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Jay Elf
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I have been practicing genuinely memorizing a shuffled deck for nearly two and a half years(using peg systems as in Harry Lorayne's "How To Develop A Super Power Memory"), because I want to add it to my stage act. Now I can do it in 250 seconds. However, a real probrem is the speed. Genuine Memory demonstration act is dangerous. Some times wonderful, other times very boring. It depends on the speed of memorization.

In the actual show, I want to perform it using only 20 playing cards(In this case I don't want to use any magical/fake methods). For this kind of performance, a performer takes much pressure. Therefore in practice I want to memorize a whole deck in 180-200 seconds. I know it is "Practice Makes Perfect" thing, but any suggestion for making it a little short?

Thanx much.

Captain Haddock
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Beats me. You may want to look into the techniques that Dominic O'Brien uses. I once saw him memorize an entire shuffled deck in seconds.
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Profile of Julie
George Sands and his wife, Arlene used to perform an extremely professional full deck memorization-type effect. He is now offering this routine for sale at a very reasonable price. It is just involved enough that every hobbyist won't take the time to learn it, but easy enough if you're motivated in that direction.
Please feel free to PM me for contact information if you are sincerely interested.
B&B Magic
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Kevin Trudeau's Advanced Mega Memory system specifically addresses memorizing cards and card orders. While I've never felt the urge to try it, he spends a great amount of time explaining his method.
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Just shuffle a deck and practice. Time yourself and your timing will improve.

Harry Lorayne's system is the best for card work of any kind. I know, I have used his card and people system for over 30 years in performance.

What you are doing is a "mental sport" that requires dedicated training. Think of it as if you were training to be a sprint runner. Each time you "run" through the cards you want improved accuracy and time. Keep "running" and the improvement will come. It did for me.
Scott Cram
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Exactly what type of card memory are you trying to do? Name a card at any position from a legitimately shuffled deck? Recall which cards you didn't see?

You need to find a good balance between amazing feat and interesting to an audience. It's one thing for, say, Dominic O'Brien to remember a deck on seconds for a Olympiad, and another to keep the audience's attention for those same seconds.

There are many legitimate memory feats with cards you could try, such as memorizing card pairs, the order of colors, which cards are missing and many more.
Jay Elf
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Dear Captain Haddock, B&B Magic, and green4magic,
Thank you very much for your sincere advice.

Dear Scott,
I exactly want to do "20 objects memorization" as in 13 Steps To Mentalism/O.McGill's Real Mental Magic, using 20 articles, 20 playing cards, or whatsoever on my stage act.
The reason I am practicing memorizing a full deck for a certain speed is for a challenge situation. If I demonstrate this kind of act, sooner or later the situation will come in private parties: "How long can you memorize a whole deck?" or something like that. So I want to do it within 200 seconds without using any magical/fake methods.

My problem is the speed of memorization. I use a peg system which means association and visualization. However association and visualization takes some time(actualy a couple of seconds per one article for me) to burn into my brain.

"20 objects memorization act" is THEORETICALY easy. As an actual stage act it is difficult. It requires faster tempo/pace for a performer taking much pressure on a stage. I wonder how many proffesional performers take it into their actual repertoire.

Thank you very much for your advice, Scott.

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Profile of Memo
Take a look at:

they are all actual topics.

Harry Lorayne's system is the best for card work of any kind.

No, it is not.

The most important thing to gain speed is to have good locations and to be very familiar with them. How long do you need to went through your route for a deck of cards?

I hope you don´t use the link system (connection one image with the next one) for that.
"There have been many claims by magicans and mentalists to the invention of mnemonics; some of the claimants have been world-famous performers - and none of them have a right to their claims!" - Corinda
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Dear Jay,

I have dealt with some of the performance issues that you raise.

For the memorization of a list of 30 objects, it depends on the group. If everyone knows each other, I have a very low-key "opening" in which I collect their memories on a big flip-chart that everyone can see. I then perform some other effects and go to the list. I read out each item and have the person who made the suggestion raise their hand. Then I turn my back on the list, blindfold myself, and give the objects at three or four positions suggested by the audience. If they are having a good time I do the whole list backwards. There is plenty of time to memorize objects as you are collecting suggestions and asking for additional details; when you read it to them for the "first time," you are rehearsing.

For a show before a public audience where they don't all know each other, I collect the items as people enter and take off their coats. I get it to the stage and perform from there. If someone is on before you and you are in the hall rather than backstage, you have plenty of time to get it down cold.

I have done it on stage with 30 jumbo cards on a display board, but it does seem to take too much time to get them all up and is not as interesting as a list of objects. People suggest some funny things. If they all know each other, they are very interested in some of the things that their friends suggest. You can comment on the objects or ask for additional details as you collect the list.

The other approach is to have something big memorized that the audience will perceive as difficult. This takes no time at all to set up in performance. I have memorized a pocket dictionary and pi to 5,200 places. For pi, it is printed in the program in a grid with letters and numbers, as shown here. This is good to do with something like the list of objects, because in the case of the list you demonstrate speed, and in the case of the larger feat you demonstrate your capacity. You can take all the time you like to memorize the big thing. Some performers can name the city or town given the Zip Code, which works very nicely as the Big Thing.


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FYI, if anyone is interested, Osterlind has a great memory routine in his book, "Making Real Magic". I've been working on that, pretty interesting stuff. I think, if I'm remembering correctly, it's based on Lorayne's work, but definitely has the Osterlind touch.

Richard Green
The Modern Conjurer
Host of the Haunted Magic show at House of Cards Nashville!
Fred E. Bert
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The memory routine in Making Magic Real is based on the routine from 13 Steps. Richard has added some elements to the presentation that make the routine more interactive and even more impressive.

I find that it's best to not think too long about each item. (Jay - a couple of seconds is not bad at all. It's all you need.) Whatever OUTRAGEOUS association comes to mind, that's the one you'll remember. Move on to the next one as soon as you get it, and don't worry about forgetting it. If you're thinking too much about it, that's when you slow down.

If you need to remember a sequence of objects rather than a numbered list, I find associating each object with its following object works well too (a method from Harry Lorayne's book).

Personally, I wouldn't demonstrate memorizing a deck of cards to laymen. I would stick to objects...
Jay Elf
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Dear Paul,
Thank you very much for your real world advice.

Dear Rick,
Thank you very much for your information.

Dear Fred,
Thank you very much for your warm advice.

Dear Memo,
I use a standard peg system(and I am totally familiar with peg words and card words):

1)Tie 2)Noah 3)Ma 4)Ray 5)Law ... 52)LioN

AS)SuiT 2S)SuN 3S)SuM 4S)SoRe 5S)SaiL ...
AH)HaT 2H)HeN ...
AC)CaT 2C)CaN ...
AD)Date 2D)DeN ...

If I memorize 2H into #1, I mentally picture a hen wearing a tie(I make a ridiculous picture). I need a couple of seconds to make a ridiculous and clear picture and burn it into my brain. If I don't make a clearer picture, one or two pictures slip from my brain after memorizing a whole deck. That's why it takes a couple of seconds per one object to burn into my brain.

By the way you memorize a whole deck in 35 seconds. Unbelievable!!!!!! How do you do that?

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