The basic method of memorizing a deck of cards

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Louise Hay
@louisehay
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One of the most amazing applications of the memory techniques is the possibility of memorize a deck of cards with extreme ease. This technique really leaves you speechless, and it is a challenge that any mnemonist faces sooner or later. And in fact many of the readers who bought my book Quick Memorization Techniques wrote to me to get the pattern for memorizing a deck of cards that I mention in the book.

I then published a small book on the subject, where I carry out with the reader the memorization of an entire deck, one card after another. However, it seems to me also useful to give a brief summary of the method here on the blog, for those who do not have the time / desire / money to buy and read the entire manual.



First, however, remember that there is not just one method, but several. Below I'll tell you the basic one, a little slower than the one used in memory championships, but great for learning.

The six steps to memorizing a deck of cards

  1. Assign cards from 1 to 10 of each of the four suits to a dozen, according to the scheme Like When It's Raining Outside = Hearts Diamonds Clubs Spades. In this way, for example, the 2 of hearts corresponds to 2, the 2 of diamonds to 12, the 2 of clubs to 22, the two of spades to 32. And so on for all the other numbers. The 40 number cards therefore correspond to the numbers from 1 to 40.
  2. Then convert each number into a corresponding image, according to Leibniz's scheme for alphanumeric conversion.
  3. Learn to perfection and quickly the correspondence between each image and the corresponding number.
  4. As for the figures, on the other hand, he associates with jacks actors, to women actresses, ai re directors using films that remind you of the concept (e.g. Salma Hayek is the queen of paintings for Frida, a film about the Mexican painter she played; Coppola is the king of spades because spades = death, and Apocalypse Now is a great drama of war and death ; etc).
  5. Perfectly learn the correspondence between the figures and the actors / actresses / directors.
  6. Build a sequence of 26 loci and learn it perfectly.

At the end of these 6 steps you will then have 52 images, each corresponding to a card, and 26 loci in which to place them.



Let's memorize a few cards together

Now, let's pretend they give you some cards to remember, for example:

  • 3 of diamonds
  • 9 of clubs
  • queen of spades
  • ace of hearts

In your mind you "see" immediately ToMa (13, i.e. the 3 of diamonds), NuBe (29, i.e. the 9 of clubs), Christina Ricci (queen of spades), Tis (1, i.e. ace of hearts). As they tell you the cards, or slide the deck between your hands, convert them into images and place them two by two in each of the 26 loci you have built (so for example on your front door you see a ToMa and below where there is a doormat NuBis).

The difficulty lies in learning the card / number / image correspondences well, in order to be able to make the conversions quickly and accurately.

However with the exercise it works great: what is the second card? I go to the first loco (door) and I see there at my feet NuBand -> 29–> that is of clubs (9 of the third decade). You should be able, if you learn the conversion well, to memorize the entire deck in about 5 minutes, then be able to repeat it completely in one direction or another, and to respond to commands which card is in position X or Y.


This method of memorizing a deck of cards is not the fastest, but it is the first I teach because it is exceptional from a didactic point of view: you learn to build and use paths of loci, you learn to master alphanumeric conversion, you develop your first small numbered file of images.



And here is a very effective alternative conversion system

For the construction of the images that you associate with the cards you can also use an alternative method: the suits are called Hearts Paintings flowers e Spades, and so each of them starts with a different consonant.
To each number card you can then match the initial consonant of its suit together with the consonant that identifies the corresponding number in Leibniz's scheme. So for example:

  • The 2 of Hearts corresponds to the consonants C (Hearts) e N (2), and then I can match the word to him CaNe.
  • The 2 of Fiori corresponds to the consonants F (Flowers) e N (2), and I can therefore associate the word with it FuNe.
  • The 6 of spades corresponds to consonants P (Spades) e C (6), and I can match the word to him PaCe.

And so on.


Most students find this second card picture building system easier and quicker to learn. The only "problem" is that there are few words that begin with the Q of the suit of diamonds. But it is an easy problem to solve: instead of identifying the Diamonds with the Q, Identify with the D of Coins of the Neapolitan cards that are used for trump.

These basic techniques for memorizing cards are a great exercise, and after a while you can get to memorize a deck in less than two minutes. And it doesn't stop there: when you have mastered this basic method, you can also try the sample method, the legendary "PAO" system.

Good exercise!

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