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Paris, France
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Profile of vindar

In Mnemonica, Tamariz gives several clever methods to set the M.D. in front of the audience during the course of a trick (e.g. Memory Jumble which I really like). In most cases, it is required to first separate cards 1-26 and 27-52.

To do so secretly, one can use a spread cull, Lorayne's great divide or a Green's angle separation. I use the later sleight and it is great method for red/black separation. However, I find it very difficult to do the move smoothly when separating the cards belonging to the first and second half of the deck. Indeed, I know my M.D. quite well and I can go card <-> number very quickly but it is not as fast as just looking at the color of a card and I must concentrate on the card while doing the separation which prevent me from talking at the same time... In particular, with a red/black separation, I can see the colors of a few card in advance so that I can look at the spectators from time to time while doing the separation.

Did some of you encountered this problem ? I am thinking about making a secondary mnemonic associations, for example associate the first 26 cards with a given female and the remaining cards with a male so that it will take less thinking while doing the separation. Did anyone try that, does it help ?

Thanks for your input !
Steven Keyl
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Inner circle
Washington, D.C.
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Profile of Steven Keyl
This is something that I've practiced A LOT. It's gotten to the point where I can do the top/bottom MD separation fairly quickly using the Angle Separation. However, it will never be quite as fast as a color separation because in that case the brain isn't doing any translating of information. A mem deck separation will necessarily be at least a little slower than other separations.

Two suggestions here. I have memorized which cards are in which half, so in my mind I don't say, "Ace of Spades is position 10, which puts it in the top half..." Rather, I've essentially memorized my stack a second time and now instinctively know which card goes in which half. That has provided a much quicker way to achieve the separation. So although I used a brute force memorization, using a secondary mnemonic as you suggest is an excellent way to improve your speed.

Second, if you're not averse to using gaffs, a stripper deck with cards 1-26 facing one way and 27-52 facing the other way allows you a great deal of freedom to perform other effects and shuffle the cards. The separation can be achieved in under a second with this method.

Best of luck!
Steven Keyl - The Human Whisperer!

Come visit Magic Book!

"If you ever find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause, and reflect." --Mark Twain
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New user
Paris, France
62 Posts

Profile of vindar
Hi Steven,

Indeed, using a stripper deck in this case make the sorting straightforward and its use is well concealed. If I am working with my own cards, another solution is to put a discrete mark on the top half corner of the face of cards 1-26 which makes the sorting almost as fast as a red/black separation. However, the main point is that I want to be able to work with a borrowed deck. The way I see it, a great advantage with M.D. is that you can perform miracles without much sleight of hand and thus it can be done with cards in any condition. That is the reason I would like to be able to set up any deck that is handled to me, especially if it is in very bad condition (as long as it is complete, which give me a reason to go through the cards for the separation)...

Apparently, what you did is similar to what I had in mind : learn a second memorization of the deck with the top/bottom position for each card. I was hoping there was some magical painless lazy way of achieving the same result without new memory work Smile Better get to work then...

Thanks for your advices !
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