Cards: Memory and Magic

Published on Sunday, October 14, 2007 in , , , , , , , ,

MnemonicaThe memorized deck is a great tool for use in magic, but what is really required to learn a memorized stack? Since it's been quite a while since I last discussed memorized decks, I figured it was time.

If you're interested in learning a memorized stack, don't start by picking up a deck of cards. Instead, get a good foundation before you even get near the cards. Over at Simon Aronson's site, go to the Magicians Only section and enter the proper password. Once you're inside the Magicians Only section, click Memorized Deck Magic and then download and read Memories Are Made of This PDF file. I can't think of a better introduction to memorized deck work.

At Dennis Loomis' store, in the Memorized Deck Area, you should also read Article 14: Memorized Deck Mastery. This will help you gauge whether you've truly mastered your particular stack.

If you're seriously thinking about memorizing a deck, you probably have a particular stack in mind. The most common one in the U.S. is the Aronson stack, which is detailed in Memories Are Made of This. Over in Europe, the Tamariz stack, as taught in Mnemonica, is the most popular choice.

These aren't the only choices, either. Other popular stacks include the Joyal Stack, the Nikola Stack, the Memorized BCS (the original version is here) and many more.

Now, each reference discusses their particular ways to memorize them. Most of them use variations on the classic peg/major system. You can quiz yourself regularly with just a deck of cards marked with their respective stack numbers on their backs.

There are numerous computer tools to help you memorize, too. Windows users can use StackView and Mac OS X users can use Ebbinghaus to memorize any memorized stacks.

You can also learn the stacks online. Over at Card Shark, click on Free Bonus (on the 9 in the menu), and you'll be able to quiz yourself on the Tamariz Stack (Flash required). If you want to learn the Aronson stack, you can head over to the Aronson Stack Quizzer.

You can also use any of the numerous onine flashcard programs I've discussed here, here and here. When using an online flashcard program for stack memorizing, I suggest using one that allows you to use playing card graphics, such as Memorize In A Flash.

Of course, once you've properly mastered your memorized deck, you'll want to use it for magic routines. In Simon Aronson's Memorized Deck Magic section, he includes several great tips and routines you can use with any memorized deck. If you're using his stack in particular, the Aronson Stack Page includes more routines for that particular stack. As mentioned before, Dennis Loomis' Memorized Deck Page is also a great source of ideas.

Also, just 3 days ago, I updated my MemoryEffects.pdf file, which includes plenty of resources for memory-related effects. I've also posted a scribd.com version of MemoryEffects.pdf. References to routines that use a memorized deck can be found under Covert Use of Memory Technique section.

If you take the time to practice, master and use a memorized deck properly, you will find that this tool will more than reward the effort.

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