Card Memory System

Magicians and memory experts often amaze and amuse audiences with their ability to remember complete packs of cards in the order in which they were presented. They similarly astound their audiences by being able to rattle off, without any difficulty, the six or seven cards not mentioned when an incomplete 'pack' is randomly presented. Extraordinary as these feats may seem, they are not all that difficult and are usually quite straightforward—even though many people accuse the performer of having hidden assistants in the audience, marked cards, and a number of other tricks!

The system for remembering a complete pack of cards is similar in concept to the peg systems so far discussed. All that is necessary is to know the first letter of the word for the suit and the number of the card in that suit.

For example, all words for the club cards will begin with c, all words for the hearts with h, all words for the spades with s, and all the words for the diamonds with d. The second consonant for the card-word will be the consonant represented by the letter from the Major Memory System.

Taking as an example the 5 of spades we know that it must begin with V because it is a spade card, and that its last consonant must be 'l' because it is the 5, and 5 is represented by 'l'. Without much difficulty we arrive at the word 'sale' which represents the 5 of spades.

Taking another example, we wish to devise a word for the 3 of diamonds. The word must begin with 'd' because it is the diamond suit and its final consonant must be 'm' because'm* is represented by the number 3 in the major system. Filling in with the first vowel we arrive at the word 'dam' which is our image word for the 3 of diamonds.

Following is a list of the cards (aces count as 'one') and their memory words. A few of the variations I will explain when you have had a chance to familiarise yourself with the list.

Clubs

Diamonds

CA—Cat

DA—Date

C2—Can

D2—Dane

C3—Cam

D3—Dam

C4—Car

D4—Deer

C5—Call

D5—Dale

C6—Cage

D6—Dash

C7—Cake

D7—Deck

C8—Cafe

D8—Dive

C9—Cab

D9—Dab

Cio—Case

D10—Daze

CJ—Cadet

DJ—Dead wood

^ CQ—Cotton

DQ—Deaden

CK—Club

DK—Diamond

Hearts -

Spades

HA—Hat

SA—Sot

H2—Hen

S2—Son

H3—Ham

S3—Sum

H4—Hair

S4—Sore

H5—Hail

S5—Sale

H6—Hash

S6—Sash

H7—Hag

S7—Sack

H8—Hoof

S8—Sage

H9—Hub

S9—Sap

Hio—Haze

Sio—Seas

HJ—Headed

SJ—Sated

HQ—Heathen

SQ—Satan

HK—Heart

HK—Spade

In this system the jacks and queens have been counted as the numbers 11 and 12, and 10 as 's', and the king simply as the name of the suit in which he resides! The memory words for the clubs are in many cases the same as those for the major system words for the 70's, but this need not concern you, as the two lists will never come into conflict.

How does the memory expert dazzle his audience? The answer is quite simple—whenever a card is called out he immediately associates that card with the appropriate number on his major system (you will of course be able to use mo systems for this task, as the Skipnum system also contains enough pegs to hold a full pack of cards.).

If for example the first card called out was the 7 of diamonds you would associate the word 'deck' with the first word on your major system which is 'tea'. You might imagine the entire deck of a boat being covered in tea, or perhaps even the Boston Tea Party! If the next card called were the ace of hearts you would associate the word for this card—'hat'— with the second word on you memory system 'Noah' and would link these two. You could imagine Noah on the ark wearing an enormous rain-hat in order to keep off the flood! If the next card called were the queen of spades you would associate the word for that card —'satan'—with your third major system word 'Ma'. You could imagine your mother bashing satan over the head!

From these few examples I hope you can see how easy it can be to memorise an entire pack of cards in whatever order they happen to be presented to you. It is a most impressive feat to be able to perform in front of your friends!

Your facility in remembering cards can be taken a step further. It is possible to have someone randomly read you the names of all the cards in the deck, leaving out any six or seven he chooses. Without much hesitation you can tell him which cards these were!

There are two ways of doing this, the first being to use a technique similar to that explained in Chapter 8.

Whenever a card is called out you associate the image word for that card within a larger concept such as the block of ice previously mentioned. In different situations you can use a coal-cellar or a boat etc. as that in which you contain your card memory word. When all the cards have been presented you simply run down the list of card memory words noting those words which are not connected with the larger memory concept.

If the 4 of clubs had been called you might have pictured a car slithering across the huge cube of ice, or being trapped within it. You could hardly forget this image but if the card 4 of clubs had not been called you would immediately remember that you had nothing to remember!

The other system for this type of feat is to mutate or change in some way the card memory word if that card is called. For example if the king of clubs were called and your image for this was a cave-man like club you would imagine it being broken in half. Or if the card called were the 2 of hearts and your normal image for this was a simple farm hen you might imagine it with an extraordinarily large tail or with its head cut off!

The systems described in this chapter are basic to the remembering of cards, but it does not take much to see that in the actual playing of card games, a memory system such as this can be of enormous help. You have probably watched people repeating over and over to themselves the cards which they know have been put down or which are in other players' hands, and you have probably seen them sigh with exasperation at their inability to remember accurately!

With your new memory system such tasks will become only too simple!

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