The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Shuffled not Stirred » » Where to begin? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

brad12d3
View Profile
Special user
526 Posts

Profile of brad12d3
So I have dabbled in magic for a number of years and have recently been going to town with it ordering various tricks and books that people have recommended and have been having a blast. I have been curious about memorizing a deck and what type of effects can be done. I really don't know much at all and was wondering what a good jumping off point would be. Perhaps any books or other resources you guys would recommend.
Turk
View Profile
Inner circle
Portland, OR
3545 Posts

Profile of Turk
Hi, brad12d3,

First off, welcome to the Café. I hope you find your time here worthwhile and enjoyable.

As to your question, I suggest that you take a look at Doug Dyment's excellent primer (entitled "An Introduction to Full Deck Stacks") on his website (See: http://www.deceptionary.com/ and his information page at: http://www.deceptionary.com/content-i.html ).

As to which memorized deck to use, you can use those that are dependent on an algorithm (such as Richard Osterlind's "Breakthrough Card System") or you can use a straight memorized deck (Such as the Aronson Stack) or the Tamariz Stack. I started out with Osterlind's BCS but shortly thereafter switched over to the Aronson Stack.

If you are thinking about a full memorized deck stack, generally speaking, it seems (to me) that the Tamariz Stack finds the majority of its proponents "across the pond" (i.e., Europe, etc.) and the Aronson Stack finds the majority of its proponents here in the USA. Both are excellent stacks and both have a number of "stack dependent" effects that can only be performed with a deck using that particular stack. That said, many memorized deck effects are "stack independent" and can be performed using any memorized deck.

Hope that helps.

Mike
Magic is a vanishing Art.

This must not be Kansas anymore, Toto.

Eschew obfuscation.
ddyment
View Profile
Inner circle
Gibsons, BC, Canada
2154 Posts

Profile of ddyment
Turk suggested:
Quote:
As to which memorized deck to use, you can use those that are dependent on an algorithm (such as Richard Osterlind's "Breakthrough Card System") or you can use a straight memorized deck (Such as the Aronson Stack) or the Tamariz Stack.

The BCS is not an algorithmic approach to the memorized deck. It is rather (like my own DAO Stack) a sequential stack. Of course, you can memorize it, as you can memorize any card sequence, but there is no algorithm to make that job easier. You would need to do so either via rote memory or by using classical mnemonic techniques (which is what Osterlind suggests).

An algorithmic memorized deck uses some sort of (one hopes simple) algorithm to associate the identity of a card with its absolute location in the stack (which does not exist for the BCS). Examples include the Harding stack, the Gauci stack, and my own QuickerStack.
Doug Dyment's Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
BarryFernelius
View Profile
Inner circle
Still learning, even though I've made
2532 Posts

Profile of BarryFernelius
Brad,

Work on basic card handling. Learn some nice false shuffles and false cuts. Practice estimation until you become proficient with it. You need these basic skills in order to use a memorized deck effectively.

After all of that, memorize a stack. I use the Joyal stack, and I have friends who use both the Aronson and Tamariz stack. Any one of these will work just fine for most of the great effects that require a memorized deck. Take a look at books by Aronson, Tamariz, Joyal, and Michael Close. That will stimulate your imagination and give you enough material to last several lifetimes.
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time."

-Leonard Bernstein
Artie Fufkin
View Profile
Special user
857 Posts

Profile of Artie Fufkin
Doug, I'm half way through the learning process on the Joyal stack.

I'm kind of lousy at retention, and was wondering if your stack, being algorithm based, might be easier to "stick" in my somewhat limited cranial databank?

I'm not quite having the easy go of it with the Joyal stack as I thought I would, and would stop the process for one more appropriate to my needs. I've read your essays a few times, but don't find an answer to my question above.

Thanks.
Dennis Loomis
View Profile
1943 - 2013
2113 Posts

Profile of Dennis Loomis
To Artie,
If you do wish to go with an algorithmic stack, Doug Dyment's Quicker Stack is excellent. I think you'll find it faster to learn than any other stack.

However, there are so many wonderful magic effects which you can do... that I would suggest that if "retention" is something you are lousy at, perhaps memorized deck magic is not for you. However, perhaps you underestimate yourself. Perhaps, if you were to dilligently address yourself to learning the Aronson Stack, using the mnemonic system that Simon outlines in Bound to Please, or if you were to work on the Tamariz stack using the somewhat less techniques of Juan T., as taught in Mnemonica, you will find that you can retain information if you just work on it.

Whatever you decide, good luck. You may get some pointers by reading the 20 or so articles I've written and put on my website. The link is below.
Dennis Loomis
Itinerant Montebank
<BR>http://www.loomismagic.com
BarryFernelius
View Profile
Inner circle
Still learning, even though I've made
2532 Posts

Profile of BarryFernelius
Artie,

How many hours of concentrated practice have you done on the Joyal stack?

-Barry
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time."

-Leonard Bernstein
ddyment
View Profile
Inner circle
Gibsons, BC, Canada
2154 Posts

Profile of ddyment
It's difficult to give a "correct" answer to some of these questions. For one, it's hard to predict people's learning processes: people remember things differently, and strategies that work for one can be completely inappropriate for another. You really need to experiment on your own, and find what works best for you.

There's also the issue of what is meant by "learning" a memdeck, as it's most commonly a two-stage process (except for those who use rote memory). First, one needs to learn the associations between the card names and their respective positions. This gets you well along the path, and also lets you perform a great variety of memdeck effects, but you can't really claim to have memorized the deck until you can instantly respond to a card name with its position (and vice versa). So, because most people use a mnemonic technique for the first stage -- classical mnemonic alphabets, rules (or, as I prefer to think of them, "hints"), or an algorithm -- there must of necessity be a second stage, where you practice to the point where the mnemonic technique fades into the background, and you simply "know" the relationships.

Stage two will take pretty much the same amount of time, irrespective of the mnemonic technique you use. Stage one, however, will be a function of that technique. An algorithmic approach will be pretty quick (most people learn my stack in less than an hour); a rule-based system will take longer, and learning a full mnemonic alphabet + 104 word images + 52 word-pair relationships will take longer still.

Why do so many people go the classical mnemonic route, then, when it is clearly the most difficult? Because they have seen Simon Aronson (for example, or Juan Tamariz, for another) do some cool tricks, they decide that they want to do exactly that same set of tricks, and those tricks are "wired in" to his stack. But the total picture is broader than this, and (I believe) warrants more thinking than most people appear to give it. Why would a professional entertainer want to just do a wholesale adoption of another entertainer's effects? Most of us would strongly caution a beginner against making such a grave error, and yet many seem to overlook their own common sense in this matter when recommending a stack that is designed in precisely this fashion!

I think it makes more sense to memorize a stack organization that has broad potential for a variety of actions (a stay stack, for example, or a tetradistic stack, or ???). And because stacks with these characteristics can be constructed algorithmically, it's the path that I personally recommend (and I am far from alone in this). Finally, realize that the very best memorized deck effects are independent of the particular stack chosen in any case.

Just remember that all of these comments are no more than people's opinions: if there were a "correct" approach, almost everyone would be using it.
Doug Dyment's Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
brad12d3
View Profile
Special user
526 Posts

Profile of brad12d3
Hey guys thanks for the responses! From what I was reading in the other post I began to realize how many different approaches there were to memdecks. So I posted this to hear your thoughts. I know it's hard to tell someone just starting out what well work best for them but reading what worked for you guys and how the different methods operate helps me figure that out for myself. You guys have been very helpful. Now I just got to start experimenting.
Artie Fufkin
View Profile
Special user
857 Posts

Profile of Artie Fufkin
Barry, I've got about 12 hours in and am past halfway through the Joyal process.
I'm not bad at getting it into my head, just bad at keeping it there.
Perhaps I need to do it every day for 6 or 8 months, and see what happens with that level of repetition.

I'm going to order Doug's QuickerStack.
Having put this time in on the Joyal, I'm sure I'll be able to get a feel for the QuickerStack pretty quickly.

If it doesn't feel right, I'll continue on with the Joyal.
I have a feeling that I just need to put more reps in to compensate for a lazy memory.

Conveniently, I don't pine for any built in effects, so the Aronson and Tamariz aren't on my horizon.
Turk
View Profile
Inner circle
Portland, OR
3545 Posts

Profile of Turk
Quote:
On 2011-09-04 12:33, ddyment wrote:
Turk suggested:
Quote:
As to which memorized deck to use, you can use those that are dependent on an algorithm (such as Richard Osterlind's "Breakthrough Card System") or you can use a straight memorized deck (Such as the Aronson Stack) or the Tamariz Stack.

The BCS is not an algorithmic approach to the memorized deck. It is rather (like my own DAO Stack) a sequential stack. Of course, you can memorize it, as you can memorize any card sequence, but there is no algorithm to make that job easier. You would need to do so either via rote memory or by using classical mnemonic techniques (which is what Osterlind suggests).

An algorithmic memorized deck uses some sort of (one hopes simple) algorithm to associate the identity of a card with its absolute location in the stack (which does not exist for the BCS). Examples include the Harding stack, the Gauci stack, and my own QuickerStack.


OOPS! Sorry. My bad. I was under the impression that any card stack progression that was based upon calculations related to a prior card was considered algorithmic in nature. Again, sorry for the error.

Quote:
On 2011-09-04 19:43, Artie Fufkin wrote:
***
Conveniently, I don't pine for any built in effects, so the Aronson and Tamariz aren't on my horizon.


Artie,

The effects that are able to be performed using either the Aronson Stack or the Tamariz Stack are NOT exclusively stack dependent. Rather, with either, you can perform any "stack independent" MD effect that can be performed with any memorized deck stack, but, in addition, you can also do a bunch of effects that are stack dependent to that particular stack. I like to think of the "stack dependent" effects as being "bonuses" to the "normal stack independent" effects that you are also able to do.

Best,

Mike
Magic is a vanishing Art.

This must not be Kansas anymore, Toto.

Eschew obfuscation.
BarryFernelius
View Profile
Inner circle
Still learning, even though I've made
2532 Posts

Profile of BarryFernelius
Artie,

How much time do you work on the stack every day?

Barry
"To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time."

-Leonard Bernstein
Artie Fufkin
View Profile
Special user
857 Posts

Profile of Artie Fufkin
Half an hour, usually during lunch, but not every day.

I can see it being a quicker learn if I didn't have a job, a kid, and dishes to do.
But the six hour thing didn't quite pan out for me.
And I lose it super-fast if I miss even two days.

I suspect an algorithm I can remember, and the associated calculation might work better for me than anything starting to look like brute force memory work.
The memory work as it relates to pegging and similar just isn't for me.

What is for me is a Mike Powers bit from Power Plays, needing a memdeck Smile
reincardation
View Profile
New user
9 Posts

Profile of reincardation
I too am interested in memorized decks. In the meantime, I learned Osterlind's Breakthrough Card System. After a week of practicing the sequence on the subway to work, I was able to perform convincingly with the deck. The deck uses an algorithm to determine the next card in the sequence. One of the things this sequence shares with the more difficult mem decks is that the cards can be shown face up, even inspected for hours, and there is no apparent sequence. Mr. Osterlind teaches how to memorize the deck in his book Mystique which I have ordered, but not yet received. The beauty is you can perform effects so strong, prior to memorizing the deck, that you will be forced to deal with ethical questions about whether to allow your audience to believe you really are psychic. Really! I think being able to perform miracles, long before you have memorized the sequence, makes this system a great starting point for a mem deck. It's also a great if you never get the deck fully memorized, or if you forget it later.
ddyment
View Profile
Inner circle
Gibsons, BC, Canada
2154 Posts

Profile of ddyment
Learning a sequential stack doesn't help you to learn a memorized stack, unless you plan to memorize the sequential stack (which would not be the wisest choice, in my view, as there are stacks more worth memorizing).

Sequential stacks and memorized decks are two very different animals: about all that they have in common is that they are both full-deck stacks.

Of course, once you have memorized a stack, you have no need for a separate sequential stack!
Doug Dyment's Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
Woland
View Profile
Special user
680 Posts

Profile of Woland
Quote:
Of course, once you have memorized a stack, you have no need for a separate sequential stack!


There you have my dilemma. All of these stacks are interesting, beautiful, and wonderful in their own way - it would be grand to learn, know, and use them all! But probably only a master of memory and attention could do that. There is a certain architectonic elegance to tetradistic and other structured sequences, but the more random arrangements have a more "convincing" appearance, and offer a different menu of "built in" effects.
ddyment
View Profile
Inner circle
Gibsons, BC, Canada
2154 Posts

Profile of ddyment
I wouldn't worry overly about "convincing appearances"; new deck order is probably not so good, but beyond a certain level of randomness, you can throw out the baby with the bathwater when trying to get more. Unstructured is unstructured, thus doesn't lend itself to much beyond the built-in effects, which, for most successful professionals, are not the effects they would have chosen to build in anyway.

Remember that many celebrated magicians, from Stewart James to Gene Anderson to Chan Canasta to Alan Ackerman and more, all preferred tetradistic stacks to everything else, and built enviable careers with same. So don't dismiss "structured" too quickly.
Doug Dyment's Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
Woland
View Profile
Special user
680 Posts

Profile of Woland
Thanks, Doug. I am coming around to that point of view, actually. The built-in poker and bridge card-game deals and effects tend to leave me cold . . . at least in the reading of them. A structured stack that would allow me to perform a wider variety of effects more easily is very appealing. The beauty of for example a palindromic arrangement is compelling. The brilliance and passion of Juan Tamariz, however, recommend learning his stack if only as an homage to his creation. There is something to be said for being able to get into a stack from NDO, as well.
bblumen
View Profile
Special user
Baltimore
987 Posts

Profile of bblumen
Quote:
On 2011-09-07 11:27, Woland wrote:
[snip]
The beauty of for example a palindromic arrangement is compelling.
[snip]



ARE WE NOT DRAWN ONWARD TO NEW ERA?


Brian
"Lulling the minds of your company is more important than dazzling their eyes." Ed Marlo
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Shuffled not Stirred » » Where to begin? (0 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2020 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.27 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL