Learning a stacked deck, not necessarily for magic purposes.

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Chris Aguilar
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Learning a stacked deck, not necessarily for magic purposes.

Post by Chris Aguilar » 1 month ago

I've always avoided learning a stacked deck. And the reason is that the ways of learning it came down to a few unappetizing methods. Brute force memorizing. Probably possible, but too tedious for me. Mnemonics? I know they work and work well for many people, but I hate 'em. It seems harder to work out all the images/associations/blah blah than it would be to simply brute force the memorization.

Then recently, I decided to learn a stack purely to test my memory, a tool to help keep me mentally sharp. Not sure if it'll accomplish this, but I'm about 30 odd cards into learning my chosen stack and it feels good. I use a completely excellent (no cost, ad free) app called "Memdeck Pro".

Since I hate mnemonics (purely personal choice) and didn't want to brute force it, I'm using Joyal's stack, which has 14 rules that directly allow you to equate any card with a # and vice versa. As with Mnemonics, the rules are just a learning tool and fade away as your brain learns the correct associations. I'm taking it super slow (though the "6-hour" learning claim from Joyal is probably true for those who really focus on getting it down fast.)

Who knows, I might actually try a memdeck trick or two once I get it down, but honestly, just the accomplishment of having all 52 cards/positions memorized (down cold) is enough for me.
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rmorrell
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Post by rmorrell » 1 month ago

It's a great way to keep alert, and something you can literally practice anywhere, you can go up and down your stack number to card and vice versa, and practice running values, odd/even etc. just so you don't get stuck in just doing 1-52.

I am a visual learner so learnt Mnemonica using pictures associated to the numbers and then to the cards, and then a picture to put them both together, but like you say having to come up with 156 images took me a while! And eventually most of the pictures fall away (although I can still remember some) and then you just know what number the card is, like Asi Wind talks about the card just has another value, as well as being the Four of Clubs it is also 1 etc. you will see a card and immediately know its number as easily as you know what value it is.

If you can crack it, and sounds like you are well on your way, then it opens a whole new world of card magic!
Rich.

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Bruce Arnold
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Post by Bruce Arnold » 1 month ago

Michael Close is giving an online lecture this coming Sunday, May 5th entitled, "Demystifying the Memorized Deck". It looks like it might be good for those at the beginner stage as it will include methods of memorization and drills.

I consider Mr. Close an expert on Memorized Decks, and am attending the lecture. I agree, this will be a good way to keep my mind agile and can be practiced anywhere.

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Post by Chris Aguilar » 1 month ago

rmorrell wrote:
1 month ago
...
I am a visual learner so learnt Mnemonica using pictures associated to the numbers and then to the cards, and then a picture to put them both together, but like you say having to come up with 156 images took me a while!
...
Yeah, that's exactly what puts me off Mnemonics, having to learn 156 images to learn 52 cards. I'm a much more numbers type guy, so I'm using the Joyal system, in which I learn 14 (really simple) rules that give me all 52 cards and positions. Of course, as with any learning system, even those rules just fall away once you've got everything committed to memory. I'm got about 12 cards to go, so I'm pretty chuffed that I think I can make it happen. The training app I referenced is really helpful, with a bunch of ways to use flashcards to test yourself. I use it on the light rail train everyday on my commute to work.

I might actually use the stack knowledge for magic at some point. I think I've got some mem deck stuff in my library, Asi wind, Some Darwin Ortiz, etc.
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Post by Bill Duncan » 1 month ago

I got about 80% of Joyal and then got distracted and stopped. It seems like the sort of stack that would work for someone who doesn't work all the time because you can fall back on the rules to get back up to speed quickly.
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Post by rmorrell » 1 month ago

Chris Aguilar wrote:
1 month ago
rmorrell wrote:
1 month ago
...
I am a visual learner so learnt Mnemonica using pictures associated to the numbers and then to the cards, and then a picture to put them both together, but like you say having to come up with 156 images took me a while!
...
Yeah, that's exactly what puts me off Mnemonics, having to learn 156 images to learn 52 cards. I'm a much more numbers type guy, so I'm using the Joyal system, in which I learn 14 (really simple) rules that give me all 52 cards and positions. Of course, as with any learning system, even those rules just fall away once you've got everything committed to memory. I'm got about 12 cards to go, so I'm pretty chuffed that I think I can make it happen. The training app I referenced is really helpful, with a bunch of ways to use flashcards to test yourself. I use it on the light rail train everyday on my commute to work.

I might actually use the stack knowledge for magic at some point. I think I've got some mem deck stuff in my library, Asi wind, Some Darwin Ortiz, etc.
Yes I think you learn it in whatever way is best for you, at the time I learnt Mnemonica 15+ years ago there wasn't all the information that exists now, the Mnemonica book wasn't even out in English so didn't have the wisdom of Juan or any of the Memory Arts material or smart phone apps that are available today for example. Basically the way I did it was the way John Lovick laid out in a set of his lecture notes!

But yes re material, I've said it before and will say it again, Darwin Ortiz in Lessons in Card Mastery and Scams and Fantasies has the most practical, workable and hard hitting memdeck material available. For me at least it ticks all the boxes, usuable in the real world, as it keeps your stack in tact, commercial routines and REALLY strong magic. If you did nothing but learn his memdeck material from those two books you would be set!

Simon Aronson has some good stuff as you would imagine, but most of it destroys your stack, which isn't an issue if you are just using it as a one off, the stuff from Try The Impossible is good though like Two Beginnings and Invisible Card.

And then Pit Hartling and Denis Behr's material as well is really worth studying, Pit's In Order to Amaze is just stunning, but maybe a bit more advanced.
Rich.

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Post by Bill Duncan » 1 month ago

My favorite memdeck effect is a Marlo idea. You casually false shuffle your stack while asking say four people if they can shuffle... then hand them each about a quarter of the deck. Have them shuffle their packets and when they're done have them fan those packets. You take a quick look at each fan and then have each person hand you cards that you "remember seeing" in the fan. As you do so you remember the cards in stack order and reassemble the stack as you take the cards back.
I don't object to the concept of a deity, but I'm puzzled by the notion of one that takes attendance.

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Post by Bill Mullins » 1 month ago

rmorrell wrote:
1 month ago
Basically the way I did it was the way John Lovick laid out in a set of his lecture notes!
What notes were these?

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Post by Karl Miller » 3 weeks ago

Bill Mullins wrote:
1 month ago
rmorrell wrote:
1 month ago
Basically the way I did it was the way John Lovick laid out in a set of his lecture notes!
What notes were these?
This is the same method I used for the Tamariz stack. It can be found on page 15 of John's "The Skinny" lecture notes.

-Karl

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Post by rmorrell » 3 weeks ago

Yes sorry Karl has it, it was his Skinny Lecture Notes, published in 1998 in an essay called Attacking a Stack, he basically outlines how he writes a list of 1-52 and finds something personal or memorable to him for the numbers or just anything that will stick in his head, and the same for the cards and then makes another association when putting the two together, seemed to work for me as I had some personal links in there, but at the end I found it quite difficult to come up with some associations, Bob Farmers Playing Card Mnemonics came to the rescue for me actually and allowed me to finish my list:

http://gmmentalgym.blogspot.com/2010/10 ... tml#cmmnem

For example card 22 in Mnemonica is 8S and forever for me will be represented by Einstein in a Tutu!
Rich.

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Ron Giesecke
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Post by Ron Giesecke » 3 weeks ago

I am fluent in sign language, and interpreted for a while. The process of leaning to speak in sign is entirely separate from the “receptive skills” portion. You can see someone sign to you with the exact signs you just used, and go, “huh?”

Memdeck work I found to be similar. I had my 1-52 down in the order—to where you could call out a number, and I’d be able to call its position very quickly.

But—the minute I had to work backwards (seeing a card and calculating its number) I realized I had a separate set of skills to cultivate.
"I'm my own audience member."--Speciously attributed to Andrew Wimhurst.

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Post by Bill Duncan » 3 weeks ago

That's good to know Ron, and it explains a lot to me. ASL was what I took for my second language requirement in college. One evening a man came into the theater I worked at and one of the staff knew I was taking sign language so they sent him to me.

I could not figure out why he kept signing to, to, to.

When I finally gave up and asked him to finger spell we both had a laugh. He was signing friend very quickly and didn't really hook his fingers the way we had learned in class.
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Post by Chris Aguilar » 3 weeks ago

I continue to learn my stack veeerrrrry slowly, practicing all cards learned up to date (around 40 now I think) over and over again via the excellent memdeck pro app. Have been finding that not rushing the process is making it easier for me and I think the memorization seems to really good in terms of "knowing it cold".
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Post by Chris Aguilar » 3 weeks ago

Ron Giesecke wrote:
3 weeks ago
But—the minute I had to work backwards (seeing a card and calculating its number) I realized I had a separate set of skills to cultivate.
That's why I love using the app to drill. It allows to easily go from card to # or vice versa. Or you can even have it throw a mix of both to you at the same time. Really helps get both side of the equation down.
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Post by Chris Aguilar » 3 weeks ago

Joyal stack does fully tick the box for "Looks very random", which is important to me.

Image
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Post by Chris Aguilar » 2 weeks ago

Going over the next steps and am pretty solid at 40 cards with Joyal. Really excited to think I'll get there. Eventually....
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