Wednesday, December 27, 2006


Magicians and memory experts often amaze and amuseaudiences with their ability to remember complete packs ofcards in the order in which they were presented. Theysimilarly astound their audiences by being able to rattle off,without any difficulty, the six or seven cards not mentionedwhen an incomplete 'pack' is randomly presented. Extra-ordinary as these feats may seem, they are not all that difficultand are usually quite straightforward—even though manypeople accuse the performer of having hidden assistants in theaudience, marked cards, and a number of other tricks!The system for remembering a complete pack of cards issimilar in concept to the peg systems so far discussed. All thatis necessary is to know the first letter of the word for the suitand the number of the card in that suit.For example, all words for the club cards will begin withc, all words for the hearts with h, all words for the spades withs, and all the words for the diamonds with d. The secondconsonant for the card-word will be the consonant repre-sented by the letter from the Major Memory System.Taking as an example the 5 of spades we know that it mustbegin with V because it is a spade card, and that its lastconsonant must be 'l' because it is the 5, and 5 is representedby '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 the3 of diamonds. The word must begin with 'd' because it is thediamond suit and its final consonant must be 'm' because 'm*is represented by the number 3 in the major system. Filling inwith the first vowel we arrive at the word 'dam' which is ourimage word for the 3 of diamonds.Following is a list of the cards (aces count as 'one') andtheir memory words. A few of the variations I will explainwhen you have had a chance to familiarise yourself with the
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 thenumbers 11 and 12, and 10 as 's', and the king simply as thename of the suit in which he resides! The memory words forthe clubs are in many cases the same as those for the majorsystem words for the 70's, but this need not concern you, asthe two lists will never come into conflict.How does the memory expert dazzle his audience? Theanswer is quite simple—whenever a card is called out heimmediately associates that card with the appropriate numberon his major system (you will of course be able to use mosystems for this task, as the Skipnum system also containsenough pegs to hold a full pack of cards.).If for example the first card called out was the 7 of dia-monds you would associate the word 'deck' with the first wordon your major system which is 'tea'. You might imagine theentire deck of a boat being covered in tea, or perhaps even theBoston Tea Party! If the next card called were the ace ofhearts you would associate the word for this card—'hat'—with the second word on you memory system 'Noah' andwould link these two. You could imagine Noah on the arkwearing an enormous rain-hat in order to keep off the flood!If the next card called were the queen of spades you wouldassociate the word for that card —'satan'—with your thirdmajor system word 'Ma'. You could imagine your motherbashing satan over the head!From these few examples I hope you can see how easy it canbe to memorise an entire pack of cards in whatever order theyhappen to be presented to you. It is a most impressive feat tobe able to perform in front of your friends!Your facility in remembering cards can be taken a stepfurther. It is possible to have someone randomly read you thenames of all the cards in the deck, leaving out any six or sevenhe chooses. Without much hesitation you can tell him whichcards these were!There are two ways of doing this, the first being to use atechnique similar to that explained in Chapter 8.Whenever a card is called out you associate the image wordfor that card within a larger concept such as the block of icepreviously mentioned. In different situations you can use acoal-cellar or a boat etc. as that in which you contain your cardmemory word. When all the cards have been presented yousimply run down the list of card memory words noting thosewords which are not connected with the larger memoryconcept.If the 4 of clubs had been called you might have pictured acar slithering across the huge cube of ice, or being trappedwithin it. You could hardly forget this image but if the card4 of clubs had not been called you would immediately remem-ber that you had nothing to remember!The other system for this type offeat is to mutate or changein some way the card memory word if that card is called. Forexample if the king of clubs were called and your image forthis was a cave-man like club you would imagine it beingbroken in half. Or if the card called were the 2 of hearts andyour normal image for this was a simple farm hen you mightimagine it with an extraordinarily large tail or with its head cutoff!The systems described in this chapter are basic to theremembering ofcards, but it does not take much to see that inthe actual playing ofcard games, a memory system such as thiscan be of enormous help. You have probably watched peoplerepeating over and over to themselves the cards which theyknow have been put down or which are in other players' hands,and you have probably seen them sigh with exasperation attheir inability to remember accurately!With your new memory system such tasks will become onlytoo simple!

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