Less is More in the Poker Game of Life

By Charlie Shoten

(Originally appeared in the January 23, 2006 issue of Poker Player Newspaper)

Less ego, less expectations, less demands, less lies, less resentments, less jealousy and less ‘BS’ means MORE MONEY.

BEING PRESENT is the ultimate blessing in poker and life. Just get rid of those distractions that keep you from being who you really are. If you are not who you really are, you are no one and nowhere. Call MapQuest for driving directions. Without your current location, they cannot help you.

To me, PRESENT is the most intriguing word in the English language. Think about it. Do you love to receive a PRESENT? Can you participate in any activity without being PRESENT? Wouldn’t you say that Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods are beautiful to watch because they play their sport with the mastery of being PRESENT in the moment?

“O, there has been much throwing about of brains” -William Shakespeare

“Do not let such a smokescreen fool us” -Charlie Shoten

  • Let’s get back to poker and explore the exercises we can do to put ourselves in the most optimal and effective PRESENCE at the poker table.
  • Do not TRY to do or be anything. TRYING is not only ineffective, but gets in the way. It is another distraction we want to let go of.
  • Our belief in our natural forces (like those that regulate our blood pressure and breathing) and our intention to notice and let go of hurtful thoughts are all we need to free us from them.
  • Distractions are thoughts that cause fear, resentments, jealousies, expectations, or any other feeling that can block out our ability to make an unbiased choice.
  • We are not attached to anything but a ship whose course we may choose.
  • The more open and available (PRESENT) we are to the data available, the freer we are to consider the most choices possible and the more successful we will be.
  • The PRESENCE of the leader of the Wolf pack is felt by all of the other wolves – just as all of the players at the poker table can feel the dominance of any one player. A dominant player at the poker table enjoys a big advantage.

The Thought Terrorists Within

Are you real or are you Memorex? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know and live the Real You? You can’t get anywhere from nowhere, so accept it. After all, some force made you what and who you are. Only you are responsible for having taken a road to depart from whom you really are. Wouldn’t you agree a rose is a rose and knows it is not a daffodil? What would you have to let go of? Simply all of your false ideas and beliefs about who you think you are, what you have made yourself into, and whom you think you should be.

I have thought about this for many years. When I was in college, I would answer the question, “What’s bothering you, Charlie?” with, “I’m more of what I am not than what I am. I finally understand that answer, after spending my entire life spinning my wheels in any direction other than being who I really am.

As I EXPERIENCE any hurtful feeling, I embrace it and ASK FOR and PRAY for my INTENTIONS to help me notice and let go of those ideas and thoughts about myself and others that limit my vision of the world and all the possibilities that a generous universe presents to me. They may appear constructive or destructive but should never be judged, just relinquished. In poker, blaming the dealer, bad luck or any idea you have about yourself – good or bad are all examples of distractions. Do not become attached to any idea or concept because you then become a prisoner of your belief system.

Each moment is new and to be perceived as a clean slate. You will always be able to make your best choice in poker or in your life. Your instincts will start to work for you because you are not cluttered with old, useless and hurtful memories of past experiences anymore.

You can now begin to play winning No-Limit Hold’em poker or you can embark on any journey your heart desires. YOU ARE RICH!


By: Carlos Mortensen, World Series of Poker Champion 2002, World Poker Tour Champion 2005

NO-LIMIT LIFE has not only helped me when playing in many tournaments, but also in many aspects of my personal life

By: Scotty Nguyen, World Series of Poker Champion 2004

I always smile when I see Charlie because I know that my game and my life are about to get better!"

By: Earl Burton, High Point, NC — February 24, 2006

Charlie Shoten's "No-Limit Life" is a book that goes vastly beyond simply improving your poker game. In the book, Charlie helps the reader attack a portion of their game that many of us have no control over, the mindset. He has commendably figured out what keeps many people from achieving the maximum from their abilities, whether at the tables or in the game of life itself.

While most books only point out the signs of difficulties and problems, Charlie has not only shown the signs of what attacks our mental states but also offers ways to counteract these attackers. It is a significant step for a tome that acts as a "help" book when the help is provided in the reading of the book, instead of through much time, expense and continued analysis.

By reading and implementing the advise given in "No-Limit Life", anyone can achieve their goals and ambitions, whether they are a poker player or someone who is in a completely different field. It is useful to anyone in becoming a better human being and Charlie should be commended for his approach to looking at life and its various travails.

Lyle Berman writes letter about Charlie's book — February 28, 2006

When I purchased "No-Limit Life" from Charlie he asked me to be sure I read it. I am very glad I did. I couldn't put it down. I read most of it while I was playing a major poker tournament in Las Vegas. It is a beautiful colorful book, interesting, enjoyable, and puts a smile on your face at every page. It can help you see yourself differently and shift you life's priorities.

I purchased 12 more books as gifts for my family and friends. Later, I ordered another dozen because many of those who received a copy had the same response I had. This speaks of how I feel about Charlie's book. Not only will your poker game improve, but your life as well.

Thank you Charlie for writing "No-Limit Life". Players and non-players of poker all over the world should enjoy and benefit from your wonderful book.

Lyle Berman
Founder/World Poker Tour/Travel Channel
Chairman of the Board/CEO
Lakes Entertainment, Inc.

Order Your Copy Today!


Best Books Awards, 2005 — USA Book News Finalist Category: Psychology/ Mental Health

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