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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Shuffled not Stirred » » Mneomonica and applications to other stacks (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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captainsmiffy
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I am considering investing in Mnemonica; can anyone tell me (and forgive me if this has been asked in the past) if the Tamariz stack is required or will the work inside translate to other stacks such as the Bart Harding stack? I am not afraid of the hard work required in learning a new stack but my job requires that I keep up to speed in lots of areas with almost daily changes and challenges and so I need to keep a few grey cells spare - I aint getting any younger either, if you know what I mean! I need to make an informed decision on the work required for mnemonca versus the rewards for it and the time taken to do it. I have heard many great things about mnemonica but would appreciate some advice from those that know.
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redeagle
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I just went through the same process of looking into Mnemonica and Aronson stacks. For both, the answer is the same....Yes and No. Smile

Basically, there are some built in effects that need the stack order. Some of those don't even require you to have it memorized, they are semi-automatic based on the stack. There are also several effects based on having the stack memorized, but are really stack-independent. You could do them with any stack you have memorized.

I would recommend looking into some of the threads about favorite effects in Mnemonica, picking some you like, and then checking if those effects you like are dependent on Tamariz specific stack order or not.
dilan_thomas
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Mnemonica is the best memorized deck. Hands down. No competition. It is limitless. This is just my opinion, but I'm right Smile !!!

You can go from new deck order to Mnemonica. You can go from Mnemonica to a stay stack. You can go from stay stack, back to new deck, or back to Mnemonica. You can do this all with or without faros.

There are built in spelling tricks, poker deals, mentalism effects, etc... I now that some other stacks have some great things to offer, but pound for pound I don't think you can beat Mnemonica. It isn't just a memorized deck, but a whole system of card magic.

All respects to Mr. Aronson.
Nick Pudar
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I've been at this memdeck stuff long enough to feel comfortable rendering advice. The best memorized deck is one that you actually use.
Nick
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JanForster
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I've to second Nick. And I work with memorized decks since ages. Jan
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captainsmiffy
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Thanks for all of the replies; I have only just started to explore mem-decks and their applications. Sounds like I shall have to invest in mnemonica for the effects and see how far I can go with the bart harding stack and then maybe make a more informed decision as to whether or not learn the Tamariz stack. Trouble is, airliner flying takes a whole lot mentally, too, and I'm not getting any younger! Guess it depends on how complicated to learn and to retain the stack it is going to be. Am encouraged, though, that the Bart Harding stack is not only considered excellent by some of you but that it can be used with the Tamariz effects. Thanks.
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dilan_thomas
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Here's my opinion about initially memorizing a stack. Let's say that you are the world's slowest learner, and you can only memorize one card a day. If you spend one month learning the cards you will have something you can use for the rest of your life. I think that is a pretty good deal.

If you follow the directions (all of them) in Mnemonica you should have it completely memorized one week tops. It took me about a week working on it 2 hours a day. After 2 weeks you can do it in your sleep. After a month I don't think that you could ever forget it short of amnesia.

It really is worth the effort. Don't get discouraged in the first five minutes. FOLLOW THE ADVICE FOR MEMORIZING IN THE OPENING CHAPTERS OF THE BOOK !!!
Cain
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I do think it matters which stack you choose. I also think Michael Close is right -- most people do not end up keeping the first stack they memorize. However, it's better to memorize two and keep one than to memorize none at all. Learning a new stack is not a big deal, especially if you've done it once before.
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The Amazing Noobini
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I didn't know that most people didn't keep the first stack they memorized! Perhaps I should make the switch after all. I'm very worried about ruining the few magic effects that I actually do rather well.

As long as a stack has several built in features, it is very very relevant which one you choose. But I found it impossible to understand from the books what would be the pros and cons for me, and especially what effects could be adapted or not. I really think that these things will make no sense to most people until they are already in possession of a fully memorized system.

What does make sense is a nice clinical list of built in features. Unfortunately I don't have one.

captainsmiffy, it took me several months longer than what most people describe to really learn the (Aronson) stack. But it wasn't a huge struggle really. Just try it! You do seem quite lucid so I don't see why your age, whatever it may be, should be relevant. And of course you can always give up if you so choose without any permanent damage having been afflicted to your brain. Smile

But don't give up!
"Talk about melodrama... and being born in the wrong part of the world." (Raf Robert)
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EdgarWilde
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Mnemonica has enough material which is stack-independent.
You can read through the stack-dependent material and get ideas which might be usable in the stack which you know. You might like a stack-dependent trick so much you'll end up memorising Mnemonica.
Either way, the book is worth it's weight in gold regarding stacks. Read it and see it as a study on stacks: Mnemonica itself was not built to incorporate stack-dependent tricks, they are just a little icing on the cake.
captainsmiffy
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Gentleman, I am still encouraged by your encouragement!! (I love the remark 'you seem quite lucid - I'm am airline pilot for heavens sake!!!) I shall venture forth and purchase said tome and work - my real concerns were that since flying is so fluid in terms of techniques being learnt and changed - almost daily or so it seems at the moment! - that I wouldn't be able to devote as much attention to a stack system as it deserves but then I read your posts and thought 'what the heck' flying uses lots of learned motor skills (so fall back on them), partition some grey matter for this alone and get going! I shall report back on how it is going once I have obtained a copy - not easy getting it out to Dubai (postal system is archaic, believe me!). BTW, if anybody is passing through Dubai anytime and wants to 'natter' about magic then drop me a line (assuming I'm not in the wild blue yonder!)
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Turk
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Quote:
On 2009-05-01 07:03, Cain wrote:
I do think it matters which stack you choose. I also think Michael Close is right -- most people do not end up keeping the first stack they memorize. However, it's better to memorize two and keep one than to memorize none at all. Learning a new stack is not a big deal, especially if you've done it once before.


Might that be because the first stack most people choose is the more simple easy-to-learn stacks--such as the 8-Kings or Si Stebbins, etc.? (And/or that these simple-to-learn stacks have inherent disadvantages (like easily spotted cyclical patterns) that the Aronson Stack or the Tamariz Stack do not have?

Perhaps more meaningful (at least to me), if it is possible to even roughly know, I would really be interested in learning how many people who first learned the Aronson Stack (and were using it successfully) then learned the Tamariz Stack, then dropped the Aronson Stack and then kept the Tamariz Stack. Same question for those who first learned the Tamariz Stack (ans were using it successfully) and who then learned the Aronson Stack and kept it and dropped the Tamariz Stack.

What I guess I am really interested in learning is of the people who know both the Aronson Stack and the Tamariz Stack and who are fluent in both, why did such people drop one of these stacks in favor of the other, snd, if so, why so? Was it because of ease of memorization (and retention of the memorized stack set-up)? Was it because of the "built-in effects one of these two stacks had over the other?

A;ternatively, if someone had learned just one (or possibly both) of these two stacks, and then switched to a stack different from these two, why did they switch to that new stack?

Any statistics (or personal stories) on the foregoing? If so, thanks in advance for any such information that you care to share with the membership.

Mike

P.S. The reason I ask is because I have learned the Aronson Stack and am reasonably proficient with it and I'm wondering if the Tamariz Stack is now worth learning. Are the Tamariz Stack built-in effects so much better than the Aronson Stack built-in effects? Are there other reasons that make the Tamariz Stack inherently superior to the Aronson Stack. I've always heard that these two stacks are roughly equivalent to each other and that if you learned one, there was no compelling reason to learn the other. Hence, my interest in this topic.
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Cain
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Turk wrote:
Quote:
Might that be because the first stack most people choose is the more simple easy-to-learn stacks--such as the 8-Kings or Si Stebbins, etc.? (And/or that these simple-to-learn stacks have inherent disadvantages (like easily spotted cyclical patterns) that the Aronson Stack or the Tamariz Stack do not have?


This could be a lurking variable, I agree. I am also interesting in learning, even in the absence of scientific rigor, how many people went from Aronson ----> Tamariz versus Tamariz ------> Aronson, or whatever to whatever.

Here's my standard advice on choosing a memorized deck:
Choose a stack with ONE absolute blockbuster of a trick built-in.

All other considerations are secondary at best. Here are some common arguments I see.
Ease of memorization: Some argue in favor of Eight Kings (etc) because it's easier to memorize. Go for what's best, not easiest. (Ironically, these people are burdening themselves with more work.)

Getting into the stack from NDO: While I suppose this could have merit if you're laboring under specific working conditions, it's a b.s. argument in general (and I faro into my stack from NDO -- not that it matters).

It can withstand close scrutiny: An argument I have seen made in favor of the Aronson stack against the Tamariz stack is that the former appears more random. And it DOES appear more random... and this doesn't matter. The condition of disorder need only satisfy some minimum threshold.

Number of tricks built-in: Who cares? It's better to have one great trick than infinity OK tricks, or infinity good tricks, for that matter. All stacks possess undiscovered, unintended properties, as Aronson's website and Tamraiz's Mnemonica testify.
Ellusionst discussing the Arcane Playing cards: "Michaelangelo took four years to create the Sistine Chapel masterpiece... these took five."

Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes: "You know Einstein got bad grades as a kid? Well, mine are even worse!"
captainsmiffy
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Keep it up chaps! Good to see a debate on the merits of each before I invest in either one! Does the Tamariz stack have a built in 'blockbuster'? I have heard many a good word ref Tamariz and his stack - and about the effects possible with it. Always willing to heed advice that's been learnt 'under-fire', so to speak.
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The Amazing Noobini
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Yes, I would also love to hear from people who have made the switch in any direction, or from people who are bilingual (bistacked?)

Many of Menmonica's built in features are difficult to understand from the list of features alone as they relate to specific tricks that rely on them, such as "a surprising routine of coincidences that demonstrates and foresees great luck for the spectators and the magician". That is a listed feature and it sounds pretty good, whatever it is!

I suppose there are many Aronson specific effects that could be listed as features in a similar way too.

Mnemonica has things like the ability to put half the deck in alternating red/black order, spelling effects in Spanish and ANY poker hand called for, which are features I would have loved to have. And of course the in and out of NDO thing.

But of course, one might not want to use many built in features after all upon finally learning their routines. I haven't used any of the excellent built in features in the Aronson Stack yet, except one I found that I really liked but seem to have forgotten now writing this.

I suppose part of the attraction to the idea of switching or learning both is a new challenge which my brain clearly needs.
"Talk about melodrama... and being born in the wrong part of the world." (Raf Robert)
"You, my friend, have a lot to learn." (S. Youell)
"Nonsensical Raving of a lunatic mind..." (Larry)
Turk
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IMHO, none of the built-in effects for the Aronson Stack were what I would consider a block buster (pants-wetter?) Some of them were nice or "interesting" and, I suppose, it is comforting to have a number of effects that can be performed and then, after completion, the deck remains in stack order--and ready to go onto the next memorized deck effect. But, after learning the Aronsons Stack and then turning to the built-in effects section of the "Try the Impossible"book (i.e. the "Unpacking the Stack" section), I was kind of let down by the effects taught. And, most, if not all of them, did not require the actual memorization of the Aronson Stack; they only required that the deck be in Aronson Stack order.

That said, to be fair, these "built-in" effects taught in the Aronson book did not destory the stack order at the conclusion of the effect (or by the reinsertion of a few cards, the stack odrder was restored). And that feature has a lot going for it if you wish to perform exclusive (or an extensive set of) memorized deck effects. However, perhaps the judicious use of a deck switch is a very reasonable alternative in these regards.

Surprisingly, IMHO, the many memorized deck pants-wetter effects I found in the various Aronson books were not "Aronson Stack dependent". Rather, most any memorized deck stack (where you know both the cards' stack positions and the stack positions' cards cold) was all that was required.

Hence, I'm curious to learn from the Tamariz Stack afficiandos whether there are any built-in features in the Tamariz Stack (or any "Tamariz Stack dependent" effects) that they consider are pants-wetters--and thereby worth learning the Tamariz Stack for--especially after having learned another stack and having gained proficiency therewith.

Thanks for any info in this regard.
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Nathan Alexander
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Man - I actually was going to say something, but all this talk of pant-wetting makes me have to run to the bathroom... (am I getting old?)

I'll have to be back...hehe.
Cain
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Isn't the Aronson stack also ready-to-go for a perfect bridge hand?

Aronson, Tamariz stacks
Between the two, from what I recall about their built-in effects, I think the Tamariz stack is the decisive winner. Simon Aronson's strengths lie primarily in his ability to take the properties of the memorized stack -- any stack -- and devastate laypeople and magicians. The stack he put together, which he never intended to call THE Aronson stack, incorporates tricks that were popular at the time (ten card poker deal), five card poker hand. Even the latter trick, which is quite strong, and Aronson says he used it to close his sets with it, is sort of an anachronism given the rise in popularity of Texas Hold'em.

For what it's worth, my two biggest influences in memorized deck magic are Allan Ackerman and Michael Skinner. Ackerman first inspired me with his incredible routine "Ackerman's Opener." It consists of four tricks, but the last two make it stand out. The penultimate phase involves four spectators, eaching cutting off packets and shuffling them. Ackerman has each spectator flash her cards to him, and he "memorizes" them in this instant. Then he successfully identifies all the cards in each person's hand, saving their thought of selection for last. It's very strong, but the best part is that it augments the finale: He takes the reassembled pack -- which has just been shuffled by four people -- and asks someone to name any value 1-13. Suppose she says nine. He spreads the deck to show the nines are all fairly distributed, gives the pack a couple shuffles, and then all of the nines are together on top. Impressive. But he admits he did one better: "instead of culling all the nines, I culled every four of a kind in the pack," whereupon he spreads the deck to show all the fours of a kind are together. Great trick, uses the a tetradistic stack, and inspired me to learn the faro shuffle. (A tetradistic stack is also relatively easy to memorize, although, as I said, I don't think that should be an important consideration).

What appeals to me is taking cards we've used the whole time -- I've shuffled them, other spectators have shuffled them -- and imposing order at the end. I learned Michael Skinner would give a brand new deck five out-faros, and finish in new deck order. Incredible. So, I split the difference between the two. My second to last routine is Steve Ehlers "Three Card Location," which was inspired by Ackerman's Opener (see Ehler's DVD or his lecture notes, or Ackerman's Las Vegas Kardma. Bill Malone has a variation on his "Here We Go Again" DVDs called "Hands Off Memory Test," which is actually closer to what I perform). Then instead of concluding with the cards grouped into fours of a kind, I'll do another trick that has the whole deck in order.

Turk touches something I cannot emphasize enough: we need to make a critical distinction between a stack and a memorized stack. Yes, it's true some of the strongest tricks in magic use a memorized stack, but it's also true that some of the strongest tricks in magic use just a stack. Here again Michael Skinner's ideas are instructive. He mentions TWO memorized decks in Classic Sampler, both of which I think are faithful to the same basic premise. He has the previously mentioned five-faro stack, but he also wanted to create a stack incorporating two of his favorite tricks. Off the top of my head, I think one's Vernon's Poker Deal and the other's a Koran spelling trick? It's a spelling trick of some kind. Mental Speller? I hate spelling tricks. Anyway...

Now, should it surprise anyone to learn the strongest effects built into the Tamariz and Aronson stacks do not require memorizing the pack? Using the Stay Stack, concluding in new deck order, dealing five strong poker hands, a perfect bridge hand? A stack-dependent built-in trick would be something like spelling to a certain card.

Although I'll have to settle for less than ideal terminology, this leads to a final distinction: natural stacks and created stacks (almost all memorized deck stacks are "created" in some sense, it's rather silly to use "natural" and playing cards together, but there it goes). Tamariz has a more "natural stack" in my view. For example, with Aronson's Five Hand Poker Deal, you need to be vaguely familiar with poker in order to appreciate the trick. Concluding in NDO is more "natural" in that we instantly grasp what has happened. Does this sort of make sense? These difference are also reflected in the fact that Aronson's stack appears more random. They're structured in different ways -- the Tamariz has underlying patterns.

Also, with a stay stack you can perform Marlo's Matching Routine, borrowing ideas from Ackerman and Swain. Ackerman told me this is his "favorite layperson trick," and it's difficult to top. I mean, why wouldn't you want to be set up to perform something like that? It's a built-in blockbuster.

Strictly speaking, I perform only two memorized deck tricks: The Ehlers/Malone effect mentioned above, and Mnemoniscosis (from Mnemonica). That's it. I have a suite of other tricks that are facilitated by memorizing the pack, but do not absolutely require full stack memorization.

About a year ago I switched from using the Skinner five-faro stack (and before that I think I had made a half-hearted attempt to memorize Aronson). The problem with the Skinner stack is that it's not a perfect stay stack (spades are matched up with hearts, diamonds with clubs), which meant I could not do Ackerman's favorite trick for lay people, the matching routine. The vast majority of the time I finish with the cards in numerical order by suit, but it's good to have this little back up, and I used it this last Friday.

My problem with the Tamariz stack is that -- correct me if I'm mistaken -- you basically have to do a set up trick in order to get into stack stack/position for NDO.
Ellusionst discussing the Arcane Playing cards: "Michaelangelo took four years to create the Sistine Chapel masterpiece... these took five."

Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes: "You know Einstein got bad grades as a kid? Well, mine are even worse!"
Waterloophai
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Sorry for my English (I am from Belgium).
I don't understand very well why people stick only with the Aronson or Tamariz stack order. If you are not interested in the (mostly poker) routines that are in those stacks, then the order becomes irrelevant and then I find it much better to construct a stack that fit your own particular needs. I made for myself a stack where I can have immediate control over the seven of hearts, the queen of hearts and some other cards that are statisticly most selected if you ask someone to name a card. I arranged my stack that with some simple cuts, I can assemble the 4 aces.
Some othet cards that are important for me in some tricks are also in a place that I can get them immediately. What I want to say is that for people who are thinking of memorizing a deck, they must FIRST think very good what they gone memorize and what the goals are they want to achieve with it.
Magicians who are planning to memorize a deck have to make two decisions:
First they have to decide wich method they gonna use to memorize the cards.
Second they must decide wich order (stack) suits them best. That can be the Aronson stack or the Tamariz stack, but it can also be a stackorder that they made themself to suit their personal needs.
pnielan
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Cain,

Nice post with some real food for thought.
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