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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Shuffled not Stirred » » What Does It Mean to Learn a Stack? (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

AlexanderG
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People often write of "learning a stack." But what does that mean? Does it mean knowing the stack number/stack value combo cold in either direction? Being able to determine within x seconds (x = ?) the previous/next card in the stack? Being able to determine within x seconds how far away a card's mate is? Being able to determine within x seconds the value of a card that is +/- y away from a given card? Etc., etc. When one looks at the stack training apps, one finds tasks that I expect would challenge even experienced stack users. Perhaps the question makes no sense. Perhaps what it means to "know a stack" will depend on the kind of effect one wants to perform with it or the kind of performing environment one is in.

I am just starting to learn a stack and would be interested in hearing views about what constitutes adequate/acceptable/minimal proficiency with a stack - or perhaps views about why the question isn't a good one.

Thanks.

Alexander
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One Inch Man
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Quote:
On Sep 24, 2017, AlexanderG wrote:
... Does it mean knowing the stack number/stack value combo cold in either direction?..


I think this is the only thing that really matters when it comes to learning a stack.
The important thing to remember is that you are giving each card a hidden identity. A secret name that happens to be a number from 1 to 52. Everything stems from that.

Think of it this way, if you took a blank deck, wrote the numbers 1 to 52 on the faces and then put them in numerical order, you have created a stack. A stack that, assuming they can count, everyone immediately knows cold.
If you ask what card is in the 12th position it takes no time to figure out it's #12. If you ask where is #39, it takes no time to say "in the 39th position".

On the other hand, how long it will take you to figure out how far away one number is from another, or where a particular number is if you cut another one to the bottom, or whatever, is basically down to how good you are at doing mental arithmetic. It may take a moment to do the necessary calculations in your head, but nobody is going to question your ability to count to 52.

Learning your stack means being able to translate from number to card and back again, without thinking about it. So, when you are doing the necessary mental arithmetic you can, at any point, translate any of those numbers into playing cards. Or alternatively, at the drop of a hat, translate playing cards into numbers in order to do the required mathematics.

In essence, that stack of number cards arranged in numerical order is your stack. It's the super powered secret identity that only you know about. Everyone else just sees a mild mannered pack of playing cards... which is a way more convincing disguise than a pair of glasses and a side parting.
Boomer
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X = 0.25s or less


Dave
Cohiba
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One Inch above covers the main requirements. I would only add this:

Certain effects require you to call off the sequence of your stack in order. So while not always necessary, it's good to practice rattling through your deck as in order well.

When I first learned a stack, I got to the point where I had the card / position and position / card down cold because that's what I always practiced. But when rattling through the order by memory (Histed Heisted), it sounded stilted - not as smooth as it should have.

This is used much less frequently than card / position, but something to maybe work on.
Claudio
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In case you're looking for tools to help you memorize your stack, this site lists a few which are excellent and free.
Harry Lorayne
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I originally taught how to memorize cards (which is what you need to know in order to memorize a stack) in my very first book - back in 1962. Taught it as time went by in a number of my other books. I - and people who use my systems all over the world - can memorize the position of every card in a shuffled deck in a FEW MINUTES. Amazing to me that people who want to memorize cards - for a stack or whatever - don't know about - or don't mention (as above) my books. You really do have to start reading the good stuff, guys!!
[email]harrylorayne@earthlink.net[/email]

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The Perceptionist
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Senor Fabuloso
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Senor Lorayne is right again. Thank you. Can you tell them the name of the book? The younger generation don't want to work hard finding things. They just google and my not find?
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Harry Lorayne
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Just go to harryloraynemagic.com, click on "Store" and then on "Memory Products."
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olivertwist
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My first experience with mnemonics was The Memory Book by Harry Lorayne & Jerry Lucas. After reading that book I memorized all the US Presidents, the Periodic Table and Pi to 60 places just to try it out. It was very effective.
Poof-Daddy
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Also keep in mind that "ANY STACK" you put the effort into memorizing is worth its weight in gold. There is no "better stack" or "best stack" - just remember a stack and you will be miles ahead when you use it. Both Tamariz and Aronson have several "non stack dependent" routines in their books on the subject.

It would also be good to find out what each "Stack Maker" (for lack of a better description) has built into their perspective stacks. Simon Aronson has a couple spelling effects built in as well as a 10 card poker deal, a perfect bridge hand and several other "routines" built in. That was what got me more interested in Aronson over Tamariz. Yet Tamariz's stack is easier to get in from NDO and becomes a perfect "stay stack" along the way that you could work some great effects from, keep the order and then shuffle the rest of the way into "Mnemonica". In the book of the same title (just re-printed after being sold out far some time) has a good bit of "stay Stack" work early on in the book. Aronson has a lot of great material that has nothing to do with his stack as well as some incredibly well thought out and presented "gaffed effects" and several effects that take advantage of not so well known principles such as "my favorite" the "Un-do Influence" A beautiful mathematic procedure that is practically self working and you do not even have to understand it for it to work.

To answer your main question. You are correct. know it cold, know it forward and backward along with knowing without hesitation card to number (stack position) and number to card as well as the card that lies before and after. There are plenty of tools for this. Both Aronson and Tamariz go over methods in various books. Harry Lorayne has books on memory. The link above that Claudio listed is a great source that will further answer a lot of common questions about stacks in general. There is also a great book that a lot of people on this forum are having great success with called "The Memory Arts" by David Trustman and Sarah Trustman. https://www.vanishingincmagic.com/magic/......ts-book/
They had several "e-books" that covered one stack each by the same methods that was considered "book A". This newly released hardback has both book A and book B for Aronson and Tamariz either separate or combined as well as ways to memorize long numbers and lists... There are several discussions in this forum and the Latest and Greatest forum right now.

Hope that helps, enjoy the journey anyway. Smile
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ddyment
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Just don't fall into the common trap of believing that classical mnemonics is the only (or even the best) way to learn a full-deck stack. It's only one of four possible approaches, and is definitely not the optimal solution for many.

I discuss this in considerable detail in my essay on the topic.
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Harry Lorayne
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As usual - what comes to mind is part of a letter a doctor wrote to the NY Times when he read a discussion similar to the above. He wrote that "Writing about memory/memory training, etc., without mentioning Harry Lorayne is like writing about the theory or relativity without mentioning Albert Einstein."

And yes - it's the BEST way.
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Hakaput
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Harry, I have seen you post recommendations to use your books rather often on Shuffled not Stirred. While this constant self-promotion frustrates me while reading this forum, what really frustrates me is that I have never seen you say which of your books would be best suited for learning a stack. I know personally, I am going to take anyone's self-recommendation lightly especially if they have multiple products and don't give direction to which best fits the given situation.

So Harry, with that in mind which of your products would you recommend for someone who is looking learn a stack? Especially someone like me who is only ever planning on being an amateur magician, and thus desires to not spend a ton of money on resources?
Harry Lorayne
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So sorry that my "self promotion" frustrates you - of course, if I didn't "self promote" (your term - my term is "trying to help") you, or many, wouldn't know about my books. Anyway - to answer your question - if you go to haryloraynemagic.com and click on Store and then on Memory Products - you'll see which of my books are still and currently available. All of them - except for SUPER MEMOYR-SUPER STUDENT! - teach how to remember cards. But - careful; a "ton of money" is involved - I mean totals like $27.50 or thereabouts. Careful - I sure agree - anything like, say, $50 sure wouldn't be worth acquiring a memory you never dreamed possible.
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Hakaput
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Thank you Harry for your response. It helps narrow down the choice a bit, though that still leaves three options as far as I can tell

I know it wasn't expressed in my last post, but I do appreciate that your posts recommending your own books are trying to help beginners and amateurs like me. And I think it is wonderful that such an acclaimed expert in both magic and memory is willing to help those of us who have a lot to learn.

The frustration aspect comes from the less constructive, and more bragging, posts that often are included in or follow your helpful recommendations. Such as:
Quote:
On Apr 22, 2018, Harry Lorayne wrote:
As usual - what comes to mind is part of a letter a doctor wrote to the NY Times when he read a discussion similar to the above. He wrote that "Writing about memory/memory training, etc., without mentioning Harry Lorayne is like writing about the theory or relativity without mentioning Albert Einstein."

And yes - it's the BEST way.

I realize that this is to help show that you are a credible source and I understand that, and that at times there is even a need to show such credibility. But any individual who searches for deck memorization subforums will see that you often recommend your books and have some sort of comment that basically says 'Im the expert trust me'. Which again has its rightful place, but it is a little frustrating when I look at the new post about memorization and learning stacks and see your same suggestions almost every time.

And the financial aspect is admittedly a personal thing but as someone for who magic is a simple hobby, and as a person who has a tight budget, anything invested on a hobby has to be taken with a good amount of consideration. And maybe I am alone in this, but when trying to get into memorized decks I was not thinking about "acquiring a memory you never dreamed possible". Especially because if it is something I have "never dreamed possible", I have probably never given it much thought at all.

I would like to conclude by just saying again, Thank you Harry for your advice and willingness to help. I will, as I am sure many others will, consider your products as I seek to improve myself as a magician, and even as I seek to better myself as a human.
AlexanderG
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Adding a bit to Doug's point: in addition to there being many ways to memorize a stack, one can also *combine ways*. I initially chose a mnemonic tool (a version of the method Simon Aronson suggests in "A Stack to Remember"). It was helpful, but after a while I simply switched to rote memorization: I brute memorized sequences of four or so cards, moving on when I'd got the cards hit to that point under control. And that worked very well.
Flip and Tell - easy, impromptu, close-up mentalism with coins.
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