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Jon Gallagher
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Elmwood, Illinois
395 Posts

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Hi Guys and Gals,

I've invested about a week now memorizing the Aronson Stack. I seem to have a mental block about #20. I've been trying to convince my brain that it really does NOT need the complete lyrics to Clint Holmes' "Playground in my Mind" or "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Polka Dot Bikini," but for some unknown reason, those songs still remain.

I've been told that there's a nmeumonic system for memorizing the stack, and Aronson's website has a neat random card quiz, but does anyone know where I can find the nmeumonic system? Furthermore, is there anyone who can spell nmeumonic correctly?

My wife claims that she's learning the stack as well, just from hearing me mumble in my sleep.
www.jongallagher.com

Hey! I'm finally a Dot Com!
sourcerer
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Netherlands
175 Posts

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Hi Jon,

Simon Aronson takes you through it step by step in 'Bound to please', or more specifically in 'a Stack to remember' which was once released as a seperate manuscript.

Now I don't know how ethical this is, but a search on the web on "memorization" or "mnemonics" should pretty quickly lead you to a source.
Also most if not all books on memory training (Lorayne springs to mind) will devote a section to the exact feat of memorizing a deck of cards, though most will use another method, and you will be looking for mnemonics. Some authors use chaining, which will automatically tell you the next card in a stack, but you won't be able to tall card X lies at position Y.
On the other hand...IF you get chaining down real well, you can memorize a shuffled deck in minutes...there must be SOMEthing to do with that?

Have fun,
Kaj :o)
Tom Cutts
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Staff
Northern CA
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I used Kevin Trudeau's system from Mega Memory. It is an advanced pegging system. You can find more simple pegging systems in Tarbell. Kevin's system become invisible as you work with it, ie it becomes second nature.

For a hint: the number 20 is cigarettes in Trudeau's system (20 cigs in a pack) The 20th card is 5S. Five in Trudeau's system is glove or hand (five fingers). The link is cigarettes = dig your grave... 20 = hand with spade. In a very surprisingly short time the linking items vanish from the mental process.

The picture works both ways. What digs a grave? What do cigarettes do?

There are some really scary coincidences like:
The number six is gun.
The sixth card AS (known as The Bullet to poker players).

Check the course out!!!

Tom
Scott Cram
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Inner circle
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Since everyone else is offering up their methods, I'll share mine.

First, learn standard mnemonic technique. You can use Harry Lorayne's The Memory Book, or you can learn from the web at websites like Memory Master.

The sections on this website that you want to learn most are:
Introduction to Memory Master
Association of Ideas
The Link System
Substitute Words and Phrases
The Peg System

Learn and practice these.

Now, this webpage does have a section on playing card mnemonics, but the most effective ones I've learned are Bob Farmer's Playing Card Mnemonics. The connection between Farmer's mnemonics and the cards comes quicker than any other system I've researched.

Ethically speaking, I have no problem directing someone to good mnemonic sites. It's not like mnemonic devices are secret from the public (how many infomercials have we seen for memory improvement products now?). As for their exact use and connection to Simon Aronson's work, they'd still have to go get his books, or access private section of his website to figure out exactly how they're employed.
Adam V
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Here's my method. It doesn't require mnemonics and works just as well.

Day 1:

Take the first 6 cards. Memorise them in order and by value. Go through them backwards. Shuffle them and call out the numbers by looking at the face. Call out the faces by looking at the numbers. Mix them face up and face down and call whatever you can't see.

Then take the next 4 cards. Do the same thing.

Now do this for all 10.

Take the next 3, go through the same process again.

Now do all 13.

That's day 1. Make sure you have all 13 cards down _perfectly_ by the end of the day. It's not so difficult.

Day 2:

Do the exact same thing for cards 14 - 16.

Day 3:

Same process but for cards 1 - 26.

Day 4:

Cards 27 - 39

Day 5:

Cards 1 - 39

Day 6:

Cards 40 - 52

Day 7:

Cards 1 - 52

Done.

By the end of the week you'll have memorised the entire deck using the brute force method. No need to spend a week learning any mnemonic pictures or anything like that.

Aronson says that after a while you wind up forgetting the mnemonics anyway and just remember the stack numbers. If you do it my way you'll get to that place much faster.

By the way, I'm not knocking Aronson's methods. I do think it's harder, but it does have the advantage of helping you learn mnemonics. Being able to assign an image to the numbers 1 - 52 can allow you to perform other memory related stunts in the future.
Adam V - 9 out of 10 dentists recommend him.
HiveMind
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I used mnemonics. Through the whole process
I never experienced the least bit of
frustration because I didn't try a brute
force method. If you want to know what I did
PM me and I will give it to you step by step.

I would try Adam V's method first though, if
that works for you then you are beyond my
skill.
"Free will is an illusion." - B.F. Skinner
bigchuck
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Nothing clever has ever been said in my
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I learned this in groups of 10, 10 cards in seperate piles as seperate stacks (with 12 in the last group), then it was just a matter of chaining all of them together and doing a little fine tuning.

It does take a while, but once you get it down cold it is something that stays with you

(Now its gotten to the point that I can't look at a card WITHOUT thinking of its position in the stack) Smile
"The computer can't tell you the emotional story. It can give you the exact
mathematical design, but what's missing is the eyebrows. - Frank Zappa"
Ed Oschmann
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Lake Worth FL
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If you're comfortable with numbers then a brute force method is the way to go. If you are like myself, more of a language kind of guy, then Simon's mnemonic system in 'Bound to Please is perfect. Kind of fun learning that way too. Ed
Adam V
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Simon's method is also a little bit pornographic. He says he does it deliberately to make the images more lasting. I could understand that if you combined words like 'sorority' and 'custard', but when he's combining words like 'rape' and 'douche' I get a little concerned.
Adam V - 9 out of 10 dentists recommend him.
Jon Gallagher
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Elmwood, Illinois
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Rape? Douche? What have I gotten myself into here?

I think I'll give Adam V's theory a shot. I used to be pretty good at brute memorization. When I was working as a radio DJ, we'd play a game each week where you'd give me the names of three songs from the 60s-80s and I had to come up with the name of the artist of each. Beat me once, you get a small pizza, twice for a medium, and three times got you a large (from one of our sponsors). I NEVER got taken for more than a small. Then advanced age set in...

What were we talking about?

Oh yeah! Cards. I'll be checking sites mentioned above and I wanted to say thanks to all who responded. Right now, I took a deck, put it in stack order, and put the numbers on the back. That way, I can shuffle, look at the card and name the position, or turn them over, look at the position and name the card.

I'm going to go ice down my brain now.

Thanks everyone!
www.jongallagher.com

Hey! I'm finally a Dot Com!
JMagi
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What does everyone think about the mnemonic system provided in Hugard's Encyclopedia of Card Tricks? Has anyone used it?

I tried to learn the Aronson Stack using the brute force method, but after 15 or so everything started to jumble together.

For those advocating the brute force method... how exactly do you go about learning each set of ten. Do you start at it and repeat "1, Jack of Spades... 1, Jack of Spades" or do you just look at the card or think about it or what?

Thanks,
JMagi
LiquidSn
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New York
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JMagi. Right now i am brute memorizing the Tamariz Stack.

I put all the cards on flash cards with the position on the back of the card

and i learn them in suits.

like A-K clubs and so on

13 a day is easy. Then do it backwards, from position to card.

When you get to another suit, and get those, start combining them.. like say "Ac is *** and Ad is ***, 2d is *** and 2c is ***"

mix it up. So far i am doing great, probelly 70% mastered 26 cards in only 3 hours..

Just do it when you walk around, that's it

Tony
Blog about magic. by me.

Http://www.doublefacers.com
Dennis Kyriakos
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New York, NY
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Jon

All the methods above are great to learn the mnemonic system. The basic system is just that, a basic system.

Simon Aronson teaches how to learn his stack in A Stack to Remember, which can also be found in Bound to Please. (GREAT BOOK) Check out Mike Close'ss work also.

I would stick with the basic system and be prepared to work MONTHS not weeks to get efficient with recalling.

Again, definetely read what Aronson has to say about his stack.
bigchuck
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Jmagi -- Regarding the 'brute force' method --I would have the deck set up in the stack, take out the top 10 & simply start by reciting them off as you count through each, then as you get more comfortable use the cards more as flash cards and predict which card you are about to turn over.

When I got up to ten, I would count the cards back DOWN from ten and then up again(like LiquidSn mentioned). Doing that tends to make it easier to retain more. What is
most important is NOT to focus on trying to memorize the whole deck, just look at it as ten cards, and THEN learn the next group as 11 - 20, which is just 10 cards, and so on...

The term 'brute force' makes it sounds a lot harder than it actually is... You won't learn it overnight, but you will learn it.
"The computer can't tell you the emotional story. It can give you the exact
mathematical design, but what's missing is the eyebrows. - Frank Zappa"
JMagi
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OK.

Maybe I just wasn't putting enough effort into it. The mnemonic system does seem like quite a bit of memorization.

-JMagi
Faroshuffle
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Sacramento, CA (Orangevale)
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The advantage I've found in the mnemonic system is that it applies elsewhere in life. I can remember strings of digits and important information by converting from numbers to digits and vice versa.

They are all great methods though. Simon's just so happens to have been the first one I looked at and applied myself to learn. Smile
JMagi
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That might work if I had strings of numbers sitting around that I needed to memorize, but the deck is all I'm ready to tackle at the moment. Smile

-JMagi
Paul Sherman
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Arlington, VA
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Even if you can memorize a deck by rote in a week, I still find it to be less efficient than using a mnemonic. You can memorize an entire deck of cards in less than 20 minutes if you learn the mnemonic devices in the Harry Lorayne book (or any good memory system). Then you can spend the rest of the week practicing the entire stack and making its recall automatic. Eventually, the memory system will fade away and be replaced by rote, but for making the transition easier, mnemonics is, in my opinion, the way to go. It's also a lot more fun, a bit like a game.

As for Simon's system being "a bit pornographic", any memory expert will tell you that the more unusual a mnemonic image is, the easier it will be to remember. Since you won't be making the spectators aware of any of your images (unless you mutter under your breath, in which case, you have bigger problems to deal with) there's absolutely no harm in the images being memorable, even if that means they are bizarre, violent, or even sexual.

Paul
"The finished card expert considers nothing too trivial that in any way contributes to his success..." Erdnase



some youtube videos
falcon
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I agree with psherman on first learning the basic mnemonics from Harry Loraynes Meomory Book. That is what I did. I then ran across the Nikola system and it took me about 40 minutes to memorize the deck. Two years later I ran across the Aronson stack and it only took twenty minutes.

Falcon
ronin77
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NYC
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Hi all,

Just wanted to chime in with how I learned a full-deck stack.

I used the so-called "Dominic Memory System" which was described on a magictalk message board.

The "Dominic" refers to Dominic O'Brien, a British memory expert who has a bunch of world records for unbelievably astounding memory feats.

I learned the method from his book, "How to Develop a Perfect Memory", which used to be available on the British Amazon.com website.

If you do a google search on "Dominic Memory System", you'll soon find the message board I was referring to. There's A LOT of helpful info there.
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