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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Shuffled not Stirred » » What are the benefits of learning a stack? Why bother? (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Herr Brian Tabor
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So this question has been on my mind for a while, ever since I started learning a stack. I'm not a "card guy" per se. When I do card magic, cards get torn, ripped, bent, crimped, folded, cut, burnt, and many other mutilations. It's just my style. In the hands, visual, and no table. Now, when I think of memorized deck work, I don't think of those things. I think of long, drawn out complex deals and piles and yawns. I think of poker hands (also not my style). For those who like longer routines that require multiple perfect faros and large table space and so on this is great! But for the rest of us, why bother learning a memorized stack?

Well, I've played around enough with one now that I know some reasons, and I'll share them with those of you who may be on the fence about learning.

I'm not going to mention how easy it actually is to learn a memorized deck, or specific effects, that's already in this section and answered by more knowledgeable people than me. I'm just going to list some of the benefits to learning a mem deck in general.

1. You're a magician. Every tool at your disposal is valuable, and knowing where every card in the deck is is an amazing tool.

2. Instant out. Forget how the trick works? Make something up on the fly. You already know what card they picked and where it's at.

3. Not able to get that peek at the card? No need, you already know what card they picked.

4. Accidently lose their card for real? No matter, you already know what card they picked. Turn the deck face up, spread through and ask them to make sure their card's still in the middle, and cull it. Normally, we don't even know their card until the reveal, but with a mem deck, we do.

5. Instant Invisible deck! Throw a face down card in the pack and you can quickly cull their card under it!

6. No sleight of hand. Sometimes you're just not in the mood to do those finger flicking moves. Many effects can be done with a Memorized deck that don't require difficult sleight of hand.

7. High impact. Some of the hardest hitting and impossible card magic is done with a memorized stack.

8. Fool those magician friends of yours. They'll always be watching for your sleight of hand, but they can't catch your "sleight of mind".

9. Meditation/relaxation. Frustrated or angry? Nervous or anxious? Or stuck in a store with the spouse who's taking forever picking out clothes? Run through one of the many exercises to keep your memory fresh on your deck.

10. Memory in general. If you learn a memorized deck with the aid of mnemonics, you have learned a valuable tool in your everyday life for school, work etc to give you a more powerful memory.

11. At a friends house and they hand you their deck to show magic with? Use an effect that arranges the stack, and fry them with their deck.

12. Have a friend or two who also is a magician? Learn the same stack together and see what cool ways you can team up...as in "hey dave, this guy picked the Ace of Hearts. Any idea where it might be?" "Yeah bob, it's probably the 22 cards down, if I had to guess..."

13. Tools. Think about this. You always have an instant key card, knowledge of every card's position, an out if something goes wrong, instant invisible deck, built in killer effects, and all this takes up only a single deck of card's worth of pocket space.


Feel free to add more.
Herr Brian Tabor
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14. Little to no investment. If you want to learn the stack for the outs and such, you can learn Simon Aronson's stack free of charge on his website, along with a great variety of effects. Later you can buy books for stack work, but sometimes money is tight.
Atom3339
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Very good, Brian.
TH

Occupy Your Dream
twistedace
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Stacks also really spark some creative thoughts. Once you learn a stack, you'll more than likely create a few effects of your own.
TerrorInt
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There are a lot of flimsy and complicated versions of Any Card at any Number (ACAAN) out there. Having a memorized deck makes this effect pretty trivial and allows you to follow the original rules more closely. Do a false shuffle, and put the deck behind your back. You can even have the spec cut the deck first, as long as you peek the bottom card before you begin. The rest is just simple math.

There are a lot of classic effects that become miracles when done with a memorized deck. Forget the cross-cut force when a spec can do a real cut without throwing you off one iota.
TerrorInt
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Actually, since I opened the Pandora's Box about classic tricks becoming miracles, I'll tell you about 2 of them that I use to great effect.

1 - The Kruskal Principle - I have a stack that I created myself, and refer to as COMMITTED. After reading about the Kruskal Principle, I discovered through trial and error that the first 29 cards of my stack conveniently all resolve at the 49th card. In patter, I describe how the spec will cut the cards at some point, leaving a lot of cards on the table so the odds of me getting the right answer is significantly less, and tell them that picture cards count as 5. I make my prediction on paper or whatever, then let them cut off part of the deck and rattle through the cycle. Of course, as long as they cut it above the 29th card, my prediction is always right. Needless to say, whatever stack you use, you have to test out each increment and hope that it works. You can't correct it on the fly, so if a stack doesn't work very well, you need to try an entirely new stack before settling on a better one. If it works for your stack, now you have an interesting and very puzzling prediction effect.

2- The Mentally Unsolvable Card Trick - This is a simple and fairly well known mathematical trick. You can find a brazillian tutorials for it on Youtube, none of which are particularly creative (which is probably why you never see professionals using it.). With a memorized deck, you can do a much slicker professional version of the trick. The youtube version requires you to see and remember 5 of the cards at the beginning of the effect, which to me makes it a bit obvious that there is some kind of math going on. With a memorized deck, you only need to know the top card of the deck after some deceptive false shuffles/cuts/whatever. It appears that you don't know any key card, and you can be blindfolded for the entire duration of the effect (until the reveal of course). Done with 5 spectators, it goes from being mentally unsolvable to pure miracle. Try it!

I have a lot of stuff like these up my sleeves. Thank Derren Brown and Juan Tamariz for my obsession with card memory! Like twistedace said, once you memorize a deck and get comfortable with it, you can go way outside the box and come up with endless numbers of effects that leave the spec dumbfounded.
John T Cox
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I've started to memorize a stack a few times but I have yet to keep motivated as I don't like pick a card find a card tricks. It seems to me that most stacked deck tricks are simply elaborations of this. When I ask I usually get the answer to look in Aronson's or Tamariz's books and the routines in there do not thrill me. ACAAN is a miracle and using the stack as a control is fabulous. However, they are, in the end, pick a card/find a card routines. So I am really responding to number 7 above. What high impact magic can be done with a stack?
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Steve Suss
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Quote:
On 2013-11-26 16:50, John T Cox wrote:
I've started to memorize a stack a few times but I have yet to keep motivated as I don't like pick a card find a card tricks. It seems to me that most stacked deck tricks are simply elaborations of this. When I ask I usually get the answer to look in Aronson's or Tamariz's books and the routines in there do not thrill me. ACAAN is a miracle and using the stack as a control is fabulous. However, they are, in the end, pick a card/find a card routines. So I am really responding to number 7 above. What high impact magic can be done with a stack?
The effects you can do with a stack are nothing less than astounding. The flip side is that unless you are willing to put in the practice of learning it and maintaining it you are wasting your time. I've been doing card magic for almost 50 years and stack effects are some of the most powerful in my arsenal. For me it is worth the effort to be able to do effects that could normally not be done. For others it might not be worth the time. If you only occasionally perform you should give serious consideration if it's worth the effort involved. If you perform regularly it might very well be worth your time.
Steve
msc455magic
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On 2013-11-26 17:42, Steve Suss wrote:
Quote:
If you only occasionally perform you should give serious consideration if it's worth the effort involved. If you perform regularly it might very well be worth your time.
Steve


Even if you occassionally perform it is STILL worth your time Smile A lot of what I do with cards these days depend on a stack.
TEF
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I am a bit late to this thread - if anyone is still reading, here's my 2 cents worth. I agree totally with your reason number 9, Brian. I never have to count sheep anymore and I judge how well I went to sleep by remembering in the morning which stack number I got to before fading away.

I came to the memorized deck late in my several decades of doing card magic, having never tired of the "take a card-here's your card" idea. Memorized deck effects have worked well for me when someone in my audience who has clearly spent some time on youtube watching exposures is trying hard to see my "moves" instead of following the patter - after a couple of mem-deck effects, the skeptic stops watching for the "moves" and becomes a normal member of the audience.
Lundonia
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Also: "Pick a card?" No, that's the whole point of a memdeck - THINK of a card! Smile A regular triumph routine will be so much stronger with a thought of card. Any sandwich effect too.

What about Histed Heisted, (Predicition) Shuffle Bored/Control in Chaos, A Subtle Game etc etc. There are a huge amount of amazing effects that's not at all a pick-a-card-trick.

I am amazed over the fact that so few magicians use the extremely sharp tool and weapon a memorized deck is. I don't mind though, makes my sets way more impressive than my collegues'. Smile

On the other hand, we all like different types of magic, we all have our passions. I love close up card magic but my jam partner loves pure sleight of hand stuff like cups and balls etc. He would never even dream of using a chop cup - just any cup and a paper ball, anything else is cheating in his opinion. On the other hand he carries 5 or 6 decks, all gimmicked to the hilt. I'm the complete opposite, a purist when it comes to cards but never hesitate to use anything else gimmicked. Smile
What I'm trying to say is; if you are into close up card magic you can utilize a memdeck in so many ways it's almost criminal not to put in the work. If that type of magic isn't your style then just leave it and focus on what YOU like instead. We will never be great at everything with this hobby. Smile
"Only two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity - and i'm not sure about the former" - Albert Einstein
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TEF
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[quote]On 2013-12-30 17:01, Lundonia wrote:
Also: "Pick a card?" No, that's the whole point of a memdeck - THINK of a card!

"think of a card" - that's one of the possibilities, but not the only possibility, with a mem deck. A mem deck is also a collection of 52 key cards that work well for many "pick a card" miracles. I happen to be adroit enough to do either or both and a few others, all in the same set with a single mem deck...and then morph the deck into a standard deck with a single shuffle - to be used for other miracles.

Why constrict when one can expand.
jeebs9
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Got to say number 9 was hilarous!!

One of my favorite tricks right now is either cutting, spelling, or whatever way you get to the card. Doing a double lift. And them handing them their thought of card. Going through the deck "whatever card you touch will become your thought of card". After a few fails. Riffle the deck at them. And boom their card appears in their hand.

Another 2 other I like to do right now are Stop tricks by gliding when I get to their card. And thought of card under their watch. It's pretty awesome.
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