t let your ego force you to destroy your lifestyle completely. Poker will always be there. It just may not be meant to be your profession.

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James Guill

James Guill began his poker career in 2006, spending two years traveling the US tournament circuit. Since 2008, he has covered the game extensively for some of the biggest names in the industry. When not writing about the latest poker news, he can be found hunting for antique treasures in Central Virginia.