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Topic: Getting into Aronson - suggestions?
Message: Posted by: aktino (Nov 29, 2009 07:06AM)
Some time ago, I decided to take the plunge and learn Aronson. This was actually far easier than I had anticipated and it opened up a new world of possibilities. That said, I have found that I do not use the stack as often as I would like to, for a very simple reason: I think its a real pain to set up the deck. My style (and my skills) are such that I cannot keep the stack "alive" for extended periods of time. So I find myself re-setting the stack quite frequently. Against this background, I'd be curious to hear how you guys go about setting upp the deck as quuickly as possible. For the avoidance of doubt,I'm not looking to get from NDO to AS, it is rather "from any old mess" to AS. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: FredNarlo (Nov 29, 2009 01:13PM)
WOW! I feel that the power behind using Arons's stack is very much well worth the little bit of "effort" to set it up beforehand. Ever considered just doing a deck switch when you are ready to do your MD effects?

Consider this...the majority of MD effects do NOT have to have the ENTIRE deck in its stack to make the effect work. I do a particular effect that usually only uses about the top 40 cards and the remaining twelve never get touched. Many routines you don't have to have all the cards in their stack positions, just ever how many you need for the effect.

FOr example, The Invisible Cards eems to be really popular! Lets say you have the top 36 cards in order and the rest are just scattered in the remaining botttom 16 cards. Ask for a card to be thought of, if they name say the QD, you can go right into the routine as ths is just card 21, which is within your partial stack. If they name say 6S which is 44, then you can just now take that card out and go any other routine in your aresenal.

Aronson speaks of this in his books...having only a partial stack and still doing miracles. Some of his best gems and thoughts are hidden in the depths of the book that people overlook.

As for getting into Aroson Stack from NDO...if I knew how to do it, I would tell nobody, ever! LOL
Message: Posted by: MemDeck329 (Nov 29, 2009 02:34PM)
Grin and bite the bullet. :) Yes, it is a Royal PITA to set up the deck(s). I buy 13 Bicycle decks at a time for about $1.12 each. I like to break-in each deck with some real and false shuffles, false cuts, faros, and pressure fans.

For me, brand new cards are slippery little devils. When they "feel right" I set up several decks at the same time. Having several decks ready to roll is a nice security blanket. And, you can never get too much practice with the shuffles and cuts.

Some very sharp minds have worked on this problem for many years. So far, the Holy Grail is still out of reach.
Message: Posted by: Double J (Nov 29, 2009 04:07PM)
A deck switch when ready is the way to go. If it's too much trouble for you to set up, then it's probably not for you.
Message: Posted by: MemDeck329 (Nov 29, 2009 06:18PM)
Yes, the stark reality of "too much trouble"....

Setting the stack is a good review for me. Many fine effects require some work. The torn-and-restored newspaper can take longer to set up than to perform. I spent many hours learning to split cards to make up DF, DB, etc. But, it's impossible to do certain things without the preparation.

Either the final impact is worth the work, or it isn't.

"Hungry and Homeless, will set up stacks for food!!!"
Message: Posted by: Double J (Nov 29, 2009 06:34PM)
2 1/2 minutes. Yes, Just set-up in 2 1/2 minutes from a shuffled deck. Gotta agree, that's much, too much time to waste with the mem deck. I would abandon it all together. Besides, the effects that go along with it aren't very good anyway.

I would go for a good ACR.
Message: Posted by: MemDeck329 (Nov 29, 2009 11:35PM)
Aktino, none of us are trying to give you a hard time. We all wish there were an easier way. But, dang it, it just isn't so.....
Message: Posted by: JanForster (Nov 30, 2009 05:13AM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-29 19:34, Double J wrote:
Besides, the effects that go along with it aren't very good anyway...
[/quote]

I couldn't disagree more. Probably you are not enough into the stuff. With a memdeck you can do things that are as close as possible to the truly impossible. Jan
Message: Posted by: Double J (Nov 30, 2009 12:15PM)
[quote]
On 2009-11-30 06:13, JanForster wrote:
[quote]
On 2009-11-29 19:34, Double J wrote:
Besides, the effects that go along with it aren't very good anyway...
[/quote]

I couldn't disagree more. Probably you are not enough into the stuff. With a memdeck you can do things that are as close as possible to the truly impossible. Jan
[/quote]

Sniff Sniff! I smell sarcasm... At least I thought it was apparent. So I agree with your disagree.
Message: Posted by: JanForster (Nov 30, 2009 12:31PM)
:)... no, but nice that you agree with my disagree :) Jan
Message: Posted by: aktino (Nov 30, 2009 02:36PM)
Re-reading my OP, I realise that my question probably did not come across as I had intended. I have no objection whatsoever to putting in time and effort where it leads to meaningful results, and MD work is definitely such an area. So, again, I am completely with you on that. My question was really on a simpler level, ie. even with a complete commitment the MD, there is a certain amount of donkey work needed to set the AS and is there any clever way to organise this to streamline the process. For example, in your view, is it quickest to separate colours first, then suits or go straight into the suits? etc etc. I hope that clarifies my question. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: JanForster (Nov 30, 2009 02:47PM)
If you spread a new deck in new deck order and you know your stack well (as you should anyhow...) it will take you not longer than 1 minute to stack your deck. Believe me, for me it doesn't take longer. Of course, practice will help... Jan
Message: Posted by: jcigam (Nov 30, 2009 06:10PM)
Having the suits separated, is certainly a faster way to arrange the deck; however, only if the deck is already separated (i.e. just opened a new deck). Otherwise, you are arranging the deck twice, once by suit, and then stacking the deck. If the deck is already in a shuffled state it’s just as easy to go ahead and stack it. Of course this is merely my opinion and what works for me.

Good luck learning and using the stack. It really is one of my favorite things in magic.

Jered
Message: Posted by: Scott Cram (Nov 30, 2009 07:48PM)
Aktino, if you're really gutsy, and want to start from a mixed deck, and want to finish in Aronson stack, check out "The Subtle Game" in Jean Hugard’s “Encyclopedia of Card Tricks”.

There's an [url=http://www.loomismagic.com/memdeck08.php]updated version of it on Dennis Loomis' site[/url].
Message: Posted by: Double J (Nov 30, 2009 08:25PM)
Setting up from a shuffled deck took 2-1/2 minutes without trying very hard. The first 26 cards take longer than the last 26 for obvious reasons.
Message: Posted by: Doug McKenzie (Dec 2, 2009 11:35AM)
Either adapt all of ur routines to maintain the stack (which isn't that difficult with a little bit of thought), use 2 decks, or use a routine where you can stack infront of the audience.
Message: Posted by: fyi2 (Mar 20, 2010 08:44PM)
Jcigam is right, I set my decks out in suits and then organize them while watching TV. I throw half a dozen in my gig case at a time and I am ready to go. (At the moment I use BCS, but I am sure the principal applies to other stacks)
Message: Posted by: Dennis Loomis (Mar 20, 2010 10:54PM)
As Jan points out, it's very fast to set up AS from a new deck order. But, usually you will be working with a shuffled deck. Here's the way I do it. I hold the cards in my hands and spread them from my left hand into my right. I'm going to stack the deck from #52 to # 1, so as I spread I'm looking for the highest 4 or five cards of the deck. As I come to the 9D, 2C, QC, 6D, and QS, I upjog them. Should I come to the 9D first, I cull it to the bottom of the deck. Otherwise I upjog the others and cull the 9D when I come to it. If I've already upjogged the 2C, I'll return to it and cull it to the bottom and them continue looking for the others. Once cards 52 and 51 are on the bottom, I'll start looking for the other cards in the forties. Always, when I come to the "next" bottom card I'll cull it to the bottom and then look at the upjogged cards to see if I have the next one. This process is continued moving downward through the stack. It gets faster and faster as you have to look through less and less cards as your stack takes shape. The whole process takes place in the hands and no table is used. This is probably not the very fastest way to proceed, but it goes quite quickly, it drills you on the card sequences, and you get lots of practice on your cull. I take two decks to a gig, and both are set in Aronson stack to start with. I have one simple rule for myself... should a spectator ever offer to shuffle the cards, I hand him the deck and allow him to do so. To refuse or even to hesitate will be suspicious. I have plenty of things I can do with a shuffled deck, so this is NOT a serious problem. As someone mentioned above, you can always do "A Subtle Game" and restore the deck with the spectators help. I always have some non-card magic in my pockets when doing strolling, and if I don't want to do A Subtle Game immediately, I just put the deck away and do a coin trick, or a rope trick, or a handkerchief trick. Then when I wish, I can take out the "same" deck but it's the still stacked one and do some more memdeck magic.
Dennis Loomis
Message: Posted by: The Futurist (Mar 21, 2010 04:18PM)
Cheers, Dennis - I'll give that culling thing a try. You're absolutely right, it is very important to be flexible and have some material that can work with a spectator-shuffled deck. Which is why, in addition to having the deck stacked, I also like to have it marked :) and stripped too: the subtler things that are possible with a stripper deck (setting up key cards, etc.) make it a valuable tool IMHO.
Message: Posted by: Loz (Mar 22, 2010 02:46PM)
I'm currently working on a computer program to sample a series of overhand and milk shuffles and cuts from new deck order to see how close I can get to Aronson. Without using milk shuffles and starting from NDO, a systematic search of 5 shuffles and two well chosen cuts I can only get 9 cards in the correct Aronson position.

All this hassle has been making me want to learn Tamariz as well although I always fear I will get the two stacks confused in the heat of the moment!

I'll keep you all posted how the computer search goes! (It may take....15 yrs)

Loz
Message: Posted by: JanForster (Mar 22, 2010 05:16PM)
Loz, if you want to shorten your time, try to start with a deck in divided red and black condition, after having performed e. g. "Out of Universe" (Harry Lorrayne) considering to put down specific red and black cards while performing "OOU" :) Jan
Message: Posted by: Loz (Mar 22, 2010 05:24PM)
Yes its easy to start the search from different initial conditions and red/black is one of them. But exactly *what* red/black pattern (i.e. the actual card values) will determine whether its possible to get to Aronson easily. And you can't control that in any OOTW I know of (maybe I'm ignorant or being stupid at this time of night).

L
Message: Posted by: Loz (Mar 22, 2010 05:27PM)
As an aside, the only feature of Aronson I really like is the Zen's poker deal element - in particular the any hand called for at any position in a 5(?) person game. Since I'm not that keen on spelling tricks, the poker deal is the biggest benefit of Aronson. I can't remember (will check) how useful the Tamariz stack is for any poker hand at any position. If it is just as good (will check Mnemonica again) then maybe I should undo all my work on Aronson and move to Tamariz at least for the NDO component. End of random post.
Message: Posted by: JanForster (Mar 23, 2010 01:24PM)
Loz, I didn't talk about OOTW, but Out of Universe; in that handling you can do and lay down whatever is convenient. Jan
Message: Posted by: lwc628 (Mar 24, 2010 09:24AM)
This is the precise reason why I am thinking about using Mnemonica over AS.

4 faros from the new deck, reverse count, partial faro, and you are ready to go.

Seems like it's the less amount of work. Don't you think?
Message: Posted by: Loz (Mar 24, 2010 10:00AM)
Ah Jan I understand now. Sorry for my idiocy. Yes that is definitely a nice method - I'll ponder it further.

I've actually been working on a computer program to sample a set of shuffles and cuts from NDO to see how close I can get to Aronson. I have about 300 cpus available to me so I might be able to churn through a decent number of options.

However, current results don't look good.

lwc628: haven't had a chance to check Mnemonica yet. But if I wanted to deal any poker hand to any of 4(or 5) players, with AS all this requires is a cut/pass. What's the situation with Mnemonica?

Cheers,

Lawrence
Message: Posted by: Scott Cram (Mar 24, 2010 01:35PM)
You could play around with the [url=http://www.natedog.com/cards/faro.html]Faro Shuffle Simulator[/url], and see what you can come up with.

It only allows Fari Shuffles, cuts, and single card displacements, however, so that may be a little more restricting.

Mnemonica was designed to be accessible from new deck order, so there aren't any known poker deals from it.
Message: Posted by: dave burgess (Mar 24, 2010 03:43PM)
There absolutely are known poker deals available with Mnemonica. For those with the book, pages 17-20 list many of the possibilities built into the stack and 48-62 are all gambling demonstrations with most of them being poker. Many of them do require some extra work, such as a displacement of a card or two, but they are there.
Message: Posted by: Scott Cram (Mar 24, 2010 05:46PM)
I was referring to the Zen Poker stack, which is built in to Aronson, but not Mnemonica.
Message: Posted by: pnielan (Mar 26, 2010 02:05AM)
Loz,

There are 80,658,175,170,943,878,571,660,636,856,403,766,975,289,505,440,883,277,824,000,000,000,000
possible arrangements of a deck of cards.

If you pick two unrelated arrangements (i.e. new deck and Aronson), the chance of a short series of operations (faro shuffles and cuts) leading from one to another is very ... very small. Good luck, though. It would be great if such a method existed.
Message: Posted by: Loz (Mar 26, 2010 03:12AM)
Yeah I did that calculation too. But I work on large search problems in my research and am going to chuck some genetic algorithms and large compute resources at it (when no one is looking of course :) ) so we may get somewhere. But yes pretty unlikely!


Its worth pointing out that that number is approximately the same as the number of atoms in the observable universe.
Message: Posted by: churken (Mar 26, 2010 01:11PM)
Aktino

I understand your frustrations and initially had similar reservations. I can tell you know, after using the Aronson Stack for over 10 years, that I can't imagine going to a performance without my stacked deck. In the beginning I think an effective method is to carry two decks - one stacked and one shuffled. Now if you are doing a three effect set (for example) begin with the shuffled deck and do your effect. Put away the shuffled deck and do a coin (or other type trick). End with a killer effect with your stacked deck. In this way you have no worries about doing covert deck switches, etc.

Another thing I do (as this fits my performing character, but possibly not yours) is that I would have some one shuffle, take the cards back and look through them in disgust and say "Well, you just messed up my whole act." and put the deck in the same pocket that had the stacked deck. Immediately I would remove the stack deck and say, "just kidding." I would uncase the stacked deck and say, "you shuffled the cards up really well, right?" They would always agree and I would proceed with my stacked deck effect. Believe it or not, I have never (in 10 years of restaurant work and other venues) been called on this ruse.

Next, work out several effects that use the Aronson stack and fit your performing style. When you approach a group perform those effects, put away the stack and move on.

Also, as you are working on this stuff make sure you are learning a good false shuffle and false cut. These will prove invaluable.

Next, begin looking at your shuffled deck effects and see how many of them don't displace too many cards (if you are using false shuffles, this may be more than you think). See if you can work those card effects into your stack work. Personally, if I can do an effect that displaces 4 cards or less, I have reworked it to use with my Aronson Stacked deck. It is easy to reset four or less cards while casually talking with your guests.

It takes some work, but I testify to you that the work is worth the effort.

I will agree with an above poster (sorry, I forget who it was and don't know how to go back and check now) but I too can re-stack from a shuffled deck within 2 1/2 minutes. I start with Lennert Green's Angle Seperation (which can be incorporated into a trick for the guests if you choose to do so) and then just quickly cull the cards in order.

These days when I go to a show, I carry two decks in Aronson Stack order. I try to work stack effects and non stack effects together while maintaining the stack from my main deck. if it gets destroyed beyond quick repair (I also agree with Dennis that if someone wants to shuffle the cards, you MUST let them) I will follow the advice above and do certain effects from the shuffled deck and use various methods of ringing in the stacked deck as needed.

I know I have rambled a long here for awhile, but hopefully you will find something of value here.

Paul
Message: Posted by: Loz (Mar 28, 2010 09:40AM)
Paul I think that was a great post and I've copied the full text to my puter for future reference.

Something David Regal said has had a big effect on me. Switching decks is NOT the big deal it is made out to be. Sure, in a serious poker game it is probably the boldest and most dangerous thing one might do. But doing magic?

And of course this doesn't apply only to stacks but to ringing in any gaff or gaffed deck one might require.

Most of the hurdle seems to be psychological and/or procedural in terms of ensuring the heat is totally off the switch.

Lawrence
Message: Posted by: Cohiba (Mar 28, 2010 07:49PM)
Great post Churken, and that's a good point about deck switching Loz.

Psychologically we want to get away from a deck switch and get into the stack from a shuffled deck or NDO. (I am a purist, so I'm always looking for these methods as well.) However, the effort required to stack a deck compared to that required to switch a deck makes the question almost silly.

I still think the question is valid, and a worthwhile challenge to work on, but probably the smartest route is to figure out a good deck switch or two (several simple great ones have already been mentioned), and work on the challenge in our spare time for fun.
Message: Posted by: Dennis Loomis (Apr 2, 2010 02:33PM)
Missed this earlier: someone said that doing A Subtle Game is "gutsy." It needn't be. If you are doing a close-up show, you will not have a need for a Subtle Game. You start with a couple of stacked decks in your pocket. Should someone drop the cards, once they are picked up you put them away and do a coin trick or a rope trick... whatever. Then you remember another card trick you would like to do and you take your deck back out. But it's your stacked deck. There are many other deck switches, of course, but this one works well.

If you are doing strolling magic and your deck gets disarranged, you can do A Subtle Game as your LAST card trick. Either end your set with it, or finish with a non-card effect. (Many sponge ball routines are strong enough to make a good closer.) Then leave the group and go entertain a new group. Since you have not done anything more with the cards, there seems to be no reason to think that you were arranging the cards in some special way. Even if an astute spectator is suspicious about that, they will not have their suspicions confirmed.

Dennis Loomis
Message: Posted by: Damon Zale (Apr 8, 2010 08:33PM)
I also thought about how to efficiently stack a deck. This is what I currently do: I go through the cards once, and divide the stack in half (numbers 1-26 from 27-52). I use Green's Angle separation –this more for practice , I think this can work just as fast if you up-jog the cards.
When done, sometimes I turn these 2 packets away from each other , more often I just mark the place with the Queen of Hearts (26) in between. I then go through the cards again separating 1-13 from 14-26 and 27-39 from 40-52. So I have 4 groups of 13. I then just set the cards in place (very easy) amongst each group.
It just seems a good way as it reminds me of Quicksort in computer science... or maybe its inspired by it http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorting_algorithm#Quicksort
Message: Posted by: aktino (Apr 13, 2010 11:26PM)
Dennis, Churken, dimazales-

Thanks for your posts. This is exactly the kind of feedback I was hoping for when I submitted the OP.

Aktino
Message: Posted by: Damon Zale (Apr 14, 2010 07:37PM)
No problem. Please post which way you end up stacking your deck .
Message: Posted by: Avocat (Apr 20, 2010 03:33PM)
Anyone tried the Nikola re-stack?

In 15 years of memorized deck work, I've performed it four times. Maybe five. It got great reactions each time, but it somehow feels a lot harder to do BEFORE you start than it does during and after. In all but one of those occasions, I used a borrowed deck.

Also, it doesn't make logical sense - why shouldn't you be able to find any card or perform any number of memorized deck effects after you've just called out the name of every single card in the deck? But audiences don't realize it or care, I guess.

Still stacking,

Jim Kawashima


P.S. - forgot to mention, if you want to switch an entire deck, there's a Dean Dill trick you should definitely look into. I use a Deck Shell in place of Dean's gimmick, but it's served me well, especially when fooling around with other magicians.
Message: Posted by: Damon Zale (Apr 20, 2010 05:15PM)
Jim you mean you did the 'subtle game' and people didn't catch on later that the deck was memorized as the result? It shouldn't be THAT surprising. Even if someone thought you had the list memorized (which they likely won't ) it still doesn't mean you have every position memorized . For example, quick what is the 15th letter of the alphabet? ;)
Message: Posted by: gdw (Sep 3, 2010 02:11PM)
[quote]
On 2010-04-20 18:15, dimazales wrote:
Jim you mean you did the 'subtle game' and people didn't catch on later that the deck was memorized as the result? It shouldn't be THAT surprising. Even if someone thought you had the list memorized (which they likely won't ) it still doesn't mean you have every position memorized . For example, quick what is the 15th letter of the alphabet? ;)
[/quote]

"O"

[quote]
On 2010-03-26 04:12, Loz wrote:
Yeah I did that calculation too. But I work on large search problems in my research and am going to chuck some genetic algorithms and large compute resources at it (when no one is looking of course :) ) so we may get somewhere. But yes pretty unlikely!


Its worth pointing out that that number is approximately the same as the number of atoms in the observable universe.
[/quote]

Really? How close are the two? That'd be an interesting factoid to throw in amongst things like there are 666 eyes in a Bicycle deck (actually, there are 668 because of the two on the statue in the ace of spades) and there are four suits, four seasons, thirteen values, thirteen lunar cycles, 365 pips in a deck, 365 days in a year, etc.

Some of those may be incorrect. it's been a while since I pulled them out of my head for any good reason. Actually, I don't think there's ever been a good reason to pull them out of my head.
Message: Posted by: tomboston (Sep 7, 2010 12:36PM)
[quote]

Also, it doesn't make logical sense - why shouldn't you be able to find any card or perform any number of memorized deck effects after you've just called out the name of every single card in the deck? But audiences don't realize it or care, I guess.

Still stacking,

Jim Kawashima

[/quote]

Here is a story related to the above quote and this thread regarding stacking:
I was at a friend's house a couple of weeks ago and he knew I did card effects so he dug out a deck of blue bikes from a kitchen cupboard and asked me to show him and some other friends something. After doing a couple of impromptu effects, I decided to try to stack the deck in front of them (I use Mnemonica). I had never tried this before and couldn't do a switch because the deck in my pocket was red!

I first used "Memory Jumble" from Mnemonica to stack half the deck and then I "memorized" the other half and called out all the cards to complete the stack. I was amazed at how well it came off -- they had no idea I was stacking and I got great reactions! I was thinking that I should probably stop right there because I also thought that if you can call out that many cards everything else would be a lesser effect.

I was wrong because I did another memdeck effect and also got a great reaction. I think it helped to stack each half separately. Actually, one of the specs said that it was way more impressive that I used only half the deck because if you had used the whole deck "you could have just memorized all 52 cards"! I find that an interesting comment.

Tom
Message: Posted by: gdw (Sep 7, 2010 02:43PM)
[quote]
On 2010-09-07 13:36, tomboston wrote:
[quote]

Also, it doesn't make logical sense - why shouldn't you be able to find any card or perform any number of memorized deck effects after you've just called out the name of every single card in the deck? But audiences don't realize it or care, I guess.

Still stacking,

Jim Kawashima

[/quote]

Here is a story related to the above quote and this thread regarding stacking:
I was at a friend's house a couple of weeks ago and he knew I did card effects so he dug out a deck of blue bikes from a kitchen cupboard and asked me to show him and some other friends something. After doing a couple of impromptu effects, I decided to try to stack the deck in front of them (I use Mnemonica). I had never tried this before and couldn't do a switch because the deck in my pocket was red!

I first used "Memory Jumble" from Mnemonica to stack half the deck and then I "memorized" the other half and called out all the cards to complete the stack. I was amazed at how well it came off -- they had no idea I was stacking and I got great reactions! I was thinking that I should probably stop right there because I also thought that if you can call out that many cards everything else would be a lesser effect.

I was wrong because I did another memdeck effect and also got a great reaction. I think it helped to stack each half separately. Actually, one of the specs said that it was way more impressive that I used only half the deck because if you had used the whole deck "you could have just memorized all 52 cards"! I find that an interesting comment.

Tom
[/quote]

That is a very odd comment, as wouldn't half the deck be easier to memorize? Unless they were speaking about seeing which card was missing during a selection which would be harder as there are 26 other cards also missing.

Any who, I always kinda like the method described in encyclopedia of card tricks, but it was such a long, and boring process. I like the idea of splitting it into two effects, finishing by calling only half he deck.

Now if only I could finish memorizing my stack, lol.
Message: Posted by: tomboston (Sep 7, 2010 07:30PM)
I think he meant that if all the cards were there, I could just name them all eventually. For example, I may have some system that would allow me to hit every card in a full deck. And that is exactly what you are doing when you call the whole deck! But with what appeared to be just a random portion of a mixed-up deck, the "memorization" was that more amazing.

Calling half the deck actually did not take very long and I grouped cards that were near each other, for example, "I think you have a pair of queens, etc..." to vary it a bit. I then made minor adjustments if needed as they were handed to me. It turned out to be MUCH stronger than I thought. At least for the specs I had that night....

Now get memorizing!

PS Is this thread getting into methods too much and should be moved to Secret Sessions?
Message: Posted by: gdw (Sep 7, 2010 08:37PM)
[quote]
On 2010-09-07 20:30, tomboston wrote:
I think he meant that if all the cards were there, I could just name them all eventually. For example, I may have some system that would allow me to hit every card in a full deck. And that is exactly what you are doing when you call the whole deck! But with what appeared to be just a random portion of a mixed-up deck, the "memorization" was that more amazing.

Calling half the deck actually did not take very long and I grouped cards that were near each other, for example, "I think you have a pair of queens, etc..." to vary it a bit. I then made minor adjustments if needed as they were handed to me. It turned out to be MUCH stronger than I thought. At least for the specs I had that night....

Now get memorizing!

PS Is this thread getting into methods too much and should be moved to Secret Sessions?
[/quote]

Yeah, that would definitely be the way to do it. Makes for a far more impressive feat that looks less like simply recalling from memory.

As for secret sessions, things like this make me wish for more specific secret sessions. Perhaps a secret session within each of the broader categories, like the mentalism section, stack section, worker's section, etc, or perhaps the reverse, with subcategories within secret sessions. Make secret sessions a whole section rather than just one subsection.