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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Shuffled not Stirred » » MemDeck vs. "Shortcut" Systems (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Shrubsole
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Edh, That sounds like an excellent memory tool. I'll certainly make one up once I've got at least few more memorised. Having said that, I may as well make one up tomorrow and just add cards as I memorise then and then it will grow to a full pack in the end. So memorise and test as I go along.
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Jon Hackett
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Hi, this has been a fantastic read, and there is allot of really interesting stuff here.

What I am really interested to find out from those of you who use your memdeck, why did you learn it, and what benefits have you got from it that you didn't expect. For example 'jazzing' a miracle effect when a spec names the top card of your stack which just happened to fall onto the table (its happened!).

Earlier it was said,

"I'll start with a premise: for a memorized deck to be useful in the performance of magic (e.g. to competently do the types of effects published by Aronson, Tamariz, Close, Mead and others), MASTERY of card to position and position to card relationships must occur"

so you know where every card is in the deck, what benefits does this hold?

Are there specific effects you do now that you wouldn't be able to live without?

Has memorising the entire deck allowed you to forgo certain elements of sleight of hand?

So my question is I guess, why, why did you memorise all the cards?

I hope this isn't swerving the topic off, but I think it really gets to the meat of the OP's question, why memory, when you can use systems and/ or sleight of hand? - or is this not true?

Jon Hackett
It is not the brains that matter most, but that which guides them -- the character, the heart, generous qualities and progressive ideas. Doystoyevsky
Steven Keyl
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Jon, I think these are excellent questions and I can answer them from my own personal experience, which may be more common than uncommon.

Most don't memorize a stack and then later begin to ask what you can do with it. For me, there were a couple of effects that I really wanted to learn because they were so powerful and they required a memorized deck. I also knew that I would be able to learn additional effects along the way that I currently didn't know about.

One of my staples now is a ungaffed UltraMental routine where the spec can name any card and that is the only one turned face up (or face down) in the pack. I use it as I would use an ID but no gaffs means I can use the same deck for any other effect as well.

Since I've memorized a stack I've read a lot more Tamariz and Aronson and the effects they offer are superb, but to answer your specific questions:

Q: so you know where every card is in the deck, what benefits does this hold?
A: There are innumerable benefits to knowing where every card is. At the very shallow end of the pool you can do a simple divination--spectator picks a card and you know exactly what the card is, either by finding the identity of the card next to it or by counting down as you allow them to pick a card. The real answer to this question is to read Tamariz and Aronson.

Q: Are there specific effects you do now that you wouldn't be able to live without?
A: Yes.

Q: Has memorising the entire deck allowed you to forgo certain elements of sleight of hand?
A: Yes. You can rework existing effects to make use of the MD and in so doing reduce (or in some cases eliminate) the need for sleight of hand. However, I have found that the most impactful effects that I do require both MD and sleight of hand in concert.

Q: So my question is I guess, why, why did you memorise all the cards?
A: I learned a stack for 3 specific effects. But now that I've memorized a stack, there are a dozen more effects that I either perform or are getting performance ready.

A lot of posts on this forum are about the memorization of the stack and as Dennis rightfully points out, facility with the deck isn't complete when you go from Stack # -> Value AND Value -> Stack #. However, as you are gaining proficiency with the stack you also need to become proficient with HANDLING a MD. Being casual, false shuffling, not being afraid to let the spectator handle (and even shuffle) the cards themselves. Being comfortable with a MD is about far more than just the memorization, which is another reason most are too put off to make the attempt.

MD work is not for everyone. This is a fact that I'm sort of happy about. The fewer of us that are out there performing this stuff the better Smile
Steven Keyl - The Human Whisperer!

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"If you ever find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause, and reflect." --Mark Twain
BarryFernelius
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Jon,

Let me take a stab at your questions.

Quote:
so you know where every card is in the deck, what benefits does this hold?


Here's an interesting benefit. Instead of having someone select a card, I can ask someone to just name any card. This eliminates the laborious and boring process of having the card selected and returned to the deck. Once a card has been named, I know exactly where it is; it's under my control automatically. (In fact, every card is always under my control!) And later, if I've constructed my script correctly, audience members will say that the person merely THOUGHT of a card, and miracles happened.

Quote:
Are there specific effects you do now that you wouldn't be able to live without?

Yes. But if I tell you every one of them, it would ruin your fun. Smile

Quote:
Has memorising the entire deck allowed you to forgo certain elements of sleight of hand?

Sometimes. There are trade-offs involved. I've been able to create some 'hands-off' miracles, but I've had to improve my false shuffles, estimation skills, and glimpses. One of the biggest problems is learning to handle the memorized deck loosely, so that no one suspects that the cards are in any particular order.

Quote:
So my question is I guess, why, why did you memorise all the cards?

Let me clarify. When I say that I've memorized a deck, I mean the following:
1. If someone names a card, I immediately know its position in the deck.
2. If someone gives me a number between 1 and 52, I immediately know the card.
3. If someone names a card, I immediately know its predecessor (the card before it)
4. If someone names a card, I immediately know its successor (the card after it)

Why go to all of this trouble? First, memorizing all of the cards allows me to do ANY effect that can be done by a system, and I can do these effects without anyone getting the sense that I'm doing any mental calculations. Second, memorizing all of the cards gives me control over every card in the deck, something that is enormously useful in a lot of different contexts. This 'open index' idea is more powerful than you might suspect at first. Finally, mastery of a memorized deck allows me to do miracles that just aren't possible by any other means. Juan Tamariz's Mnemonicosis is just one example of the many different possibilities.

Does that help?
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time."

-Leonard Bernstein
robb100
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Robb
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Here is another method.
This one is for only one stack though.
I have to believe that this method has been posted or published before but I haven't seen it and would like to share the way I finally learned. I found it suprisingly quick and effective "for me". I really was suprised how well it worked,....for me.
Go to the dollar store and pick up a cheap mini dick of playing cards. They are plastic, washable and durable.
Set up your stack.
On the back of each card write the card's number (postion in the deck) with a sharpie very small in the center for what ever stack you want to learn.
Start with the first 10 or so cards and shuffle them, or not, and just use them like flash cards. Look at the card on top of the face up 10 card pile and guess as to what the other side of the card is and move it to the bottom of the pile when you get it wrong. If you get it right put it away in your pocket. Naturaly some numbers/faces will "click" immediately. The first couple of cards for instance were always easy. I eventually had all of the first 10 cards in my pocket. I would then pull them out and try again. Each time getting less wrong and going faster.
As I did this during the normal days activities (the cards are small enough to hide in my hands, even at work) I was suprised how quick I would "know" the number and card. When I see a 22 I now see a Ace of Hearts, no thinking about it is just there. I am not good at thinking, especially under pressure with screaming kids and a clown next to me with those &^%&^% squeeky balloons, it has to be there in my head with no concious thinking about it at all.... at least for me personally.
I think that looking at the cards in different enviroments helps also I personally will always remember the curcumstances with the 5 of Diamonds and the low hanging branch, sure it is going to take a long time to heal,.but I will always remember the number 27 with that card. But I digress.
I eventually kept gettting more cards in my head until I was done. It took about 2 weeks. The flash cards format help also so that I can revisit the trouble spots.... for me, like 17,19 and 29....by the way....who in there right mind would have associated 29 with 4 of Hearts? I'm just saying...
Visual stimulation of seeing the card's faces in my hands seemed to do the trick.
That is for me personally I am sure that there are better ways depending on the person but I just felt like I might share this one.
Like I said it worked very well ....for me.
One note: Once it is used in a performance situation the adrenaline level seems to help cement it into the brain even deeper.

Robb
BarryFernelius
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Robb,

I'm glad that the flash card method worked for you. (And yes, it's been described in many different places.)

There are other memorization techniques that are faster and more effective. The method described by Juan Tamariz in Mnemonica is one example, and I'm sure that there are other ways to memorize the stack that are even more effective.

(Now I'm beginning to sound like the esteemed and honorable Harry Lorayne!)

-Barry
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time."

-Leonard Bernstein
robb100
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Thanks,
I had tried other methods but I had always found myself having to "think" or concentrate. Not my strong point.
This worked best for "me" as the associations between numbers and cards just happened.
I also do not want to contradict any well meaning honerable or esteemed advisers.
Thanks again.
Robb
Harry Lorayne
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I'd love to help you all out - but I sure don't want to be redundant - I'VE WRITTEN OVER A DOZEN BOOKS teaching how to remember cards, positions, and etc. one thing I do want to stress, partially in response to pnielan - once you've memorized the position of every card, the point is to USE the concept. After a few uses, the information BECOMES KNOWLEDGE, and you know card or position IMMEDIATELY. If you do it properly, you don't even have to wait for those "uses." I've written this often enough, somewhere here, so hate to be redundant, but - I don't bother any more, but the first memory stunt with cards I did many decades ago was to have the spec. shuffle the deck, then call the cards off pretty rapidly - I'd snap my fingers, like a metronone. Then, he'd call any number (1 to 52) and I'd tell him the card at that position; he'd call any card and I'd tell him its position - immediately. The end: I'd ask for the best poker hand and get him to say "royal flush." Then I'd ask which suit. Then I'd rattle off five numbers and he'd find that royal flush at those positions. Anyway... Best - HARRY LORAYNE. (PS: The capital letters in this post are not for screaming; they're simply to stress those words.)
[email]harrylorayne@earthlink.net[/email]

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magicfish
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True story- my friend and I both read The Memory Book. Through Harry's methods my friend taught himself to speak japanese.
Another true story- I am an electrician by trade and was on a good crew at Pearson International Airport. When the job finished the crew parted ways and moved on. Six, I repeat six years later I'm walking downtown toronto and a truck honks at me- its one of my old crew mates who recognized me. He yelled "hey when are we gonna go for a beer?" I looked at the driver and immediately replied "sure, is your number still 647 388 ****?" The look on his face was priceless.

Rodney
magicfish
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True story- my friend and I both read The Memory Book. Through Harry's methods my friend taught himself to speak japanese.
Another true story- I am an electrician by trade and was on a good crew at Pearson International Airport. When the job finished the crew parted ways and moved on. Six, I repeat six years later I'm walking downtown toronto and a truck honks at me- its one of my old crew mates who recognized me. He yelled "hey when are we gonna go for a beer?" I looked at the driver and immediately replied "sure, is your number still 647 388 ****?" The look on his face was priceless.

Rodney
Dennis Loomis
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Always great when Harry Lorayne jumps into one of these threads. I still don't see why some of you insist on saying that you don't want to use pegs or hooks or mnemonics. Why do you want to forego a tool which makes learning almost anything fast and easy? Some or you brag that you memorized a deck in a month or a few weeks. With mnemonics, like Harry's systems, you can do it in a few minutes.

Learning a good system of pegs is something that will benefit you for the rest of your life. Rodney's example with the phone number is just one little example. When I met Harry in Lake Tahoe, I shook has hand and thanked him for his systems and told him that without his mnemonics techniques I would not have earned my college degree. That was absolutely true, by the way. I used mnemonics to remember long lists of facts and formulas and equations in every subject I took. (Well, maybe not in P.E.) I also use it in my everyday life on a daily basis.

Don't forget that in time, as Harry mentioned above, the mnemonics pegs and associations will fade away and you will just know the facts. I have the Aronson stack down cold (not bragging, but I've been using it for 10 or 12 years) and I have no idea what the original pegs and associations were. Just as if I had memorized it by rote. The difference was that it was so very much faster and easier doing it with mnemonics.

I hate the word "mnemonics." That initial silent m makes the word hard to pronounce and spell and if it had a better name, it probably would have caught on much more. Don't let that throw you.

If you're a student, I can't stress how much easier this will make learning all of the stuff you have to cram into your head. Chemical valences, Dates and names in History, the titles and major characters in Shakespeare's Plays, (or in any literature), Formulas from Physics, (and Algebra, Trig, etc), the scientific names of plants and animals from Biology, and so much more. All of this is much more important that doing some card tricks. But, it's fun and effective for that, too.

However, if you aspire to be a good card magician, please don't look at mem-deck work as a way to avoid sleight of hand. A memorized deck is a great tool in the hands of anyone, but in the hands of someone that also does some good sleight of hand, it's even more powerful. At a minimum, you will definitely need at least one good false shuffle and one good false cut. But every sleight you learn and master will make your memorized deck an even more powerful tool.

Dennis Loomis
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Jon Hackett
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Great thread, still! All the threads in the this mem-deck section.

I have always thought of mem-deck work like a system, not another sleight or subtletie, but a system of card magic. One that encompasses all that you do, even if it has nothing to do with the effect your doing. (ever said and you sir, thought of the 32, I mean 8 of hearts, surely!)

Mr Lorayne, thanks for the useful information in this thread, not to mention the hours and hours of delight you have provided me, and surely every magi, indulging themselves with new tricks! But could you be so kind as to suggest which of your memory books is the ideal starting point? and/or which applies most directly for learning mem-decks?

Thanks in advance!

Jon Hackett
It is not the brains that matter most, but that which guides them -- the character, the heart, generous qualities and progressive ideas. Doystoyevsky
oscarf
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Quote:
On 2010-02-09 01:57, Dennis Loomis wrote:
All of this is much more important that doing some card tricks.

Image
Harry Lorayne
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Jon: I teach the card memory stuff in just about every one of my books on memory except those geared toward students. You might want to go to my fairly nw website - the third one listed under this post, with the word "magic" in it), click on Memory Products to see what's available. Then come to my personal email address, also listed below (the earthlink address) for any questions, or to order. Best - HARRY L.
[email]harrylorayne@earthlink.net[/email]

http://www.harrylorayne.com
http://www.harryloraynemagic.com
Josh Chaikin
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Quote:
On 2010-02-09 01:57, Dennis Loomis wrote:

If you're a student, I can't stress how much easier this will make learning all of the stuff you have to cram into your head. Chemical valences...



Absolutely. I used the systems to memorize several ionic and covalent compounds and a large portion of the periodic table within the first week of taking chemistry in college. I used the open free time to memorize a deck of cards. I spent an hour in total doing it, but I did stop to run through what I had already done to be sure that I had it and got distracted by shiny objects.
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